Edited June 29, 2014
Referred to as a “child of the regiment,” I was born to Salvation Army parents and grandparents. As a fourth generation Salvationist, there was always an assumption surrounding my future life and career. It was an assumption that I was determined to disprove.
Philippians 1:21 NIV – “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
Although I was born in Maryland, my parents were appointed to West Virginia, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Florida. My parents divorced when I was 15. For them, it was a traumatic moment in their life. For me, it was the beginning of a very long and self-destructive path that would take me years to overcome, and, to this day, I still deal with repercussions. They were not to blame for my issues, but, at that time in my life, it was easier to blame others. While others might have turned to substance abuse of a chemical nature, I turned to substance abuse of the “grocery department” nature. I went from a reasonably sized teenager to in a few years increasing my weight to over 300 pounds before I left high school.
Going My Own Way
Not wanting to follow in the family footsteps, I decided to pursue a degree in music. Over the
years, my skills in music increased dramatically. As a Salvationist, brass music is always at the forefront, I became skilled vocally and dramatically as well. With these skills and some urging (that I later discovered was from the Holy Spirit), I applied and was accepted at Asbury College (now Asbury University). In four years, I received my Bachelor of Arts in Music, with emphasis in Theory and Composition and Church Music. I also received minors in Pastoral Psychology and Bible. I had intended all along to be a musician and composer. I enjoyed the opportunity to create and inspire others through music. All along, my weight kept steadily increasing to over 350 pounds by the time I left college.
[callout class=”callout”]In the bottom of my heart, where I did not tell people about, I knew what God had for me.[/callout]
While music was the goal, there was emptiness in my heart that I was never able to fill with my own plans. A trusted friend took me aside one day and, in no uncertain terms, told me that the path I was on would not take me where God wanted me to go and I needed to make a change. I was crushed. In the bottom of my heart, where I did not tell people about, I knew what God had for me. I had known since I was 8 years old. But, it was not what I wanted. I knew that God had called me as an officer in The Salvation Army.
His Idea, My Way
So, I figured if God chose me then it was only fair that I allow the Army to recognize God’s special favor on my life. How arrogant I was in those days! While the Army recognized my calling, they did not recognize my readiness for officership. I was deferred from the Training College and angry. I got more and more angry and I began to “eat” my feelings again. And, the scale began to climb again!
[callout class=”callout”]All throughout my story, people kept up with me and loved me no matter what I did.[/callout]
I went to work in the “outside” world and did very well. All during this time, I knew there was something else for my life, but I could not bring myself to admit that I was the problem. All throughout my story, people kept up with me and loved me no matter what I did. One such person, Major Jewell Farmer, contacted me monthly to make sure I knew that God had called me and that one day I would have to answer. She was right. I was wrong. And, God knew it.
His Idea, His Way
I reapplied to the Training College three years later after assisting officers in Florida. I did all of the stuff I thought I was too good to do. I lived in a small apartment on the building. I drove the van. I did all of the normal things. I was accepted in the fall of 2002. Only one month after arriving on campus, I met a female visitor who was considering officership next year. This girl was to later become my wife, partner in ministry, and best friend. My wife, Storm, and I celebrated ten years of marriage in June. Along the way of life together, we have added four beautiful boys to this world. Douglas “Cameron” was born in April of 2004. Nicholas Alexander “Xander” was born in May of 2005. And, then, we had twins in January of 2008, Matthew Aaron and Chandler Paul. I went from being a selfish loner to a husband and father of four other young men. My wife and I have been stationed in Cartersville, GA; Albany, GA; and last year have taken command of the greater Rome, GA area. In addition to being a wonderful wife and mother, my wife has completed a degree at Trevecca Nazarene University with a degree in Christian Ministries. She is the first in her family to ever accomplish a college degree and we could not be prouder of her.
[callout class=”callout”]I went from being a selfish loner to a husband and father of four other young men.[/callout]
My life began to move in God’s direction, but one thing still remained, my weight. It was like an anchor that would not let me move forward. After lots of prayer and counsel with Storm and friends, I had bariatric surgery in October of 2011. Since then, through exercise and diet, I have lost 101 pounds. I have begun to find the person God always saw in me.
Into the Future
I still enjoy music, especially leading worship or participating in worship. I am a very active in the Army’s Emergency Disaster Program as a trained Incident Commander Emotional and Spiritual Care Specialist. I also enjoy musical theater, movies, writing, reading, and hanging out with my wife and kids. I am heavily involved personally and professionally in social networking. I am a fairly regular blogger at douglasemcclure.com and have written for several Army periodicals.
[callout class=”callout”]My personal quote is “I am trying to be the person God sees when He looks at me.”[/callout]