February 12, 2016
My name is Nora Garrett, and I have kind of a unique story because I was only Amish for the first four years of my life. Even though I was really little when we left, I still remember loving visiting my grandparents every Saturday night and taking rides in my grandma’s buggy. My best friend at school was Amish, and we also had many fun conversations in Dutch at school and church.
My dad received an English Bible and became born again when he was a teenager. It wasn't until after he was married and had children that he began feeling dissatisfied with the Amish church, though. His main concern was that his children couldn't understand the preaching, and he wanted them to have Sunday school. He also was caught and got in trouble for going to a Bible study. He tried to persuade the Amish leaders that his actions were okay by showing them scripture, but they would not receive it. At this time in my life, my parents began to visit back and forth with bishops and church leadership often. I don’t remember many details about the visits, but I do remember a lot of nose-blowing. Eventually, my parents stopped trying to negotiate and decided to make the difficult decision to leave the Amish.
There were other families in the area who left along with my folks, so together, they started a church. There was a lot of love and support in our newly developed church.
Through the years, I was always different from the other school kids. I remember being made fun of at school for wearing homemade clothes that looked Amish; my mom had a hard time letting go of tradition, so I always dressed and looked a little bit different. I think this is one of the reasons I enjoyed church so much; the kids looked and acted more like me, so I felt I fitted in better.
When my family and I left the Amish, fortunately, my dad’s family was still accepting toward us. My dad and grandpa would have many loud discussions, but we were always welcomed and a part of one another’s lives. Even though my mom was initially shunned by her family, and they were very critical of her, now, many of them are New Order and born again. In the same way, many of my dad’s family members are now either not Amish or are Beachy (more liberal than Old Order).
I gave my heart to Jesus when I was a little girl but struggled with the idea of assurance of salvation; I didn't fully understand grace. I thought I committed an unpardonable sin at one point in my life, and as a result, when I was eighteen years old, I began having breakdowns and panic attacks, which continued until I was thirty-eight years old. It was then that God broke through my pain and fear, and in 1992, He changed my life. I now have no more fear, depression, or doubt. I know I belong to Jesus, and I have peace of heart and mind.
My future looks great because it's in God's Hands. My two daughters and their families are saved, and we all go to church together. I lead our church's worship team and my two sons-in-laws and two granddaughters are on the team with me as well. I have so much to praise God for! I'm thankful for the opportunity to share my testimony with you all at Mission to Amish People.
This testimony has been published with permission from the owner.
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