I was handed this book by its authors during my recent trip to Canada. They came from Montana to join me in Calgary and I had time to hear part of their story of moving out of the Amish culture and finding greater freedom in Christ. I was amazed at the progress they had made in four short years of finding their way out of that system of religious obligation and discovering how much God loved them.
As our conversation ended they handed me a copy of their book: Plain Faith: A Story of Tragedy, Loss, and Leaving the Amish by Irene and Ora Jay Eash with Tricia Goyer, is a fascinating read about truth awakening in the human heart and that putting them in conflict with the religious tradition they grew up in. To be honest, I rarely make through all the books people give me when I travel. I do look them over and try to discern if the Spirit is nudging me to spend more time them. As I looked over this one I was drawn into a compelling story of a family first going through the darkest of tragedies, and then risking everything they knew to follow the Spirt as he awakened them to a different reality than one they had been raised in. I had no idea what they had really been through until I read it and I came away all the more amazed at how God draws people to himself despite the tremendous odds against it.
This is an amazing story of a multitude of decisions made over years to follow Truth unfolding in their hearts or to keep falling in line with traditions to maintain their relationships with family and with friends they’d known their entire lives. If you want a good picture of what it takes to leave a system of religious obligation and to be judged and excluded for doing so and the story of triumph as they learned to live freely in a larger world with Jesus, this book is for you. It also exposes how much damage well-intentioned people can cause when they are more true to their traditions than they are to the truth of Christ. Legalism always turns love into a weapon that forces conformity or withdraws itself. It is a cruel taskmaster on both sides and shows how destructive even good intentions can be when they are based on ignorance of what is true.
And it’s not just the Amish. Every Christian tradition falls into the same trap. You’ll find your own story here of chasing between a hope growing in your heart and the safer road of pleasing everyone’s expectations. This is a story of hope, stronger than the loss of children, family, and a way of life handed down through generations.