Emma Wagner-Giesy in Emma of Aurora: The Complete Change and Cherish Trilogy: A Clearing in the Wild, A Tendering in the Storm, A Mending at the Edge (Waterbrook) is a stubborn, well-meaning soul. Jane Kirkpatrick once again writes a memorable character, bringing Emma alive from the history books. What I resonated most with Emma was her independence.
I am on page 615 of this 1145 page trilogy. Because I loved Jane Kirkpatrick’s novels, I requested this book without looking at the back cover. Kirkpatrick uses real historical figures in novel form to teach her readers about one period of history. Usually, its small, unknown historical figures, like Emma. Emma grew up in Bethel, Missouri in a German Bethel colony. As I was reading about her growing up and imagining the difficulty of being a woman in a time of men, I also saw how similar colony living was to socialism. No one owned anything and everything went toward the colony all in the name of God. Women, much like the Amish of our time, were forbidden any vain thing.
I laughed on page 15 when Emma sewed a ruffle underneath her dress. Her own mother secretly wore pearls beneath her collar. This touch of spirit shared between mother and daughter drew me to learn more about Emma. She married a man quite a bit older than her who was blessed by wanderlust, but she managed to keep her marriage intact in spite of her husband’s inclinations to be away for weeks on end. Emma took difficult situations and worked through them. She didn’t agree with colony living and didn’t conform to its rigorous and often unfair expectations. Emma paid the price and a dear one at that as most of her life she lived between colony life and with outsiders, trying to find balance, and love.
This moves me closer to page 615 where Emma suffers from grief after the sudden death of her husband. She hardly talks to God anymore. Emma is living on her own strength and its not working out too well. I can understand this part of Emma. She doesn’t want to be beholden to others as she has learned any gifts from the colony expects repayment. But when she should accept help, she doesn’t often do so, and reacts to situations rather than thinking through them. Because of that, I am at the place where Emma is accepting a marriage proposal from a man she doesn’t love just to get her in-laws off her back and to keep her children safe from them. Like all of Jane Kirkpatrick’s stories, lessons can be learned from these historical characters:
- Don’t try life on your own strength.
- Always marry because you love the person and choose to spend your life with him or her through thick and thin.
- Your first instinct is always right.
- We were never meant to live in a bubble, isolated from the rest of the world. We were meant to spread the Gospel, and that means, mixing with the world, but not being of the world.
- Nothing is impossible with God.
- Plans never turn out the way you think they will, but in each difficulty, sew a ruffle beneath your dress; or in other words, find the silver lining, be spirited, but not mean; and be strong in Christ.
- God cries with us.
- Death happens whether we want it to or not, for we all will die someday. It’s how we live and where we go afterwards that matters.
My review for this will post in about a month. So stay tuned. I just couldn’t help but comment on Emma–another endearing character from Jane Kirkpatrick.
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