A few years ago, one of the single women in our small fellowship got pregnant. I was so impressed with the grace and mercy our body of believers showed her.
When I first heard about it, I began to think about what it would be like if every one of our sins were as obvious as pregnancy. Think about it. While you can’t easily hide the fact you are pregnant after a certain point, so many other sins are easily hidden or ignored.
While unwed mothers, unmarried couples living together, or other so-called “big” sins are often the cause of concern (or gossip, as the case may be), how often are we appalled when someone is caught in a lie. Or covetousness. Or pride. Yet we know that God hates these things as well.
Are some sins bigger than others?
From the way Christians often react, you would think this is the case. Chances are, when you saw that question at least one example popped into your head.
Sin is sin. And just one sin is enough to separate us from God. Regardless of how “big” it is. We need to stop judging. Stop comparing. And love others with the love that He has shown to us.
No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good,
and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with your God.
by Jennifer Beckstrand
Series: The Petersheim Brothers #1
Published by Zebra Books
Publication Date June 25, 2019
Genres: Amish Fiction, Christian Fiction, Clean Romance
Setting: Wisconsin Contemporary
Main Character Ages: 18-24
Written for: Adults
Andrew, Abraham, and Austin Petersheim’s family business has earned them the nickname The Peanut Butter Brothers. But if their matchmaking younger siblings have their way, all three may soon bear another title: husband . . .
Handsome, hardworking, and godly, Andrew Petersheim has always been sure of his place in his Wisconsin Amish community. He’ll be a welcome catch for the local girl who finally captures his heart. Mary Coblenz certainly isn’t that girl. Two years after “jumping the fence” for the Englischer world, she’s returned, unmarried and pregnant. Yet instead of hiding in shame as others in the community expect, she’s working at the Honeybee Farm, ignoring the gossips—and winning over Andrew’s eight-year-old twin brothers . . .
For all Andrew’s certainty about right and wrong, it seems he has a lot to learn from Mary’s courage, grace, and resilience. She’s changing his notions about forgiveness and love, but will she in turn accept the challenge of starting over and choose to stay—with him?
This is my first Jennifer Beckstrand book but it will not be the last!
The synopsis doesn’t include information about Andrew’s youngest brothers, Alfie and Benji. These eight-year-old twins are determined to get their older brothers married off so they can move out of the cellar bedroom they were relegated to when Mammi and Dawdi had to move in with their family. Their plan is to marry off their three older brothers so a room will become vacant for them. Yeah, when I read a review that explained that, I knew I had to read this series!
I love the way the author didn’t just make this a cute story about matchmaking boys. Instead, she tackled some heavy spiritual matters. Gossip. Judgement. Unforgiveness.
It must have been so difficult for Mary to return to her community, knowing how the gossips would be. And yet, she desired to have her baby in the safety of her family. So when she was rejected by her parents, she was crushed. My heart went out to her, longing to hug her and love her through her pain!
Despite Andrew’s initial judgemental attitude towards Mary, enough of his tender heart shone through so I didn’t despise him. It was clear that his expectations of “seeing” signs of repentance in her were out of a desire for holiness and not simply meanness or pride. Moreover, he did champion her when others were unkind. Where he truly made me like him was in his relationship with his little brothers and the deep love he had for them, even when they did crazy things!
The conversations Mary and Andrew had regarding her sin and what he perceived as a lack of repentance were very insightful and thought provoking. The entire community expected to “see” her repentance – yet what would that look like? Should she go around in sackcloth and ashes? Refuse to smile or laugh? (In case you are wondering, the answer is no!)
My review would be incomplete without another mention of the twins. Oh my! The things they got themselves into were so funny! I could just picture them, thinking they had these amazing plans and then being so surprised when things went from bad to worse and they needed to be rescued. Yet they were not only full of fun and games. They loved Mary so fiercely and so unconditionally. Truly, they exemplified a reason Jesus said we need to be as little children.
Dawdi is living with the Petersheim’s after suffering a stroke. He is unable to speak, yet Benji and Alfie have found that they can communicate with him quite well, as long as they ask him yes and no questions – which he answers with a smile or a frown. Andrew confesses his deepest hopes and fears to him. By the end of the story, Dawdi is still not recovered enough to speak. I’m anticipating many more of these sessions in the books to come with the other brothers and hope that he recovers his speech soon so we can hear what he has been thinking all along!
Andrew is delightful, insightful, and sweet. I highly recommend this wonderful story!
Jennifer's Amish Quilting Bee Pinterest Board(click here to go directly to the board on Pinterest)