Sunday, September 26, 2010
Find a Conviction an Go With It
I have known about the Duggars and their nineteen (the oldest is married with a child of his own) children for a while--well, since they had only fourteen children! Their family interested me, but I always wrote them off as a bit of a circus side-show. I don't think I ever judged them ill for having many children because I think there are a lot worse things you can do with your life. (And, incidentally, why is it that people think they can criticize those with big families--often so cruelly?) But the other day, I actually visited their website and read their story. When I mentioned this to my friend (who home schools, home-births, eats whole foods, doesn't vaccinate and treats her family illnesses at home with essential oils and onion poultices for as long as possible), she asked, "Are they kooks?"
No, they really aren't. I mean, sure, they are a little odd, but who isn't? We all have our little odd parts. The girls all wear dresses and the boys tuck in their shirts. They read the Bible and aren't ashamed to tell us what they've learned. They take music lessons and their family car is a bus. I have to say, I am inspired by their conviction. In this country of one or two kids max, they have to be of strong character to keep doing what they believe is right.
This is briefly what happened (you can read their longer version on their website if you are interested). When they were first married, they didn't think they wanted a large family. They thought they would have children, but some day, not right away. She was on birth control for four years and then they had their first, a son. They figured they would have another, but wanted to space them responsibly; she went back on the pill. When she conceived on the pill* and miscarried, they (like all of us who experience miscarriage) were heavyhearted. But when the read the fine print of the pill's packaging and discussed with their doctor the fact that the use of the pill may have contributed to the death of their baby, they were devastated. They went to the Lord. They studied the Bible and prayed for direction. The only things they could find in scripture about children were words like treasure, gift, blessing, loved, and delight. They prayed that Father would help them love children the way He loves them. And they promised to welcome as many children into their home as He saw fit to send.
What, of that, is worthy of criticism? Having the courage to obey divine direction? Being willing to turn their backs on the world's definition of a "normal" family? Giving up other aspirations to unselfishly submit to the plan of the Father? How many of us can say we live our lives with as much dedication to our convictions? Few, I'd wager.
I will never be like the Duggars. For one thing, my body doesn't work that way. Though I was on birth control for only the first two months of marriage, my children have come two or more years apart. There are things I would certainly do differently in my own family. I do believe, however, that everyone has a genius and if we learn from those to whom it comes more naturally, we don't have to learn things the hard way. I think this family has a few genius ideas from which we could all benefit.
Today's pearls of wisdom from the Duggar Family: In the running of a family or a life, it is a good idea to think in the following order. God, others, yourself.
And there is your Sabbath Day sermon from Preacher MotherShip. I will now step down from the pulpit.
*This is not a rant about the evils of birth control. The decision to use birth control is a personal and private decision between a woman, her husband, and their god. I am not blanketly against the use of it.