Letter From Adult Child Who Has Left the Plain Culture in Order to Follow Jesus
Dear Parents Letter
July 5, 2012
To those who have left the Plain Culture
in order to follow Jesus Christ, please note!
The author grants you permission to make a copy of this article and send it to your own parents. If you do, he prefers that you revise it accordingly to make it fit your own needs.
It’s me. Your child. I want to tell you what’s been on my heart for a while. You see, in spite of the fact that I’ve chosen a different life than you ever would have wanted me to, it doesn’t mean I dislike you. Just because I’ve chosen not to embrace your religion doesn’t mean I don’t embrace you. In spite of our differences, I want to tell you that I love you.
When my work is done for the day, I sit on my porch and ponder and pray. I know this may seem strange to you, since it must seem to you that I have chosen a path that leads away from God, but listen to what I have to say. You see, I pray for you two, because I love you, and because I know God loves you. I have faith that our relationship can be restored.
As I have pondered our relationship, I always wished to share my heart, but there is a bit of a barrier between us. No doubt it’s been hard on you, this decision of mine to walk away from all you believe in. I can only imagine how you feel. I do know, though, that barriers can be torn down and tonight I’ve been given an answer to prayer by being able to write this letter to you.
My dear parents, when I left your church, I did so without giving you more information than I absolutely had to. No doubt it seemed as though I was a disgrace to you and the church. To make it worse, I felt as if I could tell you two nothing that would make you feel better. In fact, whenever I did tell you something, you seemed unable to even hear me. I’m so sorry – sorry that I didn’t share more with you, spending time to make sure you understood exactly where I was coming from. Because, you see, I don’t dislike you or anyone in the church. Please separate that from the fact that I cannot subscribe to the religion of your church. You must keep a handle on the fact that I love you, and dislike your religion. You are not your religion, you are so much more.
My dear parents, I tell you this in love. Please do not take this the wrong way. I must tell you the truth, that I will not be coming back to your denomination. Not because you are not good people, but because you make being good people your priority. Does that make sense? I do not want to be part of a group that is mainly striving to be good. The Bible clearly tells us that it’s not the person that is good that goes to heaven, it’s the person that has faith in the finished work of Christ. That means that I will be good and do good because I was saved, not because I think my own goodness will have any impact on my eternal home.
My dear parents, I can tell you this now, but later, when we are sitting together for a meal, you won’t know it was me that wrote this letter. If you want to know if I have a relationship with Christ, you must ask me. Please let this be a sign to me, that you care and want to know where I stand with the Lord, by asking me to tell you more. Until I know that you want to hear about my relationship with the Lord, I will have a hard time sharing. You two are still my parents, and the fact that you very forcefully tell me how wrong I am makes it harder for me to share my true love, my relationship with my Lord.
It is very puzzling to me, that you and your people ask me often if I belong to a church, but don’t ask me if I have a relationship with God. I cannot help but wonder how you feel about God yourself. Above all, I fear that you think more highly of your church than you do of God. Why else would you seem to care more about a church than a relationship with God? I cling to a faint hope that we are merely misunderstanding each other, and that we are merely dancing around each other, never getting to the core of matters. When you do care to hear me out, I will gladly share, and perhaps we can gain some common ground.
I do know that we have a common goal. We all want to go to heaven, to eternally worship and be with God, who is our perfect creator. I also know that I don’t have a leg to stand on myself, having absolutely no righteousness. Only God is Righteous, and I claim Him as my own righteousness – and serve Him out of love and faith in what He has done for me. Oh my dear parents, do not think I am casting away my love of God by leaving your traditions. Rather, I am leaving your traditions because they were a stumblingblock to me, just as they were to the Jews in Jesus’ time. My prayer is that you will not trip on the same stumblingblock, though I fear it may be so.
Above all, please know that I am praying for you, and will wait patiently until you openly ask me questions regarding my faith. Until then, I am praying that you will understand that I am not holding myself above you in earthly standards, rather I am openly confessing that I am nothing. I reserve nothing for myself, only desiring to serve God whom is my Savior. Until then, I will think back over my childhood, and remember all you have done for me. I am so thankful that you are my parents, because I love you, and know that you gave so much to me. Until then, remember that I am always thankful for you, even though I do not subscribe to your religion. Until then, my dear parents, remember that God loves you. And until then, I love you too.
- Yours truly, your child.
Dee Yoder has written an Amish novel The Miting, based on the lives of many of her ex-Amish friends. Her second coming-of-age novel The Powerful Odor of Mendacity is in the editing and revision stage. Her newest WIP is the second novel in the Amish series, The Way Out. Her work is represented by Terry Burns, of Hartline Literary Agency. — An update: Kregel Publishing has offered Dee a 3 book publishing deal for her Amish novel and two more proposed novels! We are very proud of you, Dee!
Dee has written over 80 short stories for the Faithwriters’ Weekly Writing Challenge. Several of her entries have received Editor’s Choice awards and will be published in upcoming Faithwriters’ quarterly anthologies. She volunteers as the writer of the ex-Amish newsletter, Dee’s News. Dee has been published in The Evangel, Good Tidings, and The Quill magazines. Her short story “Gonna Be a Mighty Fine Christmas” won second place in The Quill’s holiday short story contest.
Dee is married to Arlen. They have a college-aged son, Joseph and have unofficially adopted a lovely former Amish young lady, Rachel, as their daughter. Rachel is married to Eli, who is a wonderful son-in-law and addition to the family. Dee and her family are actively involved with the Mission to Amish People ministry, and they love to interact with, and support, the former-Amish who live near them in central Ohio. Dee earned a B.S. in Biological Sciences from Lee University.
Her online links are:
My Heart’s Dee-light blog: http://www.deeyoder.com/
Profile @ Faithwriters: http://www.faithwriters.com/member-profile.php?id=26676
Mission to Amish People (MAP) http://www.mapministry.org/resources/favorite-links