My dear Selah,
I truly am sorry that for the rest of your life, you’ll be called “Sell-uh” or “Sell-ee-yuh” or “Shee-luh” (you’ve been called all these already). I hope you don’t get frustrated with me when every year on the first day of school, you have to tell your teacher how to pronounce your name and assure her that your parents are not, in fact, hippies.
Your name is a conversation starter, my love, because every time I explain how to pronounce it (Say-luh), the person on the other end of the conversation usually responds with “Wow, that’s beautiful! How did you choose that?” In those moments, I have the opportunity to tell about my faith in our great God, a faith that I pray we’ll share someday.
Selah is a word I fell in love with the first time I read it in the book of Psalms. Set off to the side in italics, rolling off the tongue so melodically, it evokes a sense of wonder. No one is exactly sure of the translation of this Hebrew word; it’s most likely a musical direction meaning to pause, to reflect, to lift up in praise.
My sweet girl, you are my Selah and my selah. The moment I found out I was pregnant with you, I paused, dropped to my knees, and praised God for giving you to me. My whole life was put on pause when you came into this world, and with every smile, every newly learned skill, and every gurgle (which I take to mean I love you, Mommy), you make my heart sing out in praise to your Creator.
Reflecting on your life makes me believe that there is good in this world. Pausing my day when you wake early from a nap, crying out for me to come and get you, is teaching me patience. Loving you with this fierce, devoted love is helping me to truly understand the tender, maternal heart of God for the first time. It’s a love that consumes me, and I know there is nothing I wouldn’t endure for you, nothing I would not give up for you.
The selah that God called me to when he made me your mom has rocked me to my core and changed me in the best ways. Gone are the body-image insecurities I used to struggle with. Gone is my need to do everything, to be everything, and to do so with perfection. Gone is my doubt that God gives good gifts to his children when they ask.
And just so you don’t think this is all about me, I want you to know that your daddy loved this name right away. When I suggested it to him, long before I became pregnant with you, he agreed immediately and wholeheartedly. So when we opened the card the ultrasound technician gave us at our 20-week appointment, I squealed, we both laughed, and we said, “We’re having a Selah!”
To some extent, I knew who you were before you were born—I knew you were mine and you were to be called Selah—but I didn’t know that you’d have my blue eyes and your daddy’s chin dimple; I didn’t know you’d be so thoughtful and sensitive and particular (you’re more like me than I could have imagined). But the Lord knew exactly who you were, long before I was pregnant, long before we chose your name, and long before you were placed on my chest and you looked up at me with those searching, curious eyes.
He knew all along that you’d be my selah and my Selah, the greatest joy I’d ever know, and the reason I believe in unconditional love.
I am yours wholeheartedly, my darling Selah.
With all my love,
This post is part of my Love Letters series. You can read other love letters here: