Enduring the Writer’s Worst Nightmare

In November I shared a series, on my blog, in which I gave thanks for the hard things that I have been facing. It was mostly a spiritual exercise. A time of recognizing the things learned through difficulties and seeing Christ through pain. And, I hoped,  an encouragement to others facing hardship. 

The last thing I shared, (and, oh, how I agonized over that post!) was about facing infertility. 

The post went crazy. Within two days it ranked the third highest in views for any post I’ve written. I was flooded with emails and comments. 99% of them were completely positive. 

But it didn’t matter. There was one comment and one single email (2 people out of hundreds of views) that almost made me pull the post. Both women disagreed with me and one even thought that perhaps I needed to seek mental help. (honest!)  I literally had to stand up and walk away from the computer to keep myself from yanking the post off my site. I had to do breathing exercises. I cried.  I put a piece of my heart on the screen and it was misunderstood. I don’t do well with being misunderstood. 

When I stopped fretting and started praying, God reminded me of a conversation that I’d been involved in just days before. (Oh, how I love the way He works!) I went hunting and found my own words on the subject. Oi! 

It is important to remember that what we read is written by real people (and intensely personal) and I also think it is important to acknowledge that writing IS arbitrary. People will dislike my writing (and probably talk about it) and my job as a writer is to accept that with grace. 

How many of you have endured being misunderstood? If you’re anything like me, grace, is one of the furthest things from your mind. I wanted to defend myself. I wanted to explain. I wanted to tell them to bug off. And I had no desire, whatsoever, to offer them grace. 

Yet, that is what He asks of us? Isn’t it? To write with openness and vulnerability and then offer grace to those who misunderstand. My words on infertility were obviously not meant for those two women. They were at a different place in their walk with God. Not better or worse, just different. 

When I write something and press “publish”, I have to let it go. Not everyone will agree with me. Not everyone will benefit from my story. Yet, I will continue to write for those who do. And when confronted with those who don’t, I will embrace the chance to offer grace.  

Beautiful, life-altering, grace. 

In Him {and always for Him}, Natasha

 

Natasha Metzler

Natasha lives and writes from a dairy farm in Northern New York. Life hasn't gone according to plan but the heartache sings of redemption. You can find her blogging at natashametzler.com

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  • http://www.barefoothippiegirl.com/ BAREFOOT HIPPIE GIRL

    This is a great post. We do often put our hearts out there. We write what we feel God’s wants us to. And it is a very vulnerable place. I love what you wrote about extending grace to those who disagree. Not defend ourselves, not back track. Just give grace. Thanks you for this!

  • http://twitter.com/MBJunction JENN COLLINS

    This is a great post! I had a similar experience on my own blog, about how I came to accept the hospital birth that I had with my son and how I embraced some of the really positive aspects of it. I received lots of great, encouraging comments, and then the one that really struck me: a reader implied that the only reason I could have accepted my hospital birth situation was out of my own ignorance. I couldn’t believe – what was supposed to be such a positive, affirming post was just shattered, to me, by that one comment.

    I’m going to remember your words: “It is important to remember that what we read is written by real people (and intensely personal) and I also think it is important to acknowledge that writing IS arbitrary. People will dislike my writing (and probably talk about it) and my job as a writer is to accept that with grace.”

    In fact, I’ve bookmarked this post. I feel like I’ll need it again in the future.

    • http://www.natashametzler.com/ NATASHA METZLER

      So thankful this blessed you.

      p.s. I’ve been present for a few hospital births and they were the most glorious things I’ve ever experienced (and I still adore the nieces and nephews I’ve gained through them). And I promise it wasn’t ignorance. It was just beauty. :)

  • ALI GILBERT

    This only proves how much more mature you are than them anyways. I think you are viewing it in a great, Godly way. :)

  • DAWN @ THEMOMMAKNOWS.COM

    Yes! I once discovered that I was a topic of discussion on a very snarky and toxic chat board, along with a number of other bloggers. They criticised our motives, our parenting, our faith, and our personalities and it absolutely tore me up. It was all I could do NOT to register for the forum so I could make a point by point defense. Of course, it would have accomplished nothing g. Letting it go with grace was the only way to come away from it with a healthy mindset.

    • http://www.natashametzler.com/ NATASHA METZLER

      Oh, Dawn. How frustrating and hurtful. So thankful you were able to move away with grace.

    • KM LOGAN @LESSONSFROMIVY

      I bet it was the same chat board I was “featured” on : ) We should start our own where we talk about how great their chat board is, and what wonderful people they are and heap the coals upon their heads ;)

  • http://www.GodCenteredMom.com HEATHER MACFADYEN

    Last October (right before Allume, in fact) I wrote about my personal experience with “not feeling like myself” (possibly PPD) and how I’d been seeing a counselor. Admitting the writer for “God Centered Mom” needed to see a counselor was not an easy post to write. But it was out there and I felt like I was finally being truthful with my readers about my heart’s position.

    The challenging feedback I received was not from an online friend but from a long-time real friend. She emailed me that my depression (“or whatever it was”…her words) had hurt her.

    When we met in person she told me how hard it was for her to read my blog and not be able to talk to me about what I was writing. She was worried for me but didn’t know how to help.

    She also told me when I wrote a post about sitting in Panera next to a women with Multiple Personality Disorder, my friend thought I was writing about myself in the post…ugh!!

    Anyway, yes, I can relate to your post and will be bookmarking it, as I tend towards authentic writing (which can apparently be misunderstood by readers).

    • http://www.natashametzler.com/ NATASHA METZLER

      Ugh, that sounds painful. But I’m thankful you were able to talk to her. Communication is such a tricky thing at times.
      I’ve been through a few painful conversations like that myself.
      Grace. Cling tight to grace! <3

  • http://twitter.com/lifefordessert LOGAN WOLFRAM

    Natasha,
    I had the same thing happen on a post I’d written after I lost a baby. It was the source of my first ever hate mail…and I agonized over it despite the thousands of emails I’d received that were positive. You’re right…grace…all grace. I prayed for the person, released it to the Lord, and deleted the comment so that my heart wouldn’t go back to reread or grieve it. Wise words friend!

    • http://www.servingjoyfully.com/ CRYSTAL

      Logan, I’m so sorry you would have to go through that after losing a baby :(

    • http://www.natashametzler.com/ NATASHA METZLER

      Oh, Logan. I wish I could give you a hug.

      I’m so thankful we serve a God who redeems painful things. <3

  • http://www.servingjoyfully.com/ CRYSTAL

    Sometimes, disagreeing is normal, and even though the positive comments are much more fun, I hope to cultivate an atmosphere on my blog in which disagreeing (in a kind, civil manner) is okay.

    With that said, I do agree that it’s tough, especially since we tend to focus on the negatives. And even harder when it’s based on misunderstanding or miscommunication. I recently experienced one of the hardest things I’ve gone through related to blogging, and it was all based on miscommunication.

    Unfortunately, I think those things are going to happen with online communication and I pray with all my comments/posts, that God will make it clear to others my heart and purpose. Thanks for sharing.

    • http://www.natashametzler.com/ NATASHA METZLER

      Excellent point, Crystal. It is definitely important to cultivate an atmosphere of discussion– and ever so important to ask the Lord to guide us when we respond. Clarity and heart and purpose.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jacqui.hodges.90 JACQUI HODGES

    Thank you so much for sharing. Twice in the last 6 months I found myself misunderstood by a reader. It was hard to know how to process the emotions that came from the misunderstandings. Thank you for reminding me that all is grace.

    • http://www.natashametzler.com/ NATASHA METZLER

      {hugs} It is rough, no doubt about it.

  • http://twitter.com/vikingwritergal HEATHER DAY GILBERT

    Thanks for your honesty here. I write books (none of which are published yet), and I’m pre-bracing myself for bad reviews. I’m sure there will be a few. But we each have to let God use us to reach others, whether it means being up-front and honest in a blog post, as you did, or using our limited writing skills to speak to people in a novel. Oh–and a dairy farm in NY! My parents-in-law own a dairy farm in upstate NY. Tough business to be in, but such a lovely place to have a dairy.

    • http://www.natashametzler.com/ NATASHA METZLER

      Oh, I’m petrified that someone will give me a critical review on my book. Lol. I try not to look too often.

      That’s awesome about the dairy farm! We actually *just* sold our herd of dairy animals. There are still cows and pigs and a donkey, etc… but the milk cows left. Where are your in-laws? We’re way up north in Lowville, just south of Watertown.

  • ANGELA MEYER

    A great reminder. Thank you!
    Choosing to live as an extender of grace -
    Angela D. Meyer
    http://www.angeladmeyer.com

  • KM LOGAN @LESSONSFROMIVY

    So sorry to hear about the hurtful comments especially on such a tender topic.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Katiecampbellphoto KATIE CAMPBELL

    Natasha I so connected to your story as I read this. (and then I hopped over to read your blog post on infertility) I too just began blogging by battle with infertility in the fall and it’s so scary to share such an intimate struggle for the world to look in on. It sounds so silly bu that was one of my greatest fears and I overcame that fear the day clicked publish button. I totally connected with your story because that was me :) Thank you for sharing because it’s blog posts like these that spur me on and encourage me that I am not alone in my fears and journey.