the Lifestyle blog

Thriving in Real Life

Scripture Memory | Sisters

Something else that has had a big impact on my relationship with my sisters is Scripture Memory! For example, it helps me to radiate more joy since God’s Word actually brings joy to our heart (Psalm 19:8). And, in case you were wondering, joyful big sisters are a pretty nice idea. :)

This happened to me on our recent trip home from visiting family. At the end of a trip, it can be easy to look and feel like…I’ve been on the road awhile.

Towards the end of our ride, I took my Bible from it’s snug place in the back pocket of the chair in front of me, prayed for focus and dug in for some Scripture Memory review time. Talk about refreshing!! Let’s say my true joy levels grew. :) I was able to unload the van with a positive attitude (it was done so fast?!) and enjoy washing dishes that night. I was a more positive person to be around that evening, which does wonders for family relationships.

So be encouraged today, the time you personally invest in hiding God’s Word in your heart not only builds your relationship with God, but positively affects the way you interact with your siblings!

On a fun bonus note, sisters can provide tremendous Scripture Memory incentive too. I worked on memorizing my first ‘big’ book of the Bible because Kristen challenged me to do so. My sisters sometimes ask me ‘Where is the verse that says…’. I love nailing the verse with very little hesitation – if I can’t…oo! There’s motivation to spend more time in the Word! :)

How have you seen Scripture Memory help you in your relationship with your siblings? How have your siblings helped you with Scripture Memory? I’d love to hear!

“The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.” Psalm 19:8

Counting Blessings

As November 2017 takes it’s place on the shelves of good memories, I’m thankful for friends and family who’ve encouraged me to be thankful.

Thankfulness has changed my life because it has changed my perspective. When I focus on all that God has done and is doing, I’m filled with hope and joy! When I focus on everything that’s going wrong or what I don’t have…let’s just say that’s not a recipe for success! :)

Over five years ago my friend Miranda challenged me to write down 1,000 things I was thankful for and gave me a journal. Well, as someone who can find those sorts of spiritual challenges irresistible, I took her up on it! :) Soon my mom blessed me with another journal for writing down things I was thankful for.

My friend Sarah organized a November thanksgiving challenge – 7 things a day for a whole month. It started just a few days after I hit the ‘1,000’ milestone. I liked writing down 7 things so much I told her I was thinking of carrying it into December (or something like that! This was about five years ago!). Ooo, now I was extra committed! :)

And that, my friends, coupled with Sarah’s continuing to organize thanksgiving challenges for several years, did it.

I’m still writing and still counting! Rarely does a day go by without my writing down at least three things I’m thankful for. There’s a bunch of journals at my house to prove it!  (Not to mention notes in quiet time journals when I was traveling!) Thousands of God’s blessings have been recorded – and there are so many left unwritten!

As a result, the attitude of gratitude, of looking for things to be thankful for, has become such a special part of my life. I think that’s another reason why I haven’t quit! I’m so thankful for Miranda, for my mom and for Sarah. Their encouragement has had a life-changing impact! My levels of hope and joy are higher – and you are far more likely to catch me with a positive attitude!

How about you, friend? Thanksgiving is past but being thankful is never out of season. Could I challenge you to write down 100 things you’re thankful for? To write a few (even seven!!) a day and then take the time to thank the Lord for them?

If you do and keep doing, it just might change your life.

It’s changed mine!

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 

1 Thessalonians 5:18

A Smile for Your Day

May the Lord give us eyes to see the sweet things that can make us smile! :)

A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.

Proverbs 15:13

Bible Study | Sisters

Something that has been a huge help to me in my relationship with my sisters is Bible study. On a personal level, studying out God’s thoughts in His Word can generate peace of mind for me because I can know what’s on His heart about a particular topic. It helps me see and live with more clarity – and peace.

Then, particularly as the eldest sister, it enables me to be a better example and advisor to the precious gals I call my sisters – all three of us give advice to each other pretty frequently! :)

And third, being a part of the same Bible study group as my sisters is a fun way to both dig into God’s Word and spend time together. There’s something bonding about studying the same topic and connecting with others together. (Bonus: If you’re being challenged to bridge an age gap with a younger sister, being a part of (or starting!!) a Bible study group that includes both your ages might be a great way to start making a fresh connection between you.)

So today, be encouraged!! The time you are spending studying God’s Word and applying it to your life is a major boost to positive relationships with your sisters! 

Have a wonderful day with your sisters rejoicing in God’s Word!

Love in Him,

Melanie

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

2 Timothy 2:15

Prayer – Part 2 | Sisters

Something that has blessed me tremendously in my relationship with my sisters is praying specific Scripture verses for the three of us! Micah 6:8, Luke 2:52, and Matthew 22:37-39 are just a few of the ones I use. This particular set is on index cards in recipe card slip covers (protects them for the long term :) and I keep them in my prayer card basket. Prayer and Scripture are such a great combination!

Do you enjoy praying Scripture for your siblings?! What verses do you like to use? I’d love to hear your favorites! 

Love in Christ,

Melanie

“Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;”

Colossians 4:2

Prayer – Part 1 | Sisters

Prayer has had a big impact on my relationship with my sisters!

First, seeking to be faithful to spend time in prayer myself – praising the Lord, thanking Him, bringing concerns before Him and praying for others – helps me to have a more peaceful and Christ-centered heart from which to relate to my sisters.

Second, praying for my sisters frequently helps me to build a family focus and a ‘we’re in this together’ sister perspective. As sisters, we have a unique advantage. For example, I know things I can praise the Lord for in their lives, things I can thank Him for and things I can join them in petitioning His guidance for! And my sisters know me super well and can do the same. :)

So this weekend, be encouraged! The time you personally spend in prayer and the time you spend praying for your siblings, makes a BIG difference in building relationships that glorify God! 

Love in Christ,

Melanie

Bonus: If you’re looking for a fantastic resource for building or continuing the habit of personal prayer, I’d highly recommend checking out the Prayer Pockets! They come with colorful cards that help guide us in what to talk to the Lord about. The pockets come three different ways. Feel free to head over to the Daughters of Decision shop for current fabrics and availability! (We’re currently out of the style pictured, but if you’d like to be notified when they come available, feel free to sign up for the Daughters of Decision Product Blog!)

Trivia: Those three prayer pockets do belong to…you guessed it, a certain three sisters! Care to guess whose is whose?! :)

“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;”

Ephesians 6:18

Quiet Time | Sisters

We know our sisters are a tremendous gift from the Lord, but where do we go from there?!

This might surprise you – but what’s helped me most in my relationship with my sisters is making top priority my own relationship with the Lord. Getting in my personal quiet time every morning helps me to be less likely to say something I shouldn’t and more likely to serve, more likely to smile, and more likely to be a good example!! :)

So this week, be encouraged! Your choice to spend time with the Lord in your quiet time can be a huge blessing not just to yourself, but your sisters too!

Trivia: Above is a picture of quiet time journals that are being used in our house by a certain three sisters. Can you guess whose is whose?! Share your guess in the comments and I’ll let you know if you’re right!! :)

Bonus: Sharing quiet time thoughts with sisters while riding in the car or walking in the park or talking around the table is a great way to strengthen your walks with Christ and build your relationships with each other!

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness;”

Matthew 6:33a

A Gift | Sisters

As we start this new series on our relationships with our sisters, I want to begin with a foundational truth:

Our sisters are a gift from God. 

Growing up, my parents celebrated each of us girls (they still do :). They were tremendously careful not to play favorites. There was no doubt in my mind that they considered each of us as a precious gift from the Lord. That attitude rolled over into my perspective towards my sisters. Groaning about my little sisters being a nuisance was never an option – never really a thought. They were gifts from God – some girls didn’t have sisters. I had two.

So this weekend, I’m thanking the Lord for the gift of sisters. They are priceless treasures I never want to take for granted! And this perspective, with thankfulness, lays a tremendous foundation for positive sister relationships.

Let’s thank the Lord for our sisters/brothers today!!

Trivia: The three dollies pictured above – officially Mrs. Toddies – are some of my sisters’ and my earliest dolls. Can you guess whose is whose?! :) (I’ll answer in the comments and no, they are not in age order! :)

A Bonus for Moms: One of quiet ways my parents communicated to my sisters and I that we were each unique and prized gifts from God was that each of us had our own baby photo album that Mom was holding for us (she also had a nearly duplicate one for her and Dad – so we had six baby photo albums at our house!). Once we were old enough we could pull ours off the shelf and look at it on our own time. A picture can be worth a thousand words!

“Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.” Psalm 127:3

Delight

“But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers  of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” Psalm 1:2-3

Announcing…

So excited to share with you today a new series of posts coming to Lifestyle!! Are you ready?!? Drumroll please….our new series is going to be on the topic of our relationships with our…

Sisters! 

This fall my sisters and I celebrate 25 years as ‘sisters-three’. Those of you who know us well, know that we may look a tad like triplets, but we are decidedly different and imperfect people! And decidedly different and imperfect people find life together can at times be rather…interesting?! :)

I’m so excited to share things the Lord has used and is using to build and strengthen our relationship as sisters, including, believe it or not, the Five Decisions. We girls are truly best friends today and I count myself one of the most blessed women on earth to have Kristen and Melissa for ‘little’ sisters!

So do join us here in Lifestyle this fall for little tips and meaningful insights on sisters! I’d love to hear your insights on sibling relationships as well. Please feel free to comment in! I look forward to hearing what you’ve learned!

Love in Him,

Melanie

“Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” 1 John 3:16

Melanie Thomsen

Melanie Thomsen

Christ-follower. Discipleship Mentor. Writer. Photographer.

Hello sister!

Welcome to the Lifestyle blog! This is where I write from my heart about walking out the five decisions in the real world of daily life and the incredible difference it makes. Won’t you join me on this journey of seeking to flourish in Christ?! Pull up a chair, drop a comment and introduce yourself. I’d love to hear from you!

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the King James Version or the New International Version (1984).

 

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright © 1973,1978,1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.