Geertje: War Seen Through the Eyes of A Child as an Adult
Gerda Blokhuis VandenHaak
Summary: Memories are a peculiar thing. They hurl us into a different world full of familiar smells, sounds and sights. Memories are sweet. Memories are bitter. All memories have a story to tell. In this book 78 year old Gerda shares her memories; memories of hunger, memories of sitting in a shack with Nazis and NSBers and memories of visiting a brothel in Cuba. She shares the painful memory of losing a precious daughter, and the joyful memory of adopting a little Indonesian boy. The dearest memory she shares are those final days she spent with her beloved Andy. All these experiences, all these memories shape an individual. They mold a character and shape an identity. Memories are proof of a life lived.
Gerda used poetry to process much of what she saw and experienced. Laced throughout this book in poetic format, the reader is given a glimpse of the inner turmoil that is present in every child of God as they struggle to make sense of earthly trials and the sovereignty of God. Gerda's poems accurately and beautifully reveal the anguish, heartache and questions of life intertwined with a depth of love and trust for her Lord.
Personal Thoughts: Gerda is a living, walking testimony of God's persevering grace in His children. Life has been hard for this child of God: war, fear, the irreparable devastation of the loss of a daughter, hunger, sickness, and finally the loss of a precious husband, lover, confidant and friend. The path to heaven is filled with difficulty. Following Christ wholeheartedly is not for the faint of heart.
Gerda and her husband visited Cuba 37 times to bring Bibles and encouragement to the churches. They visited Indonesia 3 times to set up a Christian school for (currently) over 1500 children. Gerda and her husband Andy lived a life of service to the Lord. Like Isaiah, they answered when Lord asked, 'Whom shall I send?"
Such a life of service! Oh, how difficult it was to read of cancer snatching Andy away. And so today Gerda continues the journey. The Lord alone knows when the final bend in the road will come into sight for His faithful child. And only He knows the work yet laid out to do for Gerda, His willing servant. The glory is His.
When in the morning, very early morning.
I walk outside.
Coffee in hand.
Early sunshine rays on my face.
I stand there.
Looking at the trees, at the lawn.
And see nothing.
For my eyes are turned inward.
Then tears come.
They run down my face and it surprises me.
On my hands.
On the deck.
Not tears of sadness.
But they fall.
Not tears of joy.
Tears of healing.
Tears of cleansing.
A peace, beyond understanding.
And I feel the hand of God.
The hand of God.
Great is Your Faithfulness.