With or Without: A Love Story to the God Who is Always Good
I’m not exactly sure what I was expecting to end my series on navigating infertility with, but I promise you it wasn’t this post.
The series, which started with my story of surrender (Infertility Doesn’t Define Me) and then went through posts on faith, marriage, relationships, and our hearts, was written last year and has been shared over the past six weeks.
The only piece of the series that wasn’t complete ahead of time was my “end note”, the post that would tie everything together. I had a couple drafts sitting around but hadn’t decided on which one to use.
And then, the unexpected happened and I couldn’t use any of them anymore.
So I was left sitting in front a blank screen, trying to find words to finish a story that I hadn’t seen coming.
Since the New Year, I’ve written a couple of other pieces that have been haunting me a bit. Those of you who read my blog regularly probably remember them.
In late February I published an article, How to Survive When God Says, “Wait.” and earlier in the month I shared one titled, Your Story Isn’t Over Yet.
In January there was a post about how God has not forgotten me even if life didn’t look the way I expected (When You’re 99.8% Okay) and I also wrote about knowing God is big enough and good enough–even without the answers we long for in a post titled Is God Big Enough to Give Me a Baby?
If you don’t remember those posts, when you’re done with this one—you should go read them. They are startling in retrospect, because what I didn’t know when I was writing them was that God was working a miracle in my body. Things were healing and aligning and within a week of writing Is God Big Enough to Give Me a Baby? He was already doing it.
When I was writing Your Story Isn’t Over Yet, a new chapter in our lives was being built inside me.
And when I wrote How to Survive When God Says, “Wait.” the answer to the question I shared in that post (God, will I ever have a baby?) already had a beating heart and limbs forming, even though I had no idea.
By the beginning of March, I was battling the longest bout of the stomach bug I had ever experienced. My husband was preparing for a trip to Alaska and before he left he asked me if I might be pregnant.
And guys? I sat across the table from him and said, “Nope, there’s no way.”
I found out later that he didn’t believe me, but he didn’t say a lot right then.
I stopped drinking coffee, started throwing up over random things, and fell asleep almost every time I sat down. In the meantime, I was editing and preparing my series on infertility.
By the time I had it scheduled, my mother came to visit me with a package of pregnancy tests.
I hadn’t taken a pregnancy test in over nine years. But I took one that day and then sat with my head down, scared to even look at it.
I prayed, right there in the bathroom with the test beside me and all these conflicting emotions racing through my head, my hands shaking.
With or without, Lord, You are good.
Because that’s the lesson of the past eleven years.
With or without whatever it is that I’m longing for—God is still good.
And when it comes to babies and pregnancy, for the very first time I got to experience the “with”.
By the time I took that test, I was already further along than I’d ever been–over two months. By the time I went in for my first ultrasound, I was 15 weeks.
My husband and I sat in the waiting room, both tense with memories. Because the last time I had an ultrasound, all it did was show us a knobby ball of cysts. So Amos just held my hand and prayed over us until my breath was coming normally again.
I should have said something right away to the technician when we walked in. Should have mentioned that we were nervous and scared. But instead, I was my usual quiet self and laid down with all the fears and agony knotted up inside.
And the technician just sat and looked at the screen for what seemed like an eternity, concentrating on her work with a look that was completely indecipherable.
And once again, I was praying.
With or without, Lord, You are good.
When she finally turned the screen for me to see, she was all gentleness and kindness. “You can see here,” she pointed, “your baby is tucked head down, so I’m having a hard time getting a measurement. But the heart is right here, see it beating?”
I blinked and blinked again because everything was blurry, but there on the screen were tiny legs kicking about and a little hand waving and a miniscule heart beating 154 beats a minute.
I’m still a bit shaky over it all. I still look at my husband each day and whisper, “There really is a baby, right?” I’m fighting off nightmares of the baby disappearing or being taken away. In other words, I’m not walking into this unscathed by the eleven years of infertility. It’s all there—still part of the story.
But it turns out the story really isn’t finished yet.
You want to know the most interesting part of the whole thing? Nothing has changed, even while everything is changing.
I know that sounds crazy, but here’s the deal: I went through those scheduled posts on infertility as they went live, and they’re all still true. The things I wrote about God and faith and life and relationships? Not one single part has changed, even though I’m carrying a baby.
And that’s the part of God that overwhelms me.
He is who He says He is.
With and Without.
I’m sure you will hear more in the days to come, because I only write about what’s real and happening, but I pray that you’ll be blessed; even if you’re still living in the without like I was for so many years.
And I pray that you will feel the Lord’s presence deeper and more intimately every day, every month, every year.
Because He truly is exactly who He says He is.
With your permission, I would like to offer my congratulations to the whole Metzler family!!! I find it’s very interesting that while you were writing your different posts, that God was already doing a miracle within you. I love that your adopted kids are so excited over this new little one on the way! I have been praying that this little one will bring your kiddos and family more closer together than you have ever been before. I don’t blame you for being extremely nervous about the outcome when you went in for your ultrasound. Please keep us all updated on your progress with Baby Metzler.
Congratulations, dear sister in Christ!
I cried with joy alongside you!!!!
That you by faith invited us into your story so many years ago (when you surely did not know the outcome) so we can stand here and praise with you. Two adopted kids. One in your womb. He is so faithful. I don’t know what it’s like to walk thru pregnancy after infertility but I do not what it’s like after repeated miscarriages and so I am praying over you. ❤❤❤
Thank you for rejoicing with us. 💕
So much love! What you wrote at the end about, it’s all still true….it’s true, a baby doesn’t change the struggles or the blessings that came as a result of infertility. It doesn’t change how it affects and molds you. It’s just a new page in the story, and I am SOOO beyond excited for this new page for you guys.
I think of and pray for you often…I’ll be sure to add that little one to me list 😉
Thank you, friend. 💕
God is faithful
I made the mistake of reading this at work, and now I’m ugly crying!
I have followed your story since dealing with my own infertility, and even after I had my miracle. Truth be told, I only found your blog because I saw we had the same name! (I’m Natasha too 🙂 and I thought, “here’s another Natasha going through the same thing…” and I felt close to you because of that. And after I got pregnant, I stopped reading for awhile, because I had guilt…that I had my miracle and you didn’t. And while I was so joyful in my blessing, there was still this pain of so many women who didn’t have theirs. I wonder if we can also share that now?
Natasha, I am OVERJOYED for this blessing growing inside of you! I pray God’s strength and peace over you and you and your husband, and also protection over yours and the baby’s health.
Oh, friend, thank you for rejoicing with us! And sorry about the ugly cry. 😉
I can’t always keep track of my subscribers, but I noticed you because of the name as well! 😊 It’s just not too often that I see the same name.
May the Lord continue to bless you. 💕
Natasha, I’m crying tears of joy with you. I have followed your stories for years now and I have hoped and prayed for you and your situation- I am so excited for you! We serve a prayer answering God. He is faithful- with or without! He is Good! What a testimony of his power and his timing – I know only you and your husband fully understand the despair and heartache this last 11 years have held, but you are able to minister to “barren” women in a way most regular women could never reach. This wonderful news is just a testament of holding true to God and his promises no matter what we see- walking by faith, not by sight- so so happy for you! This couldn’t be happening to a better family than you guys. Keep us updated- your “online” sisters in Christ are so happy for your “happy ending”!
Oh, friend, thank you for this sweet encouragement! And thank you for rejoicing with us! 💕
I just have to comment. I am jumping up and down with joy inside for you!! Several years ago when our infertility was excruciating the Lord used your writing to minister to me. He brought healing and children through foster care/adoption. I thank Him! And experience true joy when an infertility sister starts growing a tiny little miracle! I’ll be praying for you and the baby! Grace
Thank you so much for rejoicing with us. 💕
I am in tears over how thankful I am that God has opened and filled your womb!! I started following your journey toward the beginning of my own 5-year-long infertility journey. He has since allowed us to have two precious children, but I have never forgotten you or your ministry to so many. Praise God for this blessing for you and your family!! I’m so thankful!
Oh wow! Natasha that is the most wonderful news! Congratulations! I read this with tears streaming down my face. Even though its totally one sided, you sometimes you feel like a friend just from reading your wonderful writing over the years! (I like to think we would be kindred spirits if ever we met.) I’m just so delighted for you. And amazed by God’s goodness!
Thank you for sharing this tender news. Just this week God has been speaking to me about a growing cynicism in my heart after years of illness & disappointment, hopes deferred and longing for healing that has never come. He has been reminding me that He asks me to hope, not to let me heart grow hard or bitter. The outcome I hope & pray for isn’t guaranteed but God’s goodness and love for me is assured. He is who He says He is! Thank you for sharing honestly in your struggles and your joys, encouraging and pointing us back toward Him.
Thank you, Miriam. Praying you feel Him near. 💕
I’m rejoicing in a Father God who loves to give His children good gifts even if they aren’t the gifts the children think they want… and when they are.
I praised Him for the lessons you shared in the “aren’t” before.
Praising Him for the “are” today.
Such good gifts, both ways. You are so right. 💕
This shook me to my core tonight and breathed new hope into me. First of all, God is good, no matter what and I’ve always believed that. Secondly, congratulations!!!! And thirdly, thank you for sharing and being so real with us. Your testimony has helped me tremendously as I continue to tread the waters of what seems like perpetual singleness and sometimes wonder if God can hear me and my heart longing.
Praying you feel Him near as you continue your own journey, friend. 💕 Thank you for sharing in our joy with us!
Thank you, Jesus, for this gift. ❤