Forced to be in the same world as Miley Cyrus, Katie Perry, and Lady Gag Gag (I know, I know… it’s Lady GaGa), it was refreshing to meet four beautiful young women who are using their fame to promote Godly and traditional values. From the hit TLC reality show, “19 Kids and Counting”, the four oldest girls have written a new book entitled, Growing Up Duggar. When I spoke to Jessa, Jana, Jinger, and Jill, they had just traveled from Florida to CPAC to promote their book. No, they were not in Florida working on a tan or snorkeling, they were there working in prison ministry. (Did I mention how refreshing it was to talk to them?) As a side-note, let me say that although there were many “celebrities” at CPAC, none were as gracious, accommodating, and as genuinely friendly as Jim Bob Duggar and his four daughters. They talked and took photos with fans and reporters alike, including a new fan–me.
LG: What is your book about?
Jill: Relationships. We want the book to feel like we are having a conversation with the reader about their relationship with God, themselves, culture, parents, friends and, of course, siblings.
LG: Who is your intended audience?
Jill: Our book is targeted to younger ladies. We really want girls to focus on having Godly character. We want them to realize that life will flow when relationships are Godly.
LG: How do you encourage this?
Jill: We incorporate principles in the book to guide Godly choices in their relationships that can apply to everyday life. We share personal stories that haven’t been seen on television and share our personal struggles. We share stories that girls can relate to while sharing our relationship with the Lord. One such story is the struggle Jessa Duggar had with poor body image. “I had friends who were really beautiful, and whenever we were together I compared myself to them and always came up lacking something. I felt so ashamed and awkward that I couldn’t even talk to anyone about my feelings. I felt overwhelmed and stuck in that negative mind-set.” Jessa was eventually able to overcome these feelings through prayer.
LG: Another personal account shared in the book is the battle with bulimia that your mother had as a young teen-ager. In the book, you write of Michelle as feeling “sad and empty” as a teen. And that sadness turned into a “destructive eating disorder”.
Jill: We shared her story because we feel that so many young women could identify with her struggle. We hope that by writing about it we can give hope to young girls who are in the same situation.