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No one really knows what your name means. Nor how to say it, poor girl. See-lah, Sell-ah, Say-lay. Sorry, babe. Your Dad and I still love it though. God placed a ton of significance on people’s names. We figured we would too.
Some say Selah means to pause; to stop and think about what you just heard. It’s used all over the psalms, usually in the side margin, in italics. “God is our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in trouble…Selah” (Psalm 46:1)
Selah gives emphasis to the Word of God. Instead of plowing forward, you’re supposed to reflect, to consider what it means for you, to study. Your Dad and I would be lost without this Word. In Hebrews, it says that God sustains all things by his powerful Word. We can’t comprehend all things. Sometimes we can’t comprehend anything, but we certainly know His Word has sustained us.
There are some who believe that Selah also comes from the Hebrew word Calah, meaning to weigh and measure, or evaluate. Some think that it is a word like a boundary or marker of sorts – a place to stop in our journeys for a moment to catch our breath. Still others believe that it’s a term of worship, like a musical notation, an interlude. Whatever it means, I think we all need a little Selah in our lives. Or at least your Momma does.
Sometimes I feel as though this world is careening out of control. There are images, people, technology, words, needs, and products screaming for our attention. Though I’ve never been one for the fast paced life, I easily find myself getting swept in the current. If I don’t have Selah time, I lose it. Selah reminds me to, “Turn my eyes from worthless things and to preserve my life according to your word.” (Psalm 119:37)
Sometimes this world also feels doomed to destruction. And in a sense, it is. There is so much hurt and pain that I want to shield you from. I fear the tears you’ll cry, the despair you’ll see, the words that will cut your tender heart. But held in a snuggle close to mom, you’ll never grow. It’s good for me to know that there’s a God who clings to you tighter than even me. May you grow in the grace and in the knowledge of this Jesus who has come to save the world.
In His grasp, you’ll learn trust, beauty, justice, and peace. May His hold on your life be without question. In His word, you’ll find joy, wisdom, strength, and endurance. May His words captivate you to believe impossible dreams. You can do all things, my child, through Him who gives you strength. There is hope to be brought to the world. It began with Christ. May it continue with your Mom and Dad. Then you and your brother.
As you already know, this world is not all there is. Tinkerbelles may not sprinkle us with pixie dust, but there is a dimension out there that our eyes cannot see. Pain does not have the final say. Death is not the end. Perfect love has driven out all fear. God came so that we might have life and have it to the full. Out in the open, with arms widespread, music that stirs you to dance, and head held to the sky.
All this to say, happy birthday, my Selah. May four years old find you not reading this, but playing in the dirt, worshipping in the rain, and holding your baby dolls close to you. May it find you climbing up mini rock walls, trying persistently to draw your S, and dressing up as a princess always.
And when much older years find you, may this letter encourage you to pursue the most valuable things in this life: Selah time with the God of all hope, every dream written upon your heart, and the beauty alive in this day we call today.
Love you like crazy,
She’s 23. She loves Jesus. She’s got a single ticket for the DMZ. And she’s going to change the world.
Four a.m. wakes her up. With a coffee and these words of life, in the land of the morning calm. Every day, it’s four a.m., with the God who has changed the world.
She’s a teacher. Chalk on her hands. Ill-fitting heels and a denim skirt. Piles of papers to grade. Children to inspire. With Dante and division and documentaries. Most everyday seems mundane. But the ordinary finds Divine. And Divine finds the ordinary.
She’s 26. She’s 31. She’s 34.
Some things look the same. She loves Jesus, her beautiful Jesus. She hopes she always will.
Some things look different. More than the lines when she smiles, she’s not alone anymore. She’s woken up to the best of dreams, with those who call her Kristin and mom. She is making a home in a different world, on this side of the East.
There haven’t been chalk smudges on her skirts of late, but still everyday finds its mundane. Laundry and diapers and dinner. Mr. Rogers, scraped knees with tears, and cleaning a house that never gets clean. Ordinary is loud, the Divine is a whisper. She forgets that she’s going to change the world.
In walks 19. 34 listens.
To a heart that loves Jesus. In one hand she holds a ticket for Africa; in the other those words of life. And she’s going to change the world. It’s in her giddy rambles and the excitement in her eyes. She’s fearless and alive and in love. In love with the One who has redeemed our fall.
34 hears a lot of things over tea that night. She hears hopes and dreams, questions and quirks. She hears the 23 she used to be, and she wants to find her again. Better yet, she wants to find that all out abandonment in God again, that fearless and unscripted devotion.
Word of God speak.
When the ordinary defines every day, find me in the Divine. Find me fearless and alive and in love, running towards the One who has rocked this world with His love. Don’t ever let me forget that I can do anything through Christ who gives me strength. Anything.
I love you 19. Ashley, maybe this will explain the tears in my eyes.
Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity. – 1 Timothy 4:12