Today I’m introducing you to a book that is rather different than most I’ve featured here.
Editor: Lorilee Craker
This is not a fiction book, and it is not a story.
Rather, it is a collection of articles. Articles written by different authors. All of these authors are writing from the perspective of either an Amish or Mennonite lifestyle.
To name a few, these include Rae Schrock (chief editor of Daughters of Promise magazine), Gertrude Slabach (nurse, speaker, writer, and blogger), Lovina Eicher (Old Order Amish writer of a syndicated newspaper column), Lucinda Miller (writer, teacher, blogger), Dorcas Smucker (newspaper columnist, author, speaker). And many more.
These ladies are talented writers, and what you will read in this book will give you a small glimpse of their lives. It is much like sitting down and chatting with them over a cup of coffee. You might not learn to know all the ways the Amish and Mennonites are different from you, rather, you might be astounded to see that in many ways they are very similar to many other women.
Each woman shares about her own life, maybe it’s struggles she’s faced, or wisdom she’s gleaned from life. The stories share about how God is at work in each of our lives.
This book is special to me because (in case you don’t know or haven’t caught on…) I am a Mennonite myself. My grandparents were born into Amish families, and then left the Amish church to join what was then called the Amish Mennonite (now often referred to as Mennonite, but there are all kinds of Mennonites…). Today, my husband and I have chosen to attend and be a part of a church very much like the ones of our growing up years. And because we wear dresses/plain clothing, people look at us at times and think we are Amish.
In some ways, we still have the Amish beliefs. Mainly that we don’t wish to become so much like the culture around us that we are completely unrecognizeable as God’s people. The main difference between our church and the Amish church is the fact that we believe in Jesus as our only hope of salvation, and the only way to heaven. Everything else we stand for is in obedience to Him and His Word. (Whereas the Amish church still today believes that they can make it to heaven simply because they are Amish.)
Here is the synopsis of the book itself:
Straight from the pens of Amish and Mennonite women . . .
Ever wish you could visit with a group of Amish or Mennonite women over a cup of coffee? In the pages of Homespun, Amish and Plain Mennonite women swap stories and spin yarns while we listen in. Lorilee Craker, bestselling author of Money Secrets of the Amish, collects these personal writings about hospitality, home, grief, joy, and walks with God. Hear from one woman who struggles with feeling inferior to her sister, from another about her longing for a baby, and from a third who accidentally bought stretchy material to sew her husband’s pants. Each woman’s story is a testament to the grace of God and the blessings of community.
Behind Amish romance novels and tourist spots and television shows stand real people, with longings and loves just like the rest of us. Every Amish and Mennonite woman has a story. In Homespun, you get to hear some of them.
Homespun reads like a leisurely visit with an old friend. It starts off with light, chatty topics before settling into the-deep-part-of-the-heart experiences, such as a young mom recovering from the stillborn birth of her little boy. At times charming and humorous, at other times profound and heavy, this collection of true stories will linger in your mind long after you close the book. M
Suzanne Woods Fisher, bestselling author of Amish Peace
Real voices of Anabaptist women from traditions as diverse as Old Order Amish to car-driving Mennonites open up about faith, family, hopes and dreams, and experiencing life s trials and joys with God by their sides. As a man who is not Amish or Mennonite, I was not sure how this book would resonate with me. I have to say that it did. The women s testimonies here are frank, vulnerable, funny, powerful, and often profoundly moving.
Erik Wesner, founder of the website Amish America
The short pieces in Homespun, as diverse as the women who wrote them, focus on issues central to the lives of Amish and conservative Mennonite women, including childbirth, cooking, in-laws, dating, mission work, home decoration, marriage, and above all, friendship. All the chapters evidence a profound Christian faith that makes Homespun a collection that will delight and challenge readers.
–Karen Johnson-Weiner, author of Train Up a Child: Old Order Amish and Mennonite Schools
Filled with wisdom, humor, and hard-won faith, Homespun feels like a lovely visit with trusted friends. A must-read for those who wish to better understand the lives and hearts of Amish and Mennonite women.
–Serena B. Miller, author of An Uncommon Grace
Talented Amish and Mennonite women bare their souls in words that evoke a whole range of human emotions. They were not all born with a wooden spoon in their hands, and they experience the same struggles as women everywhere. It was impossible to do anything else until I finished reading this book.
–Romaine Stauffer, author of Loyalty Test