I was scrolling through my news feed on Facebook recently, when I noticed two of my friends shared the same post, which basically said, “Let’s talk about Anna Duggar.” I thought, “Yes! Let’s talk about Anna!” Anytime there is a scandal involving a man being unfaithful in the media, I always hurt for his wife. Bill Clinton, Tiger Woods, Josh Duggar…I’ve pretty much always thought it slimy how the poor wives’ business is strewn across the media, while they grieve.
Anyway, I was excited to see someone else mentioning Anna, so I started to read. Things didn’t go the way I expected, though. According to this Yahoo post, the Facebook status read like this…
“I know everybody is laughing about this Josh Duggar story. Oh, a DUGGAR on Ashley Madison, it’s so rich! I wish more people would talk about Anna. I normally keep things light on Facebook, but let’s talk about Anna. Let me tell you: Anna Duggar is in the worst position she could possibly be in right now. Anna Duggar was crippled by her parents by receiving no education, having no work experience (or life experience, for that matter) and then was shackled to this loser because his family was famous in their religious circle. Anna Duggar was taught that her sole purpose in life, the most meaningful thing she could do, was to be chaste and proper, a devout wife, and a mother. Anna Duggar did that! Anna Duggar followed the rules that were imposed on her from the get-go and this is what she got in reward- a husband who she found out, in the span of 6 months, not only molested his own sisters, but was unfaithful to her in the most humiliating way possible. While she was fulfilling her ‘duty’ of providing him with four children and raising them. She lived up to the standard that men set for her of being chaste and Godly and in return, the man who demanded this of her sought women who were the opposite. ‘Be this,’ they told her. She was. It wasn’t enough.
What is Anna Duggar supposed to do? She can’t divorce because the religious environment she was brought up would blame her and ostracize her for it. Even if she would risk that, she has no education and no work experience to fall back on, so how does she support her kids? From where could she summon the ability to turn her back on everything she ever held to be sacred and safe? Her beliefs, the very thing she would turn to for comfort in this kind of crisis, are the VERY REASON she is in this predicament in the first place. How can she reconcile this? Her parents have utterly, utterly failed her. Think of this: somewhere, Anna Duggar is sitting in prayer, praying not for the strength to get out and stand on her own, but for the strength to stand by this man she is unfortunately married to. To lower herself so that he may rise up on her back.
As a mother of daughters, [Anna’s situation] makes me ill. Parents, WE MUST DO BETTER BY OUR DAUGHTERS. Boys, men, are born with power. Girls have to command it for themselves. They aren’t given it. They assume it and take it. But you have to teach them to do it, that they can do it. We HAVE to teach our daughters that they are not beholden to men like this. That they don’t have to marry a man their father deems ‘acceptable’ and then stay married to that man long, long after he proved himself UNACCEPTABLE. Educate them. Empower them. Give them the tools they need to survive, on their own if they must. Josh Duggar should be cowering in fear of Anna Duggar right now. Cowering. He isn’t, but he should be. He should be quaking in fear that the house might fall down around them if he’s in the same room as she. Please, instill your daughters with the resolve to make a man cower if he must. To say “I don’t deserve this, and my children don’t deserve this.” I wish someone had ever, just once, told Anna she was capable of this. That she knew she is. As for my girls, I’ll raise them to think they breathe fire.”
After reading that, I was angry and sick. This post that was supposed to be standing up for Anna was so incredibly demeaning. It put Anna down in every way.
- You want to talk about breathing fire?! Try to tell me that girls who are raised to believe that being a wife and mother is enough are “crippled”. Seriously? This is so backwards, and ironically, not feminist AT ALL. I can go all kinds of crazy if you want to start with me on that front. Being a strong woman means choosing for yourself. There are a whole bunch of us out here that have strongly chosen to stay home and be a wife and mother AS OUR CAREER. We put our hearts and souls into the effort, and it’s not for the faint of heart.
- Being strong or fierce has nothing to do with education or career. Sure, Anna didn’t work or go to college. Are you trying to tell me that our grandmothers weren’t fierce?! Because I knew a couple of sassy old ladies who raised some strong kids. Education and work experience have nothing to do with strength and the ability to endure. Harvard grads have nothing on my grandmothers. It takes strength to walk away from a difficult situation, but it also takes a heck of lot of strength to stay and fight.
- Let’s pretend that Anna did go to college and took the more common path to a career and individuality. Would she have had a better chance at a faithful husband? I have no reason to believe that. Men sin every single day. Why do you think “Ashley Madison” exists? Slime-balls are everywhere, and they are smooth operators. Strong, educated, career women get cheated on everyday. Whose lifestyle and worldview do you blame that on? Regardless of Anna’s path in life, there was nothing she could have done to predict or prevent a man’s choices.
- Regardless of education, race, or creed, men and women sin, and it hurts their families. This is Josh’s fault, not Anna’s, nor her parents’. Although I’m not entirely comfortable discussing the sin of a man I don’t even know, let’s call a spade a spade. No one would have had ammunition against Anna’s choices if Josh wouldn’t have sinned. If he would have been faithful and protective, the world could have looked on for someone else to criticize. He put her in this tough situation.
- Furthermore, regardless of his choices, consider the possibility that Anna is exactly where God intended her to be. No matter how much you pray, God will not lead you to marry the perfect person. Beside the cliche that there are no perfect people, sometimes God walks us through really ugly places.
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4
Remember the story of Hosea? God asked him to not only marry a prostitute, but to also continue to pursue her after she returned to her life of darkness. Someone was going to marry Josh Duggar, and apparently, God thought Anna was the one strong enough…Why on Earth would He ask His child to something so difficult? To show the world exactly how big grace is. God’s love is just like that. Despite your filthy, continuous sin, He keeps coming back to save you from yourself. Anna has the opportunity to love Josh Duggar back to Christ. Maybe it’s the only way to his heart. Again, I don’t know him, but maybe he’s never really understood God’s love. To my knowledge, the deepest way to understand God’s grace in human existence is through the grace shown one another in marriage, the most intimate of relationships on Earth. Anna has all kinds of power to transform her husband if she chooses to stay. “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 1:18-20, emphasis mine).
- Truth be told, I don’t know Anna Duggar. She might be a brainwashed, backward, and uneducated wimp who doesn’t understand God’s power. She might be fierce, full of grace, intelligent and loyal. The fact is…I don’t know. I’m writing today because it’s just not fair that we smear her family’s crisis across the media like it’s entertainment. Christians and non-Christians alike love to gossip about celebrities. I hear all the time, “Oh, they signed up for this when they stepped into the limelight.” EXCUSE ME. No. Just because a person has chosen a certain career path, doesn’t change the fact that gossip is sin, it hurts people, and it’s a waste of energy. Standing up for or putting down a person of notoriety is frivolous, because YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW THEM. Although this post is “about Anna”, it’s not. It’s about the idea that a woman being raised to be a wife and mother is crippling. Nonsense. I stand by all women who choose that path. And if I ever met and got to know Anna, I’d stand by her, as well. If I were in her shoes, I’d want to maintain some dignity and have the right to make decisions for my own family as I saw fit. Leave the girl alone.
- I don’t know where the women from the post above got her information, but being a Christian does not prevent someone from divorcing an unfaithful spouse. That’s ludicrous. If you don’t know the truth about a certain set of beliefs, you shouldn’t make such bold statements. That should be a lesson for Christians, too. Get to know someone and ask them questions about what they believe before you act like you know. Maybe Anna’s family doesn’t believe in divorcing an unfaithful spouse, but if they do, it’s not the Bible they are following. Don’t blame this on Christianity. If a woman decides to leave her husband when he’s unfaithful, Jesus gives the go ahead in Matthew 5:32. We do not serve a merciless God. He doesn’t call us to stay with a person who does not keep his or her marriage bed pure. However, if we choose mercy and grace and attempt to save broken marriages, His power is there for us in our weakness.
- We don’t know what Anna is praying for. Again, ludicrous.
- If Anna decides to divorce her husband, God will provide for her and her children. Single moms do it all the time. Just because she didn’t have the traditional high-school-to-college-to-career-to-family path, doesn’t mean she can’t do it all. Again, I felt like this post was so demeaning to this poor girl and any woman who finds herself in a similar situation. Who says she couldn’t strike out on her own and provide for her kids?! Single moms are the fiercest of creatures. If we are going to call Anna weak and incapable, why not call all the girls and women who find themselves pregnant and alone weak and incapable. I dare you to say that in this culture of feminism. She will make her way, whatever she chooses. Contrary to the post above, women are born with power, too. A strength lives inside of us that allows us to birth babies, fight wars, have careers, save lives, raise kids that aren’t our own, and even remain faithful when our husbands fail us.
- Finally, though much of the post about Anna angered me, I do agree that we need to teach our girls to be strong women. But that doesn’t mean being bitter toward men. Our culture calls for such extremes. Even if Anna were to choose divorce, she can put up that boundary with grace and mercy. In the very nature of a women, there is the power to be gentle and nurturing, even to the lowest creatures. She could call him out of his sin without crushing his soul. That’s the power of gentleness in female form. We stand tall while walking softly. We can be feminine and strong and fierce. That’s the power of a woman.