Monday, May 10, 2010

Duggar Dynasty: Prayer, Luck, or Coincidence?

If you just watch the Duggar's TV show, their life seems pretty good, save for their recent birth problem with Josie. They have a lovely home, Michelle gets to stay at home with her kids and home school, they live on a budget, but still seem to have everything they need. All in all life seems to be pretty darn good. Even if you take away TLC and the money that must bring in (we've never proven they get much from TLC, they must get some, but regardless, they were self-sufficient before, so forget TLC for this discussion) the Duggars were living the sweet life long before most of us ever heard of them. Occasionally they'd get their name in a magazine when a baby was born, but other than that they lived a quiet life in Arkansas.

You have to read their book to learn that they've had some hard times to get where they are now. So the question becomes, is it prayer, luck, or coincidence that got them to where they are today? It would all depend on who's asking that question and what you personally believe. We know what the Duggars believe--Jim Bob doesn't believe in luck--even potluck dinners aren't allowed to be called potluck dinners at their home, they are called "potfaith" dinners--because Jim Bob doesn't believe in luck! Many people don't believe in coincidence and that has nothing to do with religion--mathematicians don't usually believe in coincidence. Most religious people believe in prayer.

Reading the Duggars book is truly an amazing story. It's enough to convert just about anyone over to G-d. Their story of how everything came together, one thing right after another--one land sale after another, the prices growing and the money coming in--finding property and building the all just fell into place almost amazingly--it does make those of us who do believe in Hashem that He is watching over us and that when you do ask for His guidance and assistance, He will provide.

But that's not to say, their life is wine and roses. He made quite sure to tell all the stories where he didn't ask for guidance and assistance and how each time it all came crashing down--literally in some cases--like the $10,000 sign for their mini-mart that fell down almost as soon as it was put up. That was a sign Jim Bob didn't pray about and for a business he didn't pray about--both things he considers mistakes. He also considers trading for a satellite TV system for the house a mistake--once it was installed and he couldn't stop watching it. He didn't talk to Michelle about it, just make the deal and brought it home. Soon after he realized it was not beneficial to their family life, it was gone.

Some things they talk about in their book that show prayer work, or they see as prayer working are how they received a vacuum. A man showed up at the door to show them a great vacuum--demonstrated it, showed all the attachments, and they kept asking the price. When he finally told them it was $1200, they said, sorry, they didn't have that much. But he said, no problem, we have a payment plan. Jim Bob explained that they had agreed not to go into debt ever again, thanks, but no thanks. So they prayed and prayed about how to find a vacuum for their home. Later on a friend called them and asked if they needed a vacuum---apparently he had bought one at an estate sale and didn't need it, they already had one. Jim Bob said, how much? For $200 they received the exact same vacuum with all the attachments the door to door salesman was selling--a savings of $1000 and all it took was some will-power and some prayer.

Another example they discuss was the pink blanket. One of their daughters wanted a pink blanket like her sister. This was back when they were very young. (I don't have the book with me, so I can't tell you which daughters.) But Michelle told her that the blanket she had was perfectly good, just not pink. They can't spend money to buy a pink blanket, just because she doesn't like the colour. However, she can pray for a pink blanket and maybe G-d will see that she gets one. So her daughter prayed for a pink blanket just like her big sister's. Well low and behold, a friend of theirs from church (I believe) gave her a pink blanket all for her own.

So the Duggars have had their share of ups and downs. Right now they seem to be having their biggest down that we've shared with them so far in their life. But they seem to be handling it with strength and tenacity. The family also seems to have bonded together even stronger than we've seen them in previous seasons--they've always been close, but this season they are definately holding close and I have no doubt that they are all praying, not for pink blankets or vacuums, but for Josie to come home and come home for good.

Regardless of how you live, what you personally believe, how you worship, or if you do at all, the Duggars definately seem to defy a lot of odds. I personally tend to think that Hashem is on their side. Even though I am Jewish I do believe that G-d is watching over them and that G-d is leading them. I see them as true believers and I'm fine with that.

I believe that IF you believe, faith works. And I believe they believe.


  1. I definitly think their faith as help through a lot. I also think the fact that they are such a tight knit family that a lot of people admire people are willing to help them out. I wish my faith, family and friends were as strong as the Duggars

  2. I grew up in a faithful family, but they weren't as vocal about it and didn't show it they way the Duggars do...and now that I'm living a different faith, I still sometimes wish my family were more vocal and observant and "out there" with our faith--but when it comes down to's not what people see and what you show, it's what's on the inside and what Hashem hears and how you behave...just because I act Jewish doesn't make me a good Jew...

  3. You both make good points, and if I can I would add that when we see Jim Bob and Michelle doing things for others, with their servant's hearts, they are making an impression on people and as they pass on their love, time, skills etc it makes people want to give back. How many of us have gradually got to know (in the tv sense) the Bates family and felt along with the Duggars and the Wrights that they deserved the gift of a home extension because the Bates gave so much we wanted them to receive.
    Some people would call that luck.
    Equally when I realised that my freezer was going wrong and unlikely to last much longer I started to pray... not just about whether to buy a new one (which we couldn't afford) so needing to save up which takes patience but about being wise about what we need and want and discerning the difference. A little later we get a message out of the blue - a friend of theirs has had a kitchen remodel and has a fridge freezer that is quite new and a good make that they need to get rid of - would we like it. And when we get it it turns out to be the most expensive type (American style with water and ice maker) that we could never justify or afford.
    I call that an answer to prayer that the Duggars often experience. But if you don't believe, then you may well call it coincidence.
    I believe that Jim Bob and Michelle learned early on to trust in the Lord and He will provide... sometimes in abundance... and it's equally applicable to all of us.
    Lori - I wish my faith was as strong as the Duggars' too - but we can get there :)
    Marybeth - you are very right - and it's not just Hashem who can see how nice you are on the inside :)

  4. Marybeth that was beautiful. I minored in Judaic Studies in college and I was always very upset when my professor would talk about how n Judaism it's all about action. Whiel in many ways it can be seen that way, saying that its what is on the inside made my day today!!

    When you believe, amazing things can happen. I have seen it in my own life and I am so thankful everyday. It's as though everyday is thanksgiving.

  5. It's one of the hardest things to least for me, my faith is always there, I never have to remember's steadfast...but acting on it, showing it and living it is the hard part...talking to Hashem and reminding Him and I remember Him--that I'm not taking Him for granted...that's the hard part. Talking to Him when I need Him is always easy, but talking to Him when I don't--praising him in bad times as well as good--that's what I have to remember.

  6. Marybeth - I have had the same thoughts about not taking Him for granted etc. One of the things I am finding is that having things going on midweek helps, as does trying to find a set time to spend time with my Father. I'm like Michelle Duggar - I find that the evening works for me but for others it's the early morning or mid-morning. I've been amazed at what has happened to me and in my life when I've managed to be more consistent but then I have times when i just don't manage it. As Zephy grows, you may find things change - she may join you, meanwhile it's not something you're alone in :)

  7. Duggar nerd strikes again...

    the pink blanket came to them through a towing job....

    Couldn't resist LOL sorry

    going back to lurking on most of these blog posts now....

  8. Thank you Cyn...I knew I shouldn't have written this post when I'd lent my book to someone and had to go from memory--but then I always know if I'm wrong about something, I'll get corrected--it's why I openly admit to being lazy hahaha on the plus side, I do have the book back!!!