In January, I embarked on a journey to read a few enlightening books on past Christians’ spiritual thoughts and books on spiritual journeys. One such book was Stepping Heavenward, by Mrs. E. Prentiss, a book that is written in a journal style following a 16 year old girl’s spiritual journey into womanhood, and finally, old age. It was such a fascinating little book, with a multitude of great timeless lessons to learn regarding faith, marriage, and the role of a wife and mother.
It was like a breath of fresh air to dive into this timeless wisdom written in the 1800’s.
I bought this little book at the promptings of Mrs. Sharon White, author of the Legacy of Home blog, grandmother, and daughter of a revival preacher. She has on her site a complimentary study guide to go with this book, written by herself! I encourage every young woman to read this book if they are wondering about the role of a wife or mother, or wondering about the impact faith can have on their life.
I am saving it to present to the next girl in our family,
be that a daughter or grand-daughter, this is one of those rare books that will be passed down in
our family legacy.
Here is just one excerpt where the minister is writing to the young girl about her progression in faith that I found quite wonderful:
“Now He never leaves His work incomplete, and He will gradually lead you into clear and open vision if you will allow Him to do it. I say gradually, because I believe this to be His usual method, while I do not deny that there are cases where light suddenly bursts in like a flood. To return to the blind man. When Jesus found that his cure was not complete, He put His hands again upon his eyes and made him look up; and he was restored and saw every man clearly. Now this must be done for you; and in order to have it done, you must go to Christ Himself, not to one of His servants.
Make your complaint, tell Him how obscure everything still looks to you, and beg Him to complete your cure. He may see fit to try your faith and patience by delaying this completion; but meanwhile you are safe in His presence, and while led by His hand, He will excuse the mistake you make and pity your falls. But you will imagine that it is best that He should at once enable you to see clearly. If it is, you may be sure He will do it. He never makes mistakes. But He often deals far differently with His disciples. He lets them grope their way in the dark until they fully learn how blind they are, how helpless, how absolutely in need of Him.
What His methods will be with you I cannot foretell. But you may be sure that He never works in an arbitrary way. He has a reason for everything He does. You may not understand why He leads you now in this way and now in that, but you may, nay, you must believe that perfection is stamped on His every act. …
Many persons never get beyond this point (of making their whole business to study their own case to see whether they are really in a state of grace). They spend their whole time in asking the question:
Do I love the Lord or no? Am I His or am I not?
I beg you, my dear child, if you are doing this aimless, useless work, to stop short at once. Life is too precious to spend in a treadmill. Having been pardoned by your God and Savior, the next thing you have to do is to show your gratitude for this infinite favor by consecrating your self entirely to Him, body, soul, and spirit. …
And now if you ask how you may know that you have truly consecrated yourself to Him, I reply, observe every indication of His will concerning you, no matter how trivial, and see whether you at once close in with that will. Lay down this principle as a law – God does nothing arbitrary. If He takes away your health, for instance, it is because He has some reason for doing so; and this is true of everything you value; and if you have real faith in Him, you will not insist on knowing the reason. If you find in the course of daily events, that your self-consecration was not perfect – that is, that your will revolts at His will – do not be discouraged, but fly to your Savior and stay in His presence till you obtain the spirit in which He cried in His hour of anguish, “Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will but Thine be done” (Luke 22:42). Every time you do this it will be easier to do it; every such consent to suffer will bring you nearer and nearer to Him; and in this nearness to Him you will find such peace such blessed, sweet peace as will make your life infinitely happy, no matter what may be its mere outside conditions.
Just think, my dear Katy, of the honor and the joy of having your will one with the Divine will and so becoming changed into Christ’s image from glory to glory! …
You can will to choose for your associates those who are most devout and holy.
You can will to read books that will stimulate your in your Christian life rather than those that merely amuse.
You can will to use every means of grace appointed by God.
You can will to spend much time in prayer without regard to your frame at the moment.
You can will to prefer a religion of principle to one of mere feeling; in other words, to obey the will of God when no comfortable glow of emotion accompanies your obedience.
You cannot will to possess the spirit of Christ; that must come as His gift; but you can choose to study His life and to imitate it. This will infallibly lead to such self-denying work as visiting the poor, nursing the sick, giving of your time and money to the needy and the like.”