There are certain things that come to mind when I mention summer. Some of you are thinking about BBQ's and bonfires down at the beachwhile others are thinking about gardening and relaxing in your yard or by the pool while the kids play. Whatever images come to mind, you would consider these things summer essentials. They are the things that make summer what it is. One of my new summer essentials: mint ice tea from Trader Joes. And yes, it does taste better with a stripped straw.
Another essential-my summer isn't complete with out visiting one of my oldest friends. Mrs. E. Prentiss' Stepping Heavenward has been apart of my summer reading stack since I was 15. I read it my freshman year of high school and every summer since. Why have I read this book every year? Aren't I tired of it you ask? Nope. Here's why.
Set in the 1800's Stepping Heavenward is a first person account of Katherine, who in the opening pages has just turned the "dreadfully old" age of 16. Written as a diary, this book follows Katherine through her journey to godliness in a very intimate account of her daily life. We read of her ups and downs, her desire to know God more amidst her eternal struggle with her emotions and the fallen world around her. With each passing entry you start to see yourself in this complex character. You begin to identify with her struggles, as they are common to us all, and you begin to examine your own life and journey to godliness right along with her. Through many tears and much laughter the book wraps up as Katherine is now a grown woman, married with children of her own, all the while still journeying to know her heavenly Father more.
That right there is why I read this classic every year. What spoke to me as a 15 year old was different than what spoke to me as a 20 year old newlywed, or a 25 year old with a newborn. I am confident that this year as a 29 year old with two children and nine years of marriage behind me, I will receive something entirely different yet again. Our journey to godliness is a life long pursuit and is constantly changing as our seasons of life change. And, hopefully, growing deeper with each passing year. So I will be visiting Katherine once again this summer to examine my journey, I hope you will join me!