True Believer

Cleaned up. New start.

By the time Doug met Speak Up, he had faced—and overcome—years of homelessness and drugs.

His story was one of crippling darkness and humiliating rock bottom followed by dramatic redemption and spiritual renewal.

The before and after photos tell the story. First are the public mug shots taken when he was in the throes of addiction:

Next here’s a picture from a couple years later, after he’d found faith, kicked drugs, and was living a new life:

Doug was one of the most charismatic and hopeful people I have encountered in over a decade of working with homeless entrepreneurs and writers. He’d walk into a room, with this huge gleaming grin and sparkling eyes, greet everyone, and then release a joyful torrent of ideas and stories.

His sudden death in 2017 was a shock. He’d hit some bumps in his journey but was doing well. We had been exchanging letters, his passion for “spreading light” burned brighter than ever. He was full of hope. Above all else, he wanted to tell people about the second chance that he’d received, the Grace that had transformed his life.

He promised to visit Speak Up soon, but then died before he got the chance.

I was out of town the weekend of the funeral, but apparently it was a big affair. Doug had known many people from all corners of society and turnout was significant. I was sad to have missed it.

A month later, a card came from one of his close family members:

I wanted to tell about Doug’s funeral. At the end of the service, the pastor gave an altar call for salvation. Twenty-three people came forward and gave their lives to Jesus.

Thank you for the part you played in his life. He loved Speak Up Magazine.

Remarkable words.

This poem, written in 2015, is Doug at his most authentic.

Matt Shaw

True Believer

By Douglas Lawing

I’m a true believer
In the story of Christ
How he walked without sin
Then, he paid the price

He was bold as a lion
And meek as a sheep
When they slapped him on the face
He turned the other cheek

He took a couple of fish
And a basket of bread
And fed 5,000
With plenty food left

He came down from the mountain
Turned the water to wine
Healed the wounds of the lamb
And gave sight to the blind

He was the greatest man
That will ever be
And he gave it all away
For you and me.

I used to walk in the dark
Alone, out in the streets
With chains on my heart
I had to rob just to eat

Scammin’ every morning
To get my fix
When the going got ruff
I had to learn new tricks

Then I’d keep’a rollin’
Not a care in my head
The way things were goin’
I should surely be dead

But I now walk with Jesus
I’ve been burnt by his fire
And there ain’t no dope
That can get me higher

The fire burns in my heart
Ya see, it lights up my eyes
And the flame’ll keep on burnin’
Till the day I die

Now listen everybody
What I’ve got to say
If you wanna get to Heaven
He’s the only way

You gotta lay down your life
And die to your sin
Open up your heart
He’ll come on in

He’ll clean up your mess
With his blood and water
Be your best friend
Your brother and Father

When you call his name
He’s always around
You know He’s got your back
Won’t ever let you down

And if you slip in the mud
When you’re lost in the dark
He’ll clean up the mess
And give you a new start.

Doug’s obituary opened with these words: “He walks with Jesus.”