Tuesday, September 11

do you ever watch TLC on t.v.?
especially the program "19 and counting"?
it entertains me. inspires me. and always
makes me feel just a little sad.

nineteen children who all love Jesus so much
and quote Scripture and express such contentment
and perfection that i have to keep myself from second-
guessing everything i've done as a mother. these
families have all these babies. home-school all of them.
usually grind their own wheat and make their own bread
and love Jesus and each other perfectly. they are always
smiling. the parents choose the children's wedding mates,
and no one kisses until they are at the altar, and they
all live happily ever after.

now i know life can't be this simple.
i have lived too long to believe that anyone
is perfect. everyone, if we live long enough, falls
into holes that God has to pull us out of along the way.
develops bad habits and thoughts and addictions
that Jesus has to deliver us from.
if moses and david and solomon and saint paul and
matthew, mark, luke and john needed Jesus because
of their moments of waywardness, then we all do , too.

i know some of these beautiful, home-schooling, big families.
they are beautiful. absolutely flawless in what i see. but
just remember that God loves all of us. and some of our
families weren't meant or called to be just like this.
that Jesus needs all our stories and all our failures and
struggles to help this big, lost, lonely, dark world see the
real heart of God.

perfection vs. wholeness.
my children and i are never going to be perfect,
but my prayer for the five of us and all the rest of
you warriors out there is that the Lord will take our
missteps and broken pieces and wrap the beautiful
yearnings and love in our lives all together and make
us whole. to help us each build our own choir.
write our own music. and with the glorious love of God,
sing our own music and be a part of changing the world, too.

Jesus reminds us not to compare ourselves to each other.
somehow, may we all keep remembering how unique and
needed we each are. that everyone has battles even if no
one can see them.


  1. How timely today!! Love this Ann!!

  2. I like this show too Ann, but I often wonder what JIm Bob and Michelle would do if one of the children rebelled against that lifestyle. Parents of prodigals walk a difficult path and I hope that what I have learned can be used to help others.

  3. I loved this post today Ann! I was just talking with my precious mom today ( I'm adopted )and we shared about my older deceased sister who was a prodigal and also how 2 of my son's took a prodigal journey & pondered that. Both my mom and I loved our children,followed Jesus, joyously took them to church and church activities and kids programs, bible schools, church camps and prayed with them, listened to them, loved them, and yet they chose a detour off the path we pointed them to lovingly. I know from reading your books Ann that you too loved and raised your sons in the grace and beauty of the Lord. But God has allowed these circumstances as moms for our ultimate good and our children's ultimate good and His glory! It can be very painful to observe seemingly "perfect" Christian families- whose children seem to be flawless and making all good decisions. I take great encouragement thinking of the mothers of Franklin Graham, George Mueller, John Newton- whose sons were prodigals they wore their knees out in prayer over- that God redeemed and transformed for His glory & service. The book of Joel has a promise-God WILL redeem the years the locust ate away. I love your writing!

    1. jody...and i love you and so appreciated all your encouragememnt.

      love, ann

  4. I love this show!!!! I am a single adult who adopted two sibling groups[10 in all] of children out of the foster care system. One of the big differences is..my children came to me with all sorts of experiences and issues. I spend most of my time in helping them heal, introducing them to Jesus but they also spend a lot of time "in the world." In order to live the life that these families do..it really has to be a "Home" focused life. If you homeschool[which I do for a couple of mine]and your whole life is focused at home..it might be easier to live the life that 19 and counting do. Most of us are very busy with kids attending public schools, working outside the home, kids attending sports and other activities...they come face to face with other children and attitudes, language, and lifestyles that are not biblical everyday. I think it is a lot harder for kids to not stray away for a time when they are faced with the world everyday. God is faithful!!!!

  5. I love the show too. I too have a prodigal as do most Christian families. Prayer keeps us closer to the Lord and reading your blog helps too...kindred spirits! Please keep writing and sharing your life. You are an inspiration!