Friday, August 31, 2012

And the verdict is...

Pinned Image

This is just about the funniest picture I have ever seen. Saw it on Pinterest, go figure. Well I thought I would make the exciting announcement to the social media world, that Chance and I will be having a ... BOY! Coming soon: Hudson Thomas Sumner! We cannot wait, we are beyond excited, and so incredibly thankful for this new little addition that we get to welcome into the world in just a few short months. May God continue to be gracious to us as we await his arrival. Thank you all for your prayers!

Kathryn and Chance

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Is it worth it?

Yesterday, I read a blog post by Kevin DeYoung entitled Questions for our Pro-Abortion Friends, Church Leaders, and Politicians** which was very thought-provoking. I am already convinced, in my own right, that abortion is wrong, offensive to God, and is certainly not the only option. I've watched one or two debates between pro-life Christians and other pro-choice advocates and read many blog posts and articles arguing on both sides of the issue. I believe that it boils down to one question: when is someone considered a human being? The discussion also boils down to one issue: the value of human life. In DeYoung's post he asks a number of essential questions that our draw our attention to the real issue, and cause us to ask ourselves, "Does any person have more intrinsic value than another, based on age, stature, gender, development, etc.?" My answer to this question is a resounding "NO!" Here are my reasons why:

  • Intrinsic value/worth as a human being is a God-given attribute. No one can take your worth from you for you have been made " his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." (Gen. 1:27)
  • No one is less valuable due to age, environment, or size. Would you really say that your infant is less of a person than your teenager or husband? Why then is a tiny fetus considered less of a person than a child out of the womb?
    • DeYoung asks: "Does the eight inch journey down the birth canal make us human?" What a great question! Does this not reveal the ridiculousness of the argument against a baby inutero not being a human, but one outside of the womb being a human?
  • Worth is not dependent on your capabilities. Most of you have probably seen The Story of Ian and Larissa on the Desiring God blog, which tells the story of a married couple who made the choice to get married despite Ian's limited mental and physical capabilities after an auto accident which happened just a few years ago. Would you say that Ian is less of a person or less worthy of life because he suffered this accident?
The list could go on as I unpack all of the questions that were rhetorically asked in DeYoung's post. I simply would like those of us who are wrestling with this issue to consider the logic behind all sides of the argument. Consider your own being, consider the children that you have or one day hope to have, consider the millions of babies that have thoughtlessly been aborted because hope was not given to their mothers in desperate need of true answers. My husband and I support a wonderful organization The Dallas Pregnancy Resource Center that does give hope to women who are considering their options as they face their pregnancies. I am all the more passionate about the lives of yet unborn children due to the fact that I have one currently in my own womb. It is our responsibility to be aware of the consequences of not valuing this little life as we ought to. I am thankful that God cares about children, born and unborn, and I pray that you would care about them too.

"For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb.  praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well." -Psalm 139:13-14

**note: the term "pro-abortion" may not accurately represent the other side's stance on the issue, more often those who are not "pro-life" are termed "pro-choice"

Friday, August 24, 2012

Food on Friday: FONDUE

This is where I want to go on Chance and I's postponed anniversary date (see picture below). We went there for a surprise 6 -month (of dating) anniversary, and loved it! Fondue is such a unique experience and to me it always seems more romantic than your run of the mill dinner date. So if you're looking for date ideas try The Melting Pot! You will surely not be disappointed. Or even better - try and do your own!
They even gave us an anniversary card :)

So glad that now we're MARRIED!
Dark chocolate + white chocolate

See how much fun this looks.. that's because it was :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Power in Weakness

I am finishing up my study in the book of 2 Corinthians, and this week I am reading and studying through 2 Corinthians 12:1-10. This portion of the letter is known as the apostle Paul's "Fool's Speech". He begins the passage by declaring that he "knows a man in Christ", to which he is referring to himself in the third person. He recalls that this man was shown great revelations from God, and Paul anonymously refers to this "man in Christ" not as himself, because he doesn't want to boast in the greatness that he has seen. In verse 5 Paul states ,"On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses." Paul then goes on to tell of his experience of his thorn in the flesh, and his response from the Lord when he plead with the Lord to remove it from him. In verse 7 Paul states that the reason he has been given this thorn (of which we are not told the details of) for the purpose of humbling him, for it was he who saw these revelations of which he previously spoke. God apparently sent a "messenger of Satan to harass" him, to keep Paul from becoming too puffed up about his supernatural experiences. Three times, the Scripture says, Paul pleaded with the Lord (Jesus) to remove the thorn from him. The Lord Jesus responded, however, in this way, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." (v. 9) So we are told that in Paul's human weakness, the power of Christ is exhibited mightily. Then Paul makes the profound claim that because of this reason, he will boast in his weaknesses so that Christ's power will be strong in him.
This passage highlights one of the major themes in the whole letter: power in weakness. Or more specifically, God's power seen in human weakness. Does this seem paradoxical? How can one who is weak be strong simultaneously? The answer is found in the last few verses of the passage. If you read the entirety of this letter you will see that this theme has been running throughout Paul's correspondence with the Corinthians. He tells us in chapter 1 that God put him and his companions through hardship so that they would rely "not on themselves but on God who raises the dead." In chapters 2 and 3, Paul talks of the insufficiency of men to be preachers of God's gospel, but through God, men are made sufficient for the task. In chapters 8 and 9 Paul argues for sacrificial giving, using the example of "the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich." (8:9) Also, throughout the book Paul talks of the hardships that he experienced as a servant of God, but how through them all God has sustained and delivered him. Paul reaches his climax of this discussion in chapter 12, when he mentions this thorn in flesh that was used to humble him.

Although Paul's request for the removal of this thorn was denied, Jesus ("the Lord") gave him profound reassurance that his grace would be sufficient to sustain Paul through this trial. This I believe to be the great message that reoccurs throughout the letter--that God may not remove trials from our lives, but will grant us sufficient grace in order to endure them. Think about what Jesus prayed when he was in the garden, right before his crucifixion, "And he said, "Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will." (Mark 14:36) The gospel of Mark says that Jesus prayed "the same words" three times. And here in Paul's letter, we see the same pattern of prayer, "Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me." (2 Cor. 12:8) The Father did not remove the cup of wrath that Jesus drank on the cross, nor did Jesus remove from Paul the "thorn in the flesh" that tormented him. In both cases, Jesus and Paul, were given the grace of God to endure their trials. Did not Jesus have to suffer by becoming weak, in order to be resurrected by the power of God? Jesus' reply to Paul's plea was a reminder of the gospel. The same gospel which Paul exhorted the Corinthians to believe in was what Jesus, in his response to Paul, told Paul to remember. The tense of the verb "is" ("my grace is sufficient") is in the present tense, not the past tense, meaning that Jesus' grace is continually being dispensed. The power of God is made perfect in weakness, and that perfection was first displayed in the crucifixion and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Himself who "although he was rich, yet for [our] sake became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich." (8:9) Jesus, who knew no sin, became sin on behalf of believers so that the righteousness of God would be imputed to their account. What a beautiful, applicable message!

When we think of the trials and hardships that we face in this life, even imagining that we cannot possibly live on, we are reminded that God's power (through his grace) is sufficient. It is sufficient for Jesus, for Paul, and for us. It will sustain us, invigorate us, humble us, and make us thankful that we have a God who is able to do "far more abundantly than all we ask or think according to the power at work within us" (Eph. 3:20). So whatever you are facing today, remember that God's supply of grace is unending and he loves to distribute it to all who will receive it by faith.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Rejoicing Together

It is my overwhelming joy to celebrate with my husband two whole years of marriage today. On August 21, 2010 I walked down an aisle for the last time as a single woman, and emerged from the sanctuary united as one flesh to the person I love most in this life. Chance, my husband, is without a doubt my best friend in the world and the person whom God has most used in my life to draw me closer to Himself. I am tremendously thankful to God for orchestrating our life circumstances in such a way, that we would fall deeply in love and have the opportunity to participate in [what I believe is the greatest relationship God ever created] marriage.
Two years may not seem like a long time, but in reflecting on everything that has happened in this short time span, I am amazed at all that God has accomplished in our lives. We recently returned from a long vacation to Florida, where we visited family and simply got to relax and spend quality time together. Chance had just finished a very (VERY) long paper for his second Greek class of the summer, in which he unpacked Paul's teaching on marriage in Ephesians 5:22-33. Just last Sunday, Chance had the privilege of speaking at his home church in Valrico, Florida to a class of college students, about this very passage. As I sat and heard my husband exposit this beautiful text on the union of marriage, I was struck by his zeal and excitement that he expressed. He spoke about how marriage is not simply a relationship between two people here on earth, but that it represents something so much greater--which is Christ's relationship with His bride, the church. Before our trip, Chance and I purchased the newly released book No Ordinary Marriage by Tim Savage to read and learn from together. Savage talked extensively about how marriage is meant to reflect the glory of God to the world and is for the purpose of glorifying God. He addressed married couples, wives, husbands, and singles as he sought to display the wonder of marriage and how it is anything but ordinary.
My greatest take away from the book was the reminder of selflessness within the marriage relationship. I was challenged to display the selfless love that my Savior showed toward me, in my marriage to Chance. Without God's abundant grace, this is impossible. I recognize how I need to ask for God's help daily, as I lay down my desires and make Chance's needs and desires more important than my own. I praise God that He has given me a husband to whom it is easy to submit because I know and see the sacrificial love that he has for me. I know without a doubt that his love is reserved for me alone, and that motivates me to serve him sacrificially. His love for me is not contigent on the way I treat him, in the same way that Christ's love for me is not conditional but unconditional. Today, I am reminded that our marriage is greater than ourselves because it is a picture of the gospel. What a privilege it is to participate daily in the this most intimate design, with the person I delight in the most! I love you Chance Sumner - HAPPY ANNIVERSARY SWEETY!

P.s. And today we find out what gender our baby is! Amazing!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Food on Friday: Feed on the Word

After reading this article posted on The Gospel Coalition, from Desiring God's blog about making the most of one's morning , I was challenged and encouraged to think about my daily 'food' intake. With the rush of hormones that cause a pregnant woman to be hungry at all times, I have begun to think about the necessity of being always hungry for a helping of God's Word.

When I was in college, I routinely went to bed earlier than most, and got up in the morning earlier than most (thankfully my roommate junior year was the same way). I enjoyed this more and more in the latter years of college, as my taste for the Scriptures grew and as my schedule became increasingly demanding. I would characterize my college days as a whirlwind of activities, punctuated by precious times spent with the people that I love: Chance, my dear friends, and my church family. To put it simply: I was always on the go. This meant that the alone time that I had in the early mornings (usually waking between 6:30 and 7:00a.m.) was priceless to me -- I needed it to stay refreshed and have energy to take on the day. So I made it a habit. My senior year, I was married, and having to adjust to a new routine. Chance is also an "early to bed, early to rise"-type, lucky for me, so our schedules have always worked very well together. I begun waking (most days) when he would in order to spend some time with the Lord while Chance did the same. That year was a dream because I was in school full-time and had benefit of a lot of free time. I would spend a lot of time reading, praying, and running in the mornings, and I loved it.

Fast forward a year or so to right now. I work full-time, while Chance is in school full-time. I work 8:00 to 4:30p.m. Monday through Friday. I come home and cook dinner every night. We serve our church two nights a week. Life has changed, we are still busy. Now more than ever, I covet that free time I had every morning during my senior year . There are some days that I don't want to get out of bed because I am just plain exhausted. There are other days when I jump out of bed, ready to get in the Word. It seems that as life changes, the busyness never truly goes away and so I am learning to adjust. I am learning to give myself grace and recognize that I am not earning anything by spending my morning reading my Bible. I am learning to rest in the Lord, and enjoy His presence.

The article that I mentioned above is simply an encouragement to make your soul "happy in God" by refreshing it with a generous helping of the Scriptures. Whether that is first thing in the morning, or late in the day, we should all heed the advice of letting the Word saturate our souls. David talks about this, in Psalm 63, where he says, "My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night.." (vv. 5-6) So on this Friday afternoon, let God's steadfast love which is better than life (Ps. 63:3) satisfy your soul as food does your palette. Enjoy your weekend! I am off to Florida!