Before bed rest I rarely got a moment to sit, let alone create a solid TV viewing schedule outside of Sprout & Disney! But now I get to enjoy all that the land of cable has to offer! And I have to say that one of my biggest inspirations lately have been the Duggar Family whose show "19 Kids & Counting" airs on TLC. I've caught their show before and have admired them and their ability to handle so many children. I believe that God will give you no more than you can bare. God must know- I CANNOT BARE 19 CHILDREN! Three is good for me. But these people are made for the job! And the fact that they home school?!?!?! If I had 19 children I would have a daily countdown calender for each one for their first day of kindergarten! I'd be waiting for the bus an hour before it is scheduled to arrive their first day! But these two parents handle their brood with grace, love, and a patience I find remarkable and admirable!
If you follow the Duggars you may know that in December Michelle delivered their 19th baby at 24 weeks due to pre-eclampsia (a condition the mother endures that raises her blood pressure to unsafe levels and the only way to save mother and baby is delivery). Although I don't have pre-eclampsia, I can relate to the feelings of deciding to deliver early, trying to keep baby alive, and the stresses it puts on every member of the family. To watch this family function during their crisis (which they chose to share with us) should be a lesson to us all. Although the stress was clearly visible as Jim Bob prepared to go into surgery with Michelle for her C-Section, he gave praises the whole way. Through the surgery, months in the NICU, and the relocation of their whole family to be closer to the hospital, this family has displayed the type of faith that many of us struggle to find in tough times.
While I have days and weeks of depression during my journey through bed rest, I question why this is happening and how we will make it through. Meanwhile, the Duggars make it through the months of watching their youngest daughter, Josie, struggle for her life in the NICU with out a course word. They simply offer praise, kind words, and gratitude. The words "precious", "sweet", & "Thankful" are part of their every day vocabulary. They praise God for the gifts as well as the challenges He has given and each day they have with Josie. An amazing thing in light of their situation. And not something all of us could do.
So I wanna be a Duggar. I want the words that come out of my mouth to be full of praise and gratitude even- no, especially on the toughest days. I want to see God's lessons and blessings even when they aren't immediately apparent to me. I once heard on a radio sermon that tough times are like thunder storms. When you are standing in the middle of the storm and lightning and thunder are crashing down all around you, it's a scary place and you can't see a bit of beauty through the fear. But once that storm moves off onto the horizon, you can stand back and appreciate the beauty of that storm. I need to learn to appreciate the storm while it rains. I need to understand the precious gifts God is handing me while the thunder crashes down. the Duggars have figured out how to do this. They are raising some amazing children who, I feel, will be a blessing to the world as they grow and move out on their own. And they are, in ways they don't realize, providing parenting to many of us parents watching their show as they navigate the challenges of life with love, gratitude and faith.