Dear Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar,
When I watched that very first episode of your show, which at the time was 17 Kids and Counting, I could hardly have imagined the journey that you would inadvertently take my family. Never before have I been influenced so profoundly by a television show…….how could I, when most have cast members playing fictitious characters. Even the Christian television’s ‘cream of the crop’, shows like Little House on the Prairie and The Waltons, cannot compare to a real-life family who is willing to throw open the doors to their daily life, all so that we can get a glimpse of what living for Christ is really like. At the end of the day, that is what your show is really about…..not about your debt-free life, not about the home that you built with your own hands, and not even about all of those wonderful children that you have…….the heart of your show is about Christ, and that heart spoke to mine……..forever changing my family’s life.
I was already a believer when I heard about you, and I had already homeschooled my children before. The desires to have more children were there long before I learned about all of your children, but a stupid mistake had taken that dream away (or so I thought). Everything your family stands for had been etched on my heart for years, but I allowed circumstances, bad decisions and pressures to fit into modern society to cripple me, preventing me from making that stand for Christ as you had done. But one day, there you were in my living room, and God spoke to me as I watched your documentary, ’14 Children and Pregnant Again!’.
I have compiled a list of the 6 most profound ways in which you have altered our lives and for which we will always be grateful:
1. Thank you for giving me the strength to turn my back on the world. I didn’t even know that I was living for the world, let alone that I needed to turn my back on it. I thought that having two children was responsible, having a mortgage was necessary, and that learning about God was done on Sundays. Even though I had read the Bible before your show, I did not know that there were people out there that actually lived their lives based on His Word, not based on what society deemed appropriate. I gave up raising my own children and homeschooling them, so that I could start a business with the gift of art that God had given me. I really thought I was using my talents for the good of God, but after a few years I knew that I had deceived myself…….I had really just gone after the proverbial ‘brass ring’. By the time I had realized this, we had become accustomed to the income that I was bringing in, so changing my mind did not seem like an option. When your show had first appeared on my television, I was sick with worry over my children’s spiritual lives, I wanted desperately to be home with them as God intended, and I wanted a life for my family that was filled with serving God. You and your family made me realize that I could lead a different life…….one far away from my comfort zone, and one like no other I had ever seen in my own circle of friends and family. If I would just give up my preconceived notions of a ‘Christian Life’, and give up my will to God, I could live beyond my wildest dreams.
Your show and books were essential to me in those first few months after I took my kids out of school, started homeschooling and living my life for Christ. I poured over your suggestions, watched your examples, and researched your suggested resources. I know from the depths of my soul, that God led me to you and your life’s mission…….and words cannot express my gratitude. Although those days were filled with wonder over all of the changes that were taking place…..good things like being with my children all day, learning about God as a family, and learning to listen to God’s small, still voice when making decisions……there were many dark and lonely times as well. Friends and family did not immediately understand this transformation in us, and they certainly did not understand our desire for more children. We met much resistance over our new way of life. I always brought your family back to my mind when those times became darkest, and through God’s light my family was finally able to shine in our own right.
2. Thank you for giving me back the opportunity to be blessed. “Children are a blessing from God.” How many times have I heard you guys say this?! Yet, I was pressured at a very young age that children should be treated as very expensive luxury’s. All of the women in my family had their tubes tied after two children, so it was suggested that I do the same after having two babies born prematurely…..that surgery would turn out to be one of my biggest regrets in life. After watching your show for a year, the desire to have more children became almost unbearable, yet what could I do? Little did I know that your message of blessings would catapult my family into the world of foster care, and that God would bless us with children who needed a home…….even if it is not forever. It’s amazing how God answers our prayers, and not always in the ways in which we asked them.
3. Thank you for introducing me to the Maxwell Family and Banker Boxes. I own all of your books…..obviously, or I would never have heard of either of those two things. But now, I own most of the Maxwell’s books as well! What an awesome family, what an awesome ministry that they run over there at http://www.titus2.com, and what an awesome set of materials that they have to help us poor, disorganized, homeschooling, souls! You use Chore Packs for your younger kids, but I was so frustrated with my two teens about their lack of chore remembrance, that I used them on a 14 and 15-year-old! I got such a kick out of watching them explain to their friends and family why they had little plastic pouches clipped to their shirts, reminding them to take out the trash and feed the dogs! My home would also still be in chaos, had it not been for your suggestion of banker boxes to organize everything in your home from a Thanksgiving Day platter to hand-me-down clothes …….now they practically hold up the walls in my home, as every closet and storage area is stacked ceiling high with them!
4. Thank you for taming this red-headed wife and mother. Michelle, sometimes I feel as if you are talking directly to me. I was such a loud and crass woman before deciding to take back my kids and my life……….however, before I would have simply called myself a ‘Strong, Confidant, Self-Reliant Christian Woman’. I reasoned that owning a painting business, which is predominantly an all-male business (the house painting part, not the mural part) required a woman who could ‘hold her own’; not only in conversation, but also in manual labor. I was a fool. Not only did I end up with a lot of aches and pains that are not meant to be withstood from a female body, but also a spirit that is not conducive to the Proverbs 31 woman. Watching you and learning about your journey through your books was like having a crash course in “Meek and Quiet Spirit to Honor God and Your Husband 101”. I have not cussed in three years, I strive to speak softly to my children when they are not doing right (that is still difficult for me…..must be that red-headed Scottish blood 🙂 ) and to honor God by honoring my husband. Learning to be submissive to my husband has in turn strengthened my marriage in ways I didn’t think possible. Being meek and quiet did not make me weak like I thought it would, but made me a stronger mom for my children. I will never be as sweet and soft as you are, but studying God’s Word on the subject, and having you for an example has brought me such peace and contentment in my marriage, in my family and in God’s plan for my life…….my children and husband thank you!
5. Thank you for being such a humble and gentle servant. Jim Bob, at times I thought my husband was going to throw a shoe at the screen, as he was so mad at you for making him look so bad! My husband and I are perfect for each other, as we are both very loud, very passionate, and very head strong. Learning to temper those traits for the glory of God has been a three-year-long journey that has brought many blessings, but also many tears. You make it look so effortless, but being the head of the household, not only in the physical sense, but also in the spiritual sense, is not an easy thing to do. Although he was very reluctant at first, following your example has brought my husband from the reluctant leader to the firm head of our home. Knowing that everything you do is backed by God’s Word, and watching you implement that time and again on your show, has made my husband seek out answers from God instead of from within himself. I am so proud of the man he has become. My children and I thank you!
6. Thank you for seeking council from Christ and from your parents: This is for all of you awesome Duggar children, and yes, creepy as it sounds, my family knows all of your names. To Josh, Jana, John David, Jill, Jessa, Jinger, Joseph, Josiah, Joy-Anna, Jedidiah, Jeremiah, Jason, James, Justin, Jackson, Johanna, Jennifer, Jordyn, Josie, and also to Anna, Mackynzie, Michael and baby Marcus………we thank you. You have proven to today’s contemporary children that living your young lives for Christ is the right thing to do, that being friends with your siblings is actually fun, and that your parents (not outside influences) have your best interests at heart. I applaud you on your integrity, and bow to your show of strength. May God continue to bless each one of you as you walk out your faith in Him.
I hope that our story reinforces the fact that what you do on your show, in Christ’s name, actually encourages other families. Through you and your family, God is changing lives and changing hearts. So, from this homeschooling family in Virginia, we thank you for all that you do. We love your show, we are in awe of God’s work through you and your family, and we pray that all of you remain safe and protected in the ‘reality-television world’.
Dave, Kat, D.J., Casey, Coconut and Goldilocks……….
To all of my readers here at Raising Servants of Christ, you can learn all about the Duggars (just on the off-chance that you actually haven’t heard of them or their awesome family) here: http://www.duggarfamily.com or about Josh and Anna Duggar here: http://ja20.com/