Josh Duggar is a Sinner and So am I.

It was my senior year of high school. I knew Jesus; I knew that He said that abundant life was found only in Him, yet I doubted. Along with that doubting, I wondered. I wondered if the Bible was a book of wise words from a loving Father, or a textbook of rules that were much more fun broken.

I will never forget seeing a well-known Christian with a beer in her hand at the senior party. A-ha, I thought. She too was a 17 year old, underage drinking teenager, breaking the rules both legally and spiritually. She too, doubted. I was pleasantly surprised at the sight, and remember getting some sick satisfaction from it even. It was if her sin eased the pain and shame of my own in some twisted way.

Years later, well over 21 and infinitely more convinced that He is the only thing that gives true, eternal life, I look back on those days and am so thankful that He has given me eyes to see some of the “why’s” behind the words. You see, back then, I thought the issue was underage drinking. Now, I see it went much, much deeper. My reaction to that fellow teenage girl showed that I was missing the point of faith in Christ altogether. I was buying the cultural lie that morality equals Christianity. I felt like being a true Christ-follower meant dressing a certain way, behaving in a certain manner, attending certain events, hanging around certain people. While some of those things might be products of the Christian life; they are in no way the center. In fact, I now know that the crux of being a Christian is the recognition of the fact that I in no way have it together; that left to my own flesh without Christ, I am headed down an utter path of destruction. The process of this realization has been both freeing and challenging in a world that all too often puts performance and salvation in the same box.

“The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to Him, ‘Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?…He stood up and said to them, ‘Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.’ …but when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before Him. Jesus stood up and said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ She said, ‘No one, Lord’. And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go and from now on sin no more’.”- John 8:3-5, 7b, 9-11

In the Bible, it is pretty clear that the Lord has compassion on all. In the New Testament, you always find Him much more upset with the Pharisee than the sinner. I love it how we never know the depth of the sins of those involved. It reminds me that because He has dispelled our sins, the details are irrelevant in light of His love. The Pharisees were interested in calling out and shaming; Jesus was aware of the woman’s greatest need: not accusation, but unconditional acceptance, pardon, and love. He knew what the woman needed most was knowledge that someone knew the weight of her sin and loved her anyway.

I do not watch or follow the Duggar family, but I have seen a couple episodes of their reality show. I do not know them personally, nor do I know if the way they choose to live their life is based on an overflow of love for God or a personal moral performance. I have no way of knowing if everything they do is for fame or fortune; and I will never be able to read the intentions behind their hearts. I can say that as someone who believes authentic Christianity will always be radical according to the world’s standards, there are several choices they have made as a family that I believe are just plain wise. I watched an episode once that was based on how they choose to court, and I am more than convinced that Hugh and I would have been saved a whole lot of baggage had we been more diligent in following God’s Word concerning our dating relationships. Some of the things that the media has coined the Duggar way are really just God’s way.

As I read a few articles on Josh Duggar and a recent reveal of his past sin, I could not be more proud of the way this family has handled the situation. I say situation, but the truth is, it is really just their version of humanity. As a Social Worker, I get some of the comments. Do I think more counseling should have been involved? Probably. Should the news have come out sooner? Maybe. Do I have compassion on the girls involved? Of course. Yet, my position as a Christ follower trumps any of these other statements; and, like Jesus with the woman above, I want to be focused on souls, not sins. I want God’s Word to define how I treat the people around me- not the media. Josh Duggar has made it clear that he is repentant-deeply sorry- for the actions he did 12 years ago. And, as I think about 17 year old me, I shudder at all the wrongs the media could broadcast on myself. There are some who, like 17 year old me, felt satisfied reading the news; as if you had caught him in the cookie jar. The thing is this: Jesus took the nails for each of us. Sin is sin is sin; and the basis of faith in Christ is believing that no matter how deep the well of our sin, His grace and love are deeper still. In light of this, we should not be shocked at the sin of anyone around us, no matter how “holy” they are led to appear. We are all sinners deserving death without the blood of Christ, period. Sure, some of our sin has vastly different consequences, yet the heart behind it all is the same. The beautiful thing about Christianity is that no matter what your past, no matter how gross your sin is, He has you covered. All we have to do is believe in faith that this is true. We see it time and time again in the Bible. The worst of sinners- Saul who was persecuting the church, for example- being changed in light of His love. If you find yourself thinking that you could never be a Christ follower after all you have done, after all the junk you have stepped in, think again- you are the very person He desires to know! Because He has covered our sins on the cross, we do not have to live covering them up from the world around us.

Don’t get me wrong. Knowing Jesus will change you. He changes you. Slowly but surely, you begin to see that if someone so undeserving of the disgust of my sin-of the sins of the world- if He took it on for me out of love; surely He can be trusted in all things. In this world, the flesh will always be there; therefore the temptation to head toward death will, too. Yet overtime, as you get to know the One whose love is stronger than death, your desire to head toward disaster becomes less and less. You still find yourself stumbling into messes; yet you long to please Him more and more. The sin will continue to be there; but the longing for the sin is replaced for the longing of His presence.

So, Josh Duggar. He has a past. Guess what? So do I. So do you. I have no idea what other details will come out regarding his personal and past sins. I just know that I am not called to throw stones at a repentant sinner whose record has been made white as snow by the blood of Christ. Biblically leading someone to truth who does not see their own sin is one thing; reminding someone of the disgust of their flesh who has already accepted that Christ nailed it to the cross is another thing entirely. Sometimes, it is easier to see the gross in someone else’s sin because we are less acquainted with it. We can become so comfortable with our own sin that we lose sight of the futility and messiness of it; yet it doesn’t make it any less so. That’s the thing about sin- it is always leading us to a slippier slope of death and destruction. If you find relief in Josh Duggar’s sin, let it be relief that the same God who transformed and took in Josh Duggar is the same God who longs to do the same for you. May this be a lesson for each of us that God loves sinners and takes us in no matter what the cost. May we find hope in the fact that His forgiveness is full and His  method has always been Jesus- for all people. In all things. Based on faith alone. May we be all the more aware of the deceptiveness of sin and what it always leads to. As Christ followers, may we never be deceived into thinking that our record is clean based on anything other than the cross. May each of us have humble, holy reminders that without Him, we will always choose death. Our past sins may not be scrolled across media, but for those that are, may we praise God for His goodness and mercies in their lives; and may we stand in awe of the God who has the power to redeem and nurture the safety of each of our souls. Josh Duggar, I praise God for His work in your life and I praise God for the work He will continue to do. We are in the same boat, brother. By grace and grace alone.


A Default of Praise.

“So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through His own blood. Therefore let us go to Him outside the camp and bear the reproach He endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. Through Him ten let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge His name.”- Hebrews 13:12-15

I want my default to be praise.

I wrote this earlier in the week, and I have been pondering it ever since.

You see, there are so many situations where my default- my “go-to”, if you will- is anything but praise.

Eventually, I get there.

But, my default? What I automatically revert to?


“I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord. Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage.”- Psalm 27:13-14 (emphasis mine)

Let your heart take courage.

This past week, we had a couple of firsts in our family.

Here was one.


Look really closely and you will see the tubes coming off of the stroller. Now, this was actually the second time we fed the girls in public; and this one felt slightly less “out there”. The first time was at an outdoor family concert with friends. There were kids running around, eating snacks as they danced to the music; but we- we were hooking our girls up to nutrition tanks.

“I would have despaired unless…”

Unless what?

Unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord.

Ah, yes.

Friends, there was ample opportunity for this scene to make me sad. There were people and things all around me that I could have compared our life to and passed go and gone directly to despair.

Yet, what do I believe?

I believe that this is God’s best for our family. I trust that He knows exactly what we need- what my children need- to love and serve Him best in all things. I know that His ways are perfect and His plans are always good. And so, in these moments, there is always a choice:

I can live out what I say I believe by praising Him; or I can feed my flesh and lean on despair- the very thing Christ nailed to the cross.


We were assigned two “LIFE-LONG, SEVERELY DISABLED” handicap passes last week.

Praise Him, or doubt?

The choice is always there.

“We refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the true knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ.”- 2 Corinthians 10:5, Amplified version

The verse above this one reminds us that our fight is not against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual forces that go against God and His beautiful, “we can’t even imagine how good” plans for our lives. I believe God’s Word, in several places, gives us the keys to fighting the temptation to default to complaining, to distrust, to discouragement.

Simply put-we default to something else: We take every thought captive to praise.

For me, it is so easy to eventually get to the praise part, but to give my flesh even a few seconds of lee-way. I call a friend to complain; but then I go to Him in prayer. I panic in the middle of a hard moment, and afterwards I thank Him for His purposes. I get some ice cream, escape to social media, think about how hard our life is; and once those things have stopped giving me some temporary relief, I reach to Him for permanent satisfaction in the story He is writing.

This is not the way He intended us to live.


The Lord desires us to find constant comfort, complete wholeness, in His Word and His praise.

He longs for us to immediately reach for His truth when the world around us is pressing in.

He doesn’t want us to have a “Jesus plus” mentality. He wants us to know in the depths of who we are that Christ and Christ alone is enough.

The Well of unlimited resources: grace, peace, hope, comfort, truth, joy, love, sustenance, gratitude.

His provision for our souls was permanently given at the cross of Jesus Christ.

The only thing stopping us from receiving this perfect sacrifice in any given moment is ourselves.

I have been so struck by this truth; and I have seen my own tendency to reach for praise much later in the game than I would like.

May we pray-

For the grace to seek Him first.

For the faith to trust Him alone.

For the wisdom to take thoughts captive that feed anything but the truth within.

For the ability to recognize our own emotions versus His Word.

For more of Him and less of ourselves.

I so want to be a woman who doesn’t give the enemy a millisecond.

The enemy comes to kill, steal, and destroy.

The Lord gives life, and life abundantly. (John 10:10).

May we be a people who praises Him at all times, in all things, in all of our moments.

May we default to trust instead of despair; and may we choose joy no matter what the day holds.

Praise Him in the morning, noon, and night.

Praise Him when things are going seemingly well and when they are going seemingly ‘not well’.

Praise Him when He answers your prayers the way you desire; and when the answers are differently than you would have chosen.

Praise Him when His presence is obvious; praise Him when He seems to be far-off.

Praise Him on the easy days; and praise Him on the hard ones.

Praise Him when you feel like it; and praise Him all the more when you don’t.

Not always easy; but eternally worth it.

Let’s default to Him and Him alone.

“Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and His greatness is unsearchable.”- Psalm 145:3

The Fierce Love of The Father in All Things.

As they were coming down the steep, dusty hill; it was obvious that they had been walking for a while. Both of them dripping with sweat, the man who appeared to be a father looking very concerned and the child looking deathly ill.


He didn’t know where he was headed; but his son was sick and he needed help that the village could not offer.

Our team quickly ushered the father over, and a translator explained to him that this was a free medical clinic set up by an American team. Relief did not immediately enter the man’s gaze; as his son was very sick and that was his primary concern.

The child had malaria. If he had not received medical attention within a few hours, he most likely would have died.

The father, having no idea where help would be or when it would come, left his village early that morning and had walked nine hours searching for help.

And a group of Americans, equipped to care for his son, was waiting at a far-off village.

He had absolutely no idea before he set off on his journey that help was going to find him.

He just knew he could not sit back and watch his son die.


I often think about this child, about this father and his determined, fierce love for his son; about the faith required to just keep walking- your lethargic, moaning, near-death child like dead weight on your back- your only motivation being that you would rather attempt to find help instead of just sitting back and watching him suffer.

“He determines the number of stars; he gives to all of them their name.”- Psalm 147:4

I should not be surprised by the “coincidental” timing and placing of this father/son prayer. After all, our God is the Creator and Sustainer of all things; if He numbers the stars and knows all of their names, surely He can ordain and purpose each event that occurs in each of our lives.

He cares about His children more than we could possibly know.



We were so humbled to be featured on the local news recently; and so grateful that God’s story is touching and reaching the community and world around us.

Many of you have reached out with conversations of different therapy, various medical treatments, new testing- and for your intentions, we are sincerely grateful!

However, my prayer in all this is that you would not miss the very center of this story:

His hands.

His feet.

His heart.

In each and every detail of the way He created Ally and Bailey Grace.

All Him and the image He desired.

Perfectly formed in His loving and good hand.

Long-time readers know this, but to reiterate it those of your who are just now entering into our story:

Hugh and I are not “good people” who are making the best out of a hard situation.


Hugh and I are sinful people, weak in our flesh, who serve a God whose plans are good and ways are perfect, even when they don’t make sense to man.

“As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; He is a shield for all those who take refuge in Him.”- Psalm 18:30

At all times.

In all things.

In all ways.

A perfect and true Shield in each of our lives- allowing that which brings good and prohibiting that which hinders His ultimate plan.

Beautifully sovereign in every way.

I am sure that there were many in that village that day who had children who did not receive healing. Babies who died from starvation, from illness, from dehydration. Yet- if we fix our eyes on this, we have missed the point. His plans and His ways are mysterious and so other. We are not to know why He makes the choices He does, we are simply called to sit back in faith and awe; to trust the One who puts the very breath we breathe into our lungs. The decisions are His; we need only believe He is good in them all. Not easy- but worth it. Not normal to the world around us- but the only way to true joy and peace.


The God who formed the seas is able to do all things.

It is not in our hands to determine whether or not the God of the universe is right in His decision-making.

We are His sheep, the children of His pasture.

But hear me when I say this: the same God that sent His one and only Son to die a death He did not deserve so that you could live with Him forever- the God who dismisses your sin in order for you to know His love- His heart and His intentions can be trusted in anything you are walking through today.

My prayer for you today, dear reader, is that you would find peace in the plans He is writing for your life.

That, as I often say, you would trust Him with the story. Believe that the details He is scripting are good and beautiful, even, when they appear blurry and muddled.

May we know that the God in heaven has a fiercer love for His children than that father in Bangladesh who was motivated to carry his son miles and miles in order to find healing and help.

Nothing can stop His love for you.

All things can be trusted in the Hand of our loving and perfect Father.

All is grace.


And when we can’t find His Handprint, may we trust His heart.

Let’s worship the God of the nations today.

He is worthy.


“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? … No, in all these things we are conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”- Romans 8:35, 37-39