I started this book a while back and never finished it. Biographies can take a while to get into, but once I did I couldn't put this down. I think at first I thought that maybe reading about the woman who wrote the hymn "More Love to Thee" and the book Stepping Heavenward, I would feel like such a loser-Christian. You know, here's a wife and mother who never has a bad day, takes delight ALWAYS in her roles...sometimes that just makes me feel worse, you know? Well, I was relieved to find that Elizabeth Prentiss, for all her wonderful qualities, was also human. She was prone to dramatic emotional highs and lows, sometimes quick-tempered, and in the midst of raising small children she discovered that her moments were not her own.
She faced tremendous hardships, of her own health and the health of her family in mid-nineteenth century New England. She faced difficult pregnancies and deliveries. She lost two children, one as a toddler and one as a newborn baby. She writes:
Dear Jesus! must Thou take our lambs,
Our cherished lambs away?
Thou hast so many, we so few-
Canst Thou not let them stay?
Must the round limbs we love so well,
Grow still and cold in death?
Must all our loveliest flowerets fail
Before his icy breath?
Nay Lord, it is hard, is hard-
Oh, give us faith to see,
That grief, not joy, is best for us
Since it is sent by Thee.
And oh, by all our mortal pangs
Hear Thou the mother's plea-
Be gracious to the darling ones
We've given back to Thee.
She is honest, yet she knows that "God never makes a mistake." She mourns, even questions God's decisions in bringing her dear babies home to Him, but she also has a rock-solid foundation that God is good and that everything He does is good.
I appreciate that she is real, but also clings to Jesus. That inspires me to love Him more, to trust Him more, and to be more thankful for the gifts He has given me, so that when suffering comes, as I know it will, I will be ready knowing the truths of Scripture that talk about God's tremendous love and character.
Here was a woman wholly committed to God, her husband, and her children. Her faithfulness speaks volumes to me.
EVERY MOTHER SHOULD READ THIS BOOK.