Thursday, June 6, 2013

You're doing WHAT, now?!

Well, I didn't make it to Idaho after all. I'm in Indiana.
When we passed through here, we somehow got placed on a huge back road for several miles. The kids said how beautiful the area we were passing through was, and if things didn't work out, could we come back here, please? I replied, if for some reason we didn't make it to Idaho or things didn't work out, we'd come here and be Amish. We saw some Amish families at a supermarket we went to before hitting the road, and I didn't realize it at the time, but Indiana is the third-largest area for Amish in America.
Of course , I was in part half-joking.  Nobody just "goes Amish", especially no one of my complexion. But as we drove to through Illinois, made our way to Iowa and then turned around, the thought wouldn't leave my mind.
I love the Amish way of life. As some of you close to me know, I've always said half-heatedly that if given the chance, I would go and join them.
Part of this is due to their strong sense of community. How they manage to get things done, work hard and stay strong as a family. I've been accepted by many, but never felt like I truly belonged anywhere. I've always felt like a stranger on the outside looking in. I don't know if this is a trait of Christianity, a thing everyone feels but never does anything about, or what, but honestly, I've felt this way long before I could give it a name, much less before I knew about and had a personal relationship with God.
Secondly, I just don't like the way things are going in this way of life.Since having the children, I've become more and more concerned about the world they are going to grow up in. I know this is a common concern for parents everywhere. And I know, we all try our best to do what we can. But it seems even my best efforts aren't enough. Everyone back home parents much differently than I do. Not that what they are doing is wrong. It's just I've noticed that the goals for their family are radically different than the goals we have for ours. Aside from online, I could only find one other family that had similar goals for their family. I want to instill in them things that were non-existent in my own upbringing. I feel as though staying in the way of life we were in won't accomplish that goal. I just feel as though if they see little differences in parenting and family goals around them, they won't be as confused about how to act and feel quite as odd about trying to maintain their goals.
  I'm not saying the Amish are perfect, because I know they aren't. I know they have sins and calamities same as we do, and probably more so because of the life they lead. And maybe I haven't read as much as I should have about them, but I feel as though they have something I don't. As I have worked a little alongside them these past few days, I have seen their faith in even more in everything they do. No, they are not perfect. But speaking with them and working alongside them has only encouraged the children and I more to at least try this way of life. Their life is much more work than what we're used to, but the kids and I feel as though we could rise up and meet this challenge. It's only been a few days, and we're exhausted each night we climb into bed, but each day the kids are eager to go back and start the next day.
Right now, we have a LOT of hills to climb. This is going to take quite some time. Becoming Amish isn't something one does overnight. I knew this before I made this decision. I know there are many things I have to sacrifice and change about myself, my children, our former way of life. As wonderful as I like to think our family is, I know we are nowhere near close to their standard of life. They hold a very high standard, and we fall really short of that goal. We are still also trying to find a place and a job where we're at. Right now, the Amish minister and his family, as well as the community here are being beyond generous to us by providing us a temporary place to stay and making sure our basic needs are met, but I don't want to abuse their generosity. Even though I want very badly to become Amish, we also have basic needs that need to be met first.
I have become very humbled over the past two weeks. Starting new in a place where I didn't know a soul until Friday was scary, but this community has proved above and beyond that they mean us no harm. I really don't know what the future holds for us- am I taking on more than I should(again), am I seeing things with rose colored shades(again), can my family really do this? Is this where God is leading us? Am I doing the right thing? So many unanswered questions.
But, we're going to try. I honestly don't know if we can do this. After some serious talks with the Amish minister here, I know if we're going to do this, we are going to need God more than ever before.We are going to need a heaping bowl of humbleness.
As long as they allow us, we're going to try. I'll try to update as I can, but it probably won't be as much as I or anyone else would like. We have no cell reception over here, so I have to rely on free Wifi access when I can find it. Also, with all the obstacles I have to climb, I won't have as much time to update until everything is somewhat in place.
Please keep our family in your prayers as we try to figure out where God is leading us to be.
-Mama Jenn