I recently read Stepping Heavenward by Mrs. E. Prentiss. I suspect many of you have preceded me to this book; it seems to be a popular one among Christian women, and rightly so. If you are Christian and female and haven’t read it yet, run, don’t walk, and go get it now. I will admit that I was a bit skeptical going into it. I don’t tend to like things that are popular in the Christian world, but this book turned out to be a real treasure. I have said this of a few books, probably less than a handful, but this book made me want to be a better person (read about one of those other books, a real hidden treasure here).
Stepping Heavenward is a journal begun by a young woman and continued as she grows into adulthood. It is her spiritual journey. I also tend not to like diary type books and yet again I was surprised by this one. It didn’t take long for me to say that this is a good book and to think that I want my older daughter to read it. And then as I got further into it, I thought this is really for me too. You see, as the author herself grows, so her spiritual struggles change and she goes through a lot of what we too go through and many things that I hope we never do.
I don’t want to give away too much but this is a great book to read if:
– you struggle with being faithful in prayer and Bible reading
– you struggle to find meaning or see how you can give glory to God in the midst of menial day-to-day tasks
– you feel mired down in your spiritual journey
– you feel that every other Christian is so much further along and more perfect han you are
– you have ever wondered if you are really saved
– you have been on bedrest or been sidelined due to illness
– you have faced the prospect of losing a child
– you have had to live with your in-laws or difficult relatives
This is the sort of book from which different people are going to take away different lessons and to which one could return in the various stages of life and take new lessons. If there is one big overarching lesson to the book, I would say it is that our lives are spiritual journeys and we needn’t look at others who are farther along and berate ourselves for not being where they are. Personally, I was struck with the idea that I need to make holiness a goal that I work towards, both every day and for the long haul. I think I had sort of assumed holiness was something God would accomplish in me, but I had never really thought that I need to be actively participating in that goal. I am not sure I am describing that correctly. I have of course had goals like “be more patient with my children” and “don’t yell” and aspirations like “I want to be like Mrs. M when I grow up.” But the idea of holiness itself as the goal was a revelation to me. It is as if I had been focusing on the parts or the shadow and my eyes have been lifted to the actual thing I should be aiming for. I am still not sure if that makes sense, but you can always read the book for yourself 🙂
Anyway, long story short, if I haven’t already said it half a dozen times, read this book. Then read it again. And give it to the other women in your life.