Not long after Josh Duggar’s confession of porn addiction and having an affair, Jessica Kirkland, a mother in Georgia, posted a Facebook response about Anna, Josh’s wife, that has went viral. Kirkland wrote,
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.
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.
Well, at least Kirkland is consistent. Josh Duggar commits adultery and Kirkland uses his sin as an opportunity to “breathe fire” all over the innocent parties, Anna Duggar and her parents. In the post Kirkland said that Anna Duggar’s parents failed her. How did they fail her? They didn’t teach her to be independent of men; they didn’t teach their daughter to “breathe fire.” Should Christian parents raise their daughters to “breathe fire”?
First, I want to be clear that Kirkland isn’t merely saying to raise strong daughters like Proverbs 31:10-31 implies. My wife and I want to raise Proverbs 31 daughters, daughters who are strong, hard-working, making business decisions, using their wisdom to benefit their families, taking care of their household, and bringing home money to help provide for them, etc. But Kirkland is saying much more than that. She’s saying to raise feminist daughters that don’t listen to any man, including their fathers. It’s the “I am woman, hear me roar!” mentality, not the, “I am woman, men are equal to me, made in God’s image for His glory, and I am willing to be who God made me to be.”
Second, according to the Bible, any man or woman that marries is dependent upon his or her spouse. Jesus said,
But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate (Mark 10:6-9).
Leaving one’s parents and cleaving to one’s spouse is an essential part of marriage according to Christ. Every man that marries says to his spouse, “I need you. I depend on you.” Every woman that marries says to her spouse, “I need you. I depend on you.” Marriage is a covenant where two people become one flesh, which means that spouses are as dependent on one another as they are dependent upon their own flesh (Eph. 5:22-33). If you don’t want your daughter to ever depend on a man for anything, then don’t raise her to get married. Raise her to be self-sufficient, and she won’t need anyone, including you, or any friends, or God. She’ll make everyone “cower” when she deems it necessary for them to cower, much like Kirkland has deemed it necessary for Anna and her parents to cower beneath her.
Third, ironically, the saddest part about Kirkland’s knee-jerk reaction to Josh Duggar’s affair(s) is that Josh’s sin started with him “breathing fire.” That is, Josh believed himself to be self-sufficient. He didn’t need his wife to meet his sexual needs. Instead, he could meet them himself through looking at porn or through meaningless one-night-stands. His “breathing fire” lead to his adultery. That’s the consistent out-working of self-sufficiency in marriage, to do what is right in one’s own eyes. Josh should have cleaved to his wife and her alone.
Fourth, what these realities indicate is that if you raise your sons or your daughters to “breathe fire,” don’t be surprised when they breathe fire all over their spouses, friends, and God. That’s what fire-breathing dragons do after all. Anna Duggar is free in Christ to divorce Josh or to forgive him and stay with him. And amazingly, Kirkland is too busy “breathing fire” all over Anna to care about what she wants.
Instead of teaching our children to “breathe fire,” let’s teach them to truly love others, the way the Bible says for us to love others in 1 Corinthians 13. Let’s teach our children to be patient, kind, not envious, boastful, arrogant, or rude. Let’s teach them not to insist on their own way; to not to be irritable or resentful; to not rejoice at wrongdoing, but to rejoice with the truth. Let’s teach them to bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, and endure all things (1 Cor. 13:4-7). In other words, let’s teach them to love, not to hate, others. And let’s teach them to love because our Savior has loved us with this very love. God has shown his love for us in that while were still sinners Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8). May we arm ourselves and our children with this same self-less love toward God and our neighbors (Matt. 22:37-39).
May we repent and train our children to repent when they desire to “breathe fire.” Let us instead run to the loving grace of God in Christ and let us seek to pour out God’s gracious love on others.
May we love sacrificially for God’s glory alone.