to all the Jana Duggars who may feel left behind

Last night I sat glued to the tv for the season premiere of my long-loved show 19 Kids and Counting. Season before last we watched as Jill (the second oldest daughter) was pursued and proposed to. Last season we watched Jill get married and Jessa (third oldest daughter) be pursued and proposed to. As the season begins this time, we see that it will mainly focus on Jessa's wedding and Jill's pregnancy (yes they got pregnant month 1 of marriage). 

I felt sad for Jana (the oldest daughter) during Jill's courtship engagement and wedding (in which she was the maid of honor). I felt sad for her again during Jessa's courtship and engagement. But tonight as I watched Jill announce her pregnancy, my heart broke for me and my heart broke for Jana. 

I saw the cover photo for 19 Kids & Counting with Jessa & Jill in front with Jana standing in the background with the rest of the family and for a moment I felt like her. There are many articles accusing Jana of being the Cinderella left behind and talking of bitterness & jealousy in ways that I don't imagine she would confirm. I don't think she's standing in the background cursing in her heart the sisters getting all the spotlight at the moment. 

She loves them. You can tell by the way she serves them. But that doesn't mean it's easy.

What the media misses when they talk about this situation is that in Christ, we can wrestle with bitterness, jealousy, and contentment without being overcome by it. She doesn't have to be lashing out at Jill to be crying at night. She doesn't have to avoid giving congratulations to feel the sting inside. 

I don't know Jana personally so I can only guess at what she feels. But I can imagine what I would feel... because in different ways I feel it now... Though I'm a huge Jill fan, it was hard to hear that she got pregnant the first try (when I 've now been trying 1 year +). Doesn't mean I'm not happy for her or that I don't think it's awesome. It's just hard to accept.

That's where I am in life right now. There are many people around us who are making big announcements on Facebook and celebrating the joys of expanding families. I hear it in conversations with my church family, friends, and family. People don't recognize the hurt I feel when they're talking about my friend expecting. My Grams doesn't know how hard it is to listen to her talk about my cousins adorable boy. My sister can't see the heartbreak I experience with every picture of her with my step-brother's precious son (with the cutest head full of hair I might add). But here's the deal.... I LOVE LOVE LOVE those babies. I think the world of them.... even the ones not born yet. I love their mamas and daddas and I'm so so thrilled for them. But in the midst of all that love and joy.... I feel left behind.

Even as I write this, I recognize that there have been times when I was the one doing the leaving behind. It's the way life works. I think about dear friends from high school and college and ministry teams who are still waiting for relationships, engagements, and marriages. While I know they love me and I know that they were thrilled for me when Joel came along, I realize that many of them probably felt/feel left behind. 

So friend who feels left behind by the people in life around you, there are a few things I want you to know. 

This is life.... there will ALWAYS be someone a season ahead of you and a season behind you. 
You might be the first in your friend group to graduate from college but the last to get married. Or the last to get married and the first to conceive. The first to conceive but the last to get into a house of your own. The first to get a house of your own but the last to get a job promotion. 

It's natural to feel and think "what about me? when will it be my turn?" 
While it's natural and the feeling most likely won't disappear, we must fight to not act out of it. We must wrestle with not harboring bitterness an self-centeredness. It can hurt and it probably will hurt, but you don't let that overtake you. For as long as you can you be the bridesmaid, you plan games for the baby shower, you attend the graduation parties, and you help pack for the moves. When your heart can't bear it any longer and you know need a break, you ask for one.... they'll most likely understand.

Most importantly, your story matters. 
So maybe you're not in the limelight. So maybe this season isn't featuring you. Your story still matters and God wants to use you right where you are. Whether in a season of waiting or a season of receiving, He sees your heart, He knows your story, and He wants to use them both. 

You're season is coming... it may not be next... but it is coming. 




  1. This is so beautiful!! I love your thoughts on people being truly *seen* for their kindness and love. Thanks for the morning encouragement!

  2. I absolutely love this post. I've definitely fallen into this problem. I love how you help remind us that everything has a season, and it won't all happen at the same time as everyone else.

  3. I love your thoughts on this (and I love 19 Kids too)!

  4. Oh how I love this. I watch 19 Kids and its so nice to read an encouraging post related to them. Thank you!

  5. I loved this!! i think this can be true about anyone and anything in life. We all have a season and our seasons may not look like anyone else's or come at the same time, but they're perfect for us and we should enjoy them as they come!!

  6. I absolutely LOVE this, so well written! I think about Jana often too, I haven't seen the new episode but can't wait to watch it. I love the example those girls set for today's younger girls. This is really a great post!

  7. Thanks Tayler! It's a place I think most of us could relate with.... I need that reminder all the time.

  8. Lecy, it is one of my most favorites! I've been watching since it was 16 kids and counting ha.

  9. Thanks Kaylee! There's so much trash out there floating about them and it makes me sad.

  10. Thanks Whitney! You're such an encouragement! The new episode is exciting and I'm looking forward to this whole season! That family is making awesome statements for the Lord and I LOVE LOVE it!

  11. Love this so much! Again..something I needed to hear. I struggle with all of those feelings. I struggle with not having a family but also feeling stuck in a tiny apartment..among some other things and it's nice to know that eventually my season will come. :) thanks for sharing!

  12. "we can wrestle with bitterness, jealousy, and contentment without being overcome by it."

    That is so good! I am also a huge fan of the Duggars and agree with you that I'm sure Jana has quiet moments where she is questioning her next move, but I don't think she is forming bitterness towards her sisters.

  13. Thanks Amber! It's so so true. God is teaching me more and more of that during this time.

  14. OH it will Faith <3 It may not come at the time or in the way you expected it to but it will come!

  15. Yes yes. I would be very surprised if she doesn't wrestle with these feelings but he's obviously not letting it overcome her.

  16. I so can relate. I watched that episode of 19 Kids and Counting recently and it was the day I started my period. When Jill announced her pregnancy after being married for one month I wanted to throw something at my screen and scream. After all, we've been trying for 3 years. I was so angry and jealous at that moment. But after taking a moment and breathing deeply I was reminded that God has not forgotten me. He is crafting a beautiful redemption story for us and He WILL be faithful. And Jana? God hasn't forgotten her either.


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