Collective Voices: Melania and the quiet places.

*Collective Voices are the thoughts and stories of real people who are part of the CollectiveMKE community. They speak from their perspective and in their voice. Today we hear from Melania. In her own words, she is a:

Momma. Writer. Advocate. Speaker. 
a few favs: Chai Tea. Pie. Homemade Cookies. 
fan of: Mom Jeans. Mom Tribes. Chuck Taylors. 

This past week I had the opportunity to join my aunt at her weekly Bible study while I was visiting her in Atlanta. I'll be honest, I usually shy away from small group Bible studies, worrying over what part of my story won't be accepted or being asked to read or pray out loud. 

Previously, my survival mentality has been to prepare for every scenario before it happens so I'm ready both emotionally and verbally for the moment when that happens. As I work on healing from past trauma, I've become self-aware of my mentality and slowly, I've been retraining my brain to plan, react, and cope differently - positively, productive, and forward movement. 

So, I went to Bible study armed with a mug of chai and wearing my favorite sweater - my compromise for not thinking the worst, wrapping myself in comfort. 

The women jumped right into the material, reading verses and reflections aloud; I quickly saw that each woman laid their hearts out on the table face up like a deck of cards would be when you teach someone a new game. 

The topic was joy; how joy comes in divine unexpecting moments verses what happiness is, usually found in a delicious meal. 
Joy shows up when we allow ourselves to rest and be quieted. The saying joy comes in the morning clicked; my joy comes when I'm quiet, reflective, and most often that's in the morning with my chai and notebook before the rest of my household is awake. I was at a work training recently and the speaker made a good point: We cannot always hear God in the busy or stressful moments, it's when we quiet ourselves we are able to listen to his still, strong, whispered voice. 

If you're anything like me, my life runs a mile a minute. Most times, there is no quiet time. I go go go so much that I become unsteady causing me to overcompensate by grasping at anything to make me feel secure again. But in that grasping, I don't quiet myself. I burn out because my soul has not been taken care of properly; my soul has only been cared for by me, not through the quietness of my vertical time with God. 

While away at my aunt's house, I had hours of quiet, hours of God showing up through joy. My soul was tended to in a way that I had forgotten to work into my daily life. 

I haven't even been home a week and I already feel that burn out creeping in again. My heart has been heavy lately, and as I work through things, I close myself off. But this morning my daughter asked me to stay at church with her. 

And I'm so glad I did.  

"…they shall be known as the Lord's forever (Psalm 22:29)" was part of today's reading. This verse grounded me: forever applies to my security and my quiet, my coping skills and emotional preparation, the unconditional arms of Jesus, the resting place for my humanness. 

In all of the moving pieces in my life, my reality should be seeking the quiet, not grasping. I was reminded that I must come into quietness every single day - that by doing so, I'm secure and at peace. 

Disclaimer: these connections may only make sense in my head.