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This morning I set out to discover more about the latest Josh Duggar story. Yesterday I had caught wind of the allegations and I read his response last night. At first I assumed the most positive aspects, “Yay! His dad reported it! The kid repented and got help! Shouldn’t we all just forgive and forget?”

As I read the report this morning, I joined the ranks of people who do not sit well with this latest news. Look, I like the Duggars. I really do. I don’t watch them religiously or anything, but I respect people who want to do their own thing. I watch them with the same interest that I do Sister Wives. I love Michelle’s soft spoken nature, but I want to fix her hair so badly I can’t stand it. (Those bangs!)

What bothers me so much about this latest revelation is this: what was “known” went on in the house for at least a year, on multiple occasions. What was “reported” was not handled correctly. At all. AT ALL. The son did not get counseling, the victims did not get counseling, the police officer (who is serving his own sentence now) did not report it, and the church didn’t respond appropriately.

It is our job as Christians and it’s the job of the church to stand up for those who cannot. PERIOD. 

As a parent to a daughter and a son, I understand the trepidation of teaching your child about sex. I do. But I also know that it’s my job as their mother to protect their bodies until they can protect it themselves …even from their own siblings. How can we talk about all lives being valuable when we don’t value the lives that are here on this earth? These girls needed a voice. I just feel the situation was mishandled. Due to the fact that the eldest Duggar didn’t receive any real consequences, I’m concerned that there was never an opportunity for true repentance.

Obviously I’m not there and I’m not a judge, but I would not trust my child to be alone in that situation based on the facts that have been presented before me. Do I believe God will forgive any sin? Wholeheartedly. Do I hope that true repentance has happened? Most definitely. Am I still allowed to be skeptical? You betcha.

This is what I’m most concerned about — I hope and pray the media and people don’t try to list the identities of the victims. I realize that any intelligent person can put two and two together and figure out at least 4 of the victims, but these girls deserve to have their names removed from this context. Trying to label them and hold them up as examples when they don’t want to be the face of this investigation further victimizes them. If one steps forward and presents herself as a face, that’s one thing. We can still bring light to the fact that what he did was wrong without hashing the intimate details of the victims.

I believe that is a good opportunity for us as parents to revisit our parenting in this area. Am I doing a good job in giving my child age appropriate sex education? Do my kids understand that their bodies are theirs? Do they know to report any words or touching that makes them uncomfortable, from anyone? Have I established myself as a safe place for my child? Do I encourage secrets or discourage them? Have I created a home where they are valued and they know their worth?

My heart is broken this morning, because this happens in far more areas and more homes than this media-spotlighted family. We must be advocates for the widows and orphans — which means those who need our help.

What are we doing to be a voice? 

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resting in faithfulness

Have you ever had a conversation with a successful entrepreneur? If you haven’t, I encourage you to find one and see what makes them tick. My cousin is one, and he has more energy than anyone I have ever met. He goes 90 to nothing and doesn’t see why other people aren’t jumping on opportunities they see. He can see them, and he does see them everywhere he goes. Every place is a new idea and new money to be made. Yesterday, as I was talking to my cousin, he was telling me about a new business venture he wants me to potentially help him run. For him, the details were just that — details. Websites, advertisements, videos — those things were nothing to crank out and move on so we could get to the meat of the business.

Me? I just saw all the details. The unknowns. While everything sounded awesome, I realized quickly that I would have to just accept the fact that I would probably be terrified for weeks and maybe months. I worried, “What if I let someone down? What if I didn’t know the answer? What if I wasn’t good at this? Would I travel? Would the travel take me from the kids?”

Five minutes in and I’m panicking over a hypothetical babysitter for a hypothetical trip.

Of course I would never let him know this, and I couldn’t. I was too swept up in his vision he had created. I was amazed by his drive and his faith to see it come to completion. He knows it can make a difference, and he also knows that he would work his tail off to make it happen. Businesses grow through hard work.

This morning, I was studying the fruit of spirit of “faithfulness.” I’ve always told people that I wanted people to know me as someone who was faithful. I’ve always admired those people who held firm their whole life on their convictions. I think now that I’ve limited myself to what I think that word means, and not actually taken the time to expand upon its impact to me as a believer.

So many times I see people like my cousin and people around me who are making a difference in this world and I wonder why I’m not there yet. I have this “massive” (where is that sarcasm font?) influence of about all of 30 people who read the words I put here on this screen and I wonder why people don’t like me. Or why they don’t comment. Or why I don’t grow. Or why I’m not making a difference. The truth is, I’m often so afraid to put myself out there. I just want to write these words and people magically come to this blog with its messed up design and love it. I see these other women who are being used by God and I want their stories. I’m convinced they are so much better than mine.

But being faithful isn’t about those things. Being faithful isn’t solely about doing things for the kingdom. Faithfulness is a fruit of the spirit. A FRUIT. Fruit, by their very definition, are a result of what the plant produces. A strawberry does not just grow itself. A strawberry is a result of the plant being a strawberry plant. If these fruits of the spirit are fruits of the spirit, then they are the result of being in and a part of the spirit. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control… none of these things are a result of me producing them on my own, but by being a part of the spirit. They are God-given attributes that we fertilize and produce when we remain a part of the vine.

Faithfulness is not about how hard I work to produce it. It’s about growing and resting in God’s teachings and his promises, and faithfulness will naturally produce itself without me trying to work so hard to cultivate it.

Proverbs 3:1a — “My daughter (I’m not a son), do not forget my teaching.”

What does He teach me?

I am chosen. I am loved. I am a child of the king. He has plans for me. His yoke is easy and his burden is light. He must increase and I must decrease. I am to follow and trust him. I am to wait on his promises. I love because He first loved me. I am of great worth. I am more valuable than rubies. I am forgiven. I can be used, just where I am.

And on and on and on.

Will I ever be beyond these walls? Will I do the big and scary things of my life? Or will I continue in this path until the day I no longer breathe?

Does it matter?

First I’m called to abide. To just let the vine be a part of me. That’s a lot of pressure off me, personally, knowing it’s not about me producing it. I’m just supposed to rest in it.

We can all rest in it.

Fruit

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I’ve been struggling with my “calling” for a long time. Being a wife and mother has been the greatest adventure of my life, but there have been a part of me that feels like there’s something else I should do. I look at other women who are following God’s direction for their life and I wonder why I long to do more. Something more.

This past weekend I helped my grandmother run her booth at the Indie Trunk Show in OKC. I met some amazing and fantastic vendors and artists. I often would get caught on my walkthroughs, meeting people and learning about them. One woman etches glass and had some of the most beautiful layered scenes I’ve seen. She shared a booth with a woman who sold her potholders she makes from Teflon and reclaimed material. Both women shared their struggles with selling and feeling frustrated that no one else understood the work they did and weren’t selling as they had hoped. I met another woman whose home was leveled in the May 20, 2013 tornado. She was still in the process of rebuilding, and she shared what God was doing in her life.

As I walked with my dad, constantly stopping to talk for a brief bit, I apologized for taking so long. For as long as I can remember, people have always told me their life stories. I don’t know why, but they always have. It was one of my favorite things I got to do as a minister, listening to people. I enjoy hearing them.

It occurred to me the next morning, I think I may be called to hear other people’s stories. I’m not certain what that entails, and I’m praying and seeking God’s guidance in what He wants me to do. I plan to begin by learning my family’s first, recording them and writing them down.

This is really all I have for now. A sparkling of an idea.

Thanks for listening to my stories on here! I love every response, every comment. They encourage me and help me go on. Thank you.

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