By Teena Myers
“If God is for us who can be against us?” Romans 8:31
At a young age, Debbie was sitting in a church service when she heard a gentle voice say, “Follow me.” She turned around to see who spoke. No one was behind her. Debbie knew she wanted to follow Christ, so she shook her head yes.
When Debbie turned twelve years of age, God filled her with his Spirit. A few months later, her father began making sexual advances toward her. She turned to her mother for help. Debbie’s mother did not like confrontation and her efforts to protect Debbie failed. Debbie looked to God for help. The next four years taught her how to depend on God in difficult circumstances. “I know the protection of the Spirit,” Debbie said. When she resisted her father’s advances, he always stopped. “He would have had to kill me to rape me,” said Debbie. The harassment stopped when Debbie turned sixteen and her parents divorced. She never saw her father again.
Friends told Debbie about a Christian young man who attended the same college she attended. When she heard his name announced at a school basketball rally, she was able to put a face to the name. That afternoon, Debbie was on her way to class when she saw Jared coming down the hall. Debbie said to him, “You’re the guy I’ve been looking for.”
Debbie smiled and said to me, “Jared likes to tell people that I said, ‘You’re the guy I’ve been looking for all of my life.'”
Debbie and Jared married and founded a church. Throughout their ministry, Debbie always provided women’s ministry for the churches they served. When they moved to New Orleans, Jared worked as an evangelist and constant travel prevented Debbie from being involved in women’s ministry. Her husband accepted a pastorate when her mother became ill.
After her mother died, Debbie began attending events for women sponsored by their state’s district and became an area representative for their city. She later accepted the position of Assistant to the State Director. Two years later, the State Director retired. During the next state business meeting, the district board presented Debbie and one other candidate for the position of State Director. Even though she had the support of the district board eighteen names were added to the list by other congregations. Debbie was sure she would not win the election. She was not well known in the northern churches and most of her work as Assistant State Director involved lay people who did not have voting rights.
After the first vote, Debbie had double the votes of the other candidates. Names were eliminated from the list. The second round of voting gave the position to Debbie. “I told God I would follow him and he led me one step at a time to his destination for my life. I know it was a God thing because I didn’t go looking for it and other ladies wanted it,” said Debbie.
After many delays God gave Debbie her place of service. She endured the hardships of little pay, sleeping in cheap hotels and church sanctuaries, and often traveling alone to minister to the needs of women. The ministry thrived under her leadership. Many women found freedom from sexual abuse, and were strengthened in their Christian walk before Debbie retired.