Tuesday, September 1, 2015

whose unfailing mercy is solid and clear

*an open letter to Anna Duggar*

Dear Anna Duggar,

You don't know me.  I don't know you.  I've never even watched 19 Kids And Counting, except for Jill and Jessa's wedding episodes.  I know nothing about you other than what is in the news and what I have read online about the Duggar family, which isn't exactly extensive information, never mind its accuracy.  But I still feel a connection with you.

I know we do not believe the same things about many issues, but I also know that we worship the same God.  And that is the most important thing about us.  And the main reason I am writing this.

I cannot even imagine what you are going through right now.  I cannot imagine what you are thinking and feeling day to day, hour to hour.  As you care for your children, including a newborn, I cannot imagine what you say to them.  What you have told them about their daddy (Josh Duggar), and what he has done (lied, hidden a secret porn addiction, been unfaithful to his wife), and where he is now (in rehab), and why he is there (to get help, to try and turn his life around).  I do not know who you surround yourself with, besides your children.  I know you have no lack of siblings (7 of your own, and 18 in-laws) to shower you with love and care, and I hope they are all doing just that. 

There are a few things I wanted to share with you.  First of all, you are loved.

You, Anna Duggar, are loved.

Not just by your children, or your parents, or your other family and friends.  Not just by fans.  Not even just by people like me, who love you because you are a sister in Christ, even though we've never met.

You, Anna Duggar, are loved by the King of kings and the Lord of lords. 
You are loved by God the Father, the Creator, the Redeemer, the Giver of every good and perfect gift from above (James 1:17).
You are loved by Jesus the Son, who gave His life for you, Anna Duggar, on the cross, so that you could have salvation and spend eternity with Him, the perfect Savior, Friend, and Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). 
You are loved by the Holy Spirit, who helps you in your weakness, intercedes for you before the Father with groans that words cannot express, who prays for you when you do not know how to pray (Romans 8:26).

I've been on your Instagram account and those of several other Duggar family members, and the comments there are awful.  People telling you to ditch your husband and your marriage, to get as far away from Josh as fast as you can, people bashing him and his hypocrisy, people offering their opinions on subjects they know next to nothing about.  People presuming to speak as if they know Josh's thoughts and feelings, what is best for you, what your parents or your in-laws are telling you to do, what God is doing in your own heart, what the Scriptures say you should do.  It's terrible, and honestly, quite confusing.  I know that I know only slightly more than these people do, and I just want to share a few thoughts with you.

Scripturally, marriage is established by God as an exclusive, permanent, and sacred union between one man and one woman (Genesis 1:27, 2:18, 20, 22-25; Matthew 19:6; Mark 10:9; 1 Corinthians 7:25).  I especially love the phrase in the Matthew and Mark verses: "...what God has joined together, let no man separate." 

However, there is only one clear Scriptural basis for divorce, and Anna, you have every right to employ it: that of marital unfaithfulness, porneia, which may include adultery and/or homosexual activities (Matthew 19:9).  However, Christians are not obligated to divorce under these circumstances.
Even though there is a biblical basis for divorce (one's spouse is guilty of porneia), the person should seek to persevere and protect the marriage as long as there is any possibility of repentance (Malachi 2:16, Matthew 19:6; 1 Corinthians 7).  The first steps are to pray, seek biblical counseling through a local church or an organization such as Peacemakers, and trust God to bring reconciliation.  God has done many miracles in marriages through this approach.
Those seeking to remarry after divorce should stay single as long as there is any possibility of a reconciliation (1 Corinthians 7:10-11).  There is always this possibility until the offending person remarries or dies.

Anna Duggar, I do not know you, and I do not know the details of what Josh has done.  I do not know his heart or yours, or how you live your lives day to day, or how you feel about Josh and what he has done.  All I can tell you is that I'm so very, very sorry for you, and that I have been praying for you, and I am so rooting for you to save your marriage.  I will not offer my opinion on Josh or what he has done, except to say it is obvious he has sinned against God and against you, and that you have every Scriptural right to divorce him if you choose.

But I pray that you will find a way to forgive Josh.  That you will find a way to reconcile with him.  That you will find a way to save your marriage with him.  That you will find a way to forgive him, as Christ has forgiven him.  That you will know that kindness and forgiveness does not mean you are weakly giving in, but actually utilizing a strength beyond that of man.  You could never forgive Josh or reconcile with him simply because you wanted to, because why would anyone ever want to forgive someone who has hurt them and betrayed their trust in this way?  The only way you can do it is through a power far greater than your own, and because of a love far stronger than your own.

Keep strong, Anna Duggar.  Know that there are loads of women out there rooting for you, myself included, and that we think you are a strong, beautiful, kind, loving, forgiving woman, worthy of great respect and love.  I hope Josh's heart is repentant, and that the two of you can reconcile and come out of this horrible situation with healing and forgiveness.  I hope you can find comfort in your children, and in Scripture, and in your faith, and in the beauty of the little things.  I hope you can find a way to laugh and have joy, and I hope you can indulge in the relief that a good cry can bring, and I hope you can sleep deeply and have rest.  Eat a piece or two (or seven or eight) of your favorite chocolate (I recommend Dove chocolate myself), and take a few deep breaths. 

Be strong, Anna Duggar.  I'm rooting for you. 

"Be strong and courageous; do not be terrified and do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."  ~Joshua 1:9

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
    he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
    and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor,
    and the day of vengeance of our God;
    to comfort all who mourn;
to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
    to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
    the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
    the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.
They shall build up the ancient ruins;
    they shall raise up the former devastations;
they shall repair the ruined cities,
    the devastations of many generations.
~Isaiah 61:1-4

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and all that is within me,
    bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
    who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
    who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
~Psalm 103:1-5

No comments:

Post a Comment