We stretched out on the soft carpet speckled with the gritty texture of sand tracked in by our feet and blow up toys. The little guy and I seized some reprieve from the sun, water and salty air in the quiet cool of our 17th floor room overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and Halifax River.

Josiah (barely 5 at the time) crouched next to me drawing on one of those white, logo-stamped notepads that the resort provides along with a cheap, matching pen. On the front page of the pad, my oldest had already drawn a fish and a heart. Next to her fish, Josiah drew his own fish. He hadn’t mastered the correct hold yet, so his clenched fist wrestled with the pen.

After drawing his fish, he looked at it and said, “Mommy, does my fish look…weird?” I smiled and said, “It looks like a fish.” He gave me a doubtful look. I continued, “…and the more you draw, the easier it will get.” He took another glance down at big sister’s fish and exclaimed, “I’m no good at drawing fish!”

He looks at her fish and thinks, I wish I could do it like that. It’s hard for him to grasp that she’s been practicing her shapes and letters for 4 years longer than him simply because she’s older. I pointed out, “Well, you are very good at circles.” He admitted with a frown, “Yeah.” How often we do this as grown-ups.

Truly, no role has carried a greater temptation to compare or a greater fear of judgment than that of my motherhood. I wonder how many times I’ve hindered my own unique progress by thinking I should be where someone else is on their own one-of-a-kind journey. How would we bloom if we stopped comparing ourselves to the progress of others? All to often, we see a snapshot of someone else’s growth or “success,” but have no concept of the hidden history, the failures, or how much practice it took them to get there.

Sisters, let’s gather around the Father. We are all in different stages of our journey. We’ve come from so many different places and have a diversity of experiences, stories, opinions and causes. You are welcome here. There’s room for your loud laughter or your reserved smile. There’s a place for your quiet meditations and impassioned prayers.

Because we art to the Father.

Let’s own the uniqueness of our story in the truth that no one else can live this one life for us. Your victory is my victory and does not invalidate my own bumpy progress. Let’s cheer each other on. We are a mosaic of grace and THAT is beautiful.