Amish Devotional: God Has Provided by Kelly Irvin

Love Still StandsBut he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
—2 Corinthians 12:9 (ɴɪᴠ)

This is the verse on which I based the story of Bethel Graber, the main character in Love Still Stands, which is the first book in the New Hope Amish series published by Harvest House. Bethel, who was a school teacher, suffered injuries to her legs in a terrible storm and could no longer teach. She feared she wouldn’t be able to be a good fraa or mudder, either. Who would marry her? She prayed for healing, yet it didn’t come, not in the manner she hoped or expected.

Little did I know when I wrote this story that I would experience something similar in my life. It wasn’t a storm, but my own body that rebelled against me. About six months ago I found myself losing my ability to walk. I couldn’t do aerobics anymore, run on the treadmill, or zip across the street to beat traffic on my way to work. It was like losing the ability to breathe.

After a series of doctor’s appointments and endless x-rays and MRIs, I learned scoliosis, which I’d been born with more than 50 years ago, was the culprit. My spine was so crooked the spinal cord was being compressed, causing nerve damage that affected my muscles’ ability to do their job. Long story short, I had surgery to correct it in October, but not before the neurosurgeon went to great lengths to make sure I understood I might not ever walk normally again.

Now I’m in the rehabilitation stage, and I’m learning it’s possible that he was right. I pray every day that he was wrong, but no matter how much physical therapy I do, my normal, carefree stride has not returned. I can’t bend over. I have trouble tying my own shoes. I shuffle along with a cane, feeling like an old lady. Yes, I admit it, sometimes I feel sorry for myself. Sometimes I wonder how I could have written such a story with such a blithe offering of God’s will and God’s timing and God’s provision.

And then I think, Where would I be without Him? God has provided. He has provided truly phenomenal medical care. He’s provided outstanding health insurance. He’s given me a husband who arose in the middle of the night to turn me over when I couldn’t turn myself over in bed, and who helped me shower and get to the restroom. Who cooks, cleans, buys groceries, and does laundry because I can’t yet do all those things myself. When the doctor explained to us that my surgery would require me to learn to walk again and that rehabilitation could take six months to a year, Tim’s response was to remind me of our vows: in sickness and in health. He has more than lived up to his end of what surely isn’t much of a bargain for him. No matter what Hollywood may tell us, this is true romantic love.

On February 14, Tim and I celebrated our twenty-seventh wedding anniversary. Like Bethel, I am trying to learn to accept that I may not get the answer to my prayers that I so desperately want, but God has a plan for me and He knows why this is happening to me (and to Tim). He is made strong in my weakness. His plan will be revealed in His time.

I know I’m not the only one out there who is struggling with this battle, so I offer a prayer for you and for myself:

Kelly IrvinHeavenly Father, You are the Great Physician. I ask for a miracle of healing for myself and others who are suffering ailments they can’t bear. I know You will do what is best for Your children. You will provide for us in all our needs as You see fit. Give us the strength and the perseverance to run the race You have set for us. Strengthen our faith even as our bodies fail. We ask this in the mighty name of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.


Kelly Irvin is a Kansas native and has been writing professionally for over 30 years. She and her husband, Tim, make their home in Texas. They have two children, two grandchildren, two cats, and a tankful of fish. To learn more about her work, visit


Amish Culture: View on Music (Article by Kelly Irvin)

A Plain Love Song

Amish & Musical Instruments
By Kelly Irvin

Writing A Plain Love Song caused me to pause and think perhaps more than any of the previous Amish romances I’ve written when it comes to trying to understand the Amish culture and faith. That’s because I love music. I’ve always wanted to play musical instruments, but alas, I have not a smidgen of talent. As I began to think about writing this story of a young Amish woman who loves music and desperately wants to write songs, play the guitar, and sing, I realized I needed to do some research to understand the objections the Amish have to such an aspiration. My go-to books for answering my questions on topics such as this are The Amish by Donald B. Kraybill and Amish Society by John A. Hostetler.

To understand why the Amish eschew musical instruments, you really have to understand the underpinnings of their approach to faith. They reject pride and try to practice humility at all times. The underlying attitude is of submission to God’s will. In our world of The Voice and American Idol, performers are celebrities who are feted, well-paid, and much loved by their fans. We’re told to compete, strut our stuff on the stage, and seek fame and fortune. Not so, with the Amish.

buggiesatauction by Tim Irvin - credited

Donald Kraybill says the Amish church discourages musical instruments because they’re afraid their use will lead to performances that show off individual talents. Worship includes singing, but without instruments, and in a very slow a capella style. Playing a musical instrument is seen as a means of self-expression that results in feelings of pride and superiority. It calls attention to the individual and is a distraction to true worship. The Amish love music and often sing at home while working. The young folks go to singings on Sunday evenings, but in most cases, no instruments are used.

So my story is a what-if story. What if a young Amish woman dreams of performing as a country music singer? What if she meets a young Englisch man who falls in love with her, teaches her to play the guitar, and encourages her to reach for her dream?

My husband and I flew to Missouri, rented a car, and drove from Jamesport to Branson, taking the same road Adah would’ve taken on her trip. I imagined what it would be like for her to leave her family and the only home she’d ever known, perhaps forever. I tried to see the billboards for the Branson shows through her eyes. I tried to imagine how she would feel when she saw the sparkling rhinestone-studded dresses, the exaggerated makeup, and the dangling earrings worn by the female performers. Did she nearly jump out of her seat when a confetti cannon exploded during a show? I did, so I suspect she would too.

Nohitching by Tim Irvin - creditedAnother thing I learned while writing A Plain Love Song is that I will probably never play a musical instrument. I bought an inexpensive guitar with a DVD, thinking I’d teach myself to play. Uh-huh. I couldn’t get my fingers to reach the right strings, and they hurt! A tone deaf person has trouble tuning an instrument. Never fear, it was great research. I had better luck (in my humble opinion) in writing Adah’s songs. I love writing poetry and bought a couple of books on writing song lyrics to help shape my words. This stretched me as a writer.

I’m not convinced that God doesn’t take great joy in my church’s musical worship, drinking in the beautiful notes of piano, guitar, and drums, as the faith band leads us in singing his praises. Nevertheless, I have tremendous respect for the humble, obedient, and genuine faith of the Amish. Their desire to never be distracted from their express purpose of worshiping God is to be admired.

Kelly IrvinKelly Irvin is a Kansas native and has been writing professionally for 30 years. She and her husband, Tim, make their home in Texas. They have two children, three cats, and a tankful of fish. A public relations professional, Kelly is also the author of two romantic suspense novels and writes short stories in her spare time. To learn more about her work, visit

Pictures from Amish country taken by Tim Irvin.


Featured Fiction: A Plain Love Song

A Plain Love Song

 A Plain Love Song by Kelly Irvin (July 2014)

Book 3 in the “New Hope Amish” series

(Book 1: Love Still Stands; Book 2: Love Redeemed)

About the Book:

Kelly Irvin, author of the Bliss Creek Amish series, brings the story of the New Hope Amish to a dramatic conclusion in A Plain Love Song.

Adah Knepp wants nothing more than to make music. It’s all she’s ever desired—to sing and play the guitar and write her own songs. That’s a dream that will never come true in the confines of her strict Amish community. But then she meets Jackson Hart, and all of a sudden she finds the chance for a different kind of life. A real stage, a real guitar, and a real opportunity to sing her songs to a real audience!

But pursuing her dreams means turning her back on her family and community—and saying goodbye to Matthew, the gentle Amish farmer she can’t get out of her mind. Is it worth giving up the only home she’s ever known to pursue her dreams?

Purchase the book on Amazon

Favorite Quote:

He leaned back and tugged a pick from his jeans pocket, then picked up the guitar and began to pluck one note at a time, slowly and carefully. Each note sounded hopeful. Hopeful that another might follow.

What I Enjoyed:

  • The inclusion of original song lyrics.
  • The authenticity of the characters’ struggles and emotions.
  • The characters’ real flaws. (Neither “hero” is perfect, which makes the love triangle that much more intriguing! In fact, after you’ve read the book, you might be interested in taking a peek at the alternate ending Kelly wrote for the story.)
  • The references to country music. (It’s fun to come across names you recognize!)
  • The romantic tension. (See point #3.)
  • The wisdom from secondary characters. (I’m fond of Matthew’s groossdaadi and Jackson’s aunt Charlene.)

Question for You:

How important is music in your life? Would you have a hard time giving up instruments and iPods?


Leave a comment with your email address for a chance to win a paperback copy of this book!

Fine print: Giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada only, and participants must be 18 years old or older to enter. A winner will be randomly selected and emailed on Tuesday, August 19th. This giveaway is in no way sponsored by or affiliated with Facebook, WordPress, or Twitter. 

P.S. Be sure to mark your calendars for next Thursday (August 21), because Kelly Irvin is going to be our guest here on the blog!