Monday, June 23, 2014

Why don't the Amish Play Musical Instruments?

A Plain Love Song
The New Hope Amish
By Kelly Irvin

She had to find her way to him…but first she had to find her way to God.

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 suddenly she sees 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 faith, her family, and her 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?

Kelly 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


Releases July 1, 2014. To preorder go to

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
                                                            Romans 12:2

In A Plain Love Song, Adah wants nothing more than to write songs and sing them while playing the guitar. It gives her joy and fills her with a sense of accomplishment. As non-Amish folks, most of us would focus on the whys and wherefores of the Amish faith that say Adah cannot and should not do this. Playing musical instruments isn’t allowed. because the Amish believe it draws attention to the individual and her talent, leading to pride and taking the focus from God. But that’s not what A Plain Love Song is about. It’s about listening to God’s calling. It’s about knowing when to drop to your knees and say, “Your will, God, not mine.”

As Christians, most of us believe God has a plan for us, but how often do we want to tell God what that plan is? I know I do. I pray for certain things to happen, fully expecting God to make it so. I’m like a child at Christmas time, sitting on Santa’s lap, asking for the moon and stars. My writing career is a good example of this. When I turned forty-five I realized I had to move quickly or I would never fulfill my dream of being a published novelist. I spent the next seven years juggling a full time public relations career, two children, a husband, and a would-be career as a fiction writer. I wrote novel after novel, I secured a wonderful agent. I went to writing conferences. I wrote before work, at lunch, and at night. My manuscripts were submitted to publishing house after publishing house. Nothing.

I did all the right things. Except one. I never prayed to God and said, “Is this what You want for me? Show me. Tell me.” I didn’t listen. I simply demanded, begged, cajoled, and, yes, even cried.

Finally, at my wit’s end, exhausted and demoralized, I sat in my church pew one Sunday morning and I explained to God (as if he didn’t already know) that I couldn’t go on this way anymore. I needed to know what his plan was. Should I continue to try to get my writing published? Should I stop? Did he have another plan in mind for the writing talented with which he’d blessed me? I asked for a sign. Did he want me to do something else? Should I write main stream fiction? Should I write fiction at all?

Three days later, I got the call. That call every aspiring novelist craves. A contract offering for an inspirational romantic suspense novel to a mainstream publisher that specializes in library quality hardbacks for the library market. God said yes.

While I celebrate this season in my life and the opportunity to share stories with readers, I still have to ask myself the bigger question: what if He’d said no. What if no call came? What if the answer was that I should simply write for Him and no one else? Can Adah write her songs for God? Can she forego playing the guitar in public because her faith demands that she not draw attention to herself, but rather to the God who loves her and will take her to his home one day? Are we willing to give up a dream if it means we will draw closer to God?

If we examine our hearts closely and with brutal honesty, we will know if we’re following God’s calling or hoping He’ll give us what we want, like children on Christmas morning. By all means, ask God for your heart’s desire, but be sure to listen for his.


Kelly Irvin is the author of the Bliss Creek Amish series and the New Hope Amish series, both from Harvest Housing Publishing. Her latest release is A Plain Love Song, set in Amish country in Missouri, which will debut July 1. It is the final installment in the series, which also included Love Redeemed and Love Still Stands.

 She is currently working on The Beekeeper’s Son, the first book in the Amish of Bee County series, for Zondervan. She has also penned two inspirational romantic suspense novels, A Deadly Wilderness and No Child of Mine.

The Kansas native is a graduate of  the University of Kansas School of Journalism. She has been writing nonfiction professionally for thirty years, including ten years as a newspaper reporter, mostly in Texas-Mexico border towns. She has worked in public relations for the City of San Antonio for twenty years. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and serves as secretary of the local chapter, Alamo Christian Fiction Writers.

Kelly has been married to photographer Tim Irvin for twenty-six years. They have two young adult children, one gorgeous new granddaughter, two cats, and a tank full of fish. In her spare time, she likes to write short stories and read books by her favorite authors.