January 30, 2017
My name is Katie, and I grew up in a typical Old Order Amish community. I appreciated certain aspects about the culture I experienced growing up; some of these aspects included the culture’s honesty and good food.
I did notice some flaws within my culture and home as I grew older, though. I felt many of my relationships with friends, family, and the community were closed and strained. In addition, I could never get any answers as to why we did the things that we did. When I would ask, I would always receive the same answer: "it was good enough for my parents; it is good enough for me; and it should be good enough for you." There was never a real or direct answer; therefore, I was never able to find closure.
As I grew older, I began babysitting during the week to bring in a weekly income, and I lived with the family whose children I cared for; I only went home to be with my Amish family on weekends. I eventually took the few things that I wanted to have with me, and I left, never to come home again. I don’t think that I was missed at home, but I do think that I hurt the pride of my parents in that they lost one of their own to the “world.”
Unlike many that leave, I did not have to ever sneak away; I just stopped going home on weekends. I stayed at the home that I provided child care for until much later when the door was opened for me to get a job as a waitress. Upon my job switch, I moved into a boarding house, where I began renting a room of my own.
When I first left the Amish, I was only sixteen years old, and it was difficult for me to support myself. I did not have anyone to help me during the first years that I left. I struggled a lot, but I always figured out a way to make it on my own. As I switched jobs and started receiving a better income, I had a much easier time supporting myself.
At age eighteen, I found a Mennonite church that I liked and became a "member"; unfortunately, though, I never truly knew the whole meaning of the baptism or membership of the church. Not until years later did I accept Christ as my Savior and truly understand what it meant to be a "saved" person and a child of God.
Thankfully, since I never became a member of the Amish church, it was easier for my family to accept my decision to leave the Amish. I still have contact with my family and always will.
I am retired at this point and recently moved, so I could live with one of my sons and family. I have found a church that I enjoy going to since moving.
My long term goals include helping my grandchildren to get to know Jesus on a personal basis, and to show them how to love and honor Him with all their hearts.
This letter has been published with permission from the owner.
Note: the writer's name has been changed to protect her identity.
Note to the reader:
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