HANNIBAL, Mo. — The stars of a reality television show shared how God has worked in their lives and family at the 73rd annual Hannibal-LaGrange University Booster Banquet Nov. 21.
More than 800 guests heard words of encouragement from Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, stars of The Learning Channel’s “19 Kids and Counting” show.
The couple explained that Michelle had been on a birth control pill for the first three and a half years of their marriage. When she went off it, she had their firstborn, Joshua.
Following his birth, Michelle went back on the pill but became pregnant and lost the baby. They said they then found out she had been taking a pill that was abortive in nature.
“We were shocked. We were devastated,” Michelle said. “As believers, we love life and here we were, enjoying holding this one baby in our arms and being parents, and realizing that with our own hands, our own lack of knowledge, we had allowed our baby to be destroyed.
“And we wept and we went before the Lord and we searched the scriptures and we found that God says that children are a blessing and a gift and a reward from him. And at that point, we said, ‘Father, forgive us and give us a love for children like you love children. Father, we want to give this area of our life to you and we want to receive whatever gifts you want to give us.’
“And right after that, the Lord blessed us with twins! And another one…”
Then Jim Bob joined her and together they repeated, “and another one and another one…,” drawing laughter from the audience.
“We share in the show that really it’s not about our family, it’s about making Christ known and pointing people to the Lord Jesus Christ,” Michelle said.
The Duggars talked about expectations, reality, anger, a soft word turning away wrath, praising children and the Lord’s provision for their family.
During a protest against partial birth abortion at the Arkansas state capitol, Jim Bob felt God impressing upon him to run for state representative, a race he won. He served from 1999 to 2002. Though he believed God wanted him to run for a U.S. Senate seat, he was defeated in that race.
But his run for the post — and the size of his family, 13 children at the time — caught national media attention. The Discovery Health channel approached the Duggars about filming a documentary.
The Duggars prayed about it and agreed that maybe this was their opportunity to share with others that children are a blessing from the Lord. They only asked that the producers wouldn’t edit out their faith because, as Jim Bob said, “If you edit out our faith, then you’re really not telling the whole story.”
Because of the documentary’s popularity, the producers asked the couple to do another show and then another one. Eleven years and more than 200 shows later, “19 Kids and Counting” is the highest-rated show on TLC.
“God’s not going to lead each one of us to have 19 children,” said Jim Bob, “but as we’re seeking the Lord, the Lord is going to put different things on each one of our hearts and this group right here, if each one of us dedicate ourselves to following what God puts on our hearts individually, we will be an army to impact the world for Christ.”
To date, the family has been featured on five Discovery Health and TLC documentaries. Married on July 21, 1984, they have 19 children — 10 boys and nine girls.
Prior to the Duggars’ message, HLGU students Amanda Martin and Ryan Pickering gave their testimonies about the university’s impact on their lives. HLGU’s ministry team, Praise Song, also performed.