When My Barrenness Met God

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Natasha Metzler -Life Giving Water3By Natasha Metzler | Twitter: @natashametzler

[Trigger warning for our readers struggling with infertility.]

I never expected the word barren to label my life.

I was a vibrant person. I am an introvert to be sure, but I wasn’t shy or backward. I loved life and loved living it. By the time I was in my early twenties I had traveled from Haiti to Alaska to Brazil. I had ministered in orphanages and in homes, in schools and in churches.

When I married, I expected to settle in and raise a family with this wonderful man of mine. He was a man who had traveled even more extensively than I, but who had eventually settled on a little farm in Northern New York and miraculously picked me for a wife.

Instead of bearing babies, I dipped down-down into depression and fear and this vast emptiness of infertility and loss.

Infertility is a crushing load to carry through life, and for a season I couldn’t even crawl under the weight of it. It held me; it pinned me down with the starkness of shattered dreams and hopes.

I can still feel that empty-hollowness when I stop and think. It was the empty-hollowness that sent me to my knees before God, desperate to live and breathe again. It was the barrenness of my soul that sent me desperate into the Scriptures, searching for something to save my life from this agony.

And I found Him. The God who was right beside me, who had never left me. He was there in the Old Testament, in the wilderness, walking beside the Israelite people. He was the manna, new every day. He was the water from the rock. The bitter waters that turned sweet. The light, the Word, the cloud.

There I was in a wilderness, pounding my fists into the ground. I was angry at God for forcing me to walk a road that I couldn’t survive, screaming, “I will starve in this desert. I will die of thirst in this barren wasteland!” And all the while, He was standing beside me, whispering, speaking, shouting, “You have to walk this road, but I AM with you.”

The I AM. Jesus. The Bread of Life. The Living Water. Everything I needed to survive.

When I finally lifted my head and stumbled to my feet, I found that while my body was barren, my life wasn’t barren at all.

Little ones filled my home and my heart. Not the babies I had once dreamed of, but children nonetheless. Little boys whose mama needed to work long hours came to my home day after day. Teenagers with rough home lives came to the farm to learn to how to drive a tractor and plant corn seed and listen to the truths my husband taught them. Nieces and nephews ran to my lap, to my table, to my heart.

And eventually we began the long, aching road of adoption. They weren’t the babies I had once dreamed of, but two eight-year-old children.

I had never dreamed the word barren would apply to me, and my children never dreamed the word orphan would apply to them.

Now miraculously and beautifully, neither word applies to any of us any more.

I see God’s hand stretching through my life. When I saw a wilderness of only heartache, God saw a place to carve streams into. Streams of life-giving water that would produce bounty and beauty in the middle of loss and sorrow.

Wherever we are, whatever we face, we can know this truth: Jesus is right there. He’s beside us. He’s never leaving, never forsaking. And in Him, through Him, we may find everything we need. It may look different than what we expect, but it will be life-breathing.

And it is His life that was always meant to save ours.


About Natasha:

Edited in Lumia Selfie

Natasha Metzler is a farmer’s wife and adoptive mom who writes from Northern New York. Her books, Pain Redeemed and Counting Grains of Sand tell the intricate story of redemption that God has pieced together in her life from the brokenness of shattered dreams. She blogs at natashametzler.com and can be found on Facebook.

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  • “Now miraculously and beautifully, neither word applies to any of us any more.” This line made me gasp Natasha with its redemptive beauty. Thank you for sharing your story so openly and bravely – and for reminding us of what resurrection looks like. I’m so happy for you, for your children and all those others who have found a home and a place of safety at your farm.

    • Thank you, Naomi. I feel the same way when I think about it all. God is so good.

  • No matter what the struggle, the “carving” of streams is always a painful process, but this is such a beautiful metaphor for the experience of suffering and the aftermath of joy that goes beyond what we ever could have predicted while the carving was in process.
    Thank you, Natasha, for sharing your story.

    • It is painful– and He is always faithful to use everything (even our pain) to work good in our lives. Of that I am profoundly thankful.

  • Amy Chumbley

    Thank you for sharing! Whether we have struggled with infertility or not I think most of us can identify with times that we felt we were starving in the wilderness or dying of thirst! Yet God does show up in unexpected ways and lets us know that He is with us! I love that He teaches us all the same things through the different circumstances of our lives!

    • That is actually one of my favorite things about God. We all don’t have to walk the exact same path to learn the exact same truth. He is always faithful to meet us right where we are at.

  • Kerry Connelly

    Isn’t it so funny how we are looking for what we want over there, and God is always over here, saying, Look! Look! I have treasure for you just over here!

    Much love to you and your beautiful family.

  • Tasha, your words always uplift and inspire me! This is such a beautiful post, filled with light and life.

  • Chalcea Malec

    Wonderful! Thank-you.

  • Helene Burns

    And here’s where my tears came…’I had never dreamed the word barren would apply to me, and my children never dreamed the word orphan would apply to them. Now miraculously and beautifully, neither word applies to any of us any more.’

    How perfectly beautiful… I can’t help but think of Ecclesiastes 3:11…”He has made all things beautiful in His time.’

    Thanks for gracing us with your story today Natasha – it’s a beautiful gift. xo

  • Saskia Wishart

    Thank you for sharing your story here Natasha.

  • I absolutely loved this! I have so many friends who struggle with infertility, miscarriages, and other issues related to this area. I love when people speak out and say, you are not alone! Thank you for sharing!

  • Natasha, I am so glad to know and serve alongside you at KG. Because your words consistently bless and inspire me. Thank you for being willing to share your story and always point back to the One who is the best at writing stories.