By Jane Reeves

Song of the Barren Woman


I ran from God for the first 32 years of my life. Those years were spent in a dysfunctional and destructive lifestyle. Since all of my friends and most of my family were living the same way, I saw nothing wrong with my life. However, those years also included a very bad marriage and a big wake-up call with the alcohol/drug related death of a family member. It also included an AIDS scare for me, which fortunately, turned out to be negative.

After my life completely fell apart with a divorce, job losses, a bankruptcy and two car accidents, I came to the conclusion that something needed to change. At first I believed the whole problem was my drinking. Truthfully, my abusive drinking caused many of my life’s problems. But the biggest problem in my life was the fact that I had been running from God for many years. His pursuit of me was torture to my fleeing soul. In desperation, I finally chose to walk to Him instead of walking into yet one more bar.

It was the best decision of my life. And one of the most difficult.

Sadly, many of my friends and most of my family liked the “old Sandi” better than the new one. I sorely needed support and other than a few faithful friends, could not find it. This turned into a blessing as I learned to rely on the only One who would never let me down. I also had to walk through the decision very early in my Christian life to please God instead of men; setting my face like flint and receiving the Lord’s approval only. (“Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10.) (“Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame.” Isaiah 50:7. )

I often sought solace in Scripture:

Psalm 68:6: “God will set the lonely in families.”

Joel 2:45: “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten.”

Isaiah 29:45: “Those who hope in me will not be disappointed.”

At this time in my life, a pastor brought me a word of prophecy and told me that I would be the mother of sons. I accepted the prophecy with a mixture of respect for him coupled by disbelief. Although the time for children had passed me by, one Scripture was very close to my heart and I was drawn to it over and over again.

Isaiah 54:1-2: “Sing, O barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband,” says the Lord. “Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes.”

I did not understand my drawing to that Scripture for many years. God needed to do a lot of work in my life and His hand was not always gentle. Yet His grace and mercy more than made up for it. Ten years after receiving Jesus as the Lord of my life, His rewards were evident in my life. I stopped abusing alcohol with the help of Overcomers, a Christian support group. I moved away from an unhealthy and unproductive environment and left a stressful career. I began a new career as a Certified Massage Therapist (which the Christian world needs more of!) I made many new friends. I had remarried and had a wonderful, godly and loving husband and a home. Just when I thought the Lord could not bless me more, His hand of blessing extended even further.

When I remarried, my new husband had three grown sons who accepted me very quickly and with enthusiasm. So did his ex-wife and her husband. I was grateful for the loving acceptance and the ease with which our families blended.

In our third year of marriage, my stepson Steve asked us to attend the college graduation of his girlfriend at Montreat in North Carolina. My other two stepsons, Adam and Mike, would be there, as well as their mother, Joan, and her husband, Phil. This weekend also happened to be Mother’s Day weekend.

Graduation was Saturday morning and on Saturday night, we all piled into Phil and Joan’s hotel room to watch movies and visit. Steve showed up a little late and handed his mother and I beautiful floral bouquets in coffee mugs as Mother’s Day gifts. I was so surprised and so very touched. Then both Adam and Mike brought out cards and gifts for their mother and for me. Much to the dismay of all three of them, I turned into a sobbing puddle. The prophesy had come to pass. His promises were kept. And I, the barren woman, had a song in her heart.

It has been 12 years since that weekend and the closeness and love of these relationships continue to grow. The word “step” has been eliminated from this family’s vocabulary. Nobody is referred to as a step-anything. Steve, Mike and Adam are my sons and I am their “other Mom.” My sons have added wives and two grandchildren to my tent and I hope to continue enlarging my dwelling. The song continues!

Sandi Savell

You have turned my mourning into Dancing