WESTLAKE – Two years ago Debby Nabours’ life was turned upside down.
“My husband walked out on May 1, 2016, to pursue a different life,” she said. “We had been married for 45 years. We have three children and 13 grandchildren.”
Nabours shared her story with attendees of the quarterly Empowering Women’s Luncheon, sponsored by the West Calcasieu Chamber of Commerce, held Thursday at the Isle of Capri, in a presentation she entitled “Slaying the Giants in Your Life.” She is currently the Foundation and Public Relations Director for the West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital, where she has worked nearly 22 years. She graduated fourth in her class at McNeese in 1974 with a BA in Education.
After the birth of her children, she worked as a teacher in the private school sector.
Nabours was no stranger to sorrow. When she was two, her family’s home in Alexandria burned down. When she was four, an eye condition left her partially blind in her left eye. She lost her mother when she was 28 and 11 years later her father died.
“But this was the biggest challenge of my life,” she said. “My first response was ‘this can’t happen to me. I’m a born-again Christian.’”
Nabours said no one knew of the upheaval in her home for six months. “I went to work every day,” she said. “I had talked to a counselor who said to get up in the morning and brush your teeth, get in your car and go to work every day and then come home. Do it one step at a time.”
Nabours admits to anger, bitterness, calling people bad names and breaking things of value to her. She said she had about a year-and-a-half of really bad times.
She realized she had to pull herself together after she was asked not to attend a planned family vacation with grandchildren, for fear she wouldn’t be able to hold her emotions in. Instead, she went on a trip with her sister and further immersed herself in scripture.
She found particular comfort in one particular book. “I read the Book of Psalms three times in 2016. That is the Book of Light. It is the Book of Comfort,” she said. Slowly, her perspective began to change. “I had prayed that this would all go away. I had prayed that my marriage would be healed,” she said. “But it just wasn’t happening. So, instead of asking why I started asking what.”
Nabours said she began asking God what He wanted her to do. “God gradually brought me the tools that helped to slay the giants that were attacking me — the anger, the bitterness, the pride,” she said. “I stopped focusing on what other people were doing to me and I started focusing on my relationship with God. When you do that, you’re less likely to find people as guilty or at fault because you begin to see yourself through the filter of God’s eyes.”
Nabours said God revealed the pride, idolatry and contentiousness in her heart. “I was able to start praying for the people really hurting me,” she said.
Nabours’ journey was made easier with the support of her children and their spouses. “They told me things that I didn’t want to hear,” she said. She also met others who had experienced divorce. “I had never thought of the pain of divorce before,” she said. “Now I see it in a different way, and I’m able to minister to others.”
Nabours stressed the importance of maintaining an “attitude of gratitude.” She said we often forget to be thankful, not just for the good things, but also the trials we face, because all of it is necessary to grow.
Over the past two years, Nabours said she wondered whether or not she would experience a sincere smile again. She said on February 22 of this year, she was walking down a hall at work and something she was thinking about brought a smile to her face.