Katherine grew up in a Christian family, but in her teen years she struggled with praying, speaking kindly, being obedient, and living a Christian life from the heart. She was always making new resolutions and trying harder, all to no avail. But she grows older, continues to learn from her mother's wonderful example, and listens to the wise counsel of her pastor. As she writes her thoughts down in her journal, we get to see how God uses trials and blessings to bring her gradually closer to him.
Having grown up in a Christian home much like Katherine did, I can really identify with her struggle to make the Christian life her own. Her story is not one of harsh rebellion and sudden salvation but rather a gradual journey taken one step at a time. She makes some mistakes, speaks a good deal of hasty words, struggles to understand her husband, and has to learn how to manage a home with young children and a small budget. She deals with poverty, sickness, and death. But by the end of her path, she has learned to love God and her neighbor and has found peace.
I have only three minor complaints about this wonderful little book. At times it seems to advocate that a godly Christian life must be one of poverty and hardship in order to be genuine. All the Christians in it are poor, struggling with sickness, and dealing with the death of loved ones. This can be a great encouragement to those who are going through trials, but God also wants us to be devoted to him when life is comparatively easy.
Also, the characters are very focused on heaven. They speak of time on earth as their weary sojourn and they look forward to the time of their death as setting them free. While this is true, God didn't create this world, put us all in it, and send his Son to redeem it, in order to have us all sit around pining for heaven. I don't think the characters were wrong for the views they held, they just missed the other side of the coin: this world is God?s kingdom also and our time in it should be spent taking dominion for Christ.
The last complaint is that Katherine worries too much about her sins and shortcomings. While we should be repenting, we don't need to get on our knees and cry about every one. Once we have asked God for mercy, we should have peace and joy, and rest on His promises of forgiveness.
My three complaints don't stand in the way of my enjoyment of the book and they don't really bother me much because Elizabeth Prentiss isn't missing the boat entirely, she's just sitting in only one end of it. Very encouraging, I would strongly recommend this book to any Christian woman, fifteen and up, who is also making the same slow and steady heavenward trek.
Review by Amanda Evans
Idealist, former perfectionist, now mother of five, Amanda Evans is also wife to Eli and co-owner of Exodus. Amanda instigates many of the behind-the-scenes developments at Exodus and her reviews focus on those items that matter to wives and mothers (which covers more than you might think!). Read more of them here.
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