when loving hurts

when loving hurts

Tonight the sun is glowing orange, painting red and purple lines across the mountains. I took my camera and walked the farm with the cool of the day at my back. I was snapping photos of the pigs and the donkey and Kitkat and the way the light shimmered through the hay fields, enjoying the slivered moments of perfection. And in the quiet the past weeks and days caught up with me. 

It was two days ago when I realized that I was fighting a silent battle with God. That deep in my heart I was waging war on the transformation and surrender He was requiring of me.

A month had passed since I publicly asked God to give me children. A month since the day that I broke the three year silence and finally asked Him, again, to grant me my heart’s desire. I did it with a nonchalant air but in truth? My hands were shaking. So quickly and effectively, I pushed it all from my mind. I lived day-to-day with a shield around myself because deep down I was so afraid that He would say no.

Have you ever done that? Stepped out in faith and then cowered in fear?


In the weeks that followed, mountains moved. It started with an early morning call and then life turned upside down as I found myself caring for a little three year old boy.  Just an afternoon. Then another. Days ran together and our lives opened and pulled in this hurting little one.

I drove to town one day and glanced at the backseat full of boys; the two that I’ve watched for years and this new child. I was singing a silly song about being eaten by a boa constrictor and they were giggling and kicking their feet in glee and something warm and gentle said, “This is your family. All your boys together. Now teach them and love them.” 

I should have stopped the vehicle right there, raised my hands, and offered praise and glory to the God who works miracles and hears broken prayers. 

But I didn’t. I grew silent and angry.

I gathered up this new little one and told him that Jesus loves him… and I closed my heart tight to loving him too. Because this wasn’t what I wanted. I didn’t want my child to have another mother. I didn’t want to give myself over and over again to a little one that may be here today and gone tomorrow. I didn’t want to pour love and affection and dreams into a baby that will probably disappear from my life in the future, who will never call me Mama, who will most likely unlearn everything I teach him. A child that would feel like my own but I would still have to stand by and watch the parents make all the decisions without any say.

I’ve already done all that, you know. Over and over and over again. Children come and leave and forget. People shrug their shoulders and say that I could never understand true mother-love unless I had a child of my own. And some days I hate it so much that my heart cracks with the agony of it.


I knew what God would say. I knew the questions He would ask and the gentle way He would turn my heart back to light and truth. So I turned my head and walked on, choosing to stumble on the leftover stone piles from the mountain that was no longer in place.

But truth has a way of pushing itself in, even when we don’t want to face it.

And the truth is that sometimes loving hurts but we are still called to love. 

All children are gifts of the moment.
All children come and go. They can accept or reject what you’ve told them. They can be here today and gone tomorrow,. But that doesn’t change what we are called to do for this moment. We are called to love. Without thought or worry for our own hearts.

For it is in the loving that our hearts are transformed.
It is in the loving that our eyes are opened to the miracles.

The moment when I smile and call him “my boy” and he wraps his arms tight around me. The moment when I whisper stories about Jesus and he looks up at me and says, “Love?” and I get to rock him back and forth and say, “Yes, yes. Jesus loves you. He does. He does.”

It is teaching them how to wash dishes and plant gardens and the day when he says, “What animals do I have?” like all the creatures in the barn are his very own and he has a place and belongs.


And it doesn’t matter if it only lasts today. Because today is really all we have. Today to worship God. Today to honor Him and bring Him glory. Today to love with His love.

It still hurts and I hate the thought of preschool starting and my littles being sent off to other teachers and influences. I hate the knowledge that tomorrow none of my babies may show up and there is nothing I can do about it. And my love, this aching part of my heart, will travel with them wherever they go, just like all the little ones that I loved before them.

But I’m not loving them for me.

Isn’t that the end truth that eases the hurt?

I’m not loving them for me. Because selfish love isn’t really Love at all.

I’m loving them for Him. For the Creator of the little boys who sit each day in my car seats and laugh when I sing silly songs. The One who carefully knit them together in their mother’s wombs. The One who has a plan and purpose for their lives. The One who is, even now, working to draw them to Himself.


And I want to take this moment to do what I should have done weeks ago: to glorify and praise the wondrous God who works miracles, moves mountains and hears the desperate broken prayers of my heart. 

The God who filled my home with children, even if it is in different way than I desired.
The God who, once again, made me a mother.


28 thoughts on “when loving hurts

  1. Beautiful once again, Natasha. And this applies far beyond those precious children you care for. God calls us to love. Not for our sakes, or even for the sakes of those we’re trying to love, but for Him. It can be so hard sometimes. I needed this reminder today, so thank you. And blessings on you and your divinely orchestrated “family”…


    • Oh, Erin, thank you. They are a divinely orchestrated family and I will cling to that. And you’re right. It applies so much further and so much deeper. It’s all for Him.


    • Yes. I think that’s what God has been showing me these past few weeks. It’s true for me, but it’s also true for every other mother. None of us know the future. We all have just today. And it must all, every last little taste, be for His glory.


  2. One definition I found for mother was originator; creator or founder of something. You have birthed that spark for the Lord in those boys. Their hearts will seek Him because you planted the seeds and continuously water them with your love and gentleness. You are an originator; a faithful seed planter; the nurturing water for 3 boys. Natasha, you ARE a mother.


  3. I didn’t want to press the like button because I don’t want to like this post. I don’t want to love when it hurts. I’m tired of giving my heart to people who are going to throw it on the ground and walk away when they have all they need from me. I’m tired of seeing the little boy that I grew to love, at church for split seconds, and not being able to pick him up and love on him. I hate the fact that he started calling me Mommy, and that I had to give him back to a woman who yells at him and doesn’t play with him and love on him. I hate that after I became his Mom is his eyes, I had to let him go because it was too much for my family to bear. I hate that my son hasn’t gotten to have a play date with his little friend. I hate that I opened my heart and it got crushed like I knew it was going to 3 years ago. I’m tired of hurting. But I know that my having him for that little while opened up his parents eyes, and his life should be better now.


    • Oh, Symanntha. I hear you. Every single word. I wish I could give you a long tight hug.

      May the Lord take every moment, every sacrifice, every tear– and not let a single one fall to the ground. May there be a harvest 50x, 100x, and 200x what was sown.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you Natasha. God is moving things around in my life, and I know that I just need to trust Him because He is arranging my future, but it is hard sometimes. Sometimes I feel like I am the only one who gives and everyone else is just taking. Thank you for this post.


  4. Oh, my! Tears in my eyes and admiration in my heart. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: You, my friend, are an incredible mother. Far more of a loving mother than so many. You are such a blessing to those little guys and to me!


  5. Oh honey! Thank you for your honesty and transparency. Honestly, in a small way, this is how I feel every year when a new group of students comes and goes from my classroom, but still my womb stays empty. Some days I grieve. Some days I rage. And some days I praise. Hugs to you! He understands…the one who gave up His only Son.


  6. Oh sweet girl. I loved everything about this post. Bless you for your honesty, transparency, and your clinging to Jesus even when you feel like kicking and screaming on the inside. Such a tender topic, and you say it so well. You brought tears to my eyes!! I can’t tell you how glad I am to have “met” you through this online space…you are a beautiful soul, and anyone who gets to have even a minute as a part of your life is blessed for it!!


  7. Natasha, I am cheering for you, praying for you and loving the mother in you. I feel the ache of your heart as you write these very transparent words…knowing your journey is your own.. But because I’ve been there… I know. I know. Take heart dear sister. your love for those boys, your boys, Is the stuff of eternity. you are a daily outpouring of eternity for them. Know that it makes a difference and know that YOUR prayers are heard in heaven. Your hearts cry is heard.


  8. So true of any of our relationships…why put ourselves out there again and again, if we’re only going to be hurt AGAIN. Why love when there will always be pain?


  9. Tasha, the interweaving in this post of pain and beauty, sorrow and truth, longing and discovery have my heart aching, tears pressing and falling, head nodding in agreement. I find elements of this struggle in the journey of adoption. Yes, she is my daughter… but I share her with another mother. Yes, I do have the awesome privilege of teaching and raising her but that gives me no bonus earthly mothering merits… nor does it guarantee that her heart will always be towards me or the Heavenly Father I try so hard to point her to.

    You are so wise to recognize that mothering is a gift but it doesn’t cure and fix all of our heart’s longings. Tasha, I love how you share the truth and victories that God gifts your open heart with. But you also share the pain and struggles that are such a normal and unavoidable part of infertility. Thanks!!!


  10. Wow that’s truth right there. My heart is hurting because I feel the same way and my selfishness just got exposed. I haven’t had the opportunity to care for other children, but I’m struggling right now to rejoice with loved ones who are pregnant and/or who have children. I rejoice with them but I hurt inside. I appreciate the reminder that we love not for us, but for Him. I rejoice for Him, not for me. Ahhhh this waiting is painful. I hurt because of the thought that I’m told I’m not a mother because I don’t have a child of my own. Yet when you tell them there are many ways a woman can be a mother, you’re perceived as bitter. Painful, but I’m thankful for His grace. I’m unable to extend grace if not for Him.

    Thank you again for this reminder.


  11. catching up on some blog reading. This is beautiful. So much of my own heart here – – the hurtful “you’ll only understand when you have a child of your own” statements break my heart in two.


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  13. I just found your blog through a friend who shared your most recent post on her FB page. That one was movingly honest, but this one brought me to my knees. I’ve been attending a lot of very exclusive pity parties in the darkest corner of my bed recently, anguishing over what God has not placed in my life to this point. This post reminded me of the students and colleagues who stop in my office daily – for encouragement, for advice, for friendship, because they consider it a place of peace, because they know I am never too busy to listen. Thank you for reminding me that what I do everyday with 90+ children, teens, and young teachers IS mothering. Thank you for reminding me that each of those shared dreams, fears, hopes, tears, hugs, laughs, and sighs is a gift to be treasured. I’ve been singing a lot of Queen (Somebody to Love) lately. Thank you for reminding me that my life is overflowing with lovely, loving people. I am blessed and overwhelmed!


    • Oh, SaraBeth–
      I’m so thankful for this sweet encouragement. I think this was one of the most difficult posts I’ve ever written, and I’m so thankful that it touched you. {hugs}


  14. oh my…… you wrote this last year and it’s making me cry today! You see, I have these nephews…. and they love me & they love to learn about Jesus from me. Yet I know that they are not really “my boys,” and they could be gone from my life at any time. So hard!!


  15. I have been reading your posts for 3 hours now and each one is equally encouraging. It’s almost like you are reading my mind or my heart. You just have a way to put it all into words that are so beautiful. Thanks so much for each and every word.


  16. Pingback: How I was surprised by motherhood | Natasha Metzler

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