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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Ski tags

A few nights ago Jake and I went to Olive Garden's. We took his nephew and his wife out to dinner and enjoyed our time so much. You see, they just left the Amish a few months ago, and are in the middle of transitioning their entire life, their mindset and their very way of living. She just got her permit a few weeks ago, she's 23. He has new shirts and a haircut. They are brave.

(pictures taken at the local Farm Show.....a huge indoor arena that is transformed once a year and dedicated to all things farming).

It's no easy thing to pick up your very way of living and CHANGE EVERYTHING ABOUT IT. I'm not trying to say that they are better now because they are no longer Amish. I know there are many conservative readers here and my point in talking about this is to share their journey, not to cast judgement on yours. There are many Amish and "English", (what the Amish call the non-Amish) people who need freedom. Outward appearances can be deceiving to what's truly going on inside; from tattoos and leather to cape dresses and bonnets.

As we were waiting to be seated, in walked a group of young girls, maybe 16 or 17 years old. I noticed the one girl because she sort of reminded me of myself at that age. She was surrounded by her friends and sort of leaning her head against her one friends shoulder, (something I would have done and still do). I show affection. I'm a hugger. Always have been, always will be.

The thing that caught my eye the most were the ski tags on her shiny red North Face jacket. I use to do that too. Go skiing, yes, because I liked to ski, but probably more to get one of those lift passes that I could then wear on my jacket for the rest of the Winter for all to see, (preferably 3-4 would do the trick).

(I want to be as cool as these ladies).

I even joined FFA, (Future Farmers of America) to go on the FREE ski trip, hilarious and sad, but true. I did come to enjoy FFA though despite my ulterior motives! I met a whole new *group* of people I would have otherwise not met. Sat with some new people at the sacred lunch table in the cafeteria! I got to compete in the tug-of-war at the Lampeter Fair and came to enjoy country line dancing at good ol' Low Places! I learned to sport cowboy boots, (the ones my brother Tom purchased for me when I turned 16 and just pulled out of the attic last week to wear to the Farm Show, along with a triple strand of pink pearls of course)! HA HA!! Those were the days!

(above mentioned boots!!)

Her ski tags got me thinking, what tags do I wear in my life now to gain the approval or nod of others? Just like it was back then, but perhaps not so obvious, (well, maybe it's obvious to others and not to myself). You know, like having well behaved children or a clean house. Having a garden or a nice blog. Being influential or inspirational. Maybe for you it's your husbands job, your desire for control, your looks, your income, shopping, gossiping, your career, what you wear, where you live, who your friends are, whether or not your children love Jesus, whether or not you have children, the church you go to, the church you don't go to, traveling, spiritual authority, knowledge, even our soul freedom or the pursuit of it....all that STUFF we do to keep our approval ratings high.

(YES~that is made out of BUTTER)!!

Non of these things are *bad* in and of themselves. However, if I feel that I have to maintain them in order to maintain affection or love or acceptance, then it's not ok. It's bondage.

It's loving what we THINK others will love, talking the way we THINK others would want to hear, parenting the way we THINK others would want, going to church because we THINK we should, or just dressing a certain way because of what others will THINK. In some cases this is true, as with the Amish, there are definite things that will change, (for example, being shunned for the rest of your life) so the decision SEEMS like a bigger deal, (and it is, I am not belittling the drastic decision one must make).

Sometimes I wish I had a more sure way of seeing the changes in myself. Like literally wearing a new type of clothing, an entirely new wardrobe because of the decisions I've made!! Relatively speaking, my decisions are easy to come by. Maybe that's what Jesus' dear friend meant when he said:

Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:12-14

Those attributes aren't as easily noticed as ski tags,

but then again,
maybe they are.


clarita said...

This is SO GOOD, Janelle! Thanks so much for writing this and sharing it! You're such a dear heart, and I'm blessed to know you!

Vickie said...

I LOVED my lift tickets too!!!!!!! Hilarious! Thanks for the post. Encouraging and challenging, as usual.


LemonyRenee' said...

Great post, as usual. And I totally know what you're saying. And that passage from Colossians is beyond beautiful.

ChristyA said...

This was amazing Janelle! Thanks so much for your openness and honesty. We are SO blessed because of it.
I heard someone say recently about a christian leader that they were "famous in heaven" and it just melted my heart. I thought, that is what I want!!! To shed the things I do to protect myself and keep me "safe" and to clothe myself with what God considers worthy of his crowns.
Jesus is truly enough and I just want to understand His love that is "better than life"
Thanks again!!! Love ya!

Jeane` said...

First of all, let me say the new touches on your blog are so dear (the pictures, the captions, the named items that are 'near and dear' to your heart--in a non-materialistic way of course!).
Secondly, this post expressed your thoughts with such clarity. I have no doubt that you are gently and lovingly allowing those loved-ones the gift of your support, a place to 'lean on' when things get heavy and hard (hmm...a weird choice of words I sometimes rattle off). Anyhoo, remind me NEXT TIME I see you (whenever that may be!) to tell you of the most colorful Amish woman I have ever seen and next time I see her, she WILL be approached and befriended, as I have NO idea how she gets away with looking like Prada's version of Amish. to you on this blustery winter's nigt!

Amy said...

This is so right on, Janelle. I just found your blog for the first time. I also love the posts about apple sauce and the French dinner party. It was great meeting you at the Miller's last night ..."and nice to know so much more thru your blog. Thanks for sharing life and freedom! Love, Amy Horst