I found a little old book that is a gem. It’s called “My Prayer Book for Women and Girls” dated 1970 (Longman).
My husband and I have been delighted by it the past week, enjoying the old fashioned language portraying timeless truths articulated in an insightful way.
I secretly want to track down the ‘Prayer Book for Men and Boys’ to compare notes, but the advice that is given to women speaks directly into my heart.
I wanted to share this little gem with whoever would find this page.
‘The women and girls of to-day have a task before them harder than ever before. For, all the world over, women are receiving their freedom increasingly; and it is harder to use liberty even than to obtain it. The right use of liberty is every girl’s problem to-day. Even in Mohammedan countries the Purdah system is slowly breaking down; the servitude and confinement of centuries are giving way before Western civilisation and ideals of womanhood derived from Christ’s teaching.
But, in England too, women and girls are much freer now than they were even twenty years ago: the restrictions and conventions which were at once their limitation and their protection are vanishing. Many girls at quite an early age go to business and work in the same conditions as men; some have to live away from home to be near their work; all have an independence undreamt of by our grandparents.
To live well in restriction is easier than to live well in freedom; the girl of to-day has the harder task; she has greater dangers but greater opportunities; wider possibilities both of good and evil life before her; hers is a wider range of choice; she can fail more easily or succeed more nobly. She must therefore know the secret of the right use of liberty. It is this – to be the servant of God, free of restrictions, free perhaps of conventions, but consciously the servant of God; a servant voluntary, glad, and proud. To serve Him is to be free; but to be free of Him is to be servant and slave of our own failures. His service is perfect freedom; to enter His service is to come into our kingdom.
Be free, then, of old-fashioned ideas, but do not try to be free of the experience of the saints of all ages, or of the binding love of God; for you would be free only as the engine is free of the rails, a wreck to itself and a ruin to others. You are not your own, you were bought with a price – the price of a life lived in Galilee and given on Calvary: so much are you worth to Him; this is your proper pride and your inalienable distinction.
Keep close to Him, and nothing can harm you wherever you work or wherever you live. Be constant in your prayers, regular in your Communion; and when you fail, confess and begin again with the Grace that is ever new and ever yours.
As to amusements, do not make artificial sins; there are enough real ones; take your pleasures, but only such pleasures as you can ask God to bless. As to Friendships between men and women, boys and girls, remember that most men still look up to women and will for their sakes try to live clean and honourable lives. Friendship with a girl is often the greatest power for good in a man’s life.
On the other hand, never make yourself cheap; know no man without proper introduction. As to dress, a girl is right to wear nice clothes and to make the best of her appearance; but to choose “flashy” things and to “make up” conspicuously is simply to ask for trouble – to attract the wrong sort of man.
Take your friendships into the house of God – and your friends too. In your morning prayers, commit to God each new day and all the people you shall meet in it, and God will bless both you and them, and you yourself will be a blessing.”