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Feb1FriCadet Kathryn Dueck didn’t think she was officer material. God disagreed. February 1, 2019 by Ken Ramstead
I have always had a firm conviction that our lives are living stories, lived out within God’s greater story,” says Cadet Kathryn Dueck.
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The first of two children born to Salvation Army officer parents in Hamilton, Ont., she and her brother grew up in the church. “He’s now a Salvation Army lieutenant,” Cadet Dueck says. “He was my best friend and a stabilizing influence throughout my youth. To this day, he continues to support and inspire me.”
For much of her life, Cadet Dueck suffered from serious anxiety and depression, which was only diagnosed in her late teens.
“I thought my life wouldn’t amount to anything,” she says. “Some mornings I couldn’t even get out of bed. I was convinced that I would never be able to do the things I felt God had called me to do.”
And for a long time, Cadet Dueck struggled with what she wanted to do with her life.
“My parents were officers and we spent three years in Kenya, when they were appointed to the training college there. I grew up knowing what it was like to serve God in the context of the Army, to help those on the fringes that society overlooked. It was a pivotal experience in my life.
“So I kept coming back to the question of officership, but the assumption was always the same: I could never do that. I’m an introvert who’s depressed and anxious. How could I ever be a Salvation Army officer?”
But one night, Cadet Dueck was reading her Bible and came across Matthew 14, where Jesus walks out to the disciples on the water.
“This story to me is very curious,” she explains, “because Peter sees Jesus coming toward them, and he says, ‘Lord, if it’s you’—what a qualifier—‘tell me to come to you on the water.’ And for some reason, in his grace, Jesus says, ‘Come.’ And Peter walks on the water. Not perfectly, but he walks.”
This seemed to be a metaphor for what Cadet Dueck wanted.
“I’d often thought that if I could die having been an officer, my life would have been well-spent. I would die in peace. I didn’t know how to make that happen but Peter walked on the water with all his imperfections—because God asked him to.”
So that night, she prayed what she believed to be an impossible prayer.
“Lord, call me to officership. Call me to serve you in this way, if it’s your will, because I can’t get away from this. If you can make me an officer, I’ll know you can do miracles.”
God’s reply? “Game on.”
“God loves a challenge,” laughs Cadet Dueck. “And I sure was one!”
“It’s Not About Me”
Nevertheless, it took some prompting for Cadet Dueck to take the step to apply to the College for Officer Training.
“I had to heal mentally, physically and emotionally first.”
One evening in particular, she was struggling with her decision. That same evening, her parents were in Newfoundland and Labrador attending a church service.
All of a sudden, her mother was compelled to stand up and ask the congregation to pray for her daughter, for the struggle she was going through. They stopped the church service right then and there, and they prayed for her.
“And that night, though I didn’t know what had happened, I finally found the courage to apply for officership,” Cadet Dueck says.
And this past September, she entered the College for Officer Training in Winnipeg.
“God has called me into his living story and out of a position I thought was insurmountable,” she says.
“It’s not by my strength that I’m studying to become an officer. God told me, ‘This isn’t about you. It’s not about your weaknesses, about what you can or cannot do. It’s about what I can do.’ “It’s not about me or my talents or accomplishments. It’s about God’s strength and power.”