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,