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Student overcomes dyslexia to earn master’s degree

NEW ORLEANS (BP)–Deb Douglas has lived her life backwards.

Challenged with dyslexia, Douglas remembers how much her mother prayed for her to overcome her reading and writing disorder. As the first master’s graduate to receive a degree with a concentration in women’s ministry from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Douglas is a testimony of those answered prayers.

“God just worked a miracle,” Douglas rejoiced. “He put the people in the path he had chosen for me to help me,” she said, pointing particularly to her mother, Mrs. Bobby Morrison, who passed away over fifteen years ago on her 52nd birthday.

Becoming a Christian at the age of eight, Douglas remembers how her mother modeled godliness and believed in being on her knees before the Lord. “Even though my teachers were telling my mom that I would never graduate from high school because of my dyslexia, she always had faith that God would lead me to do great things,” Douglas shared.

Though an uneducated woman, her mom grounded herself in God’s Word, Douglas continued, saying that her mother’s heart for hurting people served as a catalyst for her desire to grow in ministry.

“If I could be just one fingernail’s worth of my mother, then I would be all that God would want me to be,” she said.

In a similar way, Douglas’ ministry efforts were bolstered by her classes at NOBTS, she said. A member of NOBTS’ first graduating class in women’s ministry in 1998, Douglas said her classes always provided needed answers for questions women would bring to her when she ministered to them.

“Every time I faced a situation in my ministry, it seemed that we would talk about that situation in class,” she said. Pointing to how shortly after her classmates discussed issues such as abortion, submission and in-vitro fertilization, women in her church would ask her about the same issues. “It was amazing,” Douglas exclaimed. “The Lord prepared me in my classes so that I would know how to respond.”

The mother of two teenagers, Jared and Katie, and married to Paul, a manufacturing manager for BASF, Douglas currently serves as an intern at the Highland Center, a multi-ministry agency in Shreveport, La., where she works with the Christian Women’s Job Corp, a ministry project of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Women’s Missionary Union.

Through these efforts, Douglas recently visited a correctional institution in Louisiana, where she saw a young 16-year-old that looked hauntingly similar to her daughter.

“I saw this young girl in the corner of my eye, and my heart jumped because she looked so much like Katie,” Douglas shared.

Explaining how women would walk up to her just to get her to look into their lonely, sad eyes, Douglas noted, “These women want people to know that they exist… that they need to be known as real people.”

Condemned to life in prison, some without hope of parole, these women inspired Douglas to write a book entitled, “Beyond the Pink Bars.” Douglas hopes that the book, currently in production, will help others see these prisoners as women made in the image of God, some of whom, like herself, may have had to struggle with dyslexia, but who did not have someone praying for them like she did.

“It is my prayer that I can be a godly model to these women in the same way my mother and the women in my women’s ministry classes have been for me,” Douglas said.

For more information about NOBTS’ Women’s Ministry Programs, contact the NOBTS Office of Student Enlistment by phone at 800-NOBTS-01, ext. 3303; by e-mail at [email protected],; or online at www.nobts.edu.
This article was written in memory of Mrs. Bobby Morrison. Proverbs 31:28 “Her children arise and call her blessed.” (NIV)
— (BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: DEB DOUGLAS.

    About the Author

  • Shannon Baker

    Shannon Baker is director of communications for the Baptist Resource Network of Pennsylvania/South Jersey and editor of the Network’s weekly newsletter, BRN United.

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