This week, I am really excited to reintroduce my friend and author, Kalonda Coleman. Last year she wrote a fantastic book called Holy MatriMommy. If you haven’t read it-you need to! Whether you are single, engaged or married, this book is for all those who desire to be in a committed relationship. I loved it so much, I read it THREE times (really)! Reading Kalonda’s story and being able to reference biblical scripture while reading was invaluable to me. Her book came along at the right time for me personally. I can truly say that her book changed the way I thought about marriage and my relationship with my husband. Below is the interview I did with her and her husband. It also includes a special sneak peek of her second book, which she is currently writing. Enjoy!
1. For those who have not read Holy MatriMommy, briefly tell everyone a little about it?
Holy MatriMommy is a two-part book on marriage and motherhood from a Christian perspective. Each part of the book begins with a peek into my personal testimony as a wife and mother, and then I share some practical, biblical insight in how to find the grace and joy in our daily trials and routines.
2. On page 35, your husband says "God said he wants the book." When exactly did God first lay it on your heart to write Holy MatriMommy?
When I left graduate school in 2010, I left with the intention of writing a book. I felt that would be a good alternative to the career in engineering that I had planned. As a fairly new Christian, I thought I was going to write about the transition that occurs when you give your life to Christ. I struggled for the next three years to complete a manuscript. But when God laid Holy MatriMommy on my heart, I wrote it in three months, even while being pregnant and caring for my one-year old.
3. In the book, you talk about submission. What would you tell the women out there who just don't believe in submitting?
What we choose to believe or disbelieve never changes the truth. It just changes our perception of it. Most women have a hard time with submission because they think it is synonymous with weakness. That’s just simply not true. Jesus submitted to God, not because He was less than God, but because the redemption plan worked better that way. Submission is about functionality. It’s about efficiency. If you’re a Christian woman, I would just ask that you read the Word, trust God, and try it for yourself.
4. How has writing and releasing Holy MatriMommy changed your marriage, life and you personally? What have you learned about yourself?
Through this process God has taught me that my validation comes from Him. I was so insecure when I released Holy MatriMommy because I felt that others would think that I had no right to write a book on marriage and motherhood being such a young wife and mother. But God has shown me that years and experience don’t qualify me; He does. Where I am weak, He is made strong.
It’s funny. I thought Holy MatriMommy would be my first and last book. I couldn’t imagine that I had anything else book-worthy to say after Holy MatriMommy released. But honestly, Holy MatriMommy seems to have opened the floodgates. I’m learning more about the publishing process, and God has already given me the vision for books 2 and 3.
5. What advice about life and love would you give your younger yourself?
Trust God. Matthew 6:33 says it all, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”
6. What do you hope your children learn from your book(s)?
God is real, and He is present. He cares about our day-to-day lives, and because of Him our ordinary lives have extraordinary purpose.
7. While this book appears to be for married mothers, I would suggest it to both men and women, married or single. Do you have any advice for singles? Married couples on the brink of divorce?
Singles: Trust God and don’t waste your singleness wishing it away. I love my husband and children dearly, and I believe that marriage and motherhood do make a big impact on the kingdom of God. But a single person is perfectly positioned to make an impact in a different way. A single person has much more time for ministry, mission trips, conferences, fellowship, etc. Dream big, obey quickly, and trust fully. Don’t waste your life.
Struggling couples: The key to a successful marriage is God’s grace. God’s grace enables you to continue loving even when the other person doesn’t seem to respond to your efforts. Grace comes when you realize your love is not dependent on the actions of your spouse, but on the faithfulness of your God.
Through God all things are possible. Don’t allow your thoughts and emotions to run your marriage. Take every thought captive and make it obedient to the words of Christ: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (1 Cor. 13:4-7)” The best thing you could do for your marriage is submit it to God and love one day at a time.
8. How did children change your marriage?
Now that’s a loaded question! It’s no secret that children cause drastic changes for their parents both individually and as a couple, but when I look back on how we’ve navigated the parenting waves, I can truly say we’ve changed for the better. My husband and I are best friends, which has made the majority of our relationship really easy, but there’s nothing easy about raising children. When children were added to our marriage, our quality time dramatically decreased. We no longer had time for petty arguments and silent treatments, we had to prioritize date nights, and even now we often have to sacrifice pride and personal conveniences in order to move on with our day. However, we’ve also grown closer as we’ve learned how to serve each other graciously in the chaos of parenthood and daily living.
9. Can you share your personal method balancing being a wife and mother? Can it really be done successfully?
Yes it can be done successfully, and the method that guarantees success in marriage and motherhood is the same method that guarantees success in any other area of life: Stay close to the vine. Jesus said, “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. (John 15:4)”
Success may not look the way we think it should, but if we remain rooted in Christ, we will witness His faithfulness in our lives and the lives of those around us.
10. Can you give my readers a sneak peek of the next book?
Maybe just a little lol. Here’s a sneak peek of my devotional:
Day 6: The Gift of Relationship
Focus Verse: There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.
1 John 4:18 NKJV
The strength behind any great commitment is God’s grace. If we look at grace as God giving us what we don’t deserve, we’ll realize that every relationship we have is evidence of His grace. Why is it that some of us come from great, loving two-parent homes and some of us are raised in foster care? Why is it that some of us could be a case study in birth control fails, and others struggle to conceive month after month? Is there something about the newlywed 18-year-old that makes her more deserving of love than the single 40-year-old? The answer is no. We may have to earn trust and respect, but we don’t earn love. God has created a diversity of relationships, and He gives them to us all as gifts for His purposes. God, knowing our innate desire for intimacy, has given us relationships to support us, teach us, challenge us, and help us develop into the people He created us to be.
Practical Application: Choose a relationship from your past. Write God a letter thanking Him for placing this person in your life. Be sure to include how your relationship with this person has changed you for the better.
1. What daily sacrifices did you make while Kalonda wrote and edited Holy MatriMommy?
Kalonda was pregnant (third trimester) with our son Andrew while she wrote and edited Holy MatriMommy. My main priority at that time was just being the emotional and spiritual support she needed as well as keeping her encouraged throughout both writing and pregnancy processes. I spent some days either convincing Kalonda it's okay that her favorite jeans aren't fitting like they used to or the last paragraph she wrote was actually a good one! Also, I remember times when I'd have to cook or clean (and sometimes both) after work because she had spent most of the day writing.
2. How did you feel after reading the first draft of the book?
Relief! All I remember of that moment is a big sigh of relief after the manuscript was completed. I wanted to frame it because that piece of work represented so many frustrations, burdens, and difficult times that were now behind us. Kalonda wrote the manuscript without having a publishing contract with anyone, but I felt like she had just topped the New York Times Best Seller's list!
3. How has your life been different as a husband and father since the book was released?
I'm continually learning an invaluable lesson in the importance of supporting your spouse's dreams. Personally, it's rather easy for me to cut a check for a new computer or to review the contract for the publishing deal. However, it doesn't come easy to me to support Kalonda in other areas that are more critical to her well being. I often ask myself, "Am I dreaming with her?" or "Does she know that I'm hoping with her for God to deliver or provide?" That kind of support is more challenging to me as it requires a greater level of involvement in her spiritual and emotional matters. My life is slightly different now as I try to express my support in ways that mean the most to her, as opposed to ways that are more convenient for me.
4. Kalonda is currently writing her second book. How do you feel the second time around? Are there things about Kalonda's writing process that you now know?
The circumstances of our family are very different this time around! I think writing the book is easy. However, carving out the time to write is proving to be extremely difficult. I find myself stressed out at times asking God, "Where in the world do we find the time to do anything these days?" My wife's at home all day with two very active toddlers, one of which still isn't sleeping through the night. However, I think overall we're experiencing less anxiety since this will be our second round through the writing and publishing processes. We now have a better idea of what to expect this time.
5. What is the most important thing that you want your children to learn from your marriage?
Great question! I often think about this as I observe the world we live in today. The main point I want my children to understand concerning marriage is God's design is perfect. The plan works if you work the plan! Call me naïve or crazy, but I truly believe 100% of all marriages will succeed if they employ His plan.