Thursday, April 17, 2014

Book Review - The Duggars: 20 and Counting!

The Duggars: 20 and Counting! by Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar

I hate to admit it, but I have a, seemingly, never-ending pile of partially read, and 'want-to-read', books. Some of them have never even been opened yet, others have been laying open to where I last read, waiting patiently for me to pick them up again, and still others have a bookmark inside, marking the place I was the last time I picked the book up to snatch another paragraph or two or, maybe even a whole page or chapter. The Duggars: 20 and Counting! was in the latter of these categories.

I purchased the book on May 12, 2012. I remember it vividly because that's the night that we attended Joplin, Missouri's A Celebration of Hope. It was a special event commemorating the upcoming, one-year anniversary of the F5 tornado that had ripped through and devastated the city the year before. There was a special 'Dinner With The Duggars' prior to the main event that evening and daughter, Amber, granddaughter, Audrey, and I went to that, then we joined our menfolk, and our son and his family, for the main event, which featured encouragement from the Duggar family through music, personal testimonials, and more. Following the event was a special time of book signing and photo taking. It was then I purchased two books, both written by Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar.
Jim Bob and Michelle Signing Our Books
I started reading the first book, The Duggars: 20 and Counting! immediately and, over the course of the past two years, I have read a snippet here and a snippet there until, finally, late Monday night/early Tuesday morning of this week, I finished those last two chapters!

The second book, A Love That Multiplies, lays, unopened, in a basket of books by our bed. Other than the front cover that was opened that night, when most of the Duggar family members signed it, the book has not been touched. I will start it soon. :)
Some Of The Duggar Children Signing Our Books
Believe it or not, after all this time of dilly-dallying, I can remember most of what I've read in The Duggars: 20 and Counting! From cover to cover, I truly enjoyed the behind-the-scenes look into the hearts and lives of Jim Bob and Michelle and their big, beautiful family! The book (their first book) tells the story of Jim Bob and Michelle's early years, their meeting and marrying, about the births of their children, and other memorable family happenings. The book also features lots of photos, recipes, tips, traditions, and practical ideas, as well as, answers a whole lot of questions that are commonly asked about the big, awe-inspiring family.

While I enjoyed all of the stories greatly, the thing that most stands out to me, is God's marvelous protection and provision for this amazing family that truly has a heart for Him, and seeks Him, and His will for their lives, first and foremost, in all that they do. Two things, specifically, come to mind.

The first one, is the story of God's miraculous protection over Jim Bob and Michelle, who was pregnant with John-David and Jana at the time, and baby Josh, when, late one night, while working in the office of the car lot that they owned, Jim Bob came face-to-face with a modern day Bonnie and Clyde.

The armed couple approached Jim Bob and asked to use the phone. Jim Bob led them into the house where Michelle and Josh were sleeping. The couple then pulled a gun, held Jim Bob at gunpoint, robbed him, left him bound and gagged in the garage, and stole one of the cars from their car lot.

While the guy was tying Jim Bob up, Jim Bob was witnessing to him. He told him that he really believed that God has a plan and a purpose for each life and, that, while he didn't know where the guy was going, he hoped that when he got there, that he'd think about that. The guy stood over him, gun cocked and pointed at Jim Bob's head...finger on the trigger. For whatever reason, he turned around, found some newspaper, wadded it up, and shoved it in Jim Bob's mouth, then retied the gag. Then the couple was gone.

Later, somehow, Jim Bob was able to free his hands from his feet. He hopped into the house and back to the bedroom. There he flipped on the light with his shoulder and made enough noise to wake Michelle up. She was dumbfounded at the scene before her and, at first, thought it was some sort of prank. When it sunk in and she realized that it was no joke, she ran for the scissors and cut Jim Bob free. They contacted the police and the police put out an all-points bulletin for the fleeing couple.

Shortly thereafter the bandits were spotted in the stolen car. They gave the Arkansas police quite a chase and blew right through a police barricade crossing into Oklahoma. Oklahoma state police chased the car and were, eventually, able to run it off the road. The woman surrendered, but the man got away. The first thing the woman wanted to know was if 'the man' (Jim Bob) was okay. She thought her partner might have killed him.

Dogs, helicopters, and more police officers conducted an overnight manhunt, but at one o'clock the next day, the search team gave up. The last officers were packing up their equipment and getting ready to leave when they saw the thief crawl out of a drainage ditch and start running for the woods. He thought everyone had left, and if he had waited just a few minutes more he would have been right.

After coming face-to-face with death, Jim Bob said that he felt like he was living on overtime and he knew that God had protected him for a reason. He knew that God had a plan for him, and dying in that garage wasn't part of it.

There are testimonies like this throughout the book, but, to me, this was the most memorable of all.

The second thing that really stood out to me is the absolutely amazing provision that God supplied in the building of the Duggar family's 7,000 sq. ft., Kodiak Steel home...totally and completely debt free! It is nothing short of miraculous! And you'd have to read it for yourself to understand the full scope of all that took place.

I also enjoyed reading about Michelle's packing and labeling method when preparing to move ,and the Duggar family's many tips for making, spending, and saving money. "Buy used and save the difference" is becoming a standard saying in our own home as a result.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is fascinated by the Duggars, or anyone, in general, who is interested in organizational skills and/or becoming, or living, debt free. There is much wisdom to be gained through the pages of The Duggars: 20 and Counting! And, in the end, everything in the book comes back to the importance of maintaining a vital relationship with Jesus Christ and seeking His will in everything you do.

All My Love,

If you enjoyed this post you might also be interested in:

An Evening With The Duggar Family

Michelle Duggar's Tater Tot Casserole 



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