Welcome to the first installment of The Connection, a monthly newsletter for RBC moms! We’ve selected a couple articles for you to read below, and you can download the entire edition of The Connection – October 2013 here.
This Is My Job | Maggie Kolb
I think I post at least once a year on Facebook that I wish there was a way to “magic” laundry away. I can’t be the only person who struggles with this, because a bunch of my friends like and comment on it. I don’t know why it surprises me that laundry will need to be done, but I know if I ignore it for a few days, mayhem breaks out. This leads to a Grumpy Maggie. God has been speaking to me about how I treat my role at home. Through conversations, blogs, friends, Pinterest, Facebook, and mentors a message pops up over and over: This is my job, and I should do it with a joyful heart. It is my choice to go to God and ask the Holy Spirit to fill me with joy there. It is my choice to reframe my thoughts about the tasks I have to do on a daily basis. I am BLESSED to do this on a daily basis. I also needed to let the kids do a bit more.
Attitude is everything. If I take the lead on a chore with a cheerful disposition, and make things a game, the kids follow suit. Because a joyful heart is like medicine. How can the kids be grumpy when Mom is making Lego-cleaning a race? Throwing dirty socks at your head while sorting laundry? Playing praise music while cleaning the kitchen? I began to use the techniques I used with the kids on myself, and soon enough, I was approaching my day with a happy heart.
I also began to let go of some of the tasks I had taken control of because I did them the best. My 15-year old daughter does most of her laundry now, and I don’t care how it is folded, or shoved in her drawers. I let my son vacuum, and don’t nitpick about how he missed a spot. Delegation will always be a work in progress for me, but the happiness I feel when my kids can do something for themselves is motivation, indeed.
It’s okay to have bad days, but God is teaching me to find joy in the ordinary and everyday, because that is what my life is made of. I wash laundry, and clean toilets, and I am thrilled when that recipe idea I finally tried from Pinterest worked out. When Julia and Joseph look back at their childhood, I want them to remember me as a woman who loved the position the Lord gave her.
Maggie Kolb is wife to Kim, mom to Julia (15) and Joseph (10), is a green smoothie fanatic and collector of peacocks, owls, and nail polish.
Like Gideon | Kristyn Cole
I sat on my hardwood floor, legs awkwardly propped on the wall, pinning my two-year-old son into the small alcove of our hallway. We were on another marathon of timeouts and I crumpled into a pathetic ball of pity for myself. My three-month old twins howled in the living room because I had to stop nursing them to put my son in timeout. “This is too hard,” I whimpered, milk leaking on my spit-up stained shirt. With tears of desperation, I prayed out loud for guidance. “God, how am I supposed to do this because it obviously isn’t working? I am outnumbered and I feel defeated.”
“God, how am I supposed to do this? Give me the strength and wisdom to raise these boys to honor you.” It is a prayer I pray often. I whisper that prayer as I stand in my sleeping babies’ rooms while the scent of lavender baths lingers on chubby bodies and washes the day’s frustrations away. I also pray this prayer when I am broken and battered, waving the white flag of surrender. When sticker charts, Bible verses read aloud from index cards, positive affirmation, reverse psychology and timeouts have not yielded desired results. When every trick in my mommy bag has been used, I pray this prayer. It is a prayer I pray continuously because the magnitude of what God has called me to do is so overwhelming at times I question and doubt the task He has laid before me. I have been called to raise these young boys to be men of God. I am living among the pages of the ultimate underdog story. I am on a quest to raise children that will go against the grain of everything our culture values, and walk with Christ. Does God really trust me with this task when I can’t even keep my toddler from pushing other children at the park? I often feel like Gideon, scared and doubtful, marching off to defeat the Midianites with a whittled army of 300.
But on this particular day, I felt God speaking through my tired body. I was to teach my son through patience and love. This simple concept, taught in the early years of Sunday school, ignited a flame inside me. God wasn’t just calling me to help teach my son patience when taking turns or when waiting for his soup to cool off. He is disciplining me to learn to discipline with patience, through love, one timeout at a time. In the difficult times of disciplining little ones, I was to be patient and loving, as God is with me. We rarely talk about the patient God. Yet, time and time again, God shows us through His word His patience for us. When Gideon, marked by his weakness, questioned God about how to execute the Lord’s plan to save Israel, God responded to him by saying “I will be with you” (Judges 6:16). When Gideon questioned if God was truly speaking to him, God responded by saying, “I will wait until you return” (Judges 6:19).
My toddler doesn’t understand why he shouldn’t push others. He doesn’t understand why dragging his baby brother across the floor isn’t a loving action. He doesn’t understand a lot, yet; much like his mother. What I do understand is that the bible instructs me to teach my child, to discipline my child and to be patient and loving while doing so. We are both learning. When God blessed me with surprise twins born 20 months apart from their older brother, like Gideon, I felt weak, outnumbered and defeated. Yes, there are numerous blessings on this journey but the days are long, the tasks physically exhausting and the challenges mentally draining. In fact, God told Gideon that his army must be small and the task must seem near impossible or Israel would boast of their own strength saving them. (Judges 7:2). No matter how many children you may have, chances are you have felt like Gideon at times, weak and defeated. God’s love and patience for us is infinite, no matter how impossible the situation may appear. He is willing to love us, no matter how many timeouts it takes.
Kristyn Cole is a Northern Virginia native who lives in Chantilly with her husband and Patriots fan, Ryan. Together they are blessed with 3 boys: Tyson, 2 and six-month-old identical twins, Gavin and Jackson.