Gleaming Jewels of Alcott-ian Wisdom in "The Little Women Devotional"
"His love and care never tire or change, can never be taken from you, but may become the source of lifelong peace, happiness, and strength. Believe this heartily, and go to God with all your little cares, and hopes, and sins, and sorrows, as freely and confidingly as you come to your mother."
Louisa May Alcott, Little Women
Dear kindred spirit,
I'm delighted you could join me today as we tread upon a new month, full of springtime hopes and heartfelt ideals for a new season of beauty and light ahead of us. The hope of spring to bring us out of winter's clutches feels directly tied to all my anticipations for the joy to come, perhaps unknown just now, but always happily ahead of us. One of the most hopeful, life-giving joys I've been lately blessed with has come in the form of a beautiful, wisdom-filled book which I have the honor of sharing with you today...
The relationships I've made through this community of kindred spirits (whether here on the blog or over on "bookstagram") have been one of the keenest blessings in my life—and a friendship with celebrated bestselling author, Rachel Dodge, has been one to truly touch my heart with her radiant, godly wisdom and admirably unflinching kindness. It was a joy to celebrate the release of her Anne of Green Gables Devotional in late 2020, and I'm thrilled today to be sharing the exciting news of her newest release: The Little Women Devotional: A Chapter-by-Chapter Companion to Louisa May Alcott's Beloved Classic.
Today, March 1, marks the official release of this beautiful devotional, of which I was kindly sent a copy before publication to read through and enjoy. From my very first youthful read of Little Women, its wisdom and timeless worth stood out like gleaming jewels reaped with every chapter, and Rachel has managed to pull out and polish every one of those very jewels from the treasure trove, providing daily devotionals to correspond with every chapter of Alcott's book, and tying them seamlessly with Scripture. For every daily devotional (one for all 47 chapters of Little Women), the devotionals are followed by a personal application for us to take with us through our day and to cherish in our hearts, which is then beautifully, thoughtfully closed with a correlating prayer.
The story of Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy is one that has truly shaped the arc of my life profoundly, and simply the remembrance of the trials great and small that they faced with the loving, encouraging hand of Marmee to lead them on with wisdom and grace brings with it an incomparable flood of heartwarming comfort to me. And yet, in spite of how well and how dearly I have known and loved them after all this time, there is something new, something added to that comfort with every read. Its wisdom transcends age or familiarity, and it never ceases to teach my heart new ways to walk uprightly, honorably and kindly, keeping faith through the darkest of seasons and finding joy in the honest work which does such good for our weary hearts in times of trial.
The Little Women Devotional touched my heart with those very feelings of heartfelt comfort and hopeful, biblical-centered wisdom three-fold. I was genuinely moved to tears reading through the daily devotionals, and especially the personal applications in which we may apply the timeless lessons which the March girls learned, to our own lives in profound, meaningful ways that affect us, and the people around us, vividly and personally. Alcott's wisdom absolutely exudes from the pages of Little Women, but Rachel uses this devotional to make that wisdom applicable to our daily lives in ways I'd never thought of for myself—and in doing so, has made the beloved story more precious and valuable to me than ever.
We are none of us exempt from facing the sorrows of this world, and we each of us have our own cross to bear, as did the March sisters. The bigger trials may stand out more clearly to us—from the death of sweet Beth to the period of mourning which Jo faced afterward, or the struggle Jo faces when Laurie confesses his feelings for her. Yet the smaller trials, too, carry much worth with them, and this devotional awakened such a profound appreciation for them in my heart. I was so affected by Day 18's chapter (corresponding to Chapter 18: "Dark Days") in which Jo feels overcome with despair and fear amid Beth's first illness, the lack of Marmee's presence in the home while father is unwell, and her own guilt in feeling that she ought to have done better while Marmee was away.
She comes near her breaking point, telling Laurie, "Mother and Father are both gone, and God seems so far away, I can't find Him." She cries and stretches out her hand "in a helpless sort of way, as if groping in the dark," and Laurie whispers, "I'm here. Hold on to me, Jo, dear!" Jo does "hold on," and the "warm grasp of the friendly hand comforts her sore heart" and helps "lead her nearer to the Divine arm which alone can uphold her in her trouble."
There are times when it feels as though we can't hold on—when God seems "far away" and difficult to find. In our deepest valleys and fiercest trials, we feel helpless, like we're "groping in the dark." There's nothing secure to hold on to, and everything feels shaky. And sometimes, we even lack the strength to reach out to Jesus. It's in those moments—when we can't hold on to God—that He holds on to us.
-Rachel Dodge, The Little Women Devotional (pg. 90)
Through this powerful reminder comes the ageless hope of God's comfort which we are given in Psalm 63:8— "My soul clings to you; Your right hand upholds me."
The Little Women Devotional came at a needed time for me, for at present our world has looked darker and more uncertain than ever, and our personal lives, too, come under strains of our own that we must endure. Yet I am reminded at this needful hour that I do not bear them alone, upon my own shoulders—for Jesus longs for us to give up that burdensome load and lean our weary form against Him as He lifts it from us. That reminder has dearly blessed me, and I am very grateful to Rachel for shining such a light upon the hope that is in Christ, applicable from the very stories that are dearest to us.
Kindred spirits, you can purchase your copy of The Little Women Devotional today! I sincerely hope it may bless you, as it has blessed me. Order your copy through any of the retailers below!
I'd like to specially thank Rachel for sending me an early copy of this beautiful book. All opinions expressed in this post are my own! :)
Wishing you many blessings, dear kindred spirits,
Until next time,
Want to follow along on Instagram? You can find me @austensandalcotts for mini blog-posts, a glimpse into my reading life, and giveaways for products from my shop. You can also subscribe to the Austens & Alcotts mailing list to receive my twice-monthly newsletter direct to your inbox, where I share personal encouragement for kindred spirits longing for a simpler, lovelier life, as well as news on shop releases, subscriber-only sales, and more!