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  • Writer's pictureKatie Ratliff

Donuts, Motherhood & An Epiphany

Over 2,000 years ago, the wise men found Christ in a manger. Two years ago, I found Him in the midst of my everyday life.

It was Epiphany Sunday, and we had fought through the chaos of taking three little kids to mass. We determined they earned their “good behavior” reward: Donuts.

Keep in mind that “good behavior” meant no one colored on a hymnal, crawled under the pews or threw a temper tantrum in the middle of mass… yes, it was quite the successful Sunday morning for our family.

My son Charlie, who was 2 at the time, had picked out a chocolate-frosted donut at the store. We went home and the kids sat down to consume their sugary prizes.

By the time Charlie had finished eating his donut, he looked as if he had just emerged from a chocolate massacre. The donut clearly lost the fight, but Charlie was left with chocolate frosting all over his entire face and hands. It was a mess.

I brought a chair next to the sink, stood him on it, grabbed a paper towel, ran it under the faucet and began to clean the sugary frosting off his face.

That’s when I had my own epiphany about the vocation of motherhood.

At the time, I was reading a lot about St. Teresa of Calcutta. I had noticed two key themes shared by this awe-inspiring saint throughout her life:

Love starts in the family

“Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do…but how much love we put in that action.” - Mother Theresa

Christ is in all of us

"Each one of them is Jesus in disguise." - Mother Theresa

In that moment, I suddenly understood that cleaning my son’s face wasn’t just another inconvenient mess; It was an opportunity to serve Christ, because He was in my child.

All of a sudden, the vocation of motherhood became elevated to divine work - something I never really understood until that moment.

I realized that when I serve my family - even in the most mundane tasks - I am serving Christ.

Many of you may already know this. Perhaps you’ve known it since you first got married, or first became a parent. For me, it was a true epiphany.

Whether it's new or not, I think we all need the reminder, because, quite frankly, it’s easy to forget that you’re serving Christ when you’re cleaning up your kid’s vomit at 3 AM. Or when they spill their milk after you’ve finally sat down to eat. Or when they dump out the bin of Legos just as soon as you finished putting them all away.

It’s in those moments that we need to remember that Christ is right there in the middle of our messy lives as parents. Those are the moments that we can choose to respond with love and serve Christ himself.

The magi traveled a great distance to find Jesus. We are also invited to go the distance to find Christ. Our journey may not be in miles, but in our daily acts of love and self-sacrifice when serving our families.

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