By Dee Yoder
Leah is seventeen and Amish. Like many her age, she has lots of questions, but the temporary flight of freedom known as rumspringen is not the answer for her. She does not desire Englisher fashion, all-night parties, movies, or lots of boyfriends. Leah is seeking to understand her relationship with God, to deepen and broaden her faith by joining a Bible study hosted by an ex-Amish couple. She wants to know why Amish life is the only lifestyle her family accepts, why the church has so many rules, and . . . most disturbing, how godly men can allow her best friend to be abused in her own home.
In the pressure-cooker environment of church and family, Leah is not allowed to ask these questions. When finally she reaches the breaking point, she walks away from the Old Order Amish life that is all she has known. Though adapting amiably to the Englisher world, Leah is tormented with homesickness. Returning to the community, however, entails a journey of pain and sorrow Leah could never have imagined.
The miting—shunning—that will now be Leah’s unendurable oppression every day is beyond her most devoted attempts to believe or understand. All the bishop and her family ask is that she abandon her practice of reading the Bible. Is that a price she is willing to pay?
What an interesting book! Moving, compelling, informative, uncomfortably real at times - certainly an eye-opening read that I greatly enjoyed. I read a lot of Amish fiction, and really appreciate that Dee presents a side of the Amish faith not often seen.
Leah is a young lady who questions the Ordnung and simply longs to read the Bible. Her hunger for God's Word and the way she blossoms at the concept of grace makes me feel like I sometimes take His Word for granted. As Leah begins to understand the meaning of grace, she realizes that "the smiles she had received from her Daet in the past were all earned by her dutiful obedience."
The Miting gives clear insight into the strict Old Order beliefs and all that someone questioning those beliefs might face. Readers will identify with Leah as she wrestles with being free from the Ordnung versus longing for her family and hoping to show them the love of Jesus. I also loved how this story brings in aspects of Amish faith I had never heard of - such as the angel letter and the Amish Counselor.
The strongest theme is that of legalism, law vs. grace, with the Ordnung practically becoming a main character. Just as the Israelites could never keep the Old Testament Law in its entirety, neither could the Amish obey every requirement of the Ordnung. I love this quote that reflects Leah's thoughts as she looks out on Sunday afternoon crowd . . . "All of them appeared peaceful, calm, and purposeful. She knew, however, the niggling fears many of them carried: fear of breaking the Ordnung . . . fear of disappointing their bishops or lay preachers . . . fear of the modern world . . . fear of questioning and of those who questioned . . . and most of all, fear of not going to heaven."
The Miting is a book that made me reflect on the freedom I have in Christ and gain a deeper appreciation for family and also those who reach out to Amish who decide to leave the faith. Dee writes with great knowledge and passion, and I hope to see more of Leah and Jacob. Fans of Amish fiction will enjoy this debut novel by Dee Yoder.
The Miting can be purchased at Amazon, CBD, DeeperShopping, and B&N.
"I am a writer, with my Amish novel, The Miting, represented by The Hartline Literary Agency, with Terry Burns, as my agent. I'm currently editing my second novel, The Powerful Odor of Mendacity. I am also working on the second of my Amish fiction novels, The Way Out. I write short story fiction for the Faithwriters Writing Challenge. My work has been published in The Evangel, Good Tidings, and The Quill magazines. I am a voluntary writer for Dee's News: The Former Amish Newsletter with Mission to Amish People (MAP Ministry). I'm happily married to Arlen, and we have a son, Joseph, who is in college."
Meet Dee online at deeyoder.com and Facebook.
Thank you to Kregel Publications for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.