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The Art of Moving at Selah Speed: Learning to Walk in God's Presence.

Happy Friday everyone! It's Alicia here hoping on to share a quick word on a few things the Lord has been teaching and showing me during this new season of our family's life. These days you'll usually find me either "sprinting" after my toddler or nestled up in a cozy office chair trying to make some marketing sense of the world. For those wondering: we did make it back to Costa Rica with a solid Grade B- on Selah's travel performance. Todd mentioned this before, but traveling with a toddler is NOT for the faint of heart. But such is life. Most good things are hard things. Upon returning, I've been processing our time away seeing family and friends, revisiting my Rule of Life (I typically do this every 90 days by calling them Micro- Season check ins), and honestly just trying to reassimilate back into the culture + heat here.

We are in transition with care for Selah. Our beloved "niñera" or nanny will be heading to the States next week for the summer. **Insert all the mom feels** If you have kids, you totally undertand the tension, emotions, and weight of finding the right person, enviroment, and community to shape and mold your child/children. Our nanny has been nothing short of God's grace and faithfulness to our family. We've been so blessed to have her for the past 17 months, and in all honesty, not just be our 'nanny' but join our family. Selah has a Tica "abuela" she is calling "NooNoo" these days (a French term) and we are forever grateful.

Yet, I've been a little frazzled in the "what's next" stage. For now, we will be letting her attend a local daycare for 4 days a week. It's the perfect blend of spanish emersion, play, and socialization while being in a positive environment that fits our family. She started this week, and thankfully for this momma's heart, LOVED it. Like home girl is made to be with all the people (hmm yeah, she gets that from her dada).

In this transition, I've had a lot more time during the days with her as we settle up all the daily details and new rhythms. Usually it's early mornings and afternoons we spend trying to 'adventure + explore'. She's at the age now where we can walk down the street or in the parking lot towards wherever we are going. I do not have to carry her as often and instead am teaching her to "hold momma's hand' and "stop to look both ways". It's so cute. Definitely a motherhood moment. But also, a moment of true patience. Her abilites, focus, and capacity to walk as long, straight, or quickly as mama are not the same. In the moments of pausing yet again to say "keep walking mi amor" the Lord gently spoke to my heart. These are 4 reminders He has shown me through learning to walk at my daughter's pace.

#1: Pausing to Enjoy the Details

As much as Selah is like her dad being a socialite, she is 1000% her mother when it comes to details. Todd and I laugh often about this. Our walks will no doubt consist of multiple stops to bend down, pick up, observe, ooooo and awww over almost anything: rocks, holes, paint splashes, flowers, insects. She can spot some tiny stuff y'all. Which is cute and amazing, but when you're trying to get somewhere- at times, frustrating. My type A, can't be late self struggles to be patient after the 10th stop to "stop and pick up the rock". Yet, the joy on her face from seeing and experiencing new things is something I don't get bored with. On one occasion when I was more frustrated than patient, I heard God speak this question: "How often do you miss the joys in life because you're running by?"

Hmmm. Unlike my impatience, God is not. Thankfully, we also serve a God outside of time. This question brought to mind the verse "the Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love" (Psalm 103). If I'm honest to that question- I've defintely missed out on small present joys because my mind and heart are so far forward. This question was a beautiful reminder to my heart that God won't be disappointed if I stop to ponder, sit with, and marvel over the small things between A to B. Actually, God might have a beautiful invitation to something joyous and beautiful if I could slow down + acknowledge the immense ways His intimacy comes to us. Where my flesh wants to already be 5 steps ahead -- God might have something important right under my feet.

Lord, help me be more like a child. Quick to pause and ponder.

#2: It's OK to Hold Someone's Hand

I'm all about fostering independence. Maybe that's just my own personality speaking because my parents have gently reminded me: like mother, like daughter when it comes to her 'need for freedom'. Just because Selah wants her freedom, and I want to foster a strong independence, doesn't mean it is what's best for her however. I guess that is parenting.

Selah sees the wide open spaces and paths ahead as opportunity. Opportunity to RUN! It's a game- the chase is on and she's looking back less and less. She hasn't experienced the hardships that can come suddenly along the roads. Moving cars, uneven pavement, and obstacles just to name a few. Therefore, most moments require she holds momma's hand. As she was throwing a tantrum flopping on the ground refusing my hand one morning, I heard God speak "I just want to keep you close and near me so you can feel my rod leading as I shepherd your heart".

Ouch. I see it in Selah's eyes when she's ran ahead and looks back- she's smiling, she's loving the connection when we lock eyes, and she longs for me to spring towards her. She doesn't always realize that same connection is found by simplying holding my hand walking beside me. I tell her often "you don't have to run, there is this option called walking". That option is the same for me as well. Holding God's hand when the road is new, uneven, or hard might be right where He wants me. To walk side by side listening to His stories and love over my heart, keeping me close to Him, learning to navigate any dangers that might come ahead. Together. Hand in hand.

Lord, help me be needy like children. Quick to take your hand.

#3: Distraction Can Lead Us to Not Hearing What's Important

The levels with which Selah can outright ignore my voice is slightly humourous at times. I could be screaming I'll give you ice cream and cake everyday for every meal and her stubornness to avoid my face and eyes actually scares me as I right this. Lord, have mercy on the coming years. I know, I know- it's a stage and attachment thing. A recent mom friend just told me that children are 800% more likely to not listen and misbehave around thier mothers. I concure.

For whatever reasons that are firing in her small child brain to not engage when I speak with her, I do know that our present moment would be way more pleasant and timely if she would just pay attention and listen to me. It's the classic, I "can do this better" or "I want to keep doing what I'm doing" move. Been there, done that.

Again, in one of our more recent moments when she was actually pausing to stop and now throw the rocks after I explicitly told her not too, God spoke: "Listening is just as important as speaking".

With motherhood comes a great deal of limitations and one in particular is my time in the mornings. Selah wakes up early, I'm not a morning person, and I'm also a "soaker" when it comes to meeting with God. Well, at least I used to be. Now, I'm up and at it since she's usually waking me up at 5am. God is showing me that He longs to speak with me even in the new routines. It might look different, but what I choose to focus on matters. Distraction with my agenda, work, routine, social media, books, friends - all be it good- can lead me to missing God's voice. Right now, I'm working on taking mini breaks throughout my day to simply stop what I'm doing, realign and center my mind and body to be present with where I'm at, and speak the name of Jesus. I'm learning to reorient my thoughts back to Him & listen. As Brother Lawrence says "to practice the presence of God". It's a discipline + takes focus.

Lord, help me have ears to hear your voice. Quick to listen rather than speak.

#4: We'll Arrive in the Right Time

And finally, I've come to accept that we'll get there when we get there. Pura Vida.

Praise you God that You're way more concerned about my journey than the actual arrival. Yes, both are important, please don't read that they aren't. However, I'm learning that right now, God is so patient with my journey towards love. A deeper love for Him and for others. And it's typically not a spirit, but a stop and start upward spiral of sorts towards His love.

Selah is showing me that I need to pause and wonder, take God's hand, listen to His voice, and trust His faithfulness towards me. We'll get there when we get there. Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy.

Lord, help me desire your presence more as we journey our days together. Quick to trust Your timing.

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