the Lifestyle blog

Thriving in Real Life

Am I Ready?

‘SOLD OUT’

‘No Longer Available’

“…we no longer have this item…”

Words like these kept popping up before my eyes. I clicked and called and started to panic. It was a photographer’s nightmare. I was three days away from leaving for the nature photo op of the year…and I had just discovered that I didn’t have all the gear.

Yeah.

2017 Lunar Solar Eclipse was going to happen and I wasn’t ready. Nor were the two people I was planning to take with me.

My schedule had been a bit crazy and I figured the week before the trip I could do some research, sidle down to my local camera shop and get the filter needed, if I needed one at all.

It wasn’t turning out to be quite that simple! I hadn’t bargained on this being a national event…and items being sold out. I had been thinking about traffic and had made sure I had the clothes necessary…but somehow I missed the essential camera gear?!

But as I realized my trip was hanging in the balance, the Lord brought home a powerful lesson I never wanted to forget.

I was dealing with the reality of: “I have three days to master basic solar photography and acquire my gear since I didn’t realize the need and spent time on things not as essential.”

What if someday I’m facing a far greater question: “I have two months to live and invest in what matters since so far I’ve spent all my time on myself and trivial pursuits.”

That would be a far greater disaster and the perspective helped me grow a bit calmer. I knew in terms of my eternal destination I was safe in Christ, but when the time of my home going approached, would I be ready otherwise?

Just like camera gear doesn’t blossom off a computer screen, relationships don’t either. Am I investing in my relationship with God now? How about my family? Or will I be building at ground zero with the clock ticking down to final seconds?

The glimpse of eternity stuck with me as the photographic saga continued to unfold.

By a sheer miracle I was able to locate eclipse glasses for myself and the two going with me. By another I was able to order the last available piece of a sheet of special solar filter paper, thought I wasn’t sure if it would arrive in time. It did – on Friday!

Last minute gear was the Lord’s gift in this scenario. But I’d honestly much rather not have to ask Him for last minute relationships.

Due to coming down with a cold last minute, I ended up shooting the eclipse at home instead of in North Carolina. Fortunately my system had recovered enough by Monday afternoon that I didn’t have to tote a tissue box outside as well as my camera! :) I put together my gear, aimed my shots and enjoyed the experience with my family, making special memories! It was extra fun because I had the tools necessary – barely! – to really enjoy it.

(Photographer’s note: see how the shadows turned spots of light into moon shapes?! Neat-O!)

But what about my life? My relationships? Am I making the investments and preparations now to be able to actually enjoy those last moments on earth as I anticipate seeing Christ face-to-face? Will comforting Scriptures come to mind and prayer be second-nature? Will I be laughing with family over happy memories and leaving them a legacy of loving faithfulness?

Well, the eclipse is finished for this year and this is one photographer already far more mentally prepared for the 2024 eclipse…maybe I should order those supplies six months in advance? How about a phone notification? :)

The question for me now to consider is: Am I ready for the Lord to call me home? Am I loving God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength? Do I love my neighbor as myself?”

BIG questions. Well, first and foremost I’m ultimately ready because Christ is my personal Savior. And then secondly, the ‘Five Decisions’ are helping me to get ready life-wise. It is my prayer, that by God’s grace, when He calls me home, my answer will be:

“Yes, Lord. I’m ready!”

How about you, friend?

Love in Christ,

Melanie

P.S. This is a fantastic lead-in to our next post series coming here on the blog!! So excited to announce it soon!! Stay tuned!

“And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.” Luke 10:27

Bright Lights Conferences

Good evening, friends! This is a happy note to let you know about some conferences for young ladies that are coming to MI and OH! The conferences are taught by Sarah Mally (a good friend of ours!) and will be happening this month! If you’re looking to be inspired in your walk with the Lord, mark your calendar and register! If it weren’t for scheduling conflicts, I’d be planning to attend at least one myself! :)

For more information click here!  To register online, click here!

“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” Matthew 22:37

Miss Muzzie :)

Does anyone remember Miss Muzzie?! Our happy Miss Muzzies were a craft project at the 2016 retreat to remind us to not let our Scripture Memory verses get fuzzy! :) They can clip onto the verses we need to review next or even sit on our dresser to remind us to review our verses!

How is your Miss Muzzie?! Where is she crawling this summer? I’d love to hear!

“I remembered thy judgements of old, O LORD; and have comforted myself.” Psalm 119:52

Psalm 121:8

“The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.” Psalm 121:8

On the Road | Quiet Time

A favorite tradition of mine is finding fun (and safe!) places to have my quiet time when our family is on the road! The Lord and I have had time together on the beach, on the deck of a cabin, in a cozy loft, on a dock walkway in Maine, in the van :), with my Grandma at her house… I’ve realized it’s a reminder that even as my locations change, the Lord is always with me and is my ultimate foundation. Not to mention I need Himself and His Word wherever I happen to be! :)

Daughters of Decision was recently in North Carolina for a homeschool convention and it was fun to have my quiet time beside a window in the hotel! It had a mountain view and overlooked a small portion of the city. I was so touched that the Lord put me in a room that had a mountain view – He knows I love mountains. How abundantly kind He is to us! :)

Where have you enjoyed having your quiet time? 

“I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2

When Going Gets Tough…

When the going gets tough, when we get sick, when trials or tests come our way, does our spiritual vitality disappear under the tissue box? Do we figure we just don’t have time or energy, skip our time with God and then wonder why we’re so miserable?

Or does having a regular habit of the ‘5 Decisions‘ make any difference?

Well, as someone who’s recently been hit with a cold – I can wave my hand high in a big ‘YES!’ :) Continuing to spend time with the Lord through His Word has helped point me to the Lord and helped make my days feel more normal, even if my body doesn’t feel so! And on a very practical note, the habit of spending time in prayer made it second nature to ask for and receive His grace on morning six of this cold, when I was worn down. He brought the smile back to my heart! :)

So, if you’re facing a time of sickness or challenge, let me urge you, don’t quit!! The practice of cultivating our relationship with Christ is often the very avenue through which He sends the spiritual strength we need.

And if you’re in a sunny season of life, let me urge you, build those habits like crazy. If you’re committed when you’re healthy and life is easy, you’re more likely to be committed when you’re sick and life feels like it’s straight uphill. And that commitment just might be a life raft for your soul someday!

“My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life…I remember your ancient laws, O LORD, and I find comfort in them.” Psalm 119:50, 52

An Afternoon Meditation

When people you know are flying the skies, this verse is a beautiful one to remember:

“If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” Psalm 139:9-10

Conclusion | Discipleship

Thanks for joining me in the discipleship series we started here on Lifestyle last year! (Can you believe it’s been a year?!) It’s been great to look together at what it means to be a disciple maker and to see how we can practically do so. It is a beautiful mission the Lord has given us!

As this particular series concludes, I’d like to share a few wise words from Robert E. Coleman, who studied Christ’s example of reaching the world through making disciples. I hope they are inspiring to you as well!

“Here is where we must begin just like Jesus. It will be slow, tedious, painful, and probably unnoticed by people at first, but the end result will be glorious, even if we don’t live to see it. Seen this way, though, it becomes a big decision in the ministry. We must decide where we want our ministry to count – in the momentary applause of popular recognition or in the reproduction of our lives in a few chosen people who will carry on our work after we have gone. Really it is a question of which generation we are living for.” Robert E. Coleman, The Master Plan of Evangelism, p.32

May the Lord help us to live with the next generation in mind!!

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20

 

Who Has Your Heart?

Around ten years ago I read something that started me thinking.

A woman shared online about finding Christ to be the ‘Love of our Hearts’. Being the granddaughter of a man who said ‘What does the Bible say?’ to my mother when she was young, I wondered if such a concept was Biblical. :) It didn’t take long for me to discover there was a bit of spiritual backing to the concept.

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with ALL thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” (Matthew 22:37, emphasis mine)

That did it for me. I took it to the Lord in prayer. I already knew the Lord as my Savior, but I wanted to know Him as the greatest Love of my Heart.

That very simple application of Matthew 22:37 was a major milestone for me as a woman. As the years went on I identified verses on Who the Lord Is and was intentional about thanking/praising Him for those things. I even had the opportunity to see Him show Himself to be my Provider, Protector, Comfort, and Leader (to name a few) in real life situations. What started as a prayer request and an intentional pursuit, resulted in my heart being captivated by Jesus Christ!

It is so easy for us as young women to think that a certain job, marriage, adventure or friends will bring us satisfaction. But there is only One who can ultimately satisfy our hearts and souls: Jesus Christ. It takes intentional investment – and it will all our lives. Some moments, I live with a smile in the glorious adventure of life with Christ. Other moments I discover my heart needs a refresh. But when that happens, the good news is, I know right where to go! My Savior is always available for SOS calls and heart to heart talks. (The Word and prayer. :) Yes…He is absolutely wonderful!!

So, my question for you today is, who has your heart?

Let it be Christ. He’s the One Who satisfies.

“Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.” Psalm 63:3-5

 

Challenge 3 | Discipleship

Leader’s Challenge: Focusing too much on the training (or ourselves) and forgetting Christ

Leader’s Solution: Training is essential, but the goal of training in discipleship is a deepening relationship with Christ that multiplies in the lives of others. Christ is the focus! I like to pray before a discipleship session that Christ would be the center of the conversation.

“Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess.” Hebrews 3:1

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.