Wanda’s Journal

Promises

In my novel, The Storekeeper’s Daughter, Naomi Fisher made a promise to her dying mother. At her mother’s request, Naomi agreed to take care of her younger siblings, if her mother did not survive.

After Naomi’s mother passed away, Naomi did her best to keep that promise. Then one tragic day, Naomi’s baby brother, Zach, was kidnapped. From that moment on, Naomi lived with the guilt she felt for not watching the baby close enough. In addition to feeling responsible for her little brother’s disappearance, Naomi became convinced that she had not kept the promise she’d made to her mother. As Naomi continued to help her father oversee the care of his other children, she persisted in berating herself for not living up to the promise she had made to her mother.

Have you ever made a promise to someone and been unable to keep it? Did you feel guilty about it? Was there a legitimate reason you were not able to keep the promise?

Is there ever a time when we should not make a promise to someone? If we are unable to keep a promise, what should we do about it? Why is it important to put our promises into perspective and not blame ourselves if we’re not able to keep the promise, due to extenuating circumstances?

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96 Comments

  1. Wow, this book is very touching to the heart. Makes us think before we speak and always try to pay Attention to what Father-God tells us and Do what HE tells us to do. I would like to read this book.

    I truly enjoy all of your books Wanda, very inspirational to my friends and I.

  2. Hi Wanda, I have been there, I have made a promise to someone very close to me, and I tried so hard to keep my promise but do to the whole situation and it was getting to the point we’re I had no choice to make the decision that I did or the person that I made the promise to,I would have no decision over.So yes I know what that is like and It still to this day brothers me and I will always have it on my mind no matter what.All I can do today is to let that person know the truth and to let them know that I love them and care about them and to let them know that I tried so very hard.I could go on more but I am not trying to give to many details,thank you so much and I like reading your books.

  3. I don’t make promises, instead I always say I’ll do my best. If I had ever made a promise to my children and didn’t keep it, I felt I knew how they would feel so never did.

  4. This story sounds like a page turner!
    I try not to make promises I can’t keep. If I do make a promise that I cannot keep due to extenuating circumstances I will be honest with the person and let them know that.

  5. I try very hard to keep my word if I make a promise. If I find that I’m unable to do something I said I would, I apologize as soon as I’m aware that I cant. I think we should use promises carefully.

  6. I try not to make a promise especially one that I know I can’t keep. It would be extremely hard for me to deal with letting someone down or hurting someone. If it was something that I had no control over it would still linger in my heart and mind.

  7. I love your books and look forward to reading more. Thanks for all you share and helping us understand the Amish life.

  8. If you feel that you can’t keep a promise then don’t make regardless of what the outcome may be and what people say.

  9. Are any of your Amish based stories actually about yourself but placed in an Amish setting?
    You truly write from the heart allowing your readers to feel the emotions of your characters. Thank you.

  10. I try not to make promises just in case I can’t keep tho.I have had people make promises to me and broke them. It was very painful of them doing it to me.

  11. In my opinion, a promise is a solemn vow and should never be taken lightly. When I make one, I try my hardest to keep it.

  12. I have always been one to keep my promises, however, I am not perfect and have fallen short on some. I sincerely apologize when I cannot keep a promise yet I find it hard to forgive myself.

  13. First, I can’t wait to read this book. As soon as I finish writing this, I’m going to see if I can find it and read it today. Unfulfilled promises? I suppose the most difficult one that I carry in my heart is I wanted children so badly and was blessed with three. I, like many mothers, promised him I would always protect them. My oldest has since passed away and every day I fill the guilt of not protecting him from the illness that took him.

  14. This was my second time reading this book/series. I enjoy them very much and with all your books they always have a message and draw me closer to God. Thank you for sharing your talent with us.

  15. I think that we all have made a promise at least once in our lives that due to circumstances we were unable to keep. I think it depends on how important that promise is. We should try not to make really important promises unless we are committed to keeping that promise, but that being said we are all human and sometimes events happen that are beyond our control. If you are unable to keep a promise it’s important to speak with that person that you made the promise to, if possible, and to make amends to that person and also to God. That is the only way our hearts will truly mend from that broken promise.

  16. This is a great book, as all of your books are. I am anxiously waiting for your newest one to come out, thank you for writing such inspirational stories. I love learning about the Amish and how spiritual they are.

  17. Attempting to keep a promise is very important. There are times, however, when it’s not possible to keep the promise. At that point, go to the person you made the promise to and explain why you can’t live up to your word. If it’s not possible to explain to the person (they may be deceased), then you need to explain to pray about it and make peace with yourself. I did have a situation where I could not keep my promise. I explained myself and apologized. There was a legitimate reason, but I still felt guilty for a time. It’s not good to feel guilty over things we have no control over — that is the devil at work. If you know there is a good chance you can’t keep the promise — don’t make it. Say you will try very hard.

  18. It is sad when we can’t keep a promise. I feel as if we need to change our wording to, I’ll do my best. Sometimes things happen and we just can’t fulfill something we want. The only promise we can truly rely on is that of The Lord.

  19. I think that we initially make promises with the best of intentions. We want to offer support to someone in need. This is an act of love, but the route to giving what we promise doesn’t always happen the way that we may plan. I have experienced this first hand. When looking back, I see how God was guiding me to do the best for my loved one.

  20. Wanda, I am looking forward to meeting you this week in Sugarcreek . I can’t believe I am able to make it this time.

  21. I think there are times when we shouldn’t make a promise to someone. However we don’t always know if we will be unable to keep it. So if we later realize we are unable to keep that promise, I think the best way of navigating it is to acknowledge that one is unable to keep the promise any longer and then inform the person one made the promise to. It is important to put our promises into perspective because we don’t know our plans in life, only God has that power. So just as God forgives us for our mistakes, I think we should be less critical and more compassionate to ourselves.

  22. My mother had a stroke that left her unable to speak.Before she passed on to heaven I made her a promise about one of my sisters she always had concernabout not being a christian.I promised her I would do my best to see about her.
    Mother has been gone 23 years now.My sister and I talk every day.We talk about the things mother had told us about Jesus,and what things would happen.Now she says we must say our prayers for things in our family.I pray I have kept my promise to mother and to hear my sister talk about praying is a great feeling.I believe my mother is rejoicing in heaven.what a reunion one day!

  23. Yes, I made a promise to my mom on her deathbed to take care of my younger brother, who is 64 years old. He just got out of prison and I have been trying my best to take care of him and trying to get him in church, but he refuses to go and I feel so guilty because I feel like I am not living up to that promise I made to my mom. I take him to all his doctor’s appointments, when he was in a car wreck, I was at the ER with him until they transferred him to a trauma unit at another hospital in a town about 70 miles away. I have done his wash, brought him food, picked up his medicine and talked to him about taking better care of himself. It’s almost like he thinks he is not worth saving. I dont’ know what else to do. I feel as if I let my mom down on my promise.

  24. Wanda- I’ve been studying the book of James this summer and the scripture instruction on how powerful our words can be has struck a cord with me recently. Making promises that can’t be kept is something that has burdened my heart. I have started seriously looking at the commitments and promises that I make and trying my best to not say yes to things simply to please others.
    I thoroughly enjoy your books! Thank you for the stories you have written.

  25. Life makes some promises we have to change or not keep. You never know what is around the corner that you can’t control. For example my husband got covid a nd was in hospital 112 days. Our lives were put on hold just praying he would live. Now because of covid he is in dialysis but at least alive and able to enjoy life. Then last October I was diagnosed with stage four cancer and take treatments every other week. We never saw these things coming.

  26. I am a girl of less is best-including that if my tongue. I haven’t made many promises outside that to my faith in our Lord and my husband in case I can’t follow through. If I have made a commitment to something and realize I cant keep it or cant give as much as originally intended I say it straight away. Honesty is best whether not you can keep a promise.

  27. I try not to make promises I can’t keep, but if something comes up that I can’t keep it I would apologize or see if I can do it later.

  28. I made a promise to a good friend I was unable to keep. It was years ago when my children was young and I was struggling with keeping my family fed and clothed. I have thought back on that promise many times and regretted that I didn’t keep it. Funny thing is, I doubt my friend thought anything of it, but I did. Isn’t that odd that I would hang on to it?

  29. Love, love your books will be ordering the 3 Applecreek Books soon , Love the Amish peaceful simple way of living have loved them and the book’s been reading for years

  30. I have not heard a secret or promise and then not been able to keep it. I know how important those secrets and promises are as I kept one for many many years and just told my son last month and it was something that I held inside and now that he is turning 40 in Nov I thought it was time for him to know and I finally told my dr. Now if my son told others I would not only be hurt but I would know that it was something inside me that I told him and he didn’t feel it was important. So that is why I have not broken a promise .

  31. Yes, I have made promises but for some unforeseen circumstance couldn’t keep it. I feel so bad when that happens but most people are so loving & forgiving. This book sounds wonderful, they always keep my attention from beginning to end. I always pray that God will guide & lead me how He wants me to handle things. I’m truly amazed at how much better I handle things after I’ve prayed about them. He is AMAZING, wish more people would listen & follow Him than the way the follow the worldly ways.

  32. Someone shared with me that promises are made to be broken, so they GUARANTEE to commit to honoring requests. My take on that is that I do not make promises lightly. In my mind I will only commit to requests if I can guarantee them that I will do my very best to honor them. Life, however, is unpredictable so not every request can be honored. Giving it your all is enough.

  33. Good morning Wanda, I just read your newest newsletter and I would be so appreciative if I were to win a copy of the Amish cookbook . Love and prayers , Diane

  34. Happy August, I made a promise to my 96 year old dad when he was in the process of dying. Although I didn’t agree with his request, I did fulfill my promise to him… Glad that I did.
    Thanks, Cindi

  35. This book makes you stop and think before speaking even to someone on their death bed. We should know what promises we can do and make before making a commitment. We should turned to God and asked him him for his blessing before making any decision. We should also consider what we are able to do in our life in order to make any promises, present and future. Prayers can always be a blessing. I always try to keep my word in any situation. I can’t wait to read this book.

  36. Hello Wanda,
    I have made promises and even though I did everything I could to keep it, things didn’t work out the way I had planned. The problem with making promises is that we are not in control of everything or everybody and so we can’t predict the outcome of some things. Yes, I feel guilty for not keeping my promise, however, I know that the one promise that really counts is that I am saved.
    I don’t tend to promise much anymore unless it is something I know I can keep that promise. Otherwise, I just do the best that I can.

  37. I can’t wait for my copy of new book to get here. I love all of Wanda’s books. I have several of her cookbooks also. Love them. Thank you for the opportunity to win 4 seasons cookbook.

  38. After making a promise to my daet many years ago,, I had to break that promise because of his declining health. Through alot of prayer and Gods blessings I am at peace with my decision. Your books and cookbooks have been an inspiration. Much lieb and blessings.

  39. As a visually impaired child growing up in the big city I didn’t have friends and my parents limited our out door time I had my music so I was ok then after much thought I went to my parents and made promises I hoped I could keep to my mom I promised a high school diploma to my dad that I would always take care of my vision and go to the eye doctors as needed I was able to keep my promises and also gave my mom a college degree I wanted them to know how much I appreciated all they did for me Now that they are gone I feel the best promise was god allowing me to live a normal life and to know you do not always need to see your heart feels

  40. I take a promise very seriously. As a child, sadly I learned early on, that a promise from someone doesn’t mean it will ever be. As a parent and grandparent, I try to be very careful in how I respond to requests. More often it is, ‘yes, I want to be there, or I plan to do that with you.

  41. Keeping a promise is a sacred thing to me. I’ve had promises made to me that were broken so I know how it feels. Better not to make one than break one!
    Wanda, I was wondering if you’d ever visited Etheridge Tennessee? A quaint little Amish town that my husband and I enjoyed visiting. We camped there in our RV.

  42. Loved meeting you in Pinecraft last Spring, and I enjoy all your books. Thank you for blessing so many with your writing.

  43. To make a promise like that without considering you may need help can be reckless. I understand the situation and all but she should have been allowed to at least get help or be able to reach out to others for guidance.

  44. We should be very careful not to make promises we can’t keep. We should try very hard to keep our promises. However, if there is something beyond our control, that is a different situation and there shouldn’t be guilt.

  45. I made a promise once to help a friend, but then found out at the minute that keeping this promise would put me in a situation where people would be doing things I didn’t agree with and knew it could damage my image as a Christian. Telling this friend I couldn’t help her due to these circumstances really made my friend mad. She felt bad towards me and I felt bad for not being able to keep my promise, but felt I had to.

  46. I feel that we shouldn’t make promises to the Lord because we are of the flesh and are not perfect, but we should still try to do the very best that we can. It’s one thing to make a promise to someone and something happens that you can’t keep it, but to make a promise and go on with life, then not think about it again says something about your character. When we make a promise to the Lord and don’t keep it, then we hurt the Lord. We should just always do our best at anything that we do and strive to do better than good. Your word means something.

  47. I loved reading The STore Keeper’s daughter and I have read most of your books. You have a writing ministry that reaches our hearts.

  48. Yes, I had to break promises in the past due to unforseen circumstances. I felt terrible about it, but thankful that person was understanding about my situation.
    Most times now I will not totally commit myself to doing things. But instead I will always offer a helping hand if I’m able… that way I’m not feeling bad if I have to back out of a task.

  49. Hi Wanda:

    I love your Sometimes we may make a promise, really feeling that we can keep it. Then life does everything it can to prevent us from keeping it. I don’t make promises because I know how hard it can be to keep it. I say I will do my very best to do what someone wants me to do.

    I just love your books. Reading them makes my heart feel so much closer to God.

  50. Yes I have made promises and have always tried to keep them. If there is such a time I can’t then I will Call them or see in person and explain why and offer to do another time. but its always good to THINK first before you promise something.

  51. I have never liked to make promises because I know because of circumstances, they can be hard to keep. As our children were growing up, I would say, “if it works out, we want to do such and such”. Sometimes we would just keep a surprise a secret until getting to the destination.

  52. I can’t recall a time where I made that I didn’t keep. I did make a promise that I felt I shouldn’t have made but I follow through with the promise anyways because I felt like I couldn’t break my promise. I had a lot of heartache from keeping that promise because I thought I had to keep my word no matter what.

  53. Your books are true to life enjoy reading them. Promises we do feel bad when we can’t complete the promise made. Our parents brought us up this way so I don’t promise much any more…I just try to do things.

  54. Hi Wanda, I absolutely love reading your books my favorite out of your books was the amish cooking classes that Heidi troyer taught. I just had my 37th birthday July 28th and it would be cool to win one of your cook books or books. Thanks

  55. Bless God! I have not always followed through like I should have, so I try to not make promises. In fact, I am leery of doing so. If someone wants to know if I will do something– even if I’m pretty sure I can follow through on it–I will let that person know, “I will plan on that.” Or, “That will be my plan.” Or, “No promises, but I really will plan to do that.” If I want, or feel it’s necessary, I will let the person know, “No promises, but I will plan on that. I don’t want to shoot my mouth off and make a promise and then not follow through with it.”

  56. Unfortunately I have made promises and not been able to keep them. It is heart crushing when that happens. All I can do is apologize and ask for forgiveness. I work hard now to not do that, I don’t make promises any longer but instead say that I will do my best. We all make mistakes and need to use them as learning opportunities instead of being so hard on ourselves.

    1. When I make a promise to someone, I always keep it. I expect this in return. If it is not, it is very hurtful. Also your trust in that person has become less.

  57. I can’t ever imagine the fear, loss, hurt of having a family member be kidnapped. I look forward to reading this book!
    Thank you so much for your wonderful books you write. They give me peace and spur me on in my Christian faith to seek to follow and serve our LORD JESUS CHRIST .
    Sweetest Regards
    Pamela

  58. People need to think really hard before they make a promise, I do not make one unless I am almost positive I will be able to keep it.
    I love your books.

  59. Hi Wanda,
    I also love going to Holmes County Ohio. I had been going there every year for several years but since Covid hit, I have missed the last 3 years. It is a family vacation that we always took in April. We usually stay at the Carlisle Inn in Walnut Creek. It is just so peaceful and relaxing there. We love to go to the shops and the restaurants. Such a wonderful area. We also love the furniture that the Amish make and have brought several pieces home. Thank you for writing your books, I love to read them!

  60. Mrs. Wanda, hello! First of all, I love your books!! You are one of my favorite authors. Yes, I have made a promise that I was unable to keep. The person was in a bad situation and needed help. I had to tell the appropriate people so they could get the help they needed.

  61. I Love reading your books and the your journals about new book. Amish people are living a simply live that I love very touching book.

  62. Promises are so very personal. I try to never make a promise unless I feel that I can and will keep it. The last few years I’ve been dealing with major health issues that make it impossible to keep promises all the time. In the beginning I felt so guilty. However I have learned to not make promises. Instead I tell the person I will try my best to do whatever but there is a chance I can’t. It took me a year or so to learn that all I can do is my best. My integrity is sill intact and my word is still good.

  63. I love your writing. You write from the heart. Having grown up with four brothers, I know the importance of family connections throughout the years and sharing love of God and family. At one time there was an Amish Bakery in Buford, Georgia and I was able to purchase baked goods. My family and I loved them. God bless you always.

  64. One of my favorite books! There has been times that I’ve made a promise that no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t keep. I apologized but felt so guilty.

  65. It seems that making promises is always subject to circumstances. So, perhaps if we feel compelled to make a promise , we need to qualify it with “I’ll try my best”, or, ” if God wills”.

  66. I don’t make promises very often. Only if there is a reason to believe I could keep it and that no one would be hurt or betrayed by it. I would feel very guilty otherwise if the promise had to be broken. I have never broken a real promise, just kid stuff when we were all kids and professed to be friends forever etc.

  67. As much as it depends on me, I do my best to keep promises, but life happens and some things are simply out of my control. It’s not always easy to give myself grace where needed and I’m often my worst critic. I hope to teach my children to be people who are counted on to keep their word, but to A). Make promises that are reasonable and B). To give themselves grace when things are out of their control and the outcome isn’t what they’d intended or hoped.

  68. This is often a very perplexing thing when keeping a promise may not always be the best way to go and may be hurtful or harmful to someone. Sometimes, I think, you need to pray about it to know what is right to do.

  69. Making promises we can not keep is a very hard thing. We need to try never to make a promise that we don’t plan to keep. If it seems to happen then we need to apologize and pray that the Lord will help us to not do that again.

  70. I was unable to keep a promise to my best friend. I shouldn’t have promised her something I couldn’t deliver. I didn’t know she was that sick and would pass away. I regret telling her everything would be fine.

  71. I promised my best friend I’d take her to lunch first of this year. Due to medical issues of my own, I haven’t been able to keep that promise. But, now that I’ve battled through a couple medical issues, I feel I need to make good on that promise. I still feel guilty though for not following through earlier which I could have. Praying I follow through very soon.

  72. I believe promises should not be made lightly. Some good thought and soul searching should be done prior to making a promise, even if you have to delay an answer in order to do so. In the event a promise is made and can not be fulfilled, be honest and forgiving to yourself and notify the person if possible that promise was broken along with an explanation.

  73. I try not to make a promise. Because if you break a promise you loose some of the trust that person has in you. Breaking a promise not only hurts you but also the person you promise.

  74. I try very hard to keep all of my promises. Truth be told, I occasionally slip, but I always believe it is for a good reason.

  75. It is so important to teach our young children the importance of keeping promises and not telling someone else’s news.

  76. For instance, if its like a huge promises, i can tell them i will try my best to full-filled that promise but not get their hopes up because there are things that might happened to prevent that promise to be full filled! The only thing i can do after a promise that couldnt be done is that we pray about it and hope that it will one day that promise can happened! I try my best not to get upset and i do what i can for that other person not to get upset! plans and other stuff changes on daily basis and all we can do is make the best out of that day! just make every day counts and count your blessings and pray for others!

  77. I have made a promise I could not keep. Eventually though I found this person and am trying my best to keep him safe.

  78. Yes, in the past I have made some promises that I was unable to keep and they did make me feel guilty. I apologized to those whom I was unable to successfully carry out my promises to and I hope they didn’t hold a grudge against me. Now I don’t make any promises unless I know that I am able to keep them.

  79. There aren’t enough words to tell you how much I love your books, all of them. I just ordered #3 Apple Creek. I haven’t read #1 & #2 yet. Want to wait until I get the rest. So anxious to read them.

  80. The Storekeeper’s Daughter was the very first book of yours that I read many years ago and I’ve enjoyed them all since( I am now letting my almost 16yr old sister read them and she’s almost halfway through the Quilter’s Daughter and she loves them! I think the only time you should never keep a promise to someone is if by keeping that promise the person or yourself would be in
    any kind of danger. Growing up my parents never promised my siblings and I, they said “we’ll see” or “we will try our best” I’m so very thankful for loving Godly Parents that continue to show me how to love others and how to grow in my walk with the Lord!

  81. Hello Wanda, I believe if someone tells us that we have to promise not to tell another person what they are going to tell us before they tell it, then don’t make that promise. Because you have no idea what they are going to say. They may tell you something that the police, a doctor, a counselor, or social services needs to be involved in. Never, ever make that kind of promise. Because that is a moral and ethical issue that you would have to live with for the rest of your life, because they could kill themself. Or could be starving themself, anorexic. That person might tell you he, or she, is going to blow up a school or building and if you did go to the police, then they will try to say you were in on it. There are so many scenarios. It is just best not to make promises.

  82. I have never made a promise to someone that I could not keep.
    You should not make a promise to someone if it goes against God’s Will.
    If I could not keep a promise I made to someone I would explain to them why I could not keep it. It is important to put our promises into perspective and not blame ourselves because we would be down grading ourselves and making us feel guilty. It may lower our self esteem which could also harm our physical health.