I left Bailey Boys with my two babies. My 20 month old and my 2 week old. I remember sweating as I loaded them into the car. Mid May in St. Simons. The heat was just getting started, but it had definitely arrived and my postpartum body was already struggling with the rising temps. I don’t remember why I was out shopping. Maybe I was looking for one of those baby milestone calendars. I can’t think why I felt compelled to take on that outing. Cabin fever probably. I needed to get out of the house.
I pulled out of the parking lot onto Skylane Rd and my phone rang. It was a local number I didn’t know. The babies were quiet so I took a deep breath and answered.
“Hi, is this Katie?”
“You may not remember me, but this is Rebekah White. We met about a year ago. Anyway, I heard you are starting a women’s workout group and I wanted to find out about it.”
“Hi, yes, I remember you. But I’m not starting a workout group. Did you know I had another baby? She’s just two weeks old. Where did you hear that?”
“You know I don’t remember where I heard it. But I’ve been talking to several other moms, and we feel like we need something for ourselves. To feel good and take care of ourselves. So if you do start one, I know some people who will come.”
“Ok, well it could be really great. But I don’t know how I came into the mix here. I’ve never thought about doing anything like that.”
“Well if you do, let me know.”
“I will think about I guess.”
When I hung up, I was floored. My heart pounded and my head spun. This was not a random phone call. I knew that for sure. See, for about a month, God had been pulling me to share my gratitude story with other women. But I had no idea what that meant. And I was overwhelmed. I had a new baby and a toddler. I was still pretty new to town. So I was really trying my best to ignore that pull on my heart to share my story. And when my phone rang
that day? And Rebekah said what she said? I knew it was really God calling.
Selah. Pause. Praise. It’s a tiny word I found 3 years ago that changed my life. Became a mantra. A lifestyle. A mindset and constant prayer. It’s a beautiful word to say out loud. Like a breath. An exhale. A whisper. Lovely and soft and poetic. I say it to myself a hundred times a day. I wear a bracelet that says it. My lock screen on my phone says it. It’s in artwork all around my home. It’s part of me now.
And that little lovely word? It’s the name God whispered to me when he placed a call on my heart. And I want to tell you the whole long story. How I got here. Where I’ve been. And how this message has been shaped and formed for years and years of my life. Formed into three practices that define Selah: the tactical ways to pause and praise and change your life. They are gratitude, creativity, and connection. I’ll begin with gratitude.
You see, when Raines was a baby, I was working a bunch of part time jobs. Raines usually came with me. I juggled her while I merchandised clothing in a boutique. I toted her along to teach preschool music. And the job she didn’t come to? Well, I usually left her screaming at bedtime to go teach cardio dance at a studio. My little jobs didn’t take up much time, and I loved our sweet new life at the beach in a lot of ways. It was full of long walks and exploration and lots of baby snuggles. But I was still exhausted. I was still a new mom in a new place with no friends and three jobs that didn’t feel like stepping towards anything. I was doing them just to do something. Make a little money. Find some identity. But it all just felt so off. Have you been there? Looking at your life and thinking , but WHY am I doing this. That was me. I wanted a greater sense of purpose. To pursue something bigger than me. I wanted a calling. And one day? I was riding alone around and around the island with a sleeping baby in the backseat, and I just said out loud, God, this is not what I meant. I thought I would feel different here. Find a purpose. I feel like I’m meant for more than being exhausted.
About four and a half years go, my whole life changed. I had my first baby. At the time I worked in fashion in a big city. I started my career in Human Resources at Bloomingdale’s in Boston, transitioned to selling at Neiman Marcus in Charlotte, then finally landed as a store manager of an upscale boutique in Charlotte. I loved my job in a lot of ways. I got to be creative, and work with fun customers, and attend amazing events. I got to wear beautiful clothes, and learn from the best mentors. And for a long time I saw a future in fashion. Actually, Jordan and I looked very seriously into buying the store when the opportunity arose. We really thought our dreams were coming true. We would be business owners and I would live out a big dream in an amazing city.
Well, our first baby girl rewrote everything I wanted; as babies do. Suddenly working Saturdays and holidays in a store seemed almost unbearable. And I didn’t want the pressure of owning a business at that point in my life, as a new mom in a city so far from my family. I wanted freedom and flexibility. And really? Just to be with my baby. I craved a new lifestyle, new career, new vision. So I enrolled in graduate school. I kept my job at the store, but scaled back my role. I felt pretty good. That was my fresh start. Graduate school.
Well, nope. About halfway through my program, with a 6 month old baby, my plans blew right up. Jordan lost his job. And as we walked through those days? I questioned my own path. Is this really what I want to do? And I discovered to my great disappointment that, no, this was not my path. But I did have a dream tucked away that I never thought would be real. A silly thought that made no sense. I wanted to have my own business at the beach. I had ignored it for a long time. But when Jordan lost his job? I thought, what if? And just like that, it stopped being a dream. It became a goal.