Recently my husband and I were talking about the Speegle family and Preaching Alabama. We had just left a conference where we were with all of the Speegles. They were fresh on our hearts and minds as we knew their show would be premiering within a couple of weeks.
I was telling Jeremiah how I had been praying for them to not be discouraged if attacks came at them because of their show. He said to me that we didn't need to be discouraged either. It hit me. I didn't think about myself feeling any of the attacks they may personally face, but he was right. When you do ministry and life a long side people, even states away, they become 'your people'. When they hurt, you hurt. When they rejoice, you rejoice.
I have to say I was nervous for the Speegle family about how they would be portrayed in Preaching Alabama. Would it be the real Speegle family I have known for years? Relieved, happy, and proud after watching the show last night, I would say that America got a pretty good dose of the Speegle family I know and love. They were real.
I know they will have people say negative things about them. I know they will have people say wonderful things about them. In the mean time, I have to share my story of coming to know the Speegle family...years ago. Before any cameras. Before a big move to Alabama.
When I was in elementary school, my family went through an extremely hard time where everything we knew and were comfortable with was gone almost instantly. My dad was on staff at a church. He walked in one day to find out he had been fired for reasons unknown to him. See, when your family is in ministry, you're usually at every church service and function, involved in all sorts of things. It becomes the norm. And, when it's taken away from you so drastically, you're kinda lost. Church and people burned us, bad. Our hearts were broken by the people who we thought were our friends. The small social circle I had as an elementary school student was practically gone. What I knew of church was gone. Thankfully, by the grace of God, our family made it through this very difficult time victoriously. Thankfully, we made it through knowing it wasn't God's fault, and He wasn't allowing all of this hurtful stuff happen to us to 'teach us a lesson'. Thankfully, our family knew that sometimes people who are supposed to represent God don't really represent Him at all. And thankfully a couple of years later, my family crossed paths with the Speegle family.
Our family came to know the Speegle family through mutual friend, Dr. Jim Richards. For whatever reason, the Speegle family invited us to Florida one summer to vacation and get to know them better. I remember for my parents it really was a stretch of faith to go, with money being tight and our family starting a church of our own. But, thank God we went! I know they must have known the rough times my family just went through, leaving one ministry and starting another. Even though we barely knew them at the time, it was obvious their goal was to minister to our family God's love, healing, and hope. Just what we needed, at a time we desperately needed it.
Let me tell you what this family did for us....
When we arrived in Florida, they graciously let us stay at their home and fed us biscuits. :)
They had planned a whole week of fun for us, at no expense to us. They arranged for our family to have passes to Disney World, to have passes to Universal Studios, to have a tubing/boat ride experience in Lake County, and to have a couple of night's stay at a beach house. They had arranged all of this with their church family who just gave and gave to us with no strings attached. The only motive was to show us God's love.
Do you know what that does to the heart of a child who had felt rejected by church people? It's indescribable.
Not only did they do that, but Jill and Rod took time to take my sisters and I to a park and just spend time getting to know us and hang out with us. I'm sure they had other things they could have been doing, but instead they invested time in us, letting us know they were interested in us.
Do you know what that does to the heart of a child who had felt rejected by church people? It's a real display of God's healing love saying, "You're worth it."
And then, to our total surprise, as we attended their church service on Sunday morning, they got my parents up in front of their whole congregation as their church blessed us with a special offering. People freely gave and gave and gave. It was amazing. They collected such a big offering for our family, that when we went home my parents put in an above-ground pool for us girls!
Do you know what that does to the heart of a child who had felt rejected by church people? It gives that child hope! It makes that child feel like the things they desire are important.
So, when anyone has something negative to say about the Speegle/Windham/Adgate family, let me ask you this.... Would you say that to this 11 year old girl who had experienced such hurt from people and then experienced the unconditional love of God from this family?
They were the hands and feet of Jesus to us.
I am so thrilled to say that the Speegle family you view on Preaching Alabama is exactly the same Speegle family I have known and loved. You are in for such a treat by watching this show. They are not perfect people, and they don't have a perfect church. What you have is a group of pastors who know that, but choose to love God and people anyway.