Leaving the Amish Culture

 

“Have I not given up enough already?” I cried.

I collapsed onto my bed, weak and feeling suffocated by the sheer weight of what I knew the Lord was calling me to.

Hot tears streamed down my face, each one carrying fear, anxiety, disappointments and anger at the uncertainty of it all.

He was calling me to the unthinkable. I was to follow my husband to a vast, unknown world beyond the Amish community and culture I had known my entire life.

My heart was broken, my dreams shattered, hopes crippled and, I was sure, my prayers unheard.

How could I give up everything I knew, loved and understood? Did God not know that what He was asking was beyond my capabilities? Did He not understand that this meant purposely putting myself and my little family in a spotlight of scorn? Our friends and relatives would not understand. They would turn away. How could I bear watching lifelong relationships dissolve?

Did I even have the courage or the faith it took to leave my Amish heritage?

Leaving the Amish Culture

 

As I lay there immobile, my soul crying out inaudible things, I felt a quiet calm settle over me. So soothing was this peace, I hardly dared hope it was there.

But, I knew the Lord’s presence. I had met Him before. And I longed for the security I would find in Him.

Why do I have to give up so many hopes and dreams?” I asked again. “How can I leave everything I know, love and understand?”

Isn’t it enough to just serve You here in this Amish culture? I know where I belong here. I know what is expected of me. I know how to function here. Don’t take that away.”

As I cried out before the Lord, not once, not twice, but for weeks, months on end, I felt His quiet assurance envelop my heart as I came to accept that His will was not mine, but far greater than I could imagine.

Searching His word, seeking His will in fasting and prayer, I grew to understand that I would never be strong enough to go the way alone.

But, He was.

I grew to understand that He would never call me to something that was less than what I had now.

All He wanted was my “yes, Lord.”

His grace would supply the rest.

As the transition from the Amish culture began, we were met with the expected scorn and shunning. Our marriage was attacked, and I learned to lean more heavily upon His grace. I found security in God’s love like I had never known before.

With each new thing this transition brought about, I learned that God was bigger than whatever I stood before.

With each security I let go of, I learned His grace was a firmer foundation than what I thought I had once stood upon.

With every broken relationship, I learned to place further trust in the knowledge that the Lord would never forsake His faithful ones.

The transitions continued; new friends, new churches, new jobs, new communities, new homes… new everything, everywhere we went.

It was a brand new life.

I am still finding my way in it.

It isn’t just new in outward appearances, but there’s also a brand new kind of faith. A faith that takes chances. A faith that has some backbone. A faith that says, “I can’t, but God will.”

As I ponder these transitions, I realize this letting go has healed me in a way.

The overwhelming insecurity of this world, has been replaced by hope and assurance in Christ.

The emptying of all I knew has brought about a filling of peace that I have never known before and still cannot understand.

The breaking of my heart needed to happen so it could be shaped and molded into something far more beautiful than I could have ever made it myself.

The crippling of my dreams had to be done, so they wouldn’t be a crutch that kept me from seeking Him with all abandon.

The taking of it all, had to happen so that I could understand that His grace is enough.

It’s enough in the pain. It’s enough in trial. It’s enough when life is too much.

It’s just….enough.

And it’s for me.

Therefore, He has my “yes, Lord.”

 

Here is that contest link, where you will be able to vote.  http://myfaithradio.com/2015/transitions-in-grace-leaving-the-amish-culture/

Thank you, dear one.

**UPDATE: Contest has expired. Thank you for voting for me!**

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32 comments

  1. Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith says:

    I hear you, friend. I hear you. But I also know that knowing the God’s will and doing it will bless you abundantly. Sometimes it’s harder to wait for God to reveal the next steps to take. But we can’t but God can. There’s hope in that. Rejoicing in it. May God continue to bless you and yours.

  2. Heather @ My Overflowing Cup says:

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this line, Kaylene, “The crippling of my dreams had to be done, so they wouldn’t be a crutch that kept me from seeking Him with all abandon.”

    I’m learning this in my life right now, too. Of course our stories are very different but the lessons are often the same as we do serve the same God.

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. What an inspiration you are!

    May He continue to fill your cup to overflowing, my friend.

    • Kaylene Yoder says:

      Thank you, Heather. I’m pretty sure I cried the hardest writing that sentence. Glad you found this encouraging! Yes, our stories all hold a similar note when we realize it isn’t just our story, but God writing His on our lives. Love you, my friend.

    • Kaylene Yoder says:

      Thank you for voting, Heather! That would be wonderful! The prize is a visit with a publisher. 🙂 I have small hopes of winning the contest. I have already won- getting over my insecurity in sharing more about my story is victory enough.

  3. Rebekah says:

    Kaylene, I loved this glimpse into your struggle to surrender . . . so beautiful. He is faithful . . . your testimony speaks so wonderfully of His faithfulness.
    These words came to my mind after reading it–that “underneath are the everlasting arms.” He is there to support us when we let go of our fears and do whatever it is that He is bidding us do. This was such a blessing to read; heading over to vote for you now. 🙂

    • Kaylene Yoder says:

      Oh, how I needed to be reminded of the words “underneath are the everlasting arms”. My hope is in you, Lord. His grace sustaining to the end. Thank you, Rebekah.

      And thank you for voting! <3

  4. Kim Adams Morgan says:

    How true that He has to cripple our dreams so that we don’t run back to them. I have experienced the full weight of this, so I know the pain here. Once I understood God’s will, I saw the beauty in His plan. Oh, that we could see what He sees for our lives. Just voted for you. This is so beautiful, Kaylene.

  5. Shonya says:

    Yes, I think each of our walks with the Lord are a lot about teaching us that growth doesn’t come without growing pains, and we are not here in order to have a “comfortable” life. 🙂 Thank you for sharing!

  6. Terry @ A Mom's Many Lessons says:

    This is so good to hear! The stripping away of everything we know and trust in is the way of God, isn’t it? He knows that our trust in those things, those comforts, will only draw us away from Him. Thanks for sharing your story. Terry

  7. Karen Del Tatto says:

    What a beautifully written, heartfelt post.

    Thank you for sharing your journey in to Grace testifying to God’s love, mercy and strength along the way.

    I was especially encouraged when you stated, “I grew to understand that He would never call me to something that was less than what I had now.”

    His love indeed for us is everlasting.

  8. Vi says:

    You are amazing Kaylene. Love, love how you can ‘bare and share’ your heart! It’s been a beautiful journey, hasn’t it? There are moments when I would love to join in at quilting day, or go help ‘rishta fa de gma’ … but for the most part, my life now is SO much more fulfilling than it ever was back then. Besides, I would never have met you guys! 😉

    Blessings!

    • Kaylene Yoder says:

      Yes, it is a much more fulfilled life. A more rightly ordered one. I too, miss all the get togethers & the community feel we had, but I don’t think I miss the “rishta fa de gma” part, unless I was the one getting the benefit of the “risht”ing! So blessed to have met you, too. God is so good!

  9. Kacie says:

    Hi Kaylene,
    Just found your blog through the Titus2sdays link up. Thanks for sharing your story, I’m looking forward to reading more! Ive been fascinated by Amish culture although I know little about it. Off to vote!

    • Kaylene Yoder says:

      Thank you for voting, Kacie! I havent written very much about the Amish in particular. In the future though, I hope to share glimpses of our story in some of my posts, but always with the intent to portray the gospel through what we learned or experienced. Thank you for reading, voting and following. I appreciate you!

  10. Heather M says:

    We were conservative Mennonite part of my growing up years so I understand the rending and tearing of your life but yet without losing family, which is a whole other level of pain. The difficulty of forsaking all to follow Jesus when others believe with all their hearts that you are using it as an excuse and turning your back on Him. Praying God’s blessings on you as you follow Him in faith.

  11. Linda says:

    Good morning Kaylene. You are such a brave woman. You also have a tremendous faith. Thank you for sharing your story.

    I have submitted to God’s will that is leading me to lear to submit to my husband as well as God. I found such encouragement in your words about not expecting a husband to notice what we are doing. I’m going to keep following your blog.

    Have a blessed day.

    • Kaylene Yoder says:

      Hello Linda! All things are possible when we live for the Lord. Not all things are easy, but they are possible. We get through the tough spots and are stronger, braver and more grounded in our faith when we trust Him. Thank you for reading and being a part of this little space! God Bless!

  12. Cheryl Murphy says:

    Kaylene, thank you for your obedience to the Lord and sharing your inspiration with the world! It’s a message that needs to be heard in a world so needy of Jesus! Now you know God’s reason for leaving the Amish community. I just finished reading “Born Amish” by Barbara Yoder Hall. Are you related to her? What a dear book it was! I’m sorry to hear she passed, but I was curious, and her book didn’t disclose, why her father left the Amish community for the Mennonite community. If you know Barbara’s family, can you please tell me? Thank you so very much. (I live in Arkansas where there is a large Mennonite community and I have made friends there. They are a wonderful humble people.)

    • Kaylene Yoder says:

      Cheryl, thank you for this encouragement. No, I do not know Barbara Yoder Hall or her family. Her book sounds interesting, though! I’m sure you found many nuggets of hope to hold on to as you read it. God bless!

  13. Rachelle Pierce says:

    Yes, I probably have a better relationship with the Lord because He forgave me when I was far from forgiving myself, He came to get me when I was suffering, He lived me even though I didn’t deserve it. Growth through absence and struggles to an unimaginable peace and joy.

    Thank you for sharing!!!

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