35. Kareena Seifert
24 November, 2021
Episode mentions :
2 Corinthians 12:9
Laura: Hi, Kareena and welcome to unsung stories. Thanks so much for joining us.
Kareena: Hi, Laura. It's lovely to be here.
Laura: That's wonderful. So just so our listeners can get to know you a little bit more. Could you tell us about you and your family life and just what everyday life looks
Kareena: like for you? Yeah, sure. So I have a wonderful husband. I've got two married, incredible kids, probably around 25, 26. I can never remember two kids in law who we love to go just granddaughters and also sorts. Super lovely that both my wonderful parents are still with us too. That's lovely. And I worked for church five to six days a week. Most of that's volunteer work. And so most of my days are spent organizing some big church events, heaps of pastoral work, particularly with women in growth group area. And I also work in the ministry recruiting area of church. So all of this. So if I'm busy and need to work hard at trying to spend as much time with my family and granddaughters as I can, that's my special treat time.
Laura: That sounds beautiful, busy and beautiful. And lackness to know that you were still juggling those balls as you enter grandma.
Kareena: Totally. I don't think it. Yeah. Yep.
Laura: That's encouraging. So thinking back to when you were first married, what did you imagine your family life to look like? What were your hopes and your dreams and plans for your future family?
Kareena: Yeah, that's a big question, but this possibly a few things that might be helpful for you to know about me so you can understand better. My. On one hand ordinary and on the other hand, really extraordinary story. So I grew up really excited about the idea of getting married and having a family and a lovely, not extravagant, but lovely, happy home. And so I had the ideal dream and it probably looks something like, this beautiful old farm house, wraparound veranda on acreage by the sea small hobby farm with orchards and veggie gardens, happy content husband, and lots of kids frolicking together in the sunshine, happily playing. And all of this happening while I was in the kitchen, cooking fresh sourdough, freshly baked bread, boasting out the window to everyone's delight makes me hungry,
Laura: really painting the dream. Sign me up for that.
Kareena: That's a real dream. I could still go there. And on top of that, a really good church nearby. That was really also important to me. That's great, but obviously all this was not realistic decided. So I reigned in my hopes and dreams a little, but still quite driven by this dream. And so life went on and circumstances turned out that I didn't have the opportunity to go to uni. I was always thought I'd be a primary school teacher. And instead I went to business college in Sydney after year 10. And so this meant I could work full time and actually worked two jobs. SACA boss and land and ready to hear to home, ready to build that dream. And then I ended up buying a block of land in Aurora on my 18th birthday. Not long before I met my husband. That's amazing.
Laura: You're really working hard to get that dream to politely. It
Kareena: was a real longing for me. I think. And so I had the land. That was probably pretty obvious. It wasn't the acreage by the sea. Probably no hobby farm. But the rest should be possible surely. And what I didn't realize at the time was that this was an expectation of mine that I thought I was in control to make happen. Maybe most of it anyway, and I didn't realize the profound, longing deep down to make it happen. So that was interesting. And that's another thing that might be helpful to know about me is my passion. And in some sense, you might call it a hobby to make everything lovely and as idealic as possible for people this passion was, and is particularly centered around home and family and anyone who enters their home. But it did affect how I love to work in the garden. Create my own Eden and it needs to be clean and smell good and comfortable as possible. And the kids, lots of fun things to do around the house. So we built cubbies and veggie guns and bike tracks and all. Yeah, so that was a big part of my. Which
Laura: I mean, those things can be really beautiful and good things for our families. And I guess that tension of what are we chasing or
Kareena: why? Yes. So I did have all of this stream, but at the risk of sounding really ungrateful for what God has lavishly gift on me in the way of my family didn't go exactly the plan or it was quite a shock. There was two things, particularly that I didn't count on in my plan or my expectations. And they are, first of all that lovely family home that my parents and us had physically built on the land I bought.
I realized we were going to have to sell. If I want to return to work straight after bub one was born. And so we did sell it and bought a dilapidated shoe box that had Vons growing through the bathroom window, just not my dream. So that was the first thing that was quite shocking. And the second. Was after Bob too was born. He was six months old. I suddenly realized that was going to be the extent of our family. No more babies to come. Like what, and I really longed for more. So I've been pretty sure God had made me to be a mom of. That's what I would enjoy and I think I'd be pretty okay at it. So therefore, surely that was the best way to serve him with the gifts and personality, passions and education. He'd given me really think, I believe that back then.
Laura: So how did you respond to all of that? What were you feeling and what kind of heart issues came out when your plans weren't eventually waiting the way you saw they should go?
Kareena: Yeah. Lots went on there, but amongst other things, guilt and pain stand out by far. The guilt because God had given me this amazing family who I adored, what was with the discontent, then other people aren't even able to have children. So that was a struggle and an eye-opener, caused me to think into what was going on for me and that discontent. So that was one side and the other one was pain, which was so multifaceted, tapped into my insecurities. They ran riot, I'd look inward and. Maybe this is punishment. Maybe I'm just not good enough, a mom to handle AML kids. Interesting. How your mind works? What else do I have to offer in the way of ministry? I've got not much more than this to offer and so quite confused. Then there were hard issues, identity issues going on, that's pride, humbled.
So I wanted to be, and be seen as the Superman, surely that is who I was made to be. That's who I wanted to be. And so identity all caught up in that and pride. I think.
Laura: Sounds pretty painful. So what did you do with that pain and that grief did you ignore it or live with it or take it to God?
Kareena: I couldn't ignore it. It wouldn't go
Laura: socially actually have big emotions work,
Kareena: but I did live with it and I . Struggled with is I didn't really share the pain. People many people, I think maybe only possibly mum perceived. Perhaps we talked about it a little bit, but not much. I was never angry at God. I was only ever grateful to God, but I think there was confusion in there what he was doing and I'd pray.
Goodness, may I pray so hard that God would take the pain away and give me the contentment. I thought I should really have. But the pain lingered for many years and he didn't take it away and I just live with it. While I enjoyed what he had given me and worked hard at making the best life I could for my family.
And so I worked hard at what I loved, to make our home idealic for the two kids that we had comfortable, homely fun. And over the years, I console myself also that at least there may be grandchildren who I could be a super grandma to. But even then, I have a time I was convicted that actually it might be God's plan for them to move away to do his work somewhere else.
That was a hard thing to just, and still working on that one. Yeah. Yeah. But during this time I also pushed a little further into serving him by leading a Bible study group, Emma, serving in our kids programs and things like that. So different ministry.
Laura: Yeah, that's great. And what did you learn about God through that
Kareena: pain? Yeah, as I said, I carried that pain for many years and I tear up now thinking about it, but, it's, the tears are about remembering the pain, but I think even more than that now looking back and seeing how he's grown me during those just profound. God never took away that longing, but what he did do, he slowly and gently grew me in longing to trust seven, love him even more and started to pry my heart off the earthly longings.
So I kept lifting my eyes to Jesus, reminding me of his love that he'd lavished on me and on that kids. And he showed me that he loves our kids even more than we do, and he knows what's best for them. And that wasn't more siblings and it wasn't the ideal like house or the best experiences. So I always knew I could trust him, but he slowly showed me that through my pain and confusion.
That his ways are not my ways and his thoughts and my thoughts. And he is a far greater and beyond our understanding and for, and so much trust in him, grew through that. That's beautiful. It was. And it is.
Laura: Was there anything in particular that helped you trust him more? That grew that trust?
Kareena: Yeah, Started to spend more quality time in the box. And I started to say more and more clearly his purposes in the Bible was about him, his love, his power, his sovereignty. And I realized I was probably doing something in my life, through the pain. I wanted to learn what he was doing.
And I really started to long for a life of righteousness and knowing him. And so understanding how sovereign and powerfully is, I began also to be a little bit intrigued what he would actually do with my life in service of him, quite the journey, and still is yeah. To look back on. Yeah.
Laura: And nice to see your heart shift from. Wanting to have it here and now have what you want here and now to just humbly submitting yourself to God and actually seeing that his ways
Kareena: are the beautiful way and the best way. Yeah.
Laura: So just thinking through that time of her, was there any truth from the Bible that carried you through at that
Kareena: time? Absolutely. And really it's the whole Bible. That's a big statement, but I guess I understood more and more God's purpose and character in the Bible. Seeing him work from, from creation right through to Jesus to return over thousands of years. And he's got orchestrating history through individual lives and Kings and nice.
And he's edible, undeserved love through all of that, ultimately in Jesus and I've realized and depended more on his sovereignty and power to bring about his purposes and Romans 8:28. I was kept tucked away in my mind. We're told that he's actually working all things for the good of those who love him, who are called according to his purpose, not according to my purpose, his purpose we were called.
And I found that really encouraging and comforting. And as I consider my weaknesses, practically, intellectually and spiritually and how he could use me for his glory. I kept hearing God's words to Paul recorded in 2 Corinthians 12:9. My grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect in weakness.
And I kept trusting in that. Kept leaning into that, thinking about what does that mean? How then how can he use me in this life? That's quite profound as well.
Laura: How can he say God refine you through your experience?
Kareena: Oh, yeah, he's been refining me and he keeps doing it. I guess it's a lifetime thing.
But he really has shown me more clearly. My sister. One longing for the things and experiences of this world, as you were saying earlier, he's shown me more clearly some of my danger zones where I may fall into temptation. It's like when things has given me to enjoy it, we're talking about the good things, but actually that I might end up using inappropriately.
So things like the temptation for me to make my family and I. I loved. And I love being a mum to our gorgeous children. It was such a joy that God had entrusted them to us and our ministry to love and bring them up in the Lord was such a significant, important ministry. But that didn't mean that we should provide them with every physical material advantage and opportunity, which would take up all our time and energy and my, and things like temptation to give too much time and energy to my passion of wanting everything lovely.
And as ideally as possible, even if in my mind, it was for the comfort of others. The temptation to let my hobbies take more of my life than they should. He's taught me to number my days that I might get a harder wisdom. So that's from Psalm 90 that this life is not the main event. It's a time to work hard towards his purposes and not mine.
And he's taught me more clearly that this is not our home. It doesn't need to be ideally, and it's okay to miss out on things I want in a long full, just because I want along for it, doesn't make it good for me. And all of that, he's told me to trust him more. I did trust him, but I questioned whether I trusted that he knew the best life for me, and that's what he wanted grew in that.
And I came to understand that maybe I didn't understand so well that my best life, isn't the happy, easy content life for me or for our kids. And that actually being a mom and wife, isn't the only work he has for me to do, even in my weakness, he can use me however he wants. I'm not limited to my personality, education, weaknesses. What I think I might be pretty okay. At. And so that gave me freedom to try different ministries and to realizing God's strength and power he can and wants to use me to impact other people's lives for his glory in ways that I could never have imagined I wouldn't have guessed. And so I set out to give all sorts of things, a go to get out of my comfort zone. And if I file, I figured that's okay. He's even sovereign over my failures.
Laura: What a comfort
Kareena: titling. Yeah. Freedom, such a freedom in that.
Laura: Been, we've been studying Ruth and Esther at our church and I've been really comforted that he's so in the small details of life and that even if I fail his plans are going to eventually wait.
Kareena: That's true. Isn't it? Yeah. And all of this also meant that I was still pretty young when I no longer had dependent. The peanut, that's a whole different story, but I found that he'd given me the gift of time and opportunity to give my myself more and more to other ministries. So that was interesting outcome.
And of course he's given me incredible kids who I adore and I'm so thankful for kids in our and grandchildren who is so precious. And for this moment they live close by. I get to see them and enjoy them so often. But I do need to hold having them near by and loosely made the desire God's purposes, not only in my life, but in their lives also than what I long for. Yeah, that's
Laura: beautiful. So it might be for the same reasons that family life might not be looking how we imagined or that life is just not what we planned or expected. But other moms could be feeling this real pain and heartache that you've walked through. How would you encourage that mum? And what truth would you remind her in her pain?
Kareena: Yes, the pain and heartache is real. And you may not feel that God is with you or cares, but he does. Now. We know that is because he sent his son to play so that you, we want to have life, even when we didn't deserve it. And that you're not alone. Jesus promises in Matthew 28 20 that he's with us always to the very end of the age. And I think the. The original grade for that term is something like the whole of every day. He is with us the whole of every day. So whether we feel it or not, he cares and is in control. He has your whole life planned out and has already prepared. Good works for you to do. For the moment that might be the fall at his feet and ask him to help you trust him and love him more to cry out to him.
He knows you groaning and crying. Isn't grumbling it's okay. And he wants us to come to him in prayer. Another thing I think is helpful is to look up and look out. So there's a passage Hewbrews 12 that I love. Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross scorning its shame and is seated at the right hand of God.
And it reminds me that running our race will need perseverance. It's marked out for you and for me, and to keep our eyes on Jesus, how did he go through the pain and rejection, the torture, the death, and even being forsaken by his father. He was looking at the joy before him, what that pain would produce life and a ransom for some.
No that in your pain, he's working in you to make you more like Jesus teaching, growing and refining. That he'll give you more than you can handle in this life because it's then often we learn to depend on him and his plans more, which are by far better than us, depending on ourselves and our plans.
And now that he has told us that in this life, we will have troubles, hardships, and difficulties. So we shouldn't be shocked and we shouldn't expect paradise here and now, and it will take perseverance and endurance. And there will be a time when Jesus comes back, that there will be none of the struggle or tears for those who trust in him, make sure you and your family are amongst and active in the community of God's people.
You can be encouraged, share grief and joy, speak words of confidence, challenge to each other. They are not perfect. This is your big family. We need each other. That's how God created us. And also the other thing is to look out knowing that those around you are also most likely going through something either a little hard or a lot hard.
I've always found that looking out beyond my own pain and problems, loving others with God's love and strength, encouraging them actually ends up encouraging and helping. And so I continue to remind myself often back then, and now that according to God's word to us, the people who are blessed and live a blessed life are those who delight in God's word and take refuge in Jesus and his salvation.
And I look for and find my joy, peace, and sure. Hope that. Yeah,
Laura: that's beautiful. Oh, thank you. That was really encouraging.
Kareena: I'm glad you're were the may God's words. Wonderful.
Laura: Would you mind finishing up to just pray for that mum? Who's going through a similar road that you've walked? Absolutely.
Kareena: Lord, you have known us before the founders, foundations of the earth were formed.
You knit us together in our mother's womb. We have fearfully and wonderfully made by you, our creator and Lord, our, every weakness, our troubles, our struggles as seen our longings, our joys, everything about us, way more than we know about us. And you love us and know what's best for us and Lord, I pray for those listening today that they find their comfort in you, knowing that you love them a sovereign over their situation, you are working in the joys and the grease to shape them to be more like Jesus, may they find their rest in here?
And law. We often make the things of this world more important than you day-to-day living. Busy-ness trying to stay in control of our lives and working hard at looking like we've got it all together, success and so much more can crowd in on our relationship with you causing us to neglect that relationship, which will become increasingly.
And Laura, we neglect hearing from your word speaking to you through prayer, learning about you being amongst your people. Lord, I pray that we prioritize these things in our lives for our sake and the sake of our families. Even if it's messy and feels like nothing is being achieved. Lord, I pray we do everything we can to strengthen and depend on our relationship with you, whatever circumstances we find ourselves.
And Lord, I pray for the parents who are listening to this, but also parents everywhere that they understand more and more that to love their children, you haven't trusted to them is to do everything, everything they can to ensure that children know and love you and pray for them. This is the best gift they can give these precious little ones for all the term.
And I pray for those parents, those women who might be longing to be a mum, but who are unable, Lord, I cannot imagine their pain. And yet you love them. No less. You are with them no less. And you will use them no less for your glory. I pray you comfort, strengthen, encourage them also, Lord, I pray. Let us be a people who can say with the author of Psalms have.
Nevertheless, I am continually with you. God, you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel and afterwards you will receive me to glory, whom have I in heaven. But you. And there is nothing on earth that I desire the sides you and my flesh and my heart, my file. But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
And that's the apostle Paul says now to him who is able to do far more abundantly, then all we ask or think according to the power at work within us to him be glory throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.