As I mentioned in a few blog posts this year, I love to read. If I am not reading, I am often listening to an audiobook. Reading has literally changed my life. Because of reading, I have met fascinating people that I would not have met otherwise. Reading is also a way to keep the mind sharp as a person ages.
A friend had shared with me how much she enjoyed the book Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss. Soon after completing that book, I knew that reading the biography of the author was in order. Elizabeth Prentiss was a pastor’s wife, a mother, an author of several books, and a hymn writer. You may be familiar with one of the hymns she wrote, “More Love to Thee, O Christ.” I trust that these few quotes will inspire you to read the book for yourself and learn from this outstanding lady!
Here are my favorite quotes from The Life and Letters of Elizabeth Prentiss.
1. “The loss of a mother is never made up or atoned for; and ours was such a mother;”
A mother is a special blessing in a home, and no one can take her place. No servants, nannies, cooks, or teachers can be what a mother is in a family.
2. “I feel that I have nothing to complain of, and a great deal to be thankful for.”
This was spoken by a lady who had many trials, and yet remained grateful. How easy it is to forget our blessings and focus on petty annoyances. Even though Thanksgiving is past, let’s remember to be thankful for all we have.
3. “We pray for sanctification and then are afraid God will sanctify us by stripping us of our idols and feel distressed lest we can not have them and Him too.”
This quote reminds me of the chapter “Thy Will Be Done in Phillip Keller’s Book A Layman Looks at the Lord’s Prayer. We pray certain things but then really don’t want the process through which God will take us to give us what we want.
4. “I see that it is sweet to be a pilgrim and a stranger, and that it matters very little what befalls me on the way to my blessed home.”
While this may sound like a lovely thing for a Christian lady to say, the context is that one of her children was near death. This is particularly convicting to me because my cousin, who was younger than I, passed away this year, and that was not my attitude while she was suffering and declining in health.
5. ” . . . be thankful that, bad as things are, they are not so bad as they might be.”
Again Elizabeth Prentiss showcases her beautiful attitude toward her circumstances. Instead of complaining, she gives thanks that her situation isn’t as bad as it could be!
6. “. . . it is better to be despondent than to be self-righteous.”
Sometimes we go through sorrows and discouragement that we may not understand, and this statement is an encouragement that there are worse things than sorrow.
7. “I never do feel sad except when I’ve been eating something I’d no business to!”
Have you noticed that you feel different after you eat something that you know you shouldn’t be eating? It’s quite true that what we eat affects how we feel physically as well as emotionally.
8. “I have to make it my steady object throughout each day, so to spend time and strength as to obtain sleep enough to carry me through the next; it is thus I have acquired the habit of taking a large amount of exercise, which keeps me out of doors when I am longing to be at work within.”
Being healthy often requires self-discipline and therefore doing things we would rather not do. Any homemaker always has inside work, yet some of that can wait, especially when the weather is beautiful, and outside work can be done. Exercise as numerous benefits, and you can read about some of them here.
9. “A weak body hinders prayer and praise when the heart would sing, if it were not in fetters that cramp and exhaust it.”
There is no denying that our physical health affects our spiritual health too. I have learned this lesson the hard way, and this is part of why I do what I do. Here on earth, none of us will have perfect health, but we can learn how to take better care of our health.
10. “I am not sure that it is best for us, once safe and secure on the Rock of Ages, to ask ourselves too closely what this and that experience may signify. Is it not better to be thinking of the Rock, not of the feet that stand upon it?”
This statement reminds of the following verses: “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
It’s an excellent reminder to keep my eyes on God, and not on the circumstances around me.
11. “His ways with me have been perfectly beautiful and infinite in long-suffering and patience.”
I am also very thankful for God’s patience with me!
12. “I knew God would never afflict you so, if He had not something beautiful and blissful to give in place of what He took.”
Mrs. Prentiss’s mature way of looking at afflictions has helped me, and I can truly say that God has always given me something much better when He took away what I had at that time.
13. “Hot weather does not agree with me. I used to reproach myself for religious stupidity when not well, but see now that God Is my kind Father—not my hard taskmaster, expecting me to be full of life and zeal when physically exhausted. It takes long to learn such lessons.”
Some health conditions make the body quite sensitive to hot weather, and the hot weather makes the health issue worse. It’s easy for those of us who are task-oriented to scold ourselves for lack of productivity or service for God, but we need to remember that God is our kind Father, and not some cruel slave driver.
Forgive my story here, but one of my former jobs was an office job, and at one point, the copier stopped working because it was over-heated from overuse. No amount of money, persuasion, or ridicule of that copier would get it to work again until it had cooled down. If that is is true of a mere machine, how much more does the concept apply to our bodies which are fearfully and wonderfully made?
14. “I know of no book, the Bible excepted as above all comparison, which I, according to my judgment and experience, could so safely recommend as teaching and enforcing the whole saving truth according to the mind that was in Christ Jesus, as the Pilgrim’s Progress.”
Have you read Pilgrim’s Progress? I read it my senior year in high school and again this year. It’s an excellent book!
15. “She had in a remarkable degree the lovely feminine gift of home-making. She was a true decorative artist. Her room when she was boarding, and her home after it was completed, were bowers of beauty.”
These are her husband’s words about her. While I have many miles to go in this respect, I hope to one day have a beautiful home!
16. “She was an exceedingly practical woman, not a dreamer. A systematic, thorough housekeeper, with as exalted ideals in all the affairs which pertain to good housewifery as in those matters which are generally thought to transcend these humble occupations. Like Solomon’s virtuous woman she “looked well after the ways of her household.” Methodical, careful of minutes, simple in her tastes, abstemious, and therefore enjoying evenly good health in spite of her delicate constitution—this is the secret of her accomplishing so much.”
This speaks volumes. She did not waste time and was careful even of her minutes. She had a system, and she was thorough in her housekeeping. Her husband thought she was like the Proverbs 31 lady. What a tribute!
What was your favorite quote? Do you have favorite quotes from books you read recently? Please feel free to share them in the comments below.
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