A day early: Almost Amish by Nancy Sleeth {Chapters Six and Seven}




Please join us, as we read Almost Amish by Nancy Sleeth.  You can read my review of Chapter One, here and also read the equally compelling comments from fellow readers.  Each week, on Monday, we will review two chapters.  Join us! 

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Hey readers!
I've noticed that many of you, who were excited to read along, have not commented or left your thoughts.  Have you slowed in your reading or are you no longer finding interest in the book  {which is ok!} ?  By no means do you have to comment and share-I'm just curious if you are still enjoying Sleeth and what she has shown us, thus far? I want to hear from you!

As an unexpected side note: Did you guys seen that Nancy Sleeth actually stopped by and commented on one of our reviews?  Why, yes she did! Exciting right?  I'll leave it up to you to find it, in the archives, but that put a smile on this girls face!

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These two chapters were like a soothing balm to me.  What I mean by that is how beautiful Sleeths descriptions of service and security, sounded to me.  Stripped away from pretension, expectation, notarity or pomp, it made me gratefully realize what I have wondered all along.
Can a life of true service, ALL service and a secure life, be done without anxiety?  Can it be done as a way of life and not simply as an extra obligation or calendar entry?  Can we feel secure in this life without a burgeoning checkbook or over sized college account, for the kids?

After reading these chapters, I believe all these are possible.

Instead of letting society and its idea of service and security dictate our comfort-ability, we can choose to let the Lord guide our choices and heart attitude.  I suppose it assured me that a life of service need not be linked to a large church program or a ministry.org vehicle, but can be accomplished with a life and heart given to the Lord and obedience to His example.   We can become servants and don't necessarily have to be committed to every great missions project that presents itself {not that those are wrong, in any way, shape or form}.  Perhaps the problem with our generation, as it pertains to service, is that we feel the need to be linked to something. We have to have financial backing and security (irony) in numbers of people who have heard about the non-profit.  There should be a media packet and bumper stickers! Buttons for blogs! We have to finalize our service plans with a church group.  We must organize a certain amount of people.  Tunnels must be crawled through and hoops jumped high.  Papers are signed and requirements are met.  Service, no matter the capacity, is good.  However, I think that the Amish come about it in such a organic way; a way that the Southern Californian lifestlye might struggle with {that I struggle with}.  They serve because they are servants.  They live a life that is all about service. To their children, their community, their faith family and their nuclear family.  It's just second nature and not necessarily wrapped up in the latest organization. 
Their everyday actions are service.

And I believe that I can do that.
I can make each day about service. To my husband, my children and those in my family, neighborhood and circule of friends.  By those on my street corner and at my local store.  It doesn't have to be grand but be humble and authentic.

"Service is the agent through which we act out our love for God and for one another.  Serve God: service your neighbor. In doing on, we are doing the other."

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The only true security comes from God.


What a fitting opening word, for chapter seven.
When I read the chapter on security, I was astounded by my lack of understanding on real security.  All along, you are taught {especially once you have children} that you must be financially secure.  Whatever that means.   You need to have college accounts set up for your children. Your retirement account(s) need to be added to, each month.  You should own a home, be out of debt, be saving, be gaining equity, be adding on, be moving up and make sure your child has the best education, opputunites and resources possible. 
THAT is security and the best prospect at a successful future.

I don't think those things are bad.  I think those things are wise.  I think it is smart to invest, spend less than you bring home and be careful to be prepared. 
What caused me to take a step back is that we really are missing {at least I have, in past days}, what REAL security is and if we obtain it.  And I mean that genuinely.  We all can say, "my faith and hope is in the Lord!" but we still worry if we don't have what we are supposed to have.  Does that make sense?

I was struck that our true security is in ONE thing only and our real concern should be if we are missing that
I thought of it this way.  What if one of our friends home burned down?  Of course we would be at their aide, immediately.  We would care for their children, allow them to stay at our house, offer them financial assistance and do whatever, in our power, to help them.
In the same way, do we care for each other when we have lost sight of the real Giver of secuirty?  If we have a friend that has lost faith or is in a season of doubt, do we care for them in the same way?  Do we come to their aide or ask the difficult questions?  I doubt we run to their side with the same intensity or panic as we would if a worldy idea of secuirty was vanquished.  Someone loses a loved one and we are there, in an instant, but if someone is waning in their salvation, we give them personal space, as not to offend them.  Does that really make sense?  It didn't/doesn't to me.
Maybe our idea of security is too wrapped up in the here and now and we need to switch our focus and attention to our everlasting comfort, during time of joy and time of trouble. 
In the end, all of this is gone and we all know that we die.  Our things are gone and our secuirty that we worked so very hard for will no longer help us or count towards anything.
The only thing that we can be secure in, is where we are headed.

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I would love to hear your thoughts on these two chapters!

10 comments:

  1. I am still reading and loving..I must have missed a few posts by you..I thought we were taking a break..i just put up chapter three on my blog..fixing to put up chapter four.
    I seen Nancys comment...WaHOO!!
    That is super cool!!

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    1. So glad you are still reading, Nikki! YAY!

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  2. I started late and finisher early. I really could relate to so much of what Nancy shared. So much of my simplifying in our hectic life, and making space in a place that some may deem too small for our family of five. . .made me ponder service and security. I am one one who chooses to stay put because (a) God closed the door on our move and (b) so we can pay off our home, car, and student loan--our debt that is left. I have often mentioned that our neighborhood is my mission field--and it is. . .we hosted a movie night in the back yard last night and try to be present with the kids and all of their checkered backgrounds. . .but sometimes service feels like I need to do more, be more out there in my church, part time job, PTA--you name it, I have questioned it. But I am taking real comfort in the security of knowing He sees me. He knows the plan He has for me, and with Him all things are possible. Nancy's book reaffirmed the direction I have been trying to take my life in the past two years. . .a pleasure to read and be re-reminded.

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    1. I am so happy you were affirmed and found both conviction and guidance, from this book. AMEN!

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  3. Soothing balm...YES! I felt so encouraged by these chapters. What you just said about service is what struck me too. It is in the every day as much as it is in a Medical mission to Africa. It is in my giving life saving medications at work as much as it is in my cooking for my family. I want a heart of service to be so ingrained in my kids that they know no other way and I can't expect that if I'm not living by example. So, I have a lot to think about there. I read the chapter on security last night before bed and I agree with you, I had to really challenge the way I think about security and what it means. My faith is so weak, really. The section about the boats really struck me. I work in health care which is like a boat with a huge hole in it stuck in the middle of a storm and headed for an ice berg. I get overwhelmed and sometimes panic and I so much appreciate this section of the book because she points out in all those scenarios, Jesus brought peace to those whose faith was in Him. He calms the storm. This is a no brainer and yet my stubborn heart doubts and doubts. I know the storm is going to continue to rage and we will probably eventually hit that iceberg, but Jesus is on the boat with me and there is no security like that. Obviously, there was much more to this chapter and I will probably read it again today to think and pray over it a little more, but this is what is on my heart today.

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    1. I'm with you, Sarah. Sometimes my heart refuses to see what is so obvious. A stubborn heart, indeed.

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  4. Just wanted you to know that...YES...I'm still reading...I just got a little distracted by the women's retreat I planned for our church this weekend, which overlapped with a horrible stomach bug sweeping through my entire family. I'll get caught up and comment something meaning full SOON!

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    1. No worries, my friend! I'm glad your still on board!

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  5. To be honest, I couldn't find my book for like the last 2 weeks, lol. But I found it today and I will come back and comment once I'm caught up on these 2 chapters :)

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  6. Oh, wow, I loved chapter 7. My thing has always been trust. I've always been a worrier, but it has gotten much better over the years with prayer, so this chapter really spoke to me. I have had many of those Psalm verses written on a post-it note on my steering wheel to help me stay focused on who is in charge of my life. I thought it was an interesting perspective to talk about getting to know your neighbors and renewing family traditions as a way to foster security in your relationships. Is this why I am tradition obsessed? Looking forward to the next two chapters!!

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