hope sign

hope sign

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

What If It Costs All?

What does surrender mean?

What does complete surrender look like?

Pete has completely surrendered to the part of a chicken

We say I surrender all…I surrender to your will, O God…but what does that really look like and do we try to put boundaries on it.  Boundaries…is that surrendering or compromise? 

Lauren being baptized by James Barr and Daddy

Some questions about surrender have been running through my head in the last couple of days.  We hear so much about "living our own truth", "doing what is right for us", "making ourselves happy", "being successful"...living for ourselves, regardless of what the Scripture says, our family says, how we hurt others...as long as I AM Happy, that is all that matters.  But that is not what God says.  

Our Creator who formed us in our mothers womb. The One who knew us from the foundation of the world. He designed us for more than living a self absorbed life.  He said, "The greatest among you must be a servant. But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted."-Matthew 23: 11, 12 NLT  

Bo during his Ordination

A servant is surrendered.  Jesus was the greatest example of that.  He surrendered to the will of the Father to go to the cross, to suffer and die for us. This was not a feel good, look at me stunt.  This was the giving of everything he had to save someone else. Jesus himself did not need saving, we did!!  He surrendered 100% for someone else.  That is what complete surrender looks like.

Daddy...For the Life of the World

Surrender…what if it cost everything?
Surrender…what if it doesn't bring you fame and acclaim?
Surrender…what if it means poverty?
Surrender…what if it means denying of your wants and desires?
Surrender…what if it means denying yourself of basic necessities?  
Surrender….what if it means living a missionary life in America?  People will see…
Surrender…what if it means Pastoring a small church or teaching two kids in Sunday School instead of 20, 200 or even 10?

Surrender…what if no one understands you or relates to you anymore?

Surrender…what if it requires your comfort, sleep, recreation, LIFE?

This is a hard thought.  It is a hard thing to wrap my mind around, complete surrender.  I have a hard time allowing others to have control over me...(true story).  I don't like confinements, being out of control, unreasonable demands, to be bossed, to do what someone else wants over what I want.  I don't like to be overlooked, underestimated, unwanted, ignored.  So to surrender is absolutely out of my comfort zone.  

BUT, my heart wants what God wants.  In order to see His Kingdom flourish, to see my life be what He created me to be, I have to live a surrendered life to Him.  I fail all the time but I purpose in my heart to get the job done.  I have to adjust myself, my attitude, my perspective almost daily but it's worth it.

Ryan Armstrong, surrendering 

These questions are a little scary because it makes me wonder what God is preparing me for.  Am I willing to live this life completely surrendered?  I hope I am.    

Heros to me...My Mom, Apostle Green and Pastor Green

Monday, June 22, 2015

Moments Captured...

I love photography.  

The feet of my grandsons.  I love this.  These feet will carry the GOSPEL.

I love taking photos, editing photos, capturing moments in my life and the lives of my loved ones. 

I love the colors in this photo and baby is Gabe is amazing.
A moment in time.  The wonder of his gaze.
His chubby feet and cheeks.
I love it.

But I think what I love the most is reliving the moments caught on film or now on an SD card.

The moments shared with my husband, children, and now grandchildren...so precious. 

Paths not yet taken...where does this lead?
I couldn't wait to find out.
Roma, Italy

I do take a whole lot of pictures.  I love to play with the light and see how a photo will turn out.  I love to see something from a different angle and how a certain angle can make something look so much larger or smaller than it actually is.  That to me is fun. 

While in Africa in 2011...the movement captured...

It looks fast here but in truth, it was even faster.

Some may see this as a throw away but I love the light
the movement, the colors all together.
You can tell they are dancing.

When we were in Hatteras this year, Jake came in from the deck outside the living room and said, "Mom, grab your camera.  You're gonna want to capture this moon."  Grabbing my camera, I walked outside to this beautiful moon with the reflection on the water...amazing.  It's like you could just walk on the water path right up to the moon.  Water is an awesome subject to take photos

Water is an awesome subject to take photos of because it is ever changing. Calm and glistening one moment to waves crashing against the shore, showing it's strength and dominance.  

Henry has always loved racing the water.  I think
he is losing here.  What a photo capturing his excitement.  

Scovia getting Bo's feet in the Ocean for the first time.  I love the joy on her face
and the unsure look on his...PRICELESS

On the ferry coming back to Hatteras from Ocracoke.
Bo looking out at the water, the waves caused by the engines of the
ferry.  Love this.  A quiet moment.

Let me encourage you, grab your camera, shoot some memories.  Whether you use your phone or a DSLR or something in between.  

I will continue to learn about this fascinating art of photography.  I will continue to take shots whenever I can.  God's creations are so breathtaking...people and nature.  Oh how much fun it is.

Have a blessed day.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Daddy, Daddy, Daddy...

My brother Ronald, younger sister Cheryl, Me, Daddy and Ronald Barr
(who was named after my father).  I was 15 years old here, I think.
When Bo and I first got married, almost 26 years ago, he didn't have it easy.  I loved him with all my heart and knew what a good man he was but he knew there was one man who held a place of honor in my life that no one could compete with...my Daddy.  Yes, I still call him Daddy.

I think this was before I was born
Bo would tease me by saying, "Daddy Daddy, Daddy...Daddy walks on water."  Oh it would make me so mad until the day that I embraced his teasing.  He even had my mother saying it to me.  It was all in good fun and he honors my father as much as I do. 

Bo and Daddy calling us from the Philippines

Now, Bo has two girls that honor him like I honor my Daddy.  Yes, he can thank me for that (kind of, lol). 

Me and Daddy in Hatteras this year
Mom tells me that I have been a Daddy's girl since day one, not that I can remember that far back.  But since my memory kicked in, I can recall always knowing that he is a man of honor.  "Daddy can do no wrong"...not true but the truth is, Daddy purposes in his heart to honor God at all times, in everything he does and says.  I have seen it my whole life.  I have seen him love the unlovable.  I have seen him stand for what he believes in, even when it makes him unpopular to the point of blatant ridicule.  I have seen the sacrifices without complaint but with faith that God knows what He is doing.  

Me and Daddy in Ocracoke this year. (Jenna in the back)

"You put your Dad on a pedestal"...Yes, yes I do.  I don't think he is perfect.  I know he makes mistakes but I also know his heart.  A man is a man of honor when he seeks the face of God and then walks in obedience to God's will.  

Daddy and Mom this past Christmas

He is the man who taught me how a woman should be treated.  He has always treated my beautiful mother with love, affection, grace, patience, kindness, a joyful servants heart.  A man is a man of honor when he loves his wife as Christ loves His Church.

Daddy, Henry and Mom

Daddy and Parker

Daddy and Lukie

Daddy and Baby Bo

He taught me how to be a parent.  Even after I had children, he would tell me, "You only punish to the point of regret.  Anything more isn't about them but about you."  He showed me that not everything is a battle that has to be fought...this came in handy when my 3 became teenagers.  He was always quick to play with us, make us popcorn, igniting our imaginations on car rides with an ice cream cone.  
A man is a man when he loves his children enough to spend time with them, teaching them how to become men and women of God in a lost world.

Jenna (my niece), Jacob and Daddy at Hatteras

These are just some of the reasons I honor my father, Ronald Dean Estep.  He is a man of honor.  He did all this without a role model of how to be a good dad.  It was his pursuit of God with his whole heart that took him from fatherless to a Father of Honor.  

My Daddy, Ronald D. Estep

Happy Father's Day, Daddy!!!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Give Me Ears To Hear

Most days we get up thinking about what we have to do that day.  Making lists in our minds.  Trying to get things straight.  

Some of the things that go through my mind are...
1- Prayer Walk
2- Bible Study
3- Gotta Eat (probably while studying)
4- Laundry
5- Write...maybe I should write first and then Bible Study and eat or      if I study and eat before writing, it will give me something to write about.  I could use a little stirring before writing.  (This is how I talk to myself...not pretty).

My list continues from there thinking about what to eat and how much water I need to drink, oh yeah, don't forget your vitamins Kimi.  I make lists in my mind and then remake the list to fit what I want to do that particular day.  If you could read my mind, you would be lost most of the time.  

One thing I have noticed in my list making...I rarely list serving others.  It's usually something I am doing for myself and not thinking how I can serve someone else today.  

I am starting to feel the pull to ask God daily, "How do you want to use me today, LORD?"  "Is there someone I should be looking for?"  "Is there someone I need to help?"  

These questions can mess up the list I have already made in my mind.  My well organized (lol) day does not leave room for service.  
Laundry, making dinner, playing with my grandsons, taking pictures, learning how to use some new editing program...so much to preoccupy my time and all necessary but where is the service?

What if God tells me to throw out all my plans for the day and go minister to someone in need?  Will I go or will I stay?  Will I reason my way out of it or will I submit to the will of God for the day?  On days that my list consists of boring stuff, it might be easy but what about the days I really want to do something else?  

Obedience to what God is speaking
to you today is
(author unknown)

So today, I will start a new list that will always start with, "God, how do you want to use me today?"  Everything else on the list will depend on His answer.  

Give me ears to hear.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Living A Shared Life

Bo and I on our way to the Grapes wedding

Well what a weekend we had. 

My nephew Jon married a beautiful girl, Faith.  We welcome her to the family with open arms and hearts.  Truth be told, she was already a part of us, way before the wedding.  

My mom hugging the groom before the wedding.
He is her oldest grandchild.

I love weddings and this one was amazing.  The bride was glowing and the groom was all smiles.  You could feel the presence of God during the ceremony.  When they took communion, my sister (the mother of the groom) sang and boy was it beautiful.  

The groom with his mom, Christian and step dad, Patrick.  

The reception was a blast and gorgeous!!!  Splashes of yellow and white everywhere.  I have to say, my nephew can dance!!  

They had the wedding on a Friday night and I loved it.  After dancing and just having so much fun, Saturday was super restful.  It gave us all a chance to relax before church on Sunday.  

I don't really write that much anymore about my days but this weekend was special.  Of course the wedding started it off with a romantic, fun start but it didn't end there.  Saturday to me was just as special.  

It was just me and Bo most of the day.  We got up really late.  We watched a movie we had seen before...just cuddling on the bed.  He went to the store and then made me Cocovan chicken...YUMMY!!!  It was just what I needed.  The parents of the groom came over and ate dinner with us and we laughed and talked and relived moments from the wedding weekend.  

Living a shared life is what makes life joyful.  Sharing the moments, big and small with others is what family and community are all about.  

I am thankful for the big family times and the quiet Kimi/Bo times.  This weekend, I had both.  And to finish it all off with perfection...I was in the House of God on Sunday Morning worshipping with my church family.  Learning about The Challenge of Trust from our Bishop.  

It's a challenge to trust-
It's a challenge to love-
Love Trusts

Congratulations Faith and Jon Grapes