No Longer A Child of Promise
By Amanda Farmer
Genre: Nonfiction, Family
This sequel to If You Leave This Farm chronicles the life adventures of this young Mennonite lady who, after choosing to walk away from her father’s farm at age 29, is now free to make her own choices as an adult. Amanda shares the joy of discovering the world away from the farm, of falling in love, and about her decision to eventually leave the Mennonite church. But that freedom and joy is tainted by the continuing intertwined and overpowering conflicts that result from unspoken and unresolved expectations in her family of origin.
With an engaging style, Amanda provides an honest glimpse into her roller coaster journey of hope and love alternating with pain, hurt and bitterness as a result of misplaced familial values, favoritism, and the effect of the ultimate rejection – disinheritance by her parents.
No Longer a Child of Promise vividly portrays the struggle in one woman’s heart to grasp the meaning of forgiveness, to experience triumph and acceptance in her personal journey, and to eventually release the all-consuming pain of rejection in her heart to God.
Pappy and Mama left yesterday. I groan when the alarm goes off. It has been a long time since I crawled out of bed at four o’clock in the morning. I have still been coming every other weekend or so to help milk and take care of the calves, but I don’t usually get up until six o’clock. I let Pappy, Paul, and whatever hired man they might have at the moment do the getting up early. The deliciousness of sleep has begun to erode my guilt-induced drive to continue to try to prove my worth as a good daughter and sister. Ultimately, the only reason I am here this week is that I still believe that the ticket to any acceptance in this family is based on my willingness to contribute to the workload.
The eastern sky is starting to lighten as I begin the milking chores. Just like old times. The smell of freshly mown hay hangs in the still morning air and touches my nostrils as I walk to the house after milking. I stir up the usual oatmeal breakfast for Paul. I’m not really sure why I even agreed to do this. Since the departures of both Joe and me from the farm, Paul pretty much ignores me. He acts like I am in the way. He talks to me in grunts and only when truly necessary. We eat breakfast in silence, and then he is gone.
As I wash the dishes, I hear the tractor come roaring around by the garage. The baler is hooked behind and ready to go. Soon Paul’s tall, thin frame appears in the doorway. His green eyes are piercing, and his body is always in motion, radiating nervous energy.
“So are you going to drive the baler for me?” The words are thrown my way.
I am startled by his impromptu request, but I am here to help so I nod.
The sun beats upon my head as the tractor creeps along the disappearing row of sun-dried hay. I rock rhythmically back and forth as the machine gobbles up the fodder into its mouth and pounds it into little green bales. The baler then spits them out the back onto the ground. Paul speeds around behind me with the bale wagon, picking up the cow food for the winter and delivering it to the barn. Everything is still done at high speed. As we work, my thoughts wander. I wonder when he is going to get over being mad at me for leaving the farm. I wish we could just move on and be friends again. My face and arms turn a deep shade of brown from the mixture of sun and dirt. By one o’clock in the afternoon, we are both getting hungry so it is time to stop and make dinner.
Amanda Farmer was born in Pennsylvania and moved with her family to Minnesota at age 16. She lived and worked on the farm until age 29. Amanda earned a master's degree in Nurse Anesthesia in 2007 and currently works in that profession. She enjoys reading, writing, and most any outdoor activity. She and her husband of 24 years live on a hobby farm in southeastern Minnesota. They have one college-age daughter, 2 cats, a dog, a multitude of fish, and once spent all their profit on 2 horses. All the animals were obtained in response to
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