Saturday, April 23, 2011

Amish Peace

I finished reading Amish Peace by Suzanne Woods Fisher. What a great book! I recommend it highly to any Christian (or non with an open mind towards Christianity in general) who's experiencing a lack of peace in their lives. This certainly isn't a substitute for God's Word and His peace that passes understanding, but this book is a great tool to get us thinking about things in our complicated modern world. A few things I gleaned from the book are:

1. Family is so incredibly important. Right up there in the #2 slot, right after God is family. Of course, I already knew this, but this book put it into my mind just HOW important family is. When I got married and became a mother, by default I put myself on the back burner on a very low simmer. It ain't about me anymore and you know? Realizing this leaves no room for resentment and bitterness. That's pretty stinkin' freeing right there! Selfishness is a peace-eater.

2. Modernization first took the father out of the home, and now takes the mother out of the home as well. BOTH parents' focus should be the home and family. I know, I know, we don't live in a rural, agricultural existence anymore where mom and dad and kids toil away together, but that doesn't mean we can't shift our focus back onto our homes and families. I know so many fathers and mothers who both work and are both involved in their own adult lives leaving their children to a few precious hours here and there during the week for family time. Thanks, but I'll gladly say no to your jello shots parties, Pampered Chef evenings, and football weekends in favor of spending a day with my husband and children.

3. Hospitality doesn't have to be annoying, scary or fancy. Simply welcoming a guest and giving of yourself is fine. So stop stressing about (and apologizing for) your home.

4. Saturday preparation and Sunday observation. I loved how in the book, the Amish are described as spending Saturdays in preparation for Sundays. That way Sundays can truly be peaceful, relaxing and worshipful.

5. The chapters on forgiveness were really profound...and convicting. Having the attitude and FAITH for trusting and forgiving ALL THE TIME is hard. We want justice. We want revenge. We want an apology. We want fairness. Yet the Amish are expected to give forgiveness freely and without strings. Why? Because Christ forgives us. When Christ stops forgiving, then we can, too. Now, that doesn't mean that sinful actions go undisciplined! It just means we forgive. When your little child is naughty, you discipline them, but you forgive them. If, after you've told them not you, your child keeps running into the road, you discipline them, you don't trust them alone near the road and thus don't allow them near it without you, but you forgive them.

6. Don't worry, let go and let God. We stress out because it's still snowing when we want sunshine and warmth. We stress out because the car broke down and we can't go get that craved cup of joe at Starbucks. We stress out because we've caught a cold. We stress out because cable is out and we want to watch our sitcom. We stress out because the internet is running too slow. We stress out about so many things that can't really be helped. Why? Why torture ourselves? Imagine being stuck in a traffic jam, cussing and swearing until our blood pressure is sky high, shaking our fists at God for not doing something about it because He knows you HAVE to be at point B at this time only to find out later that if you weren't stuck in a traffic jam at just that moment, you'd have been one of the victims in the bridge collapse or tractor trailer pile-up, or office shooting, or deer-car accident, or robbery, or whatever.

The Amish aren't perfect, and they're the first to tell you that. You most likely don't agree with all their beliefs, or even some of them. But, they do have wisdom we can glean from. So much of that wisdom is packed into this book.

1 comment:

gail said...

Hello Kate,

Even the name Amish Peace sounds inviting. The Amish seem to be such lovely folk. We do not have many Amish here in Australia which is a pity because I believe they have so much to teach us about authentic living. Thank you for recommending this book.

Blessings Gail