Selling Your House…Buying Your Dream

The People of The Ville:

Melissa Seelow

Interest rates have risen but homes are selling faster than ever. To get your next home, you need to move fast and with confidence.

One local realtor is helping people do just that and has risen to become a multimillion dollar producer this past year. Her name is Melissa Seelow of Semonin Realty and she is this month’s featured pick for The People of The Ville series.

Melissa was born in Richmond, Missouri, which is located right outside of Kansas City. She has lived in several states, including Colorado, South Dakota, and of course Missouri but now resides with her husband in Louisville. About 15 years ago, her husband was offered a job here but she states, “Now that our children and more importantly our grandchildren are here, we plan to stay!”

She and her husband have two grown children. Her son, Tyler, is Vice President of Investments for Chase Bank and her daughter Malarie is in the final stages of completing her nursing degree and works at Baptist Eastpoint. Tyler is married to Lindsay, whom Melissa describes as a wonderful stay at home mom; and they have two children, Peyton and Barrett. With all of their family here in town, Louisville has become their home. When asked what she liked most about Louisville, Melissa quickly answered,

“I have loved the traditions here. Even though we aren’t technically in the south, I feel like I live in the south with Derby and all of the fun surrounding it!”

Louisville is definitely a mixture of north and south—a blend so unique and noticeable that many dub it “Kentuckiana” or as one native once said “Indiucky”. Either way, the mix is wonderful and leads to a lot of local cultural flare, much of which translates into the food and restaurants. Melissa describes herself as a bit of a “foodie” since being here and quickly adds “it’s not good for my waistline!”

Other things she noted that she loves about our city:

“We enjoy the college sports opportunities here. There are great country music concerts and there is the ability to attend Broadway plays as well as see local talent. I also love the beauty of Louisville and the green hills. Louisville is a growing city which is exciting to be a part of!”

When asked who was the most influential person in her life and why, Melissa responded with the following:

“I would have to say that my Grammie was. Although I grew up states away and only got to visit for holidays and in the summer she always made sure that I knew she was there for advice no matter what. She sent me weekly letters if not more and called it her Grammie Landers letters. She had a great sense of humor and always appeared happy with her life although it was simple (she ran the rural general store and beauty shop where I loved to hang out). You learn a lot about people in that environment! She taught me to be forthright and honest. She said, and I quote, ‘if you ride the fence too long, you’re bound to have a sore crotch’. I guess she would laugh now at our society’s attempt to be endlessly politically correct. She always made the most with what she had and created a fun and loving environment for me. In college I lived closer and went often on weekends to see her and my PaPa— she told me it made her feel younger! Simple life lessons were learned through watching and listening to my grandparents.”

I have known Melissa for several years through work. About two years ago, she left to become
self-employed in the real estate business. This took some time for her to adjust after having dedicated her life to social work up to this point. After praying hard and feeling led to do so, she started this adventure and says, “It has been a great fit and God has blessed me more than I could have imagined!”

Blessed and talented at her job, for she was nominated as one of the Rookies of the Year in her first six months and, as mentioned earlier, is now a multimillion dollar producer.

“I love being able to help people work through the process of buying and or selling their homes. Searching for the perfect match and then working through all of the crazy stuff that can go on in the process of making an offer, home inspections and repairs, appraisals, banking and finally closing. I tend to wear many hats and my psychology background has come in handy more than once as it’s an emotional roller coaster sometimes. It’s always fun to see my buyers happy in their new homes!”

Her love of this business shows and her happy personality resonates with the customers. It’s no wonder she has found success. When asked if there was something that she would change in her life, here is what she said,

“I think it would be to slow down and enjoy the little things—quit feeling rushed through life. I think that’s why I love hanging out with my granddaughter Peyton who is three! Everything is new, fun, and amazing. If I am stressed, I will often go see her. I think we can be in such a hurry that we can go through life trying to move on to the next thing, a new job, home, the next phase with our kids etc.; and before we know it, we wish we could have a mulligan! Maybe that’s why grand parenting is so awesome—I enjoy those moments and watching all the firsts that are so exciting for them!”

One final question I asked was for her to tell us something about herself we haven’t already discussed.

“I’m an introvert! Really I am. When my husband was getting his Doctorate we had to take tests on our personalities and we were both amazed to learn that I am classified an introvert. If you met me you would think ‘no way’! I’m usually pretty chatty and outgoing! I think I’m analytical and sometimes I just need time away from others to process; but I love being with people and building friendships.”

Introvert or not, I find Melissa easy to talk to and personable in every way. She has proven her success in her family, her faith, and her career as well as developed a deep commitment to them all. We are happy to have added her and her family to The People of The Ville!

 

If you are in the market to buy or sell, you can reach Melissa using the information below.

Office Information
Semonin Realtors
600 N Hurstbourne Pkwy Suite 200
Louisville, KY 40222
Office: (502) 420-5000
Cell: (502) 649-7902

Website:
www.melissaseelow.semonin.com

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Tough Parenting

 

Parenting is difficult. Period. It’s a wonderful journey wrought with emotional toil as well as unimaginable joy. The old saying ‘Long days, short years’ is really true; but even still, those long days can seem very long.

One day, I was lamenting how difficult the day had been and I was huffing around the house picking up shoes and backpacks and mumbling to myself something like this,

“How many times have I told them…just take this stuff to your room as you go?”

I had lost any joy at that moment and I found myself growing more and more frustrated as I moved from room to room. Somewhere in my frustration, I found myself mumbling again…

“Why can’t they learn? Why do I have to tell them over and over every day to do the same things? Don’t they know I know what’s best for them? It would be so much better if they just listened!”

As I mumbled and moved from room to room, something suddenly occurred to me. It hit me like a freight train or ‘a ton of bricks’ as some say. I’m pretty sure that God must be saying the same thing about me…a lot. Why do I make the same mistakes over and over again? How many times do I leave my life cluttered and unkempt in a spiritual sense? How many times do I not listen to the Holy Spirit calling me to do something? Why don’t I listen to Him? Don’t I know that he knows what’s best for me? It would be so much better if I just listened!

I’m fairly certain that I don’t want to know how many times I’ve failed or fallen short. The list would be longer than I’d want to ever admit.

Thank you, Jesus, that you are always willing to be patient with me and allow me another chance. Thank you that you’re always willing to clean up my clutter without complaint.

Amen

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Peolple of The Ville: Monica Hardin

Introducing: The People of The Ville

Louisville, Kentucky is an amazing town with even more amazing people. In this series, I hope to shed some light on the interesting and awesome personalities that make up our great city.

Enjoy the story of Monica Hardin, a local news anchor on WLKY.

 

You might only know her as the pretty face on television. Her grace and beauty along with that infectious smile permeate the early hours every day on the WLKY morning news show. People who know her best agree that she’s as genuine and beautiful inside as she is on the outside. She has spent most of her years building on the purpose she discovered for her own life at a young age; and although Monica has had many successes and accomplishments in her life, she will only point to those that have helped her along the way and give credit to the pillars in her life that have not only supported her but also given her the strength and tools to follow her dreams. From humble beginnings to celebrity-like status, she has maintained the same sweet personality that her daddy warned her long ago to never lose. Monica has dedicated her life to motivating others; but her own motivation comes from three distinct sources: her family, her faith, and various mentors through the different seasons of her life. She has had her own radio program, been Miss Kentucky, and now anchors a local news show and I feel blessed that I’m lucky enough to call her my friend.

In 1969, Monica’s parents met on a blind date, which is ironic because her mother, Mona, had been completely blind since the age of six. Her parents soon fell in love and married and started their family with their first two children; and then they waited a full eleven years to have Monica followed by her younger bother three years later. Although Monica and her younger brother were always close, she admits that growing up, the 11 and 13 year age difference between her and her older siblings made it difficult to be as close; but there was always a dedication and devotion to each other that was instilled from her parents upon her and her siblings. These qualities are quite impressive enough in today’s world; but there is much more to her story.

The family settled in Valley Station, where her father, after hearing a sermon on the plight of young black men, decided to start a commercial cleaning business to give opportunities to those willing to work. Monica remembers feeling like it was natural to work alongside her father in his business. The family struggled and worked together to make financial ends meet but Monica remembers it as “a good childhood.” She goes on to say,

“We were poor and I knew we were poor; but I recently realized that I grew up privileged because I had access to opportunity.”

Even though her mother’s complete blindness made her family different and was a challenge, there was an incredibly strong bond between her and Monica that was truly inspiring. Monica describes Mona as more than just the matriarch of the family—she was the backbone to much of who Monica is today. Mona never leaned on her disability for an excuse and typically did whatever she wanted to with her kids, including cooking and crafts. Until her eldest son was born, she worked full time in the x-ray department at St. Margaret Mary’s. After that, she stayed home with her family and worked alongside her children in all of their endeavors, no matter what activity they wanted to pursue. She forged an attitude of you can do what you want no matter what obstacle is in your path and she lived by that attitude every day. Monica describes her mother as being an amazing homemaker that made everything from scratch and who was strong and carried herself with grace and beauty. Through the years, Monica became the eyes for her mom as they cooked and played together; and this last year when her mom passed away was one of the most difficult times for her. Monica recalls,

“I realized that for the first time in my life, I no longer had that job anymore.”

Watching Monica move, her grace and composure is as intoxicating as her smile. Her ability to communicate and carry herself she repeatedly credits to those who surrounded her during her childhood and as she developed into a woman. She described to me a childhood filled with difficulties like having utilities turned off because of financial problems. The house she grew up in had no central heat and the family had to rely on a kerosene heater. No matter what difficulty the family faced, though, she remembers that they always stuck together and worked through each problem until they were back on their feet.

Her description of opportunities in her life comes in three distinct forms: her family, her faith, and the various mentors in her life. She describes her family as always believing in her and supporting her.

“If I had a dream, they never told me I couldn’t do it because we didn’t have enough money.”
Her family would work to help give her opportunities to follow her dreams. She credits this to much of her early belief in herself against all the odds facing her. When she was eleven, Monica wanted to compete in a pageant so her dad told her she had to raise the money. Before long, the family began selling barbecue to fund the money she needed. The first pageant she entered and won was called Miss Pre-Teen Louisville. As the winner of the first Miss Pre-Teen Louisville, Monica was interviewed by Dawn Gee and during that interview told the reporter that she would someday grow up and take her job. This comment from a feisty eleven year old was the beginning of a life-long mentorship and friendship between the two women.

Monica wanted to continue on with her pageant work and her father became her sidekick as a “pageant dad” in his signature brown pants and khaki shirt. He also became her official coach, always ready with questions when she got into the car and Monica credits him with giving her the vision to work hard to achieve her goals. She calls her father “one of those rare geniuses that can figure out what needs to be done to be successful not matter what’s in front of him.”

With her family behind her, the second part of Monica’s success came through a series of mentors that she believes divinely shaped and protected as her life unfolded and she chased her dreams. The first came at an early age after Monica began regular speaking engagements. When she was just 14, she began praying and trying to find her purpose after reading The Purpose Driven Life. She accepted an invitation to speak at a local Baptist church and afterward a young girl approached her and simply asked, “Are you rich?” Monica describes that moment as a point in which her purpose became clear. Her parents had taught her that “with faith plus education, you can gain success.” Now she wanted to make that her platform.

During that same event, Monica met a man named Verman Windburn, who subsequently brought her into his prison ministry, where she met another man named Rod McGavock, With no living grandparents, she lovingly gave Rod the title of “Gramps Dude” and for years, Monica remained very close to him, even placing his special title in her wedding program. This relationship became pivotal in her development and she credits him for making sure she had braces and voice lessons. Verman secured weekly hair appointments for her and so many others from this prison ministry helped her in various ways. By being available to help this ministry, she learned at a young age that her father’s words were so true: “you can never out give God.”

Others came through her life and provided different types of support and all taught her valuable life lessons. Cathy Perkins was a personal stylist that Monica met, who became a mentor and great help when she needed rides to her many events. With only one parent who could drive, Monica was extremely indebted to this woman. Monica also learned more about personal style and fashion. Teresa Morgan was a woman Monica met who was volunteering at a large FCA event. Even though her own children were all grown, Teresa wanted to give back and continued to serve in this organization. Monica was enthralled by this lady and her attitude. From this relationship, Monica credits the idea of learning that if you want something, go get it. Debbie Robbins was another mentor in Monica’s life. Debbie became a surrogate mom during Monica’s time in the Miss America pageant system who Monica feels she learned how to be a better hostess and to be selfless and volunteer more. Barbara Curry was a woman Monica met after being Miss Kentucky. Throughout the years, this woman helped Monica in every way that she could and taught her how to live life and have fun.

During high school, Monica had another mentor named Paris Anderson. He had a local radio show and invited Monica to come and talk about an upcoming event she was helping promote for ECHO (Exploited Children’s Help Organization). When she arrived at the station, Paris turned the show over to her and a couple of other young people for the day, then kept inviting them back each week. Before long, Monica was doing it alone and hosting a weekly show called Post It Up. During that time, she learned how to host, produce, and even engineer the show and only left the show when she won Miss Kentucky and simply had too many other obligations.

During the Miss Kentucky years, she had a mentor named Tar Bassett who made sure that Monica’s family had the wardrobe that they needed for all their appearances. Others contacted Caesar’s palace (now Horseshoe) in Indiana and secured a room for her parents at the Caesar’s Palace in Atlantic City. Plane tickets were also purchased but then the tragic event of September 11 and they weren’t sure it was safe to fly. Monica was already in Atlantic City due to the two week preparations required for the event. People heard of her parent’s plight and rallied together again, renting a van for her parents to make the long drive up to watch their daughter compete.

“There were many mentors like Dawn Gee and Rachel Platt. Mentorship isn’t something that can happen in one day. They walk alongside you and your relationships change with the seasons of your life.”

These people helped form her in many different ways and through them she learned unique things. Listening to her talk about them, one can easily see how deeply she appreciates their input throughout her life. Her family and the mentors in her life all played a huge part of who Monica is today; but one final element that has shaped her life is her faith. Throughout our interview, Monica brought her faith and her relationship to God up multiple times. This has been a cornerstone of her life and her development.

At the age of 11, Monica was attending a church camp with her brother. She came forward to accept Jesus and her brother did too, then they were then baptized together. She describes her faith as part of her life and that of her family. When she met her husband, it was through church and they became friends for several years before deciding to date and marry. Her devotion to God and her family has carried through to raising her own girls today.

Being a part of the Miss America system has brought her into another “family”, which was coined the “sisterhood of the traveling crown” by one of her friends. More mentors continued to emerge in her life and I got the sense that she felt as if there were many more people she wanted to credit. She has learned that there is “life after the crown” from Heather French Henry and that “you’re not really going to know yourself until you hit 40” from Debbie Robinson, two other women that have influenced and mentored Monica through the years.

The money from Miss Kentucky helped fund her for a year as Monica traveled and spoke and worked on her platform. She was able to complete her education from the University of Louisville as a result of several scholarships as well. Once she reached this goal, Monica was unsure what she wanted next. She took one year and worked toward expanding her singing career but felt that God was calling her in a different direction. One opportunity that had been offered was to be the traffic person for WLKY, a position that was offered again when she returned to Louisville. After starting in this position, she quickly moved to reporting and weekend anchor then to her current position as a morning anchor. Starting at 5:00 AM every weekday morning, while many people are barely rising, she has already been up for at least two hours, preparing to deliver the news along with the rest of the morning team. From that young feisty girl with a passion for pageants and service she has transformed herself into an influential morning face in our community who learned from meeting Clarence Thomas years ago to “stay focused and remember that luck is when preparation meets opportunity.” She also told me, “All of us are given a certain amount of Grace to do something…
Grace to do the job and handle the responsibility and to know that we’re not perfect. I’m far from perfect. Please don’t put me on that pedestal.” But I think my favorite quote from her was this:

“I don’t want to die with any potential left in me—a dream deferred or not accomplished.”

With all that she has already been able to do, she is well on her way to meeting that goal and I’m excited to see what dreams she has left. I’m positive that there is much more left to her story and Louisville is lucky to call her our own.

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It’s Football Time in Georgia

My new book is starting to look more like a book and less like an idea. The story is about a football team…but it’s much more than that. I haven’t settled on a title yet; but I will definitely share it along with the cover when it’s ready.

For now, I want to share a quote from one of the players on this magical team. The player was asked a simple question: What were your teams’ greatest strengths this season?

Here is how this player answered…and I have seen similar answers from almost every player and coach that I’ve interviewed.

“Our greatest strength was our unselfishness. Football is the ultimate team game and you simply cannot win big with individuals. No one, players and coaches included, cared who got the credit. No one complained about how many times they got the ball, or how many passes were thrown to them, or how many tackles they got. No parents complained about playing time for their sons and the coaches held it all together. It was a true team effort, really amazing for that many people to work unselfishly for a great goal and then achieve it.”

I look forward to bringing this book to print…I hope that many coaches, parents, and players will read this story and learn from the research that I’ve done to uncover the secrets of a championship team. Read that answer above one more time and let the words sink in. There is much more to a team than what you see on game night. What I’m uncovering is truly amazing and I cannot wait to share it all with you!

More on this book later…

Follow me here and on Facebook @The Green Author for updates and news.

 

 

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New Series: People of The Ville

In a world full of controversy and hate, I decided to try to find the positive spin on life. Most of my posts on Facebook and Twitter are happy and lighthearted; but I wanted to go a step further to create a series to highlight people in a positive manner from the area in which I live.

I think there are a lot of unsung heroes and people who work hard every day that go without notice. Some of the people that I choose might be more familiar to the public than others; but either way, I want to highlight the positive side of our town and hopefully inspire positivity in the world.

I hope you enjoy this new series as I embark on a new adventure to shine a new light on the world around us.

For my first person, I have chosen a very special woman in our area:

Monica Hardin

She is a local news anchor and a former Miss Kentucky. I hope you will enjoy learning more about this amazing young woman when I post her interview.

This first interview will be posted on July 10…just a few short weeks away!

Keep coming back for more information about the series!

 

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Healing Power

And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.

James 5:15

Healing power…

When I was a child, I was very squeamish. My mom, who was a nurse, used to always tease me and say I could never go into a healthcare field. I remember being at a church camp one time where I became violently ill in one of the classes because a little girl was leaning on her hand and the way her veins bulged in her wrist made me sick. Such a silly weird thing as a child and I have no idea why things like that bothered me.

Ironically, as I grew older, I instantly loved biology and eventually went into my chosen field of physical therapy. My compassion for people far outweighed any squeamish thoughts and I quickly overcame my problem. Not long ago, I found a journal that I had written as a nine-year-old child where I expressed that a dream of mine would be able to help older people and children. I had no idea that I had written that so many years ago. My career path has taken me into both geriatric and pediatric directions. I have a heart for both of those patient populations; but I also have frustrations…

There is a part of me that has yearned to be able to heal all the patients that I have worked with through the years. I would love to have the power to heal instantly; but instead, God has chosen to let me help heal others gradually. Although I don’t have a “magic wand”, I do you have evidence-based ideas that can be applied and help the children that I work with to improve and function better.

My recent book, Quiver, is about a young man with instant healing power. It sounds wonderful; but he has the same frustrations that I have felt through the years. There are times when he’s not allowed to use his power just like there are times when I cannot get more results from therapy. This book was born out of these thoughts and feelings. I had a reader contact me recently who guessed this and they were right. I have not spoken of this before; but it is true.

I think most writers have a piece of them in every book that they write. If you look closely… You will find me among the pages of all of my books in different forms.

I hope you will take a moment to peek at this book. It is the second in a series but can be read alone. Even though it has won awards and received many five star reviews, the blessings have been all mine. As a writer, when I’m researching a book I find that it invades me in every way. This book and the former book, A Rose For Jonathan, both transformed my prayer life into a deeper walk. I think every writer could testify that their own works touch them as they research and pour their lives into the words on the pages. My prayer is that these books will touch you and help you as well.

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Look Up

Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.

Revelation 4:11

 

I’m an early riser, most of the time around 4:00 AM. I work out, have my devotion time, and get ready for my day, which starts around 7:00 AM.

My job takes me everywhere throughout the town and the surrounding counties. Recently, I was driving out through the countryside on my way to my first patient’s house and the sun was just coming up over the horizon, casting a beautiful glow of orange, pink, and red across the sky. The light continued to slowly increase and produce a contrast of color in the sky against the trees, fences, and an occasional farm house. Cows moved slowly along the fields, munching on grass, staring at me with their large brown eyes as I rolled past. Songs played softly in the background in my car and I was mesmerized by the scenes around me as I thanked God for this beautiful day that He had made. I was so glad that I had been able to enjoy this moment as I basked in the beauty of His creation. So many days I just roll through a day and forget to just take a moment and look up or look around me.

I hope you will take five seconds today and just look at the sky. Is is dark and foreboding or clear and blue? Are there white fluffy clouds floating by? I forget just how incredible the simple things in life can be…I intend to enjoy them more…

Blessings!

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Love Not Hate

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil, cling to what is good.

Romans 12:9

I wonder what would happen in the world if everyone followed this one verse? Love is the key according to Jesus. The greatest commandment according to Him is to love God and then to love others as yourselves.

One act of love… One kind gesture… One selfless act… I wonder what the trickle effect would be?

The world is so full of hate and division. I’ve been researching for my new book and found this is nothing new. Tracing back some history, I have found that every decade and every generation feels as if there’s is the most divisive and hate-filled generation. I have found in my studies of the 1920s that their biggest problems were racism, anti-feminism, culture wars, class wars, and sexual sins. Reading through documents from this time period, you would think you were reading about today.

How interesting that we continue to struggle with the same problems…

Today I’m going to concentrate on this verse and I hope you will too. Think of one thing you can do to make someone else’s life richer. It can be as simple as a smile.

 

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What’s On Your Mind?

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

James 5:16
Often people ask me to pray for them for different reasons. I try to never take that lightly. If I agree to go to God in prayer over matter, I fully intend to do so. This is something I have made a priority over the last few years. In my past, I would agree to pray about something and life would simply get in the way and I would forget. My heart would ache for that person at the moment and my intentions would always be good; but distractions would come so easy.

When I began writing my first Christian novel called A Rose For Jonathan, I decided to make prayer a big focus of the book. I was convicted over and over again to pray more throughout the writing of that book and subsequently the sequel, Quiver. As a Christian, I’d always known prayer was powerful but did not live and stand on that truth. This Bible verse says it all: “The effective fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” It doesn’t say “the promised prayer that was never given” or the “half-hearted repetitive prayer with no thought”. It says “the effective fervent prayer”. That verse haunted me and caused me to rethink how I brought my petitions before God. I wanted my novels to bring people to their knees. It was my hope and desire to do so; but I first had to fix the problems with my own prayer life.

I have shared this in the past; but in my job I am on my knees a lot helping children learn how to crawl etc. I have calluses on the tops of my feet from being in this position so much. It shamed me that those calluses were not from being on my knees in prayer. This was the conviction of my heart as I began to study to write those two books.

As I began to search for more verses on prayer, it became evident to me that this was definitely a tool God intended us to use. Did you know it’s one of the only offensive weapons that we have as Christians? Prayer and the word of God are all we have offensively. The rest of the spiritual armor spoken of in the Bible is all defensive in nature. If we truly want to beat the enemy in our lives, we must learn how to fight. The best place to do that as a Christian is on our knees.

 

I truly believe there is so much God wants to do for us if we would only ask.

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How Far Will You Reach?

I was at a park today seeing a client for a therapy session and as I waited for my family to arrive, I watched a little boy and his big brother playing. The older boy was standing up on a platform and trying to help his younger brother climb; but the small boy was afraid. I heard the older boy say, “Come on, all you have to do is reach, I’ll help you.” I continued to watch as the smaller boy folded his arms, shook his head, and walked away. The older boy called out, “Okay, but you’re gonna miss all the fun.”

Something about that image of the older boy’s outstretched hand touched me. I could visualize God reaching out for me when I was too scared to do something. I could almost hear him calling out to me, “Okay, but you’re gonna miss all the fun.” How many times do we simply walk away from the outstretched hand of God? I felt convicted as I saw the small boy not only walk away but shake his head and fold his arms, as if he would do anything else but not that.

Take a moment today and thank God for His patience with us. Surely, if an older brother promises to help his younger sibling, my Heavenly Father will help me when I’m in need. I pray that I have the ability to see His hand, the humility to accept his help, and the courage to reach out and do my part. I don’t want to “miss all the fun” God has for me.

 

Psalm 46:1

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

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