Parenting

An Open Letter to Anna Duggar

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Dear Anna,

My heart is just breaking for you. You weathered the storms God had for you in March, when news of your husband’s past failures became public knowledge. I am thankful you were told about this heartache long before you were married and I admire your willingness to forgive Josh for the sins of his youth. It was unfair that all of those records were illegally released and you had to bear the brunt of the news. It was obvious to me that Jesus was the one who sustained you as you endured the media blitz that followed this news.

I watched your family process this great attack in the public eye. Obviously, your in-laws’ decision to make their family life into a reality show was one that was made without your input, before you were a part of their family. You started your courtship with Josh with all of America tuning in. A courtship is enough pressure (as they rarely end in anything but marriage), but you took on that process knowing that cameras and tabloids were part of the gig. I bet back then you never imagined your family being dragged through the media gauntlet you’re experiencing today. I bet back then you never dreamed you would have to defend your marriage to a country that does not want to understand your commitment. So many things have been thrust upon you, all because the man you chose to marry is a part of an iconic celebrity family in America.

The fame may have been fun for a while. As a stay-at-home-mom myself, I am always looking for extra sources of income, and you walked right into a heap of extra money to help provide for your family. As an added bonus, you have videos to document so many parts of your life. Your courtship, your engagement, the birth of your first three children — you have professionally made videos that capture all of these precious moments and I cannot image how much of a treasure that must be to your heart.

But I know that today the fame is not fun.

Researchers estimate (although an exact number is hard to know because some affairs remain a secret) that between 3 and 18 percent of marriages of people your age have a spouse who will be unfaithful at some point. I know you never dreamt your family would contribute to these numbers. I do not think anyone ever expects this kind of betrayal, but here you are living it out. And not just living it out like the average American, you are living it out in front of every American. Your name, your face, your husband, your children — they are all now open targets for late night TV hosts, comedians, every news channel, and anyone with a blog.

Anna, you are standing so strong. I admire that you are, according to reports, looking for anything you may have done wrong. I know people will attack you for that, but I know that is where I would have to start this process, too. We have to take time to saw off the log from our own eye before we can start to remove the spec from our neighbor’s eye. And furthermore, the only heart that YOU can change is YOUR OWN. You have no control over what your husband does right now, but you have complete control over what you do. Others may not understand our Christian faith and how it informs our views of marriage, but you are the one who will answer for your decisions in the aftermath of these revelations, not anyone else.

I wish I knew you personally, because I would love to bring you a cup of your favorite coffee. I would hold your newborn and let you take an extra long nap. I would love to take your 3 oldest to a park so you could enjoy some alone time with your new baby. These are the things you should be focusing on today. You should be working to get to know your new baby, striving to sleep when you can, and enjoying your husband and four children. That is what you should be doing today. Instead, I imagine you are in hiding, trying desperately to hold onto your family while also trying to shield your children from cameras when you pick up milk for your kitchen from the store. I wish I could help shield you from all of this. You did not ask for it, but you are forced to live through it. I wish I could take this heavy load from you, but I know that the best person for the job — Jesus — promises to do this for each of us. He says that you, even in the midst of an unfaithful husband and a family that you must keep sheltered from the media, can place all of your problems on Him. Jesus said:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

Jesus promised He will give us His light and easy load in exchange for all of our heartache.

Stay strong, Anna. I have seen so many women—many of them from my own family—who have stayed faithful to their marriages even in the face of pornography addictions and unfaithfulness. You made a vow almost seven years ago before God, all of your witnesses, and Josh. You know exactly how God feels about divorce and you know that He always wants us to fight for our marriages. There is hope. You can stay devoted to your faith and to your husband; I have seen others live through this. They come out stronger on the other side. They come out closer to Jesus than they ever knew was possible. The world may not understand. They may criticize and call you crazy. But the good news here is that you do not answer to the court of public opinion. You owe nothing to the people on TV. You answer to God alone and your conscious will be clear before Him. Continue to hold strong. You will be an amazing example to your four children, to your young brothers- and sisters-in-law, and to your nieces and nephews for years to come. God will get the glory as you obey Him, even through these dark days. God is faithful. He will give you what you need for each moment.

Your Sister in Christ,

Brianna

 

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Image via YouTube