Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Woman of Faith and Love and Service—Mothers in Literature

In Papa's Wife, Thyra Ferre Bjorn tells a touching story inspired by her own family, her own father, and especially her own mother. Papa was an upright, old-fashioned, principled pastor of a small church in northern Sweden, handsome and eloquent, but resolutely a bachelor. His dream was to have a large bank account. Mama was the maid who cleaned his house and secretly dreamed of marrying him. Eventually, Mama got her way (as she always did). Their life together was happy and rich with the kinds of treasures that really matter, though Papa had days when he could not quite forgive this spirited, determined woman for coming into his peaceful life and making him ten instead of one.

The book is the story of a family. It tells of the amusing antics and humorous scrapes of children and the things they must learn about life as they grow up. It tells of their immigration from the mountains of Sweden to small-town America and contains humorous anecdotes about their attempts to learn a new language and new customs. At it's heart, though, it is the story of a woman: a wife and a mother who pours her love, her prayers, and herself into her husband and her children.

Every page of this book either warms my heart or makes me laugh or brings tears to my eyes, but the part that I remember most is a chapter that describes each child through his or her shoes. Every Saturday night, after spending all day baking and cleaning in preparation for the Lord's Day, Mama sends her children to bed and then polishes all their shoes. She prays over each child and dreams about the future that each busy pair of feet will travel. From Nim's shoes, strong and sturdy and never in a hurry to Vickey's, long, narrow and queen-like all the way down to the baby's, which won't stay so small for very long, she shines and rubs as her heart swells with happiness and love.
Now seven pairs of shiny shoes stood in a row on the kitchen floor. Mama knelt reverently, folded her hands and bowed her head. Aloud she prayed a little prayer that she had made up once while shining the shoes—a special prayer for a special night.
"God bless the step each foot will take
Of each dear child a staunch soul make
Help them to grow to do thy will
And with Thy love my children fill.

Maria Franzon inspires me to live to the fullest for my family—to create a beautiful, bountiful, peaceful home for them and to hope and dream for them. May my trust in God be as strong as hers and may I pray as faithfully over my family as she did over hers.


  1. I have lost count of how many times that I have re-read this book - I've always loved the exerpt you pulled out. :)

  2. I would love to read this book. Sounds very interesting. I will check my local library for one. Do you guys have it at Exodus Books?

  3. Yes, we do carry it at Exodus. In fact, we are giving away one copy right now! Visit the Exodus Books facebook page to find out how you can enter.