Josh & Anna’s Story
Josh was raised in Arkansas, the first child born to Jim Bob & Michelle Duggar. He accepted Christ at the age of seven, was homeschooled and graduated from High School at the age of sixteen. His father entered politics in Arkansas in 1998, serving two terms as a State Legislator in the Arkansas House of Representatives. In 2002, after Jim Bob Duggar’s unsuccessful bid for Arkansas’ U.S. Senate seat, a New York Times front-page political news article featured a photo of the Duggar Family, which led Parents Magazine to write an article on Duggar’s extraordinarily large family.
In 2003, the Duggar family was contacted by producers to film their first show with the Discovery Health Channel called, “14 Children and Pregnant Again!” After its premiere, the show went on to become the top rated show for the network. The Duggars were very clear that the core of their family would not be edited out: Their strong faith in God. Having done over 5 documentaries with DHC (Now OWN) and TLC, the Jim Bob & Michelle Duggar family went on to start their own reality series on TLC. The series now called “19 Kids & Counting!” premiered in September 2008 and is currently in its 11th season, having featured the family in over 160 episodes. The Duggars seek to share their story of faith, love and family with the world.
Josh was intrigued with politics at an early age and in 2006 he founded a part-time consulting firm for elected officials and political candidates, Strategic Political Services. In 2007, Josh started a pre-owned automotive dealership in Northwest Arkansas, Duggar Automotive. Josh also pursues other various entrepreneurial adventures as time allows, including humanitarian work and community service and he is active in the worship ministry at his church.
His parents released the first book about their family in December 2008 entitled, “The Duggar Family: 20 and Counting!” and in 2011 they released their second book, “A Love That Multiplies.” His father, Jim Bob, is a commercial real estate investor and full-time father of 19 children. Josh & Anna reside in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
Anna was born in South Florida and her parents relocated to the Gainesville area when she was just 3 years old. Her father took a good job working with a manufacturing company in the area. Anna’s parents began homeschooling her and her siblings and became actively involved in their local church.
In 1994, Mr. Keller got called for jury duty. While in the juvenile court, he immediately saw the great need for Christ in the lives of those in trouble with the law. He started volunteering at a local JDC (Juvenile Detention Center) and his heart was instantly burdened for the juveniles. In 1996, Mr. Keller made the decision to leave his good job to work as a full time missionary to the incarcerated. They spent months on deputation and God blessed them with many faithful supporters. Working in JDC’s, county jails, and state correctional facilities he began to see God working in the hearts of those who are locked up.
Anna continued her studies at home and she frequently helped teach Sunday school & AWANA in her church. Anna graduated from High School at the age of sixteen, and often went with her father to minister to the young girls in the JDC. Anna met Josh after a short courtship & engagement and they were married on September 26, 2008. On October 8, 2009 Anna gave birth to Mackynzie Renee the couple’s first child. On June 15, 2011, they welcomed Michael James into the world! In early 2013 they found out the are expecting again, with baby Duggar due in June! Anna now works full time as a Mommy, and the couple resides at their Fayetteville, Arkansas home.
How Did Josh & Anna Meet?
Josh: I was raised in a Christian home. As a young man, I was taught to wait for God’s best in my life partner. But as time went along and I grew older it was harder to keep my heart only for the one that God had for my life partner.
Anna: Like Joshua I was raised in a Christian home, and my parents encouraged me to save my whole heart & purity for the one that God had for me. As a young girl, my parents told me that it was normal to have desires & thoughts, but that it was my responsibility to commit my future to the Lord and trust God to lead me in His timing.
Josh: As I grew older, I began to realize that there were two different kinds of people in this world – men & women. My parents shared with me a story of a young girl who asked her father a question about ‘that’ subject. Her father replied by handing her his suitcase and asking her to carry it. As the little girl tried to pick up the suitcase she quickly said, ‘I’m not big enough to carry it, its too heavy for me!’ Her father had illustrated his point. He then told his daughter, ‘Some things are too heavy for you to carry right now, but when you are older you will be able to handle them.’ It was that father’s hope, and my parent’s desire that inspired them to train their children to guard their hearts and keep them pure – knowing that the day would come when they would be able to carry that ‘suitcase.’
Anna: When I was thirteen I first heard about the Duggar family, through mutual friends. It was Christmas Day, and I read an article about the Duggars that a friend had sent to us. The Duggars had thirteen children at the time, and I thought it would be neat to meet them one day!
Josh: That Christmas came and went in 2001. My father was serving as State Representative in our area and he was just beginning his campaign statewide for U.S. Senate. Although he lost the election, God used it through a series of events to catch the eye of the Discovery Health Channel. In 2004 our first documentary was aired.
Anna: Just after the Duggars first show aired on the Discovery Health Channel, some friends of ours sent us a copy of ’14 Children & Pregnant Again!’ As my family watched the video, I noticed how Joshua, then age sixteen, shared the importance of guarding his heart and waiting for someone who would really love him and wasn’t going to just get carried away with their emotions. I was so excited to see another family who was brought up so similar to the way our parents were training us, but never would I have dreamed what God had in store!
Josh: As I became a teenage young man I was constantly tempted to have lots of wrong thoughts, and often battled to keep my heart right. One of the greatest things that helped me in my struggles was my parent’s commitment to accountability. They were faithful to talk with each one of their children – if we were willing to share honestly & openly with them – to maintain a clear conscience. I learned quickly that great freedom can be achieved by accountability, and great accountability requires humility & openness. I often had failures in my early teenage years, but found I had a clear conscience only when I was willing to confess my thoughts and temptations quickly to God & my parents. (1 John 1:9)
Anna: Growing up my parents, like Joshua’s, always took time aside from their busy schedule to take time to listen to each of their children and allow them to share their heart. Over time my two oldest sisters followed God’s principles and were happily married! It was so exciting to see the fruit of all those years of guarding their heart and trusting God to lead through their parents! I realized the importance of sharing with my parents and waiting for God’s very best for my life partner; a young man who was striving to do the same.
Josh: In early 2006, my Dad was campaigning for State Senate. We were a couple weeks from the Primary Election when my family took our annual trip to the ATI Conference. I was busy working with the A/V team, and had very little free time… but during one of the breaks I ended up talking through my lunch break with some new friends!…
Anna: …My siblings & I enjoyed meeting Joshua, and as we introduced ourselves I was amazed that Joshua was able to guess our ages right! Usually people would think I was 5 to 7 years older than I really was and it was getting quite embarrassing. We talked for a while about their family’s political campaign and about them moving into their new house. Josh mentioned that we would have to come over and visit them sometime. I was like, ‘That is so nice but we live all the way out in Florida… it would never happen.’ As our conversation came to an end I remember thinking… ‘I’ve never met anyone else like this before,’ but that was the extent of my thoughts.
Josh: My thoughts, however, were very different from Anna’s! As we talked, I felt God speak to my heart that this was the girl I was going to marry someday! I enjoyed our fellowship, and then resumed my schedule for the rest of the day. By that night I still could not get her off my mind! I went to my dad and told him what I felt like God had told me. He told me that he thought it could be a possibility, and then asked if I felt that I was ready to get into a relationship. I knew that I had a lot to get ready if I felt courting… or even marriage was in the near future.
Anna: I was surprised a few weeks later when my Dad announced to our family that we would be traveling to Arkansas to spend a few days with the Duggars! The first night at the Duggar’s home during Bible time, Joshua shared his testimony. I was encouraged to see that there really was a young man out there who was accountable to his parents and was striving to keep his heart pure. As a girl, my parents explained that it was normal to have desires for a relationship, especially when you see a young man that had the qualities you desired in a future life partner. While at the Duggars home, I noticed Joshua had many of the things I desired in a future partner. I began to commit those desires to the Lord, and reaffirmed my commitment to wait on Him to lead through my parents in that area. After all, my sisters & I were friends with the Duggar girls and my brothers were friends with the Duggar boys… that was the way things were supposed to be!
Josh: I enjoyed the Keller’s visit, and was able to watch Anna from a distance… trying not to make it noticeable to others. The day that the Keller family left our home I immediately talked with my Dad again. I told him that I was for sure that Anna was the one for me. He agreed that God was moving us in that direction & counseled me to keep praying for our relationship. As we spoke further about the possibilities of courtship he encouraged me as an eighteen-year-old man to begin diligently preparing spiritually & financially for the day that God would bring us together.
Anna: Our family made the trip from Florida to Texas again to attend our annual ATI Conference. During the time our families spent together, I felt God was showing me that Joshua was one I would marry someday. It was exciting, but I thought there was no way it would ever happen. He was not showing any girls any special attention, (including me), he just seemed busy serving God – waiting for the right one.
Josh: After returning home from the conference, I began working towards opening my pre-owned car dealership and preparing my future house. Between work & family I was keeping extremely busy.
Anna: A few weeks later my Dad were out running an errand together. While we were driving home he asked me if there were any young men God had been speaking to me about. My Dad had never asked me a question like that before, but I knew what he was getting at… so I told him how I felt God speaking to my heart about Joshua. Much to my amazement my Dad surprised me by saying that he believed Joshua was the one for me! He also mentioned that I should pray for him and his family every day. About a week later we had special company!
Josh: I called the Keller family and told them that we were going to be coming to their area the next day to buy a truck for my business and asked if we could possibly find a place to stay!?!? …Not only did we have a place to stay, but we enjoyed some good fellowship with them while we were there. When we left, I could hardly wait to see them (Anna) again!
Anna: Just before they left, Joshua was talking to my Mom, he told her that he was excited about starting his business, and was looking for a house, trying to get ready for a family of his own. When I heard that my heart jumped, it was very hard to patiently wait on the Lord to bring us together in His timing! I constantly reminded myself that I needed to trust God with my future and let Him dictate every sentence of it!
Josh: After returning back to Arkansas, I started working full time with my business and preparing my heart & finances for whatever the Lord had for me next. Then in December of 2007, Anna’s brother called me and asked if I would be able to help him with an Anger Resolution Seminar in a Florida State Prison. I told him that I would have to pray about it…and I immediately felt God say, ‘YES!’ The next month I found myself again driving the nearly 1,000 mile trip to North Florida.
Anna: I really felt I had given Joshua to the Lord and was content either way about the whole thing until Joshua called – He was on his way! Time and time again during Joshua’s visit I had to give it to the Lord. I still did not know if Joshua had any interest, but I knew God was more concerned with bringing the right one into my life more than I could ever be and if it was His will He would bring it to pass. I didn’t know it would be a lot sooner than I expected!
Josh: After finishing my first week of seminars with Anna’s brother in a Central Florida maximum security State Prison, we returned to the Keller’s home. I could not wait any longer, I knew that the ball was in my court! After dinner and sharing the evening with the family, I asked to talk with Mr. Keller, alone! Everyone else quickly hurried off to bed, and I fumbled to put my thoughts into words… finally I got it out …’I feel like God is leading me into a relationship with your daughter Anna, could I have your permission to court her?’ After asking this, Mr. Keller gave me some encouraging words ending our discussion by saying that he would ‘need a month to pray about it!’ I went to bed, and I guess sleep came sometime that night because I remember waking up. Mr. Keller pulled me aside after breakfast and told me that he had prayed about it. Though he wouldn’t quite say “YES!” he gave me a thumbs up and said, ‘all the lights are green!’
Anna: Over the next few days we had a great time of fellowship while Joshua was visiting! When he left it seemed like it would be an eternity before we would see each other again! I was so excited when I found out that my family would be taking a ‘vacation’ to Arkansas the end of June, just a few days after my 20th Birthday, I could hardly wait. I often spent evenings crowded around the phone with many of my siblings. It was so fun to get to know the Duggar family better and encourage each other in the ways of the Lord. At the end of our phone call we would always exchange prayer requests, and without fail one of the our siblings (usually a Duggar) would have an “unspoken” request, and then everyone would bust out laughing. Needless to say, Joshua & I are grateful for the prayers of our siblings. My mom and I were also able to spend a lot of time together talking about marriage and being a wife & mother. It was a great time to learn and prepare for the future!
Josh: I wanted to make our engagement very special, and I knew the Keller family would be coming to Arkansas a few days after Anna’s 20th Birthday. About a week before her birthday I called Mr. Keller and asked him for his permission to surprise Anna by flying down on her Birthday and proposing to her. Mr. Keller was excited and gave his full blessing! We planned it out where I would fly in and Mr. & Mrs. Keller would take Anna out for lunch without knowing what was really going on.
Anna: When my parents said they wanted to take me out for my birthday I had NO idea what was really going on. I was so focused on leaving for Arkansas in 2 days that I did not notice how nervous my parents were as we prepared to leave for the restaurant. A few minutes after we were seated while looking at the menu I heard a young man say “Happy Birthday Anna!” I looked up and was shocked to see Joshua standing there with a dozen Happy Birthday / I Love You balloons! I was so excited and so nervous all at the same time. A few minutes later Joshua slipped out of the booth… onto one knee… asked me to marry him… and I said ‘YES!!!!!!!!’
We thank God for bringing us together in marriage on September 26, 2008!
Since our wedding day in 2008 we have enjoyed being married! We found out we were expecting our first child 4 months after we were married and on October 8, 2009 our first child, Mackynzie Renee was born. We were excited to be parents for the first time! We began watching her grow, while enjoying every moment, then on Mackynzie’s first birthday we found out we were expecting another baby! Michael James was born on June 15, 2011 and we are thrilled to have this sweet lil guy join our family! Early this year we found out we are expecting…baby number 3!!! We are excited and thankful for the children that God has given us, each one is a special gift from the Lord!
For more information about Josh & Anna Duggar, check your local listings for “19 Kids & Counting!” the Duggar Family’s reality series on TLC. Connect with Josh & Anna here.