A Note from Kelly King: Our hearts were saddened on Friday afternoon when we received the news that Dr. Deb Douglas, one of our LifeWay Women trainers, had suddenly passed away. Not only has Deb trained hundreds, if not thousands, of women over the past 20 years, she has ministered to women through her weekly articles here on hurting women and ministering in the messy. Although our hearts are grieving, we also rejoice because we grieve as those with hope. We have profound hope and confidence that we will see Deb again because we have the common faith found only in Jesus Christ.
One of the women Deb deeply influenced was Kasey Ewing. Kasey wrote this eloquent blog over the weekend, and we have her permission to share it with you. In the coming days, we will say more about Deb’s influence. Please pray for her husband, Paul, and her children and grandchildren as they remember their “Pearl.” She was definitely a gem in our lives.
We were on one of many road trips, and I was sharing my difficulty in trusting people with my heart and feelings. I loved that she was a counselor and legally, if I paid her, she couldn’t share my thoughts with anyone. While following the lines of the black top headed south to New Orleans for the Southern Baptist Convention, we both exchanged a dollar bill. We laid our dollars down right next to our Diet Dr. Pepper that Paul had packed for us in a cooler, and we exposed all of the raw feelings that come with the freedom to vent while refilling our Alabama Tervis cups. (Deb always had an Alabama Tervis and would yell “Roll Tide” across an airport when she saw a fellow fan.)
She introduced me as “the best Bible teacher” but I wasn’t. She believed in me in ways that I never would have dreamed for the trajectory of my life. She pushed me to do what I do. Deb encouraged me to apply for the Women’s Ministry job at New Vision. I would never have even imagined that I would have been qualified or able to do the job I do without her screaming in my ear that I needed to open my Bible in front of women and teach them what God has shown me. She encouraged me to be me. She never allowed me to hide what God has appointed me to do.
And she allowed me to be me. If I was hurting, struggling, or doubting anything, I brought my dollar to her, and she was okay with me being me. I could be the Kasey who didn’t have it all together. The Kasey who was jealous of others. The Kasey who needed a friend. The Kasey who needed someone in her corner. Deb was always in my corner patching me up and sending me back into the ring. She called me out on my sin, and she loved me always. I am me because of her.
This past month I have felt like a wave being thrown over and over again against the current. I reach up for a breath, and the wave slams me against the shore again. I want to come up for unlabored breathing but the waves keep pounding. It feels like I am the small child on the playground feeling lonely with a bully who keeps pounding on me. I know what is true, but the hits keep coming so fast and so hard I can’t see the bully for what it is. I feel like the moment I ramped up my blog and Real Talk I have been in a hurricane of hurt. Today I got the call I fear when tragedy has hit close to home. Unexpected phone calls cause deep anxiety. When I saw the call this morning I knew something was wrong. I answered, waited, and kept playing tennis hoping to keep the awful reality that was creeping all over me at bay. My heart knew that trouble was brewing.
I resisted, yet I knew. I had in my heart this foreboding of the worst; when the sudden death of someone you love has crashed into your life, that reality is forever in the forefront of your mind. Today it was, and the death again became reality. The one who loved me, encouraged me, and was “my person” saw Jesus today. I’ll miss you Deb. I love you, and give Jake a hug for me.