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Our delightful tour guide displayed a smile that lit up the room. Her joy was contagious.

As she spoke, she stood before our large group without make-up or fashionable clothing. Her hair was gray, pinned-up and coarse.

She shared during the tour how she helped to support her family by speaking to groups and cleaning the local community center. She also cared for her disabled husband and nurtured her adult children and married grandchildren.

Obviously, she donned many hats in her life, but the hat she wore most often was a cap. An Amish cap.

But what really drew me into the short narrative of her rich life was her spiritual strength and character. She told the truth as she saw it and with deep wisdom.

My husband and I met our tour guide on a recent autumn day in Arthur, which is home to about 4,000 Amish residents. They live somewhat intermingled with the non-Amish citizens of Arthur but apart from today’s culture.

The Amish believe God wants them to draw away from the things in this world in order to draw closer to God.

Their desire is to live unpretentious, simple lives. That’s why they dress plainly, live in humble homes without electricity, use horses instead of cars and always work hard.

Faith, family and their church community remain their society’s bedrock. I admire that.

Honestly, I’m not romanticizing the Amish. Their lives demand almost constant daily work except on Sundays, very strict discipline and a separatism that I can’t do. I’m not ready to sign up to become Amish.

Yet, as a mom, I long for a simpler life, because mine seems to become more complicated every day.

It feels sometimes like the learning curve on navigating life in 21st-century American culture keeps rising faster and faster, going higher and higher. Often it seems that it’s just beyond my ability to comprehend all its complexity, even though I keep up with the news.

Not to worry. My adult children teach me more about today’s culture than I really ever wanted to know.

But as I paused to ponder the life of our Amish tour guide, I‘d like to live out three lasting lessons from her: to embrace who God created me by choosing more simplicity; to close out the world regularly; and to draw closer to God daily.

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Hearts at Home is a nonprofit organization designed to encourage, educate and equip moms at all stages. Hearts at Home, 1509 N. Clinton Blvd., Bloomington, IL61701-1813; (309) 828-MOMS;www.hearts-at-home.org.

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