5 Things I’ve learned from Josh Duggar

I was a Duggar fan.  You know the Duggar family?  From Arkansas, Jim Bob {you cannot make some of this stuff up} and Michelle and their, well, 19 kids.  They are conservative Christians, perhaps ultra-conservative would be more fitting.  They home school. They organize their pantry like a grocery store {dreamy}.  The kids do chores {actually do them & smile – at least on t.v.}.  They wear ridiculous swimming costumes {pulling out my British on this one}.  They talk a lot about God & the Bible.

I have to admit I was skeptical at first sight.  I know absolutely no one with a family that large & I know no mother who never raises her voice at her children, especially with 19 of them.  They’re a bit of an oddity.  But like any good freak show, I had to rubberneck it & couldn’t stop watching.  {not that I think they’re a freak show…just something SO different it’s freaky…in a good way…maybe…or not…i don’t know} Perhaps I admired Michelle a bit for the way she remained calm & peaceful, the way she lowered her head to look directly into the eyes of her little ones when correcting their behaviour.  So unlike my own way, which often involves my flailing of arms & yelling into the abyss hoping words land on the child they are directed towards.  I’m more of a tornado.  Michelle?  A calm wave washing up on the shore.  At least on t.v.  Which is the trouble with reality television.  Anyway…

josh duggarIf you haven’t yet heard, let me fill you in.  Seems the eldest Duggar child, Josh, has run himself into a humdinger of a situation. After last month’s scandal in which he confessed to making bad decisions as a young teen & behaving most inappropriately with his sisters, this latest yuck involves his inappropriateness as an adult.   Seems he decided looking at porn & cheating on his wife were excellent decisions.  Yikes!  All this while he tooted his horn about the importance of family values and morals and ethics.  Double Yikes!  His name appeared on the Ashley Madison hacker lists & he fessed up & said he was sorry.  I don’t know if he’s sorry he cheated on his wife or if he’s sorry he got caught cheating on his wife…and really that’s not for me to determine.  I can’t see his heart {thank heavens!} so this matter lies only between him & God.  I’ll keep my own self out of it.

What I do know is the more I thought about the whole thing, the more I read the ick that folks posted on social media, the more I had to sit back & do some thinking.  Here’s what this simple mind thought:

  1. Sometime Reality Isn’t Real.  For the past how many years, I cannot even count, I’ve watched Josh Duggar on t.v. with his wife, Anna.  I watched them awkwardly side hug upon his proposal.  I watched them more awkwardly kiss when they said “I do”.  I watched Anna give birth at their home {more than once} & I’ve watched them hang out at Josh’s used car lot, just so they didn’t have to be apart so long.  It all looked like it was on the up & up.  Awkward.  But genuine love.  But reality isn’t always real.  What happens behind closed doors sometimes {many times} is different than what we actually see.  On t.v. and with our friends down the street.  No ones life is exactly on-point at all times.
  2. People Fail.  It can be good to have people to look up to, admire, think are worthy of imitating.  I’m all for finding friends & mentors to help with life.  But remember #1 {reality isn’t always real}.  People are going to fail.  Even the most upstanding citizen with all the character qualities you’d like to fill yourself with is not perfect.  To elevate them to a place that only Jesus should occupy will leave you, well, feeling like you have to rub their face in the dirt all over social media.  Reserve the pedestal for Jesus!
  3. We Are Not Called To Critique Everyone.  Speaking of social media, where in the name of all things good in this world did we get the stupid idea that we can go about being the critiquers of everything on the social media airwaves?  Let some things remain unsaid.  Shut up. It doesn’t all need to flow from your fingers to the screen.  Even if it’s the truest truth that’s ever been true, you may not have earned the right to say it.  Save your criticism for people you have built actual relationships with.  And then social media may not be {is not} your best avenue.
  4. Mama, You’re Doing A Great Job.  I don’t know Michelle at all.  But I can imagine that at least once in the past week she’s questioned what she did wrong.  It’s what us moms do.  All us moms.  We have this idea that if we do just what we’re supposed to do, at the absolute correct time, in the right way, with the exact tone of voice & proper balance of grace, then we get kids that are perfect.  It’s like a math equation: A+B=C.  And then if our kid goes all rogue, we assume we have failed.  But breaking news, our kids are not us.  They are them.  And, regardless of our attempts to control them {or is that just me?}, they make their own decision. Good ones.  And bad ones too.  Not because us moms failed, but because they’re human.  Just like us.  They wander! We do the best we know to do.  We love them with as much love as we know to give.  They grow up & fly.  Sometimes they fly high & straight.  Sometimes they fly directly into a tree.  But it’s not all on us.  They get to chose their path.  And our success as moms cannot be determined by the flight path that our children take.  Look at Adam & Eve.  Two sons.  One kills the other.  Did Eve fail?  I don’t think so.  I think her son did.
  5. God Still Uses Losers.  This is not just good news for Josh.  This is great news for me.  Because truth be told, I’m a failure too.  Maybe not as a registered user of an adultery website cheating on my spouse while whacking people over the head with my family values Bible verses, but I’m equally as awful.  And I seem to remember a certain Bible guy who was pretty awful too.  David.  If he had Ashley Madison available to him, he’d have been on.  Absolutely.  But old school BC required just a lady next door taking a bath on her roof {and being the king helped too}.  He got her pregnant.  And then had her hubby killed.  Can you imagine the social media backlash?  {course, as king he’s more a kin to Pres. Clinton so maybe never mind}  But God still used him.  His life was covered with God.  Covered.  Not tomorrow, but after time & growth & strengthening.  God covered his life with Him.  God can use a loser.  Hope is NEVER lost.   hallelujah!

I would not in million years want to be inside the Duggar world right now.  The pain.  The lies.  The betrayal.  The hurt.  The, well, yuck!  I don’t want to be a fly on their wall.  I cannot fathom the thoughts that are streaming through Anna’s mind as she is up feeding a newborn baby.  Sin is ugly & it lays a path of disaster from it’s center, reaching more than the one in the middle, but to all those standing near.  I have no opinions on how anyone should handle anything about this…I’ve not lived this…I have not earned the right to speak into their lives…and truly, I honestly have no idea.  But I hope that whatever direction they fly, they fly with the strength of God beneath their wings & with the hope of Christ leading the direction.  May they ignore the noise, be still & listen to the voice they know as truth, even if they’ve ignored it before.  He still uses losers.

Go do it!

ezra 10.4 What’s your assignment today?  Love on someone?  Offer grace?  Be a humble helper?  Change a wrong, forgive a friend, celebrate another’s victory?  Our tasks aren’t always huge, enormous, change-the-entire-world things.  Dare I say those assignments are rare.  More often they’re the little everyday things that are talked about throughout the Word.  Sometimes they are joyful and easy.  But sometimes they’re I-don’t-want-to-do-this hard.  But He says “get up! get going! and do it!”

And we can’t just focus on our tasks.  We are to be the “we are with you” folks too.  We must be there for our sisters & brothers as they’re arising and doing what they need to do.

Two parts- get up & get to work on your tasks & support those who are also getting up & getting their stuff done!