What We Can Learn from the Duggar Family Today

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My wife and I used to enjoy sitting down each week to watch the Duggar Family on their TLC show, 19 Kids and Counting.  Being a Christian family, we were thrilled to see that a good, wholesome, decent family with good morals was finally being portrayed on television.  It was so refreshing.  We watched the kids grow up like many of you did on television.

I was heartbroken to find out about the molestation charges on Josh Duggar, the oldest of the children.  The family did, in fact, admit that they had gone through a tough time, and that Josh had indeed molested several children.  There were many opinions, many thoughts, and many disagreements had by many people about the situation.

His wife forgave him.  She knew about it going into the marriage.  The family stood firm on how they handled it.  Would I have done things differently if it were my son?  Honestly – I don’t know how I would handle it.  But I can’t put myself in their shoes.  What a horrible thing to go through.

The Duggar family lost their show over a mistake their son made.  Pressure mounted on TLC to drop the show completely, and they did.

Fast forward to today.

A few days ago, hackers claimed they had hacked the Ashley Madison website.  This is an online site for people looking to have affairs (atrocious as it may sound) in a private, discreet way.  The hackers didn’t get what they wanted from the site, so they released information that is bound to destroy many, many families.

Last night, I saw that Josh Duggar’s name had popped up in the list.  All I could think of was “My goodness, someone logged in under Josh’s name so that he might one day get in trouble and they could smear the Duggar name.”  Then, I saw that the name was attached to Josh’s credit card, and his addresses in a previous and current home.

Even today, as I saw an article about it – I didn’t want to believe it.

But then, he admitted this afternoon that he had indeed been unfaithful to his wife, and was addicted to pornography.  Molestation charges, and now this.

A great family, one that has strong core beliefs, taken down again because of the mistakes of this young man.

So what are my thoughts?  I have several on this tragedy that is unfolding before our eyes.  Here are just a few:

  1. The internet is a wonderful tool, but when used the wrong way can destroy lives.  Sadly, the Duggar family is now a victim of the misuse of the internet.  There are so many sites out there in cyberspace that want nothing more than to prey on you.  They want to lure you in – to hack your computer, to steal your information, to steal your bank account, to get you involved in an inappropriate relationship.  While it’s great to be able to shop online, it’s far too easy to shop for the wrong thing.

  2. The internet is not safe.  You MUST take precautions to keep your family safe from the web.  Many people think an antivirus program is all they need.  However, filters need to be used, as well as communicating with your family about what’s out there in the internet world.   I was showing my wife the other night a music video to a popular song by a popular artist in which there are two versions – a rated and unrated version.  Any child can type in the name of this song, click on the unrated version, and see two popular music artists ogling topless women parading around.  It’s just that easy.  If you trust your children, that’s not enough – because a lot of time innocent searching can lead to terrible things.

  3. Don’t be absorbed.  The internet, your laptops, your smartphones, your tablets – can suck you in and not let go.  Click on this, go here, search here, and before you know it you’ve spent 3-4 hours on Facebook.  You see a link to a place that links to this place or that place – and you wind up seeing an advertisement for love, for intimacy, for something you’re searching for.  Get off your phones, give your thumb a break from scrolling through Facebook, and have a relationship with your family and friends, not a piece of technology.  I know people who spend more time on Facebook than they do anything else during the day.  Perhaps it is time to take a Facebook/Internet sabbatical if it’s absorbing all of your time.

  4. Communicate.  Sites like Ashley Madison, along with many other sites – prey on those who are seeking something they are not getting in their own relationships.  It might be something simple like conversation, or it could involve sexual intimacy.  If you are not getting something you are wanting out of your marriage – COMMUNICATE!  If sex isn’t occurring as frequent as you’d like – COMMUNICATE!  If you’re uncomfortable with something in the bedroom – COMMUNICATE!  You can not over-communicate in your marriage. Many extra-marital affairs occur because a husband or a wife is not providing something in the relationship.  Instead of thinking you can only get that something somewhere else – COMMUNICATE!

  5. It’s easy to judge from afar – but don’t.  I have tried my best in this post to steer clear of judging the Duggar family, but instead tried to look at what caused the most recent problem in the first place.  Sin is real, the struggle of pornography is real, the desire to run around and have fun is real for so many people.  I would dare say that most of us would not want our dirty laundry popping up on what’s trending on Twitter.  Instead of judging them, or anyone else – pray for them.  Pray that your family will avoid these kinds of situations.  Pray that you can be a light in a dark world.  Pray that Satan’s dart won’t pierce us all.

 

Bottom line – there is now a very broken family, a young man who will pay for his mistakes, a wife who is very much so heartbroken and shell-shocked, 4 young children who will always know the mistake their father made, a mother and father who are now wondering where they went wrong – ALL because of this mistake.

Temptation is one of the strongest things in the world.  May God give us all the power to look it eye to eye and say no.

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A Super, Huge, Ginormous Announcement

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Today, an official announcement was made by the elders of the Northwest Tampa Church of Christ to their membership that they have asked us to join their ministry team.  I will join their team in Tampa, Florida, as the preaching minister in March.

A few months ago, I had a phone interview with the elders there.  Throughout the course of that interview, I was blown away by the passion, the excitement, and the zeal behind their questions for me, as well as their answers to my questions.  I walked downstairs to my wife, Kristen, and told her – “I don’t want to put the cart before the horse – but I would love to work for this church.  It sounds amazing.”

After our first visit, we realized it didn’t just sound amazing, it IS amazing.  We fell in love with the family there during our first visit, and just as important, our daughter fell in love with them on our second visit to the point where she shed tears when we had to come home.  They have a ton of young children there, and the future is certainly bright.

We believe wholeheartedly that God has brought us together.  As Paul says in Romans 8:28 – “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  As we love God, I am excited about working together with the church family at Northwest Tampa, for the purpose of growing the Kingdom.

We believe that the church is a family, a family where anyone is welcome and everyone is loved. We believe in the mission of this church and we are excited about serving and growing alongside them. We look forward to dedicating many years of service to them. We look forward to working with a wonderful ministry team in place, under the oversight of some amazing elders.

May God bless us all as we move forward, as we all do our part to grow His Kingdom.  We solicit your prayers as we embark on this new and exciting adventure!

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Things That Make This Grown Man Cry: Volume 1

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  1. Watching a group of grown men praise God after the NFC Championship football game – giving Him glory and honor for their talents.  Bonus – having a guy from the losing Packers team in the circle with a bunch of Seahawks players, plus having a coach in there as well.

    (This picture is actually from the Rams/Seahawks game on December 29, 2014)

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  2. Hearing people tell you that they’ve been praying for you.  Knowing that they are sincere.
  3. Today we snuck over to my parents to worship with them at Maple Hill.  I love watching my father play with my daughter.  He’s so patient, loving, kind, and compassionate.  He brought down an old jar of bubble gum trinkets from when he was a small child, and told of how his grandfather used to give him 10 pennies every Saturday, and he would get 10 trinkets out of the bubble gum machines.  He saved all of them, and he was able to make my modern, technological loving little girl be awe inspired by small, tiny, plastic trinkets from 60 years ago.

    (these weren’t the actual trinkets – I failed to snap a picture of the two of them looking at them – my father’s trinkets were much older!)

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  4. God’s blessings.  When I stop and think about how much He loves me – I can’t help but shed a tear.

The Widick Family – The 2014 Christmas Gift to our Parents

This year for Christmas me and my siblings decided to get my mom and dad a wonderful present that would trap a moment in time forever.  Pictures are always a wonderful present.  Special shout out to Mollie Cochrane who did the shoot at Edwin Warner Park in Nashville, TN.  It only took us about 4 years to get around to doing this…life is paved with good intentions, right?

Me, my wife Kristen, and my little girl Josie:

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My sister Mary Anne, her husband Kevin, and their kids Faith and John Derrick:

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My brother Marty, his wife Penny, and their kids Emilynne, Nathaniel, and Susannah:

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All the kids and their families:

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Me, my brother Marty, and my sister Mary Anne:

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And finally – one of all the grandkids:

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By lanewidick Posted in Family

A Post About the Greatest Dad Ever

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Today is my dad’s birthday. This man is my rock, my mentor, my encourager, my friend.

Having served as a teacher and principal for the majority of his adult life at Nashville Christian and Friendship Christian, he has shown that he truly cares about God and His Kingdom by turning down higher paying jobs to reach more for Christ.

Recently, the man retired, and his Facebook post said this:

“When I was 12 years old I went into business for myself. I had a push mower and would cut an acre of grass for $5.00. My first job where I punched a time clock was working in the toy department of Cain Sloan in downtown Nashville. On June 6, 1966 I graduated from high school and the next day I headed to Kentucky to work on pipeline with my uncle. I worked at UPS at night to help put myself through college. After graduating from college I found myself going into the profession I loved-teaching. As a teacher I found it necessary to do odd jobs to make ends meet. I have worked as a plumber, custodian, order puller, warehouse supervisor, bus driver and the list goes on and on. After 12 years at Maple Hill church of Christ, I have decided to retire at the age of 66. I will be 67 years young in a couple of weeks. It feels odd / strange to know that today was my last day of being paid to work. Now Elaine and I will look forward to being together each and everyday. I struggle with ending my employment at Maple Hill, but really look forward to being with the love of my life. I am thankful for the ones I have come in contact with through the years. I above all people feel blessed.”

He didn’t come from wealth. He never sought fame. In fact, when Micah 6:8 says “the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” – my Father took that and made it His life. Never have a met a more humble man. Never have I met a man who walked in the right ways more than him. And never have I met a man who has shown more mercy.

I haven’t always been the best son. I’ve made my fair share of mistakes in life. But I’ve tried my best, and the simple fact is this: my two careers in my adult life have been patterned after what my father did – teaching and ministry. Imitation is the best form of flattery, right?

So, happy birthday dad. May your first birthday in the retired years of your life be the first of many. You still have a lot of people to impact.

Extreme Home Renovation 2014 – Widick House Edition

This is a year of Renovation for the Widick Family.

At the church I work for, we are undergoing some major renovation in the auditorium.  New paint, new pews, new configuration – its all very exciting.  But its not quite as exciting for us as what’s going on at the Widick house.

Back at the beginning of the year, we had finally saved up enough money to begin a renovation in our backyard.  We live in a wonderful home, but the backyard, well – it wasn’t so great.  It backs up to the woods, has a steep slope, and the deck was tiny, barely being big enough to have all three of us on it at once.

Here are some before and after photos for you to enjoy:

 

Here's a look at the steep slope behind our house.  I hated mowing this.  The stairs were very long, narrow, and dangerous.  You can see now, we have added a terraced step down garden, and the new deck was added on to the old.

Here’s a look at the steep slope behind our house. I hated mowing this. The stairs were very long, narrow, and dangerous. You can see now, we have added a terraced step down garden, and the new deck was added on to the old.

 

Here's a look from the other side of the house.  You can see how steep the yard was.  Now, we have a little area leveled off (i'm going to turn that into a paver patio).  You can also see a swing for Josie, a porch swing for us.  I love how the stairs turned out!

Here’s a look from the other side of the house. You can see how steep the yard was. Now, we have a little area leveled off (i’m going to turn that into a paver patio). You can also see a swing for Josie, a porch swing for us. I love how the stairs turned out!

 

Here's how it looked before the renovation from the deck toward the south of the house.  Now, from the same place, you can see the addition.  (We will have to save to buy new deck furniture...)

Here’s how it looked before the renovation from the deck toward the south of the house. Now, from the same place, you can see the addition. (We will have to save to buy new deck furniture…)

 

The best part about the renovation is now, we can go from our driveway right onto the deck, and to the back door.  We could not do that before.  I'm on the driveway taking all these shots.

The best part about the renovation is now, we can go from our driveway right onto the deck, and to the back door. We could not do that before. I’m on the driveway taking all these shots.

 

Another look at the paver patio area (to be completed later).  One of the other things you'll notice here is that we had several trees and brush cleared out from the woods.  We can now play under the shade in the woods.

Another look at the paver patio area (to be completed later). One of the other things you’ll notice here is that we had several trees and brush cleared out from the woods. We can now play under the shade in the woods.

The One Where I Say Its Okay To Send Your Child To School

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EDIT:  Due to my inability to think through things and my lack of not properly proofreading and editing – I need to add a disclaimer – my church is a wonderful church, and pays me more than well enough to do all we need to do and more.  Some of you may misunderstand my purpose behind this post, so let me make it perfectly clear – this is a post that is trying to let you know its  okay to send your child to public school.  I know many who struggle with this decision, and its a hard one.

My parents sacrificed A LOT to send all three of us (my brother and sister) to a Christian school.  I’m better for it.  I hope in the future we will be able to send our child to a Christian school.  But for those of you who struggle with sending your child to a public school – I want you to know from this post – that its okay.

I have rewritten this post to emphasize my point  – which is, we should take every opportunity to share the message of Christ with people we come in contact with.  99% of the comments I have received on this post have been very, very positive.

I just did not want this post to reflect poorly on my wonderful church family or elders – who take care of us beyond imagination.  After re-reading this post, I felt like it might be best to say that, and to edit it.  Note to self … ALWAYS EDIT and PROOF!

Begin post:

On Thursday, August 1, 2013 my 5 year old daughter will start Kindergarten.

I don’t know if you all realize how big of a deal this is – Kindergarten!  It seems like she just learned how to say her first word, use the potty, sleep in a big girl bed, eat with a fork, and all the other simple things you learn in the first few years of life.

She’ll be dropped off on Thursday morning for a half day here in Davidson County, and I know when my wife drops her off, she’ll be bawling for the next few hours.  She is, after all, our little girl.  She’s the only one we have.  She means the world to us.

But I have to stop and tell you something.  I’m not scared at all.  We’ve done what we can in these first five years to prepare her for this moment.  And now, its time for her to grow some more.  The hardest time I’m going to have over the next few weeks/months/years is reading about whether or not we should have put her in public schools.

You have to understand, we are a blended family.  Not only am I an Alabama fan and my father in law is an Auburn Alumnus, but I grew up in Christian education, and my wife didn’t have that until she went to college.  From Kindergarten till the day I walked across the stage at Friendship Christian School in May of 1996, I went to the same Christian School, followed immediately by 5 years at a Christian college.

When we moved to Nashville, people told us that Davidson County schools were awful.  We were told to live in Williamson County, but it is getting further away from our church family, and we don’t want that.

So we’re happily sending our child to the public school near our home.  (For security’s sake, I will not disclose what school our child will be attending.)

I simply don’t know what to expect.

Now,I am going to have people reading on Facebook, Twitter, news channels, family events, and other various venues, telling me I should have homeschooled my child.

Understand this – I have nothing against those of you who have chosen to do this.  If you have the knowledge, the means, and the ability to do this, more power to you.  But I believe there is a reason why there’s an old saying that goes “It takes a village….”  I have minister friends, church friends, and family that homeschool.  I respect them beyond imagination.  But homeschooling is not right for us.

My wife is the product of public schools, and I think she did just fine – going to college on an athletic scholarship and graduating with a nearly perfect GPA.  In fact, she finished a lot better GPA than me, the product of the Christian School.

I’m not scared to send my child to school.  She knows God, she knows what is right, she knows how to be a good influence, and she knows that there are people out there who don’t believe in God – and she’s prayed for them.  No, I’m not saying she’s a little missionary, but she has a heart for God that I didn’t have when I was 5.  She will have a chance to influence the boys and girls in her school for God.

On top of that,  we live out of the area where many of our church family goes to school.   We will be in a school where we know absolutely no one.

We’ll be going to parent meetings, teacher meetings, and school events in a place where there will be a great opportunity to share the love of Christ through our love and actions.  Sure, it would be easier to send my child somewhere where I knew the people, and felt more comfortable, but that would take away a great ministry opportunity God has put before me.

I’m not certain why some people are so afraid of sending their children to  school.  We can’t keep them in a bubble forever.  The world is changing, and I want my child to know what she’s up against.

Many of you who are hardcore homeschool advocates won’t understand this.  I have family members who homeschool that won’t understand this.  Is there a potential for her little mind to be scarred by things she wouldn’t see if she stayed at home everyday?  Sure.  But she’s going to experience the world one day, and I would much rather be in control of it now at the age of 5 when she heads off to college at 18.

On top of these things – know this:  I know that God is with her.  I believe in prayer.  I will pray for her daily.  My wife will pray for her daily.  With confidence, we will be able to send her off to school to learn, play, and become assimilated with society – and we will still be in control of her every step of the way.  If the school teaches something we disagree with, that’s fine.  Because we’ll still be teaching her at home, and still be teaching her at church.

So many who homeschool say the problem is that they have no control over what they are taught.  I don’t plan on just turning my child over to the system and then check back in with her every May at the end of the school year.  We will go over things.  We’ll discuss things.  We’ll take time to teach alternative things to evolution and liberal government.

I’m not scared.  I’m proud.  I’m proud of who my little girl has grown up to be in these short 5 years.  I know God will take care of her.  May God bless all our children as they start school over the next few weeks.

One Day – Her Prince Will Come


This past Saturday, I attended a wedding of a young couple in our congregation. Seeing as I am a full time minister myself, it was delightful to be able to sit and enjoy the service instead of being involved.

My wife Kristen and I had talked about the wedding to our almost 4 year old, Josie. We told her we were going to a wedding and that she was going to see lots of girls in pretty dresses, and the one wearing the prettiest dress will be the bride. Josie was filled with excitement to be able to witness this event!

As the wedding processional began, Josie asked if she could sit in my lap so she could see everything as it was happening. She watched as the guys entered from behind the stage and took their places, and then as the bridesmaids came down one by one. She sat there saying “Oooh, look at the pretty dresses” and “I would look good in that dress” along with other things.

When the bride walked in, and as we all stood, Josie didn’t say anything. She just sat in my arms with her little mouth wide open, as if she was thinking “Wow, that is the prettiest girl I’ve ever seen!”

As the service began, Josie sat down on the church pew and began playing with some toys she had brought with her. I listened as it began with the familiar words “Who gives this woman to be married to this man?”, and immediately, I choked up.

You see, at that moment, I realized one day, my little girl’s prince will come.

One day, my little girl will no longer be my little girl, but my grown up woman who will leave the comforts of her father and mother and bond with someone else, to take care of her. And I’m not so sure I like that idea.

She’s my little girl.

It gives me a great appreciation for my Father-in-law, who had to learn to accept me before handing over his little princess to me to marry her. He had invested over 20 years in teaching her, paying for her to grow up, taking careful steps in what he said around her, watched how he acted around her, all for this nut to swoop in and take her away from him.

And one day, that’s going to happen to my little girl as well. That’s all a bit overwhelming to me. To the point, I’m tearing up as I’m writing this.

Okay, so Josie is only 4 years old. She’s not getting married anytime soon. But if I’m not careful – I’ll blink and the time we have together will be gone. So here are some promises I’m making to myself in order to best prepare my little girl to choose the right guy for her in the future.

1. I will pray for her, continuously, over and over again.
2. I will demonstrate the Father’s love to her, as God has done for me over and over again.
3. I will love her more than my job, my car, my friends, and all other things.
4. I will demonstrate to her how to love her future spouse, by continuously showing her how much I love her mother.
5. I will discipline her.
6. I will protect her.
7. I will let her fail, only so she can learn how to recover.
8. I will show her the importance of God in my life, and how all I have in life is because of Him.
9. I will provide for her.
10. I will tell her no.
11. I will make sure she knows how to respect herself.
12. I will, when the time is right, let her go.

Sure there are other things – too many to list right here.

Josie, you will always be my daughter, my love, my joy, my happiness. God has given you to me, and I will always cherish you. As you grow older, may God continuously give you wisdom, courage, and strength to do the right things.

And as you grow older, may God be preparing that prince for you. May he be a child of God, a devoted Christian, who will attempt with all of his being to love you more than I do. May I be able to let you go when the time is right.

One day, your prince will come.