This one surprised me. I expected a rather dull, sad story about a family pulled away from their faith by the heartbreak of losing their two daughters in a buggy crash. Instead, I found a smart, moving story about a family prompted by this heartbreak to consider their beliefs and practices in light of the Bible. In doing so, the authors discovered that many of the tenants of their Amish practice were cultural, rather than Biblical. This is not always a bad thing, of course, but I appreciated how they worked through these beliefs and tenants, discerning what came from God’s Word and which rules were made by man. This makes the book surprisingly relatable – most of us wrestle with these questions at one time or another in life. It’s good to ask: Where did the “rules” I’m following come from? Do they draw me closer or farther away from God? I’m glad to have read the wise and thoughtful way the authors went through this challenging process, and for the sweet faith that came out of it for them. One passage I underlined:
“[We] came from a life that was supposedly simple–it looks simple and is promoted as being simple–but in truth it is hectic and busy. We spent a lot of time trying to please God, to earn our salvation by getting every little detail right–from dress to church to work. When we were living the Amish lifestyle, our hope was in what we did and what we got.
But now…we know that we don’t have to dress a certain way or reject technology to please Him. Yet even in our Christian walk at times “shoulds” and “expectations” creep in. We should do this or We’re expected to do that. [We] continually have to check our motives and our goals. Are we making a choice because that’s what God is asking of us? Is this from the Lord? Or are we reverting back to what we know to do because of our background?
We came from an Amish background with a lot of securities that were not from the Lord. They were good things, good morals and beliefs, but anything that focuses our lives on [what we do] rather than on God is an idol–even a good religious system.”
You know how some books make you feel good just having read them? This is one of those.