Reflections on Iowa

We are closing on our home on May 8th, but have hesitated sharing much just yet as I am not ready. I am still in a mild state of grieving. We waited five years for our home to sell in Washington as we had a vision of a better life in the Midwest. The Midwest promised us so much. We saw in our vision that people would be like us, that there would be people who are like minded and we could fellowship with them. To our disappointment, because of our past of divorce and remarriage, we were unable to attend many of these churches. I remember buying raw milk from an Amish couple, Rachael and Ivan, when we first arrived. They were so kind to us. Rachael would come out and talk to me for some time while my husband talked with her husband. One day she asked if this was our first marriage, and I shared no, but isn’t it wonderful that the Lord forgives and loves when we do things right? I shared how pleased the Lord was that my husband and I had kissed the first time on the day of our wedding. She wasn’t pleased with my answer an quickly averted her body away from me and shared that she had some things to do in the house and left.

We tried a local Mennonite church and  even the Mennonites are not what you would think them to be if you have never been there. One woman in the church had a dress so short and tight that I could almost see her hip. The pastor talked about television commercials and sports as part of his sermon. We were shocked. The Midwest promised an older generation, a bit of a different time – slower, friendly, country. It was more city than Matthew and I had seen in Washington or California. We have never seen women dress so lewd in our lives. My husband is from San Diego and has never seen women dressed anything close to what we saw in Iowa. It was a culture shock to say the least. The Midwest promised honorable people. Before we were into our home there, we were lied to by the owners as they shared upon my husband asking, “Is anyone going to build a house there on the property behind us.” He assured us that they would not. Two months later while I still had a few boxes left to unpack, they started building right behind our home. We found from the new owners of the new home that they had known about this for five years. Countless situations from purchasing things from people only to find that we were deceived and they were faulty to so many other situations that happened almost on a weekly basis all the way until the day we left the home. It’s hard to quench a dream that has been upon one’s heart for over 5 years. When we first came to Iowa and I saw the beautiful country of lightly rolling hills, the open land, the old farm buildings and old farm houses, I fell in love. When I saw the Amish buggies for the first time, my husband and I were in glee talking on our cell phones to each other as we drove our separate vehicles down the streets where countless Amish were in the town of Kalona. We drove for miles down dirt roads where Amish lived and sold bakery items, homemade cheese, vegetables, fruits and more. It was more than a dream to me when we first arrived. I thought I was in the closest thing to Heaven upon this earth. But the sting from people and neighbors we loved who saw us in a bad light because of our past carried to the Amish and the community and made us feel dirty in their eyes. My husband did not pray before getting married and paid the price of her committing adultery within the first year of marriage. I did not pray before getting married and paid the price of living with a man who worshipped other women and eventually had an affair with a woman at his office and remarrying two days after our divorce and taking my children from me. My husband and I came together pure, we came together as children and  prayed together and read books about chastity and keeping oneself pure before marriage. We fought the fight together of wanting to be together but for the sake of the Lord and our future, stayed apart by body though our souls were knit tightly together. We had no shame, only joy in our heart at what only the Lord could have done to us. He took two people who used to be defiled and promiscuous and made them lovely and white as snow. It is our greatest start to our marriage and our greatest start to our new lives. And to have religion come in the way and tell you that God did not put you together that you can only redeem yourselves by divorcing and remarrying the previous spouse is abominable to God. He forgives all sins. This is our biggest place with me and my husband because of our pasts. It is the greatest, most valuable thing that He can offer someone. He has forgiven the adulterer and the murderer and the only place we see where He doesn’t forgive sins to the repentive soul is by blaspheming the Holy Spirit.

Though we went through some trials in Iowa regarding the issue of divorce and remarriage, we did have a purpose there by God. My husband felt called to pass out numerous books called, “What Does The Bible Teach About Divorce And Remarriage”, by brother Mark Bullen. These books went to many leaders of Mennonite and Anabaptist churches. I’m sure they really didn’t love us too much there.  : ) We found that one prominent member of a church that holds these beliefs was in the process of leaving the church there after 7 years of praying and contemplating about the issue. We found that others were contemplating this error in doctrine too. There were a couple of Mennonites that my husband shared with and gave a book to that didn’t agree with the doctrine either, but they didn’t have the courage to stand. I knew that when all the books would be passed out to the right people in time, that God would sell the house and have us leave. We gave away the last book about 2 months before the buyers of our home looked at the home. : )  So, I have to remember that it’s not about us, God had a bigger picture here.

So, while we are back in Washington, the vigor just isn’t quite here right now. We’re trying to absorb what happened the past year and regroup. House and location don’t mean much to us anymore. We see the world for what it is now and feel like we have grown up a little more now too. We still hold out hope for fellowship and have contacted a Mennonite church that will be nearby and they take things like our past of divorce and remarriage case by case. We’ll see, but I’m not as hopeful and full of eagerness as I was last year. I need to be renewed by God a bit.

So, you can say we’re in a bit of a transition for a time and trying to let this past year settle down. We’re both very glad it happened because we have learned a lot from it. A lot, that we could never have learned without going through it. We will miss some of the friendliest people we have ever met in our lives back in Iowa, Tommy our UPS driver and  friend – (You still need to give my husband a call) : )  was one of them. We will miss the waves that people give you in their cars while passing. We already miss that when you walk past people as you are going into a store that people say hi or give a smile or nod. There is community there that we have never seen out here. We hope that we can have some sort of community and good neighborly relations and exchanges as we did in Iowa. We hope still…..

I wanted to delete this post as I rarely, if ever put negative things on our blog. I want our blog to be about the joyous things in life and have done so over the past years. But, the hard things are a part of life too and sometimes it’s okay to share so that others can learn something from it too. My hope is that people can be free from the one end of religion that follows just law, and also from the other end that says that you can sin and live a lascivious life  or commit sins as a practicing way of life with no repentance or prayers or works to get right with out any consequences from God. We see both ends today and are saddened by it.

My dear friend who wants to remain anonymous shared something like this:

There are those who love evil,

There are those who love the world,

There are those who love the law,

Then there are those who love the Lord.

Amen  – she’s a beautiful writer and friend.

5 thoughts on “Reflections on Iowa

  1. Thank you for sharing your journey….humans have a way of messing up church and giving God attributes from the confines of their own reasoning and personal judgement. I personally find your family and your faithwalk very inspiring and its a breath of fresh air in regards to much of the “faith” i see around here….dont ever move to New England!!! Our family sticks out like a sore thumb here and we feel very lonely often! Even the likeminded friends we thought we had have gone and turned worldly on us in the last few years. Your blog helps to refresh me at these times…so thank you.

    • Thank you Melissa. I’m sorry to hear you are going through troubles too and you have seen some of your close friends fall away. : ( I always see the true church today as being made up of many of us spread throughout the land, not really fitting in anywhere and being lonely. But still the Lord leads us to one another as He did you to me to give an encouraging word! : )

  2. (((((hugs))))) I’m so sorry you have had to go through this. 😦 I pray you find true friends and fellowship in your new home. I come to your blog now and then and I enjoy seeing your beautiful family and reading about what you have been doing. I’m sure this time of moving has been difficult and I pray the Lord blesses you and strengthens you while you wait to move into your new home.

    Tanya – Lilyofthevalley on MOMYS

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