November 27, 2019
I grew up in an old order Amish home.
I loved having animals, the slower simplistic lifestyle, and the Amish community when it came to everyone working together and helping each other in time of need. It was ‘normal’ to live that life.
At the age of thirteen, I accepted Christ as my personal Savior. I had seen and heard my Mom talk and pray with God about everything. As I saw the real relationship she had with God, I started reading the Bible; I wanted that too; I needed Him too. I memorized Psalm 23 in school, and it always stood out to me That God is our Shepherd, a relational Father who leads us and cares about us just like a Shepherd gently cares for His sheep. Psalm 25:4-5 became my prayer.
After several years of of being saved, God asked me to leave the Amish church. I was rather surprised, and I wrestled with it. I had always been confused with the connection the Amish made with salvation and obeying church rules. It wasn’t in Scripture at all, yet in the church, it got treated as sin when someone went to another church, and didn’t follow their church rules anymore.
At first, I thought I would just stay Amish and share the love of Jesus in the Amish community. I had a good relationship with my parents, family, and friends and didn’t want to disappoint them, but I didn’t have peace in my heart and felt disconnected with God when I didn’t want to obey Him. As I stepped into what God asked me to do, step by step, doors opened widely, and the peace that followed doing His will passed all understanding.
I talked with my parents and the Bishop about what I was planning to do prior to leaving, and when doors opened I moved out of the Amish home and changed culture. They were kind of shocked when I told them, but respected my decision well. I respect there choices as well, and we continue to have a good relationship, calls, contacts and visits for which I’m very grateful.
Some of the biggest things I’ve faced after leaving is being excommunicated from my home church. Most people still accept and love me just like nothing happened; I just can’t have communion with them. However, several people choose not to eat at the same table if we eat family style. It hurts that they don’t want to eat with me and that they’re taught to follow men rather than read the Bible for themselves. But as I choose to forgive them for the pain it causes - to make boundaries, and to love them anyways. I realize they’re hurting themselves more than anyone.
Another challenge I have faced is the pressure to consume - to buy more, to have more material things. When to have more things than I need, feels like clutter to my brain and more stress and work then needed.
It was also difficult to find people who heard and accepted me for who I am verses assuming things being that I come from the Amish culture. Adapting to a different culture was difficult until I found people to surround myself with who accept me and care for me for who I am.
The Freedom to freely live how I feel is right and to serve God without man-made limits. And being able to serve God wherever He leads with full support from church family is the most freeing and beautiful thing to me.
I’m more excited then ever to care about people and tell them about the wonderful, caring Father we have.
I’m in the process of writing a book and have two businesses going, both of which I’m excited to grow as well.
This letter has been published with permission from the owner.
Note to the reader:
We would like to encourage you to leave a message for Erma below. When you do, it will notify Erma and be an encouragement to her. God bless you!comments powered by Disqus« Back to News