By Natalie, Editress of Visionary Womanhood
Books have always been my friends. Through their pages I learn about the Creator, human nature, other countries, the consequences of sin, the glories of redemption, how time heals all wounds, and how hope rises—even in dark corners.
One of my life-long friends is Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss. I don’t know anyone who has read that little gem who has not also fallen in love with Katy—and seen glimpses of themselves to boot.
I have journaled off and on over the years, and recently I went through some of those old books and unearthed some treasures tucked deep inside their pages. I found that in July of 2006 I was reading Stepping Heavenward for the third time, and I recorded some of my favorite quotes. They are like a handful of diamonds. Want to see?
“Duty looks more repelling at a distance than when fairly faced and met.”
“If what you say of Amelia is true, it is most ungenerous of you to tell of it.”
Katy to her mother: “You see what you get by being quiet and patient! People would like you much better if you refused to be comforted and wore a sad countenance.”
Her mother to Katy: “Dear Katy, it is not my first object in life to make people like me.”
“Oh that I were a better scholar! But I did not learn half my lessons. I am heedless and inattentive, and I forget what is taught. Perhaps this is the reason that weighty truths float before my mind’s eye at times but do not fix themselves there.”
“Why can’t I make so much as an apron for little Ernest without the ardor and eagerness of a soldier marching to battle? I wonder if people of my temperament ever get toned down and learn to take life cooly? “
“And it gives me positive personal pain to see heirs of the eternal Kingdom, made such by the ignominious death of their Lord, go shrinking and weeping to the full possession of their inheritance.”
On the birth of another baby: “She says I shall now have one mouth the more to fill and two feet the more to shoe, more disturbed nights, more laborious days, and less leisure or visiting, reading, music, and drawing. Well! That is one side of the story, to be sure, but I look to the other. Here is a sweet, fragrant mouth to kiss, here are two more feet to make music with their pattering about my nursery. Here is a soul to train for God; and the body in which it dwells is worthy all it will cost, since it is the abode of a Kingly tenant. I may see less of friends, but I have gained one dearer than them all, to whom, while I minister in Christ’s name, I make a willing sacrifice of what little leisure for my own recreation my other darlings had left me. Yes, my precious baby, you are welcome to your mother’s heart, welcome to her time, her strength, her health, her tenderest cares, her lifelong prayers! Oh, how rich I am, how truly, how wondrously blessed!”
“What I am, that I must be, except as God changes me into His image. And everything brings me back to that, as my supreme desire. I see more and more that I must be myself what I want my children to be and that I cannot make myself over even for their sakes. This must be His work, and I wonder that it goes on so slowly; that all the disappointments, sorrows, sicknesses I have passed through have left me still selfish still full of imperfections!”
“Why are we so afraid of those who live under the same roof with us? It must be the conviction that those who see us acting in a petty, selfish, trifling way must find it hard to conceive that our prayers and our desires take a wider and higher aim.”
If you and Stepping Heavenward have never met, I hope this was a proper introduction. At your first opportunity, you’ll want to find a cozy corner and discover more. More about Katy, more about God—and more about yourself.