I sat quietly reading. As a barber waiting in my shop for customers, I was just hanging out with God. Though I’d fallen in love with Jesus as a teenager, I’d never read all the way through the Bible. I was hungry to learn how to hear God’s voice, to know for myself the promises of God. As a sole proprietor, the time I sat waiting for customers was mine to spend as I wished. An Amplified Bible was my version of choice and on that sunny afternoon in my Indiana hometown I’d discovered the book of Isaiah. The books of Daniel, Ezekiel and Jeremiah were all a bit surreal to me. Though a prophet, Isaiah spoke on a more practical level to me. As I read chapter after chapter, I marvelled that certain verses created a ringing within my spirit; My Heavenly Father was whispering to me—these verses were specifically meant for me.
Being about 24 or 25 I was praying for a husband, believing that God would give me the desires of my heart. I never intended to remain single through my child-bearing years. On that afternoon as I came to Isaiah 54 God spoke—but it wasn’t a message I wanted to hear, understand or accept.
“Sing, O barren one, you who did not bear; break forth into singing and cry aloud, you who did not travail with child! For the [spiritual] children of the desolate one will be more than the children of the married wife, says the Lord. (2) Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; spare not; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes, (3) for you will spread abroad to the right hand and to the left; and your offspring will possess the nations and make the desolate cities to be inhabited.” Isaiah 54
As I sat there reading a command (Sing, O Barren one) and a promise (spiritual children will be more than that of the married wife) I remember the Holy Spirit whispered into my heart: “You will be the mother to many children who are not your own.” Still young, I thought surely God meant that I would get married, have my own children AND also have lots of spiritual children. But here I sit almost 30 years later, and I see that God was preparing me then for what would be reality in my life.
It wasn’t that I didn’t try to make matters different. At the age of 28 I got engaged. He needed “fixing.” My mother and half my church family saw the danger of the man who lacked true Christian commitment and had a problem with anger. No one said anything to me: they all prayed. The Lord clearly showed me that I needed to “disengage” from this troubled man.
“(24) Make no friendships with a man given to anger, and with a wrathful man do no associate. (25) Lest you learn his ways and get yourself into a snare.” Proverbs 22
After we parted company, I realised my motives for wanting to marry him were not about being with him, so much as I wanted to get married and have children. I was to learn in subsequent years that this man became an abusive husband and father.
In 1988 I went to England to attend a Discipleship Training School at Holmsted Manor in West Sussex, England. http://www.ywamholmsted.org/ Part of YWAM’s policy for the Discipleship Training Schools is “No Dating” during the three – to – six months of the programme. This was a time to focus on getting to know God and allowing Him to address issues of that heart that needed “spiritual surgery.” It provided time for me to begin the healing process of the broken relationship.
After I returned home in 1988, I eventually took a job and got “stuck-in” with my home church. And I renewed a friendship with a young man—who was five years younger than myself. He is a Christian, and we had a good friendship. After about five months of spending time as friends, we examined our feelings and approached the “What If” question. We went to counselling to see if we were compatible. Eventually we got engaged—and I was 34—wanting to have children and thinking we could make things work. Reality was we had different views on money, life callings and ministry, children, what each of us considered appropriate entertainment and even pets. All of these major issues separated us.
During the years of my 30’s I struggled a lot with being single and childless. I wanted to experience a life growing inside of me, to know the feel of a baby nestled and nursing at my breast. There were times when I’d go home to Mom, pouring out my heartache with hot tears rolling down my cheeks. Yet, Isaiah 54 would ring through my spirit: “Sing O Barren one....Many will be your spiritual children.”
In 1994 God surprised me—I learned about the School of Writing through YWAM’s University of the Nations. He opened the doors after speaking to me late at night in November, 1993. “I didn’t call you to be a missionary. I called you to be a writer.” Three and a half months went by quickly and I applied to join the staff of the writing school. I was accepted after completing an internship in 1995.
It was the beginning of the fulfilment of God’s promise—mothering many children who were not my own. From 1995 through 1999 I served Jesus through Youth With A Mission. Thanks to Facebook and e-mail many of the students who became “My Children” are still in contact with me. It was while I served in YWAM that I got my first Mother’s Day Card.
When I went back to university in 2000 (at the age of 42), I lived in the dorms with the 18 to 24 year olds. They accepted me. It probably helped that I didn’t try to mother them, but was just there for them. It was fulfilling to be around these young people.
In 2001 the “Surprise of My Life” made himself known—through www.crossdaily.com. Through marrying Midnight Man, I have been blessed with a stepson, three step-daughters, plus their spouses/fiancés and 14 grandchildren. God has truly blessed me as all of my step children are kind, generous and loving towards me.
And through Hillsong Church London, I’ve been blessed with “Spiritual Daughters”.
So, although my womb has borne no children, I am not barren. My life is fruitful. And I have seen God keeping His promises.
Serving Jesus, Author of our faith.
Serving Jesus, Author of our faith.