infertility {week of thanks}

Every year I wonder if it will be the last. There is always that stirring hope, that longing. Perhaps this will be my last year of childlessness. Perhaps by next Christmas I will have a baby. Perhaps… 

And yet, Thanksgiving is here and this “thorn”, as the Apostle Paul would say, is still in my side. My breath is still stolen away in sorrow and the blood of dead dreams still stains the path behind me. Infertility is no matter how much I wish that it was not. 

I shared quite a bit in my book about things that I have learned while journeying through infertility. But today I want to share a glimpse into the raw truth of how I have changed from walking this road.

At seventeen I was adventurous and full of excitement for life. I really wanted to serve God. I thought that I really loved Him. Yet, I can remember whispering to my best friend one night, “I want Jesus to come back but I kind of hope that He waits until after I get married…” 

I knew that heaven would be better than anything I had ever dreamed but… well, there isn’t marriage in heaven. Not like here on earth. And I really wanted to experience marriage here on earth. 

I did. I got married to a wonderful man. And then dipped forward into a deeper, darker trial than I had ever experienced before. And something began to change in me. I saw life for what it is: fallen. 

This world is full of darkness and pain. It is. People die. Dreams crumble. Hope withers. Sorrows build and crest and even though I long to hold a baby of my own– I can’t. 

Suddenly, heaven takes on a different meaning. The return of Christ is not the end of the good things in this world but the end of the sorrow. And I ache for the end of sorrows. I long for Him to return.  I am desperate for the absolution of my pain. I want to see Him and touch Him and have my tears wiped away.

I don’t care about experiencing life anymore. I’d like to. I’d like to carry a child or to walk through a successful adoption. I’d like to travel more or publish the novel that I’ve been working on for years.  There are lots of things that I would like.

But there is only one thing I long for.

And I would gladly sacrifice all the experiences in the world for the glory of being safe in my Father’s arms. I thought that I was in-love with my Savior before but my love was shallow, filled with self-pleasing hopes and dreams.

I’ve changed. My desires are no longer for the things of this world. They stretch beyond and I am thankful. I’m thankful for this harsh, blistering word infertility and for the awakening in my heart of  “a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy”. 

Sorrow bites deep but it also transforms. And I’m thankful for its transformation. 

How is God transforming you through your pain? Can you thank Him for that? Perhaps your sorrow is still too raw. I understand. But I encourage you to draw closer and cry harder and seek deeper. He’s there. 

This year I'm giving thanks for the hard things:
limited finances
failed adoptions
farming

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29 thoughts on “infertility {week of thanks}

  1. Sigh… oh yes… I was just trying to explain this concept to a friend a couple days ago. She was frightened about “the end of the world”. I was trying to explain that when Jesus comes back, it’s a new beginning that’s better than anything we ever imagined. We’re not going to sit on clouds and pluck harps all day… It’s a beautiful thing. I’m sure you know this Scripture already, but I think it perfectly goes with this whole week of thanks you’ve been doing, especially today.
    “We boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Romans 5:2-4 (NIV)

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  2. I find BOTH perspectives to be unbalanced and unbiblical: seeing the Heaven like the end of good things from earth, or seeing Heaven as the end of all sorrows and misery from earth (which is true). Both are motivated by the SAME thing: egocentrism. One wants to enjoy one’s pleasures and dreams and desires; the other wants to run away from one’s suffering, pain and misery due to living in this world. Both gravitate around ME and MY EGO.

    What would want God us to do? Escape from reality expecting Heaven? Or being absorbed by the things of this world with no other focus?

    Maybe after the pain is more relieved, and the heart is more transformed through suffering, one could enjoy the paradox of this life: hurting yet being loved and encouraged daily bu God (the paradox of love and joy in the same time with pain and suffering); and in Heaven enjoying the fruit of this life – the heart, character and transformation done during this life, to be happy with God forever.

    I don’t want Jesus to tarry so I could have X children on earth, nor do I want Him to speed up His coming so I would not experience whatever suffering would lie for me in the future.
    I am trying to take everything as He brings it, and live like He would want me to, every step of both this life and the eternal life.

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    • Oh, my, dear Helen- I apologize for not writing this post a bit clearer. I’m afraid my heart wasn’t quite spelled out.

      First of all, I hope that all my readers know that I am not an advocate of running away from suffering. I believe it refines us, molds us, changes us from the inside out. I have spoken very plainly about facing heartache head-on because I believe that is where the grace is. And it is there that we learn true surrender and true contentment. (and it is there that we taste the redemption of our pain! Something I wrote a whole book about. 🙂 )

      As for the ego-centrism: I ache at the thought that this is what was read here. I surely did not mean it. My point, to put it a bit more plainly, was that until I faced a sorrow that could not be healed here on earth– I did not fully understand what God was promising with verses such as:

      He will swallow up death forever!
      The Sovereign Lord will wipe away all tears. Isaiah 25:8

      and

      He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. Revelation 21:4

      I spoke of my sorrows simply because they are mine. But they are not the only sorrows that cause me to long for Christ’s return. In experiencing sorrow, I now have a means of walking with and sharing the hurts of those around me. I ache for Christ’s return for my friends who have buried children, for those who have been abused, for the hungry, for the lost.

      There is more to this than just what I’ve written here. One blog post could not contain all my thoughts or my beliefs about the return of Christ. There is also the side of praying for Him to tarry– for the sake of my loved ones who have yet to accept him. I would gladly bear every sorrow on earth if it would give one more person a chance to know Christ. I shared some about that in my post, Pain Redeemed (http://natashametzler.com/2012/01/30/pain-redeemed/).

      But as for the heart of this post– the longing for Christ’s return. This is true. I do long for Him. I long for the absolution of my pain and the pain of all people. I long for the redemption of this fallen world. And I think it is entirely Biblical to desire this. Paul says in 2 Timothy 4:

      I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

      For today, we keep fighting. But that longing and hope is at the core of my heart. And I’m thankful for it.

      I hope that clears up a bit of the misunderstanding. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment and share.

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      • Your heart on this matter did come through on your original post, Natasha. I understood completely what you meant, and you summed it up beautifully in your last two sentences: “Sorrow bites deep but it also transforms. And I’m thankful for its transformation.” And it’s because of that transformation we can live joyfully here on earth despite our suffering (or perhaps because of it?!).

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  3. Thanks for sharing your real heartfelt feelings on this subject. This is the first time to your blog and I will be following from now on. I too have struggled with infertility for over 14 years. I am close to the end of my fertile time. Most people just can not relate to how absolutely frightening it is on so many levels. Thanks for sharing your heart.

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  4. I wrote about this same idea once when I talked about my bride issues. I longed for heaven to fulfill that desire and heartache. I was given that hope in Scripture and unashamedly embrace it. We were blessed with small (as in so much remains untold) yet sufficient promises about what we will experience- unity, peace, deep longing fulfilled when we see Him, satisfaction. There are rewards given to those who long for His appearing. No qualifications, but to long and desire and love, patiently waiting. Truly those who live in or with pain or sorrow understand that we long to be with the only One who can complete and heal our brokenness. Beautiful post, Natasha. 2 Tim. 4:8.

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  5. Sorrow transforms–so true, Natasha, I just spent three days writing about the transforming power of suffering. Thankful for you and the raw truth you share.

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  6. As I read your words, I felt an enormous sigh from the depths of my soul, as this mirrors my thoughts exactly. I even remember thinking the same thing about being ready for Jesus to return, but hoping I was allowed to get married first. I married a wonderful man (a preacher even!) going on 5 years ago. My friends all have had and are having their children…and my heart still aches for children of my own. Through this, the Lord has revealed to me over and over again how faithful He is and how His ways are always right. I’m never left to walk alone. He is always with me. That knowledge is one of 2 things that get me through each day. The other is that not only is He with me, but there is soon coming a day when I will be with Him, never to feel the sting of pain and longing again. All my desires will be fulfilled when I see His face.

    Thank you for being someone with whom I can relate. I’ll definitely be following your blog from now on.

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    • It sounds like our stories are very similar! Isn’t it wonderful that there is the promise of eternity? I am exceedingly grateful.

      So glad you came by and I look forward to getting to know you!

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  7. Thank you for your raw, beautiful words. Whether or not your perspective is right or wrong makes no difference–God will refine it as needed as you continue to grow in Him. But these words and these thoughts and this pain is yours alone, and God meets us where we are, doesn’t He? Love you friend and so glad to be a bit closer to you in Ladder Bloggers. It’s a gift. 🙂

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  8. It is through our pain that we are refined and must rest in the knowing and needing of our Lord. That is our purpose that we draw away from this worldly life and more to Him. You said it beautifully Natasha!

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  9. Natasha,
    thank you for your response. I did get the idea of your post in the first place, but somehow did comment on deeper issues – to whom you seem to disagree (the egocentrism issue).

    To summarize, I do want for Christ to return – because I know it is God;s will (not for other reasons or my personal benefit). At the same time, I do want to live here in this world as long as He wants me to, because this is the part of His plan, for now and for later. And I do want a different life with God, in other circumstances than suffering and death and misery – because this is His promise of eternal life.

    BUT I got to the stage where I take things as they are – here on earth and there in heaven, and I do no longer LONG for something I do not have NOW. I am forever in a relationship with God – here in suffering, there in complete happiness, but as far as I am concerned, I have found joy in being with Him no matter where it would be – here or there. I guess it means taking life as it is and making the most of it, and taking Heaven as it would be when I would experience it. Being content in whatever situation, because of being with God permanently.

    i guess this comes from understanding the paradox of life with both suffering and God’s joy, and also coming to the stage where one sees suffering as not the ultimate catastrophy here on earth (the lack of a genuine relationship with God is for me the ultimate catastrophy ever, here on earth or there in heaven)…..And being born and growing up in an ex-communist country – experiencing all things you have read about communist countries (from religious persecution, to hunger, poverty, psycological terror and manipulation etc) – I think I am entitled to this opinion.

    I guess what I am saying: I don’t LONG for anything, because I already have – and will have – everything I ever wanted and makes me happy: a true, real, vivid, daily, intimate relationship with God. With Him I can take everything, good or bad!

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  10. Our daughter and son-in-law have been going through the same thing except for the adoption. They are excited to see what God has for them if not raising a family!! WE are too! God is good and still on the throne through hard times. Blessings and thanksgivings to you both!

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    • Love that way of looking at it– if we aren’t to raise a family, then God has something else. 🙂 For God is still on the throne.
      Yes and Amen.

      Happy Thanksgiving to you as well!

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  11. There are days that I can give thanks and days when I want to draw back and rave at my Lord who has asked me to walk this road of infertility. It IS the stumbling block and the refining stone all at the same time. Thank you for your beautiful honesty, and I stand with you!

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  12. Pingback: a week of thanks | Natasha Metzler

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