Two different people gave me a copy of the same book for Christmas this year. I figured it was doubly important for me to read it. I’m so glad I did. The book is called Stepping Heavenward: One Woman’s Journey to Godliness by Elizabeth Prentiss.
It’s a journey through the diary of Katherine, a sixteen year old girl growing up in the 1800s. It’s completely written in entry form, with lots of embedded dialect. The entries are sometimes daily, sometimes with months or even years in between.
Katherine, often called Katy, struggles to find peace with first her mother, then her husband, Aunty, sister-in-law, and many others. But above all, Katy struggles to understand what it really means to have a relationship with God and surrender herself to Him.
I knew from early on in this book that I would take a lot away from it. In many scenes, Katy describes her “Mother” asking for help with something and Katy responds in a hasty, rash manner. Katy then writes “I don’t know why I just said that or behaved that way. I hate it when I behave as so!”
I can relate.
This is my favorite excerpt from the book, on page 87:
“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. This is the least you can do. He has bought you with a price, and you are no longer your own.”
‘But,’ you may reply, ‘this is contrary to my nature. I love my own way. I desire ease and pleasure; I desire to go to heaven, but I want to be carried thither on a bed of flowers. Can I not give myself so far to God as to feel a sweet sense of peace with Him, and be sure of final salvation, and yet, to a certain extent, indulge and gratify myself? If I give myself entirely away to Him and lose all ownership in myself, He may deny me many things I greatly desire. He may make my life hard and wearisome, depriving me of all that now makes it agreeable.’
But, I reply, this is no matter of parley and discussion; it is not optional with God’s children whether they will pay Him a part of the price they owe Him and keep back the rest. He asks, and He has a right to ask, for all you have and all you are. And if you shrink from what is involved in such a …”
OH SNAP! Guess you gotta pick up your own copy of E. Prentiss’s book to finish reading this section!
If you like books that take place in this time period (1830-1860), check this out!
Into chick flicks? This book is a great one.
Struggling on your own journey towards godliness? Prentiss can help y’out.
Love you all, thanks for reading~