Our oldest just turned five in October – which truly blows my mind for many reasons. One being the simple fact that we have a five-year-old; another being that I’ve been on this motherhood journey for nearly six years. It also makes total sense when I stop and think about all of the “figuring out” my husband and I have done. From how to get our son to sleep… to now trying to raise a kind, Jesus-loving, young boy. I say “figure out” because let’s face it, do we, as mothers, ever actually reach a place of contentment and peace knowing we’ve “figured it out”. Now, of course there are days where I catch myself at the end of the day with a smile on my face knowing THAT was a good day in the world of motherhood – the kids’ will and mine aligned, and we “figured it out”.

As I write this, we are potty training our second child, Marie. She is almost three and OH MY IS SHE STUBBORN. It’s day three, and we are seeing success *mostly*. This is our third attempt. The first attempt barely qualified as an attempt. The second attempt lasted six hours. For many reasons, it obviously didn’t go well. Many of those being because of MY idea of how it should go – no doubt, she gets her stubbornness from me. This time, day one was… a typical day one. That night, my husband and I prayed for Marie to “figure it out”. The next morning, during our family prayer time, I asked for patience. Day 2 was… shockingly great. She started to “figure out” what to do, and I definitely was more patient. Prayer does work!

Honestly, things go better in our house when I am patient, understanding, stop worrying about the 500 other things on my mind, don’t worry about the ranch smeared all over the dining table I love, and enter into the world of a five and almost-three-year-old. But then, the kids go to bed, and I’m left feeling like “wow, I got nothing done today”. Sometimes it feels like an impossible cycle.

I recently went to a one-day women’s retreat. I haven’t done anything like that in over a decade. In high school and college, I went on many mission trips and retreats. It was so easy then. I finally signed up – with a friend of course, because no way was I walking into a retreat with 500+ other women ALONE. Let me start off by saying, the retreat was definitely not what I thought it would be. I was expecting lots of “we are trying our best” and “women are superheroes” and “don’t worry, just keep trying and it’ll get better one day”. Nope. It was, instead, everything I needed to hear. The things that struck me are these:

God already knows everything, I need to stop trying to “impress” Him.

It’s not “God, what do you want from me”. It’s actually “God, what do you want FOR me.”

Jesus loves me. Something I KNOW, but forget to apply to all the times I “fail” by my standards.

We ARE trying our best. We ARE “superheroes”. We DO have to keep trying our best. But more importantly, sometimes, we just have to BE.

Women, especially mothers, take on SO much. The worries, the important phone numbers, the household cleaning supply inventory, the idea of how things “should” go, the anxieties of having children during the current RSV surge, the papers to return to school, the emotions, the fears… and that’s just all for the people we love and care for the most – forget our OWN worries, fears, desires, joys… you get it. The beautiful part? I literally love it. It’s the greatest joy in my life to be Sully and Marie’s mommy – and the current baby in my belly who simply MUST stop making me so nauseous. I love it all. I wouldn’t have it any other way – except for maybe less smells. However, there’s a reason those things I heard at the retreat were exactly what I needed in this season of my life. 

I often turn to critiquing myself because surely God wasn’t impressed with me that day.

I often wonder what God wants from me – rather, how much exactly do I HAVE to give Him.

I certainly don’t think about Jesus loving me so much that He died for me… that I’m worth that.

And wow, do I struggle with sitting down to simply BE. 

During Adoration at the retreat, the priest walked us through a meditation that had me in absolute tears. We closed our eyes and pictured ourselves at the Visitation – when Mary RUNS to Elizabeth to tell her the news that she is pregnant, too, and John LEAPS in Elizabeth’s womb. He walked us through the whole scene, resulting in us being alone in the room with Mary, pregnant with Jesus. Then he said, “Mary turns to you and says ‘Tell me what’s going on’.” Can you imagine! The Mother of God asks you that?! Where to start?! 

As we enter into this beautiful season of Advent, my focus is on Mary. Mary, the mother of God’s son. Mary, the mother who willingly gave birth to the Savior of the world. How did she do it? Could I do the same? How did she stay so faithful? When did she “figure it out”?

I know that I’ll never feel like I have “figured out” how to be the PERFECT mother. Hopefully I’m on my way to “figuring out” that all I have to do is let God in. He will guide me through every moment of being a mother. He gave us Mary, the actual PERFECT mother. The mother who had it “figured out” the day she said “Yes”. 

He knows everything. 

He wants Heaven FOR us.

He loves us so much He sent His only son to save us.

All we have to do is sit long enough to simply be.