Refining “Matalie”

This has been the year of learning for me. At every turn it’s something, like I am in a room with a bunch of light bulbs and every so often a new one turns on. It reminds me of parenting, the seasons, where our children aren’t ready developmentally to understand what we are teaching them, and then out of nowhere our long exasperated efforts begin to come into fruition one bulb at a time.

This is a wonderful thing. But if I am honest I am struggling with the transformation.

I am sitting in disbelief. I thought I had it all figured out. Yes, feel free to point out my pride there…but the things I have been learning about myself I truly couldn’t see before now.

The best example I have is this:

When My eldest was three years old we moved into a neighborhood. Almost instantly she and the little girl next door, who was two years old, became best friends. It helped that the mom and I hit it off too. We had many playdates. The girl next door to her had a little boy who was four and he too joined in the fun. It was truly a wonderful time for the kids and me. These women were a great support.

The thing was that Ella, my daughter, couldn’t say the little girls name, Natalie, or the little boys’ name, Magarrin. She called Natalie, Matalie, and Magarrin, Garrin. And they called her “Ewwa.” It was super cute.

I had tried a few times to inform Ella of her mispronunciation, but she was insistent that I was wrong. After a few failed attempts I let it go.

In the fall Ella started preschool and she began to learn her letters. Natalie’s’ birthday was coming up and Ella wanted to make her friend a card with her new talent of writing letters.

She got out paper, crayons, and began to draw. Then I hear, “Mommy how do you spell Matalie?”

I looked at her adorable little face focused on the paper, crayon in hand eager to start, and I said, “N.”

She stopped, she looked at me, then looked down again. I could hear her whispering to her self, “Matalie.”

Slowly the wheels turned, and perplexed she said slowly aloud to me, “Matalie.” As if I had heard her incorrectly. I replied again with a smile, “Yes, I heard you… N.”

Again she pondered. This time looking like she was trying to remember what a “N” looked like. Then again pointed out that “Matalie” started with a “M.”

I explained that I had tried to tell her before. She knew I was right. She sat with it for a few minutes and then proceeded to write an “N.”

She acknowledged that day the change and began to think it through but it would be another year until she would call Natalie, Natalie.

How many times do I beat myself up for my journey? Or how many times like a child do I think I know better? How many times have I thought it was Matalie, instead of Natalie in my life? And how many times have I sat in my correction like my daughter grappling with reality?

God is the perfect parent. And when I put myself in His hands I can be sure that He is good, patient, and merciful. Our Christian walk is a journey. We are Gods children and like children we are growing.

I have enjoyed watching my children figure it out. How much more does God love and enjoy us as we figure it out?

I too often make Him out to be a mad, angry God. I too often hold myself to standards that are too high. I beat myself up for saying “Matalie” when if I let the parenting up to God and focus on what His word says about me as well as what it says about Him I can begin to rest in His refining process.

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