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When you live in Arkansas, the scandal of a particular Christian family is in front of you at every turn.
We could go on for hours with should of's and could of's. Some pointing the finger at the Duggar parents. Others hurling shame and insults at Josh. But I don't want to go there.
Instead I want to look in the mirror. What can I learn from this? What does my family need to do differently?
Here's a few things that I have thought of and I hope you will add yours as well.
1) Our Sins Will Find Us Out - Numbers 32:23
Since our children were young, my husband and I have prayed that our children will be caught in their sin. We ask God to never let their sin go hidden. Without going into detail, we discussed this point with our children last evening. Stuffing sin down simply creates unrest and a snowball effect trying to cover your tracks.
2) Christians Aren't Perfect
Isn't this the truth! Praise God that we don't earn our way to heaven through what we do. We are forgiven through His grace and love if we simply ask for it.
3) Temptation is Real and No One is Exempt
When Paul told the Ephesians to "put on the full armor of God," he wasn't kidding. We are in a battle and we must be in the Word each and every day so that we can fight off the attacks.
4) The Importance of Daily Quiet Time & Authentic Accountability
I am learning in my Bible study that God created us to be relational. With Him (in Quiet Time) and with others (in church, Bible study, accountability). True accountability calls you out when you stray and can support you when you are struggling.
5) Our Child Will Make Their Own Decisions
I think this is the hardest one for me. I want an "A+B=C" formula in raising children. I want the promise that if I teach, protect, and love on my children everything will turn out great. But that is not the case.
In a conversation earlier this week, my husband reminded me that even if we do everything perfect in the world's eyes, our children are not ours. God created each of them unique and for a special purpose (Ps 139). He loves them more than we do. So I am reminded that my job right now is to "impress" on them a God who loves them (Deut 6:6-9) but open my clinched fists, let go, and let God.
6) Pray for Our Children and Wisdom in Parenting
Kira shared on our Facebook Group these words of wisdom.
I think the most powerful weapon we have in parenting is prayer!! God is the only One who sees the depths of our children's hearts, he sees things that we might miss. So our connection with Him in prayer for our children (and everything in our life as well) needs to be a top priority. I have found myself praying more and more for our son to have a love for truth and passion for the Lord that will be so strong that it will overcome every temptation and distraction in the world, that he would not desire the ways of the world, but the ways of God!! Yes, we should absolutely teach our children God's ways, we should discipline them according to the Word of God, but there might be times when we fall short in parenting and it is in those moments when the One who is perfect can redeem those moments through our prayers! Glory to God!!6) Guard Our Marriages
This is not a comment on this family's marriage but a comment on mine. There are a lot of people and things that want to come before my marriage (work, my children, my friends, my goals, my wants, my home, my to-do list) but I am wrong when I allow it. After God, my husband is to be my top priority.
The next reminder is that we need to be continually on our knees for our marriages and our spouses. As Jessica shared with us, "Satan is real. Sin is real. Satan will use sin to destroy marriages & families in hopes of people straying from their walk with the Lord."
7) Give Our Children a Biblical Understanding of Sex
We can not bury out heads in the sand when our children question things that they hear on the news, at school, at church, and on the playground. We must have an open, honest dialogue about sex, experimentation, and pornography with our children. The Passion2Purity program is the best that I have looked at.
My heart hurts for this family. Even after the truth has come out, there is massive debate on how they should handle the situation. But I know that we serve a God who loves, forgives, and heals. And instead of spreading gossip or insults, I think the best thing that we can do is learn from their pain thus allowing God to turn beauty from ashes.
...and provide for those who grieve in Zion-- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. Isaiah 61:3
Is your marriage in trouble? Or, do you want to keep your marriage out of trouble?
I encourage you to read A Lifelong Love by Gary Thomas. Some feel this is the best marriage book available. Read my favorite quotes here.
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