Thursday, November 27, 2008
A prayer offered for a grieving mother and wife trusting God to give her comfort
A Spanish-speaking family almost left off the list
Numerous young children, racing out for hugs or staring at the strangers from living rooms smelling of smoke
11 turkeys, 11 boxes of canned goods in the truck at 8:30am
This morning Josh and I joined hundreds of volunteers to help Mission Arlington deliver 20,000 meals for Thanksgiving to needy families in the area. We joined 2 other families and went to two apartment complexes with a woman who has led bible studies with Mission Arlington in these complexes for 20 years.
We delivered a turkey and box of canned goods to families signed up with Mission Arlington.
Thankful for the opportunity to be hands and feet.
Thankful for the chance to touch a life with a sincere "Happy Thanksgiving" and food to meet a need. Thankful for the chance to pray with a woman who has found God to be her comfort in the midst of pain. Thankful to be able to bridge a language gap to make sure another family had food.
Thankful to join with an organization that is feeding the poor and proclaiming the Gospel.
Last year we hosted Thanksgiving for both our families, everyone here together. It was a wonderful time and a blessing to have our families here with us. This year we were able to be a part of our community before we move. We have so much to be thankful for.
Thankful for family. Thankful for friends. Thankful for life and new life. Thankful for love to give because He first loved us.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
This is the chorus of a song by Christy Nockels of Watermark. We sang it this Sunday at church as the service proclaimed being grateful. In children's church Josh and I got to help teach about the Feasts of Unleavened Bread, Harvest, and Booths, as celebrations the Lord told the Israelites to keep in order to remind them to be thankful for the things He had done.
Reminders to be thankful.
Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5:19-20)
Always giving thanks for what? For blessings? For strength? For family? Yes, and more.
And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:10-14)
John Piper wrote a book called God is the Gospel. I haven't read it yet, but from the title, and from what Josh has told me about it, the premise is that the Good News is that we get God. It's not about heaven or hell, though they are real places. It's not about rewards and blessings. Ultimately the Good News is that we get God.
God's mercy must turn us into grateful people. And if we can't be grateful for being rescued from the dominion of darkness, then our thanksgiving will be based on circumstances. There is nothing wrong with being thankful for blessings - please give thanks! Let us also remember to be thankful for the Giver. Let us be thankful even if it seems no other good thing crosses our path. Let us be grateful that the mystery of the Gospel is that we can have relationship with God.
We can't seem to find the words, so take our lives that they might be enough.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
1. Standing in line in the ladies' restroom in Barnes and Noble was a little bit too much of "scary future reality" experience for me. Listening to a mother talk with her small child in the stall about poop, where it comes from, and what they are going to do with it, while changing the child into new clothes (I think) and watching the other child dancing around with paper towels, was more than I wanted to think about right now. Pregnant women still in the glow of having their first child shouldn't have to see public restroom reality with 2 children. Especially when that pregnant woman has a full bladder (making her impatient) and a heightened sense of smell (making this bathroom a highly unenjoyable place).
2. When trying on tops or dresses that slip on over your head, if you are met with resistance from the article of clothing trying to get it on, do not proceed to get it on. Inevitably, there will be more resistance trying to get it off, leading to a situation in which you might get pretty close to getting stuck and start worrying you will have to get the store attendant to help you out. If by some chance you do have this experience, don't repeat it.
I get it. And I agree that we must see God as bigger than the giants and be willing to accept what He has, whether that's preparation or taking the land. So where do I see myself? Honestly I don't know anymore. Josh and I made it through these past 3 years of grad school by reminding ourselves that this was a time of preparation. We started grad school after spending a semester in Guatemala - Josh getting to use his architecture and me getting to love and enjoy an orphanage of girls. In a lot of ways we didn't want to be back in the States going to school and hearing about how much money we would be making once we got our degrees. We wanted to be back overseas somewhere. But we trucked on remembering "preparation!"
We still have more preparation. And that's hard. Maybe this move will just be a time of more preparation. Maybe we are standing on the edge of what God has been preparing us for. I don't know. We trust God and trust His plans. I just don't do well with waiting. Funny that waiting and trusting are often translated interchangeably in the Bible.
Maybe it's a little bit of both - preparation and fulfillment. And I guess we'll just have to wait and see.
My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly trust in Jesus' name
On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
This morning we had an amazing time getting to see little hands, little feet, a little face, and no penis in sight. After looking in several angles (since li'l Seef's legs were together) the sonogram tech felt pretty confident declaring this little bundle as a girl.
(Of course, we've heard of this happening to people who prepared for a girl only to have a little boy pop out. I guess not everything is 100%.)
We are pleased to share that Baby Kate - Kathryn Elizabeth Seefeldt - is healthy, moving around, with a sweet little face. We can't wait to get to hold her!
Here are Kate's little feet!And here is her face. Turn your head to the right. Her forehead is on the right of this picture and her chin toward the left. She's staring at you with her little nose in between!
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Okay folks, the wait is almost over! Tomorrow morning is the sonogram to find out if Baby Seefeldt is a little boy or a little girl!
At 22 weeks Baby Seefeldt is about 11 inches long and weighs about 1 lb. His or her lips, eyelids, and eyebrows are becoming more distinct, and he or she's even developing tiny tooth buds beneath his gums. His or her eyes have formed, but his or her irises (the colored part of the eye) still lack pigment.
Now is your chance to guess. Take a guess based on the way I'm carrying the baby, the way the stars are aligned, or just what you think we are having.
Pray for Baby Seefeldt to show it all tomorrow! =)
Sunday, November 16, 2008
That pair of boots with miles written all over them that no amount of polish will shine up. That pair of jeans with patches and holes that you wouldn’t throw away for anything because they fit just right. That baseball cap that you’ve worn and shaped and roughed-up to perfection. Maybe to someone else these things look worn-out, but you know they are just broken-in. Finally at the place where it fits your needs. Comfortable, soft, clearly yours.
As I was thinking about how to write about what’s going on with us right now, I almost titled this “worn-out” because in so many ways that’s how I feel. We’ve been on the road every weekend and I’m tired. I can’t make the time I want to for some of those little things, and many of the big ones, I want to do. The house stays a mess, my books stay unread. As I trudge along, I just see myself as worn-out.
But maybe that’s not how God sees me. Maybe I’m just getting broken-in. I’m certainly stretched in many ways, forcing me to surrender my own plans. This past week I’ve felt emotionally run over the washboard a few times. Yet I can see some of the things He has done in me as a wife, trusting my husband and being willing to say “okay” because my husband is leading us. The starch has come out of some of the plans I had begun formulating, even those created after having the previous ones ripped out. I find myself more tightly clinging to the promise that tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, and walking by that faith rather than sight.
Maybe while I look at myself and say “Girl, you are worn-out,” God looks at me and says with a smile, “No way. You are just getting broken-in. You are getting to how I want you to be.” Maybe He wants me with holes and patches, scuffs and tears. After all, those are the marks of use. Maybe to God I can be like a pair of boots, a pair of jeans, a baseball cap, so used and weathered that it calls to you from the closet saying “I’m here and you know I’ll fit. I won’t let you down.” Comfortable, soft, clearly His.
Here am I, Lord.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Josh finally got to feel some kicks on Sunday. Baby has continued to be pretty active. This morning when I was reading my Bible I was able to see my belly move with the kicks and jabs. It's so amazing.
Most of the time I really still can't believe I'm pregnant and having a baby. It's an amazing blessing and not something I take lightly.
Monday, November 10, 2008
I lift up my eyes to you,
to you whose throne is in heaven.
2 As the eyes of slaves look to the hand of their master,
as the eyes of a maid look to the hand of her mistress,
so our eyes look to the LORD our God,
till he shows us his mercy.
3 Have mercy on us, O LORD, have mercy on us,
for we have endured much contempt.
4 We have endured much ridicule from the proud,
much contempt from the arrogant.
I read this psalm one morning as I was sitting in my house, allowing the Lord to speak to me. I was thinking about the image of a maid watching the hand of her mistress, intently waiting for any move or indication. As I moved in my chair, I noticed my dog intently staring at me. He was sitting at my side, watching my every movement. If I shifted, he took notice. If I got up to use the restroom, he followed. If I stayed still with no movement for too long, he would put his face on my lap.
Now, I know my dog was not aware of the psalm. But this was such a read picture of what I had been reading. Sammy's whole life is based on mine. I am his master and he knows that. He depends on me for food, for exercise, for affection, for safety. That morning he was watching my every move to see if it was time to go for our morning walk yet. He was waiting for an indication that it was time to play. He was waiting for me because I meet his needs.
I don't do this so well with the Lord. I don't watch for every movement of His hands, though I want to. I very much want to see every place He is moving in my life. But I'm lazy or think I'm too busy with my things. I'm sure servants had plenty to do too, but they knew the importance of knowing exactly what was happening with their masters. If I truly believed the Lord was the provider and the One who met all my needs, how much more attentive to Him would I be?
O Lord, that I could be as attentive as my dog. That I would watch your hand closely, waiting for you to move. I know that you are the giver of life and the provider and sustainer of that life. I will wait for you, though not very well sometimes, because I have no live outside of you. You are the master of my life; let me look to you as such rather than ask you to keep up with my plans. Thank you for a picture so tangible and clear to remind me to watch you.
Friday, November 07, 2008
I realized that I would see more things as sacred. Often the daily tasks, the errands, the to-do lists become mundane and seem to interfere with "ministry." But if I really think about everything in my life being for Jesus, then even the mundane becomes a holy moment.
This, of course, is easier to see when I'm serving in something that feels more like ministry. Washing dishes almost everyday for our team in Egypt can much more easily be seen as sacred than washing dishes in my house. As though serving a team of men and women and God is more valuable than serving just God and my husband in the role He has placed me in. I'd blame it on the idea that my spiritual gift is not service, except I know better than to try that kind of excuse.
Caedmon's Call (one of my favorite bands) has a song that captures this. She sings about the role of a mother at home with her kids, trying to find time to get to the to-do list. And she wonders "Could it be that everything is sacred and all this time everything I've dreamed has been right before my eyes?"
Brother Lawrence, who wrote amazingly challenging letters that were made into the book The Practice of the Presence of God, said he saw no difference between his time of dedicated prayer and his time washing dishes in the kitchen because he felt God's presence in each. I don't have the book in front of me, but I think he even said something about having to refrain from shouting out loud because he felt God so strongly.
I had a friend who once said that each moment is a holy moment because all we have is that moment.
Enjoy each moment today.
"For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him." Col. 1:16
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
6On Herod's birthday the daughter of Herodias danced for them and pleased Herod so much 7that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked. 8Prompted by her mother, she said, "Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist." 9The king was distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he ordered that her request be granted 10and had John beheaded in the prison. 11His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl, who carried it to her mother. 12John's disciples came and took his body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus. 13When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. 14When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
Immediately following this is the feeding of the 5,000. Our friend talked about the fact that Jesus had just received news that his close friend, fellow minister, and cousin had been brutally killed. He withdrew from everyone to get away and be alone. Yet the crowds wouldn't leave him alone and brought to him their needs. The last verse quoted above says that Jesus had compassion on them, put aside his own needs and desires, and met their needs. We talked about how he met physical needs - by feeding and healing, mental - by healing, and emotional - by having compassion for their hurts.
I have realized lately that I have been longing for compassion. Right now we are facing some of the biggest changes and transitions in our life. I am about to graduate with my Masters degree. I am pregnant with our first child. We are preparing to move because of a job. We are trying to buy a house. And, with the exception of the birth of our baby, we are doing this all possibly in December. Hello, holidays. It has been stressful to say the least. We are trying to find a house to buy long-distance. I don't get to just drive through neighborhoods to see what I think.
I'm also facing a lot of losses. We are losing the relationships we have built here - maybe not permanently, but in the way they have been in community here. We are losing our church. I will no longer be a student - though not a bad thing, something very different. Having a baby means the loss of many things too - things I gladly give up because we want a baby and want to be here with the baby. Both of the places where I have been doing my internship have basically offered me a job - I'm giving up those opportunities by moving. I'm also giving up my job for our church, a job that was created for me when we got here. I'm moving farther away from my parents. Not all the losses are negative, but they are all losses and need recognition.
I'm not trying to throw a pity-party. I know we have lots of blessings coming. I have just been longing for compassion. I have heard plenty of "There will be ministry opportunities in Kerrville. Kerrville is a mission field too. You'll be able to find a counseling job. You'll make new friends." and other well-meaning encouragement phrases. The intentions are good and I appreciate the reminder.
But I also want someone to just level with me and agree that packing up your life in the middle of a busy season of the year, and a time when you like to be with community, and moving off to a new place is difficult. I want someone to come to where I am and agree "yes, you will miss Target and the things you are used to." I want someone to say, "Man, that's a lot on your plate."
Then I thought about this passage and realized Jesus stands ready to offer me compassion. He knows my heart. He knows that I will follow wherever He leads, even if I'm not crazy about it. He knows that He has my heart, it's just that my emotions get in the way sometimes. He also knows that I just need some compassion and support right now. And I know from the Word that He will give that to me, no matter what.