It’s in the Details

Its in the details

When I’m uncomfortable I talk… too much.  Sharing personal life details with complete strangers in a desperate reach to fill that awkward silence.  There is nothing more tortuous than walking away from a conversation knowing I did it again. Being a good listener is on my 2016 goals list. It’s something that’s very important to me. I’m great with people I know; I can handle the silence, but a stranger’s silence leaves me feeling like I don’t know where they stand. So I fill it to the brim with noise, leaving my brain no time to wonder what they think.

I’m telling you all of this because I experienced a lot of it over the weekend. I went to the Wild and Free Launch weekend in Charleston, SC.  It was a wonderful and fun weekend, filled to the brim with activity and exploring the most beautiful city. My husband and son + Brittany and her family, from Brittany Anderson Photography joined me. I would leave the crew to attend book launch events solo. Let me tell you: walking into a room with 20+ ladies is nothing short of intimidating. But, this is my summer of YES! So to hell with the anxiety. I’ve been jumping in with both feet and have no intention of stopping.

I had an expectation for how the weekend would go and what my Wild and Free moment from the weekend would look like. In my experience, we have such high expectations for events like this. Let me tell you, it wasn’t what I thought it was going to be….

There was no pivotal conversation or great big moment full of life change. I made new acquaintances, but no life long connections at the events.  In fact, I’m sure at one point, I left a sweet girl from the area wanting to run, as I was once again filling the silence with too much one-sided conversion (( I give myself grace))

On the ride home, replaying the weekend, I found that though I didn’t have a big moment on the trip that Jesus’s hand was so overwhelming present, that it hit me in the face he was gracefully and softly there. “He is more in control than we could ever perceive, and he is wildly in love with you and concerned with the details of your life,” Wild and Free By Hayley Morgan and Jess Connolly.

He took this weekend and tore down walls of anxiety, provided amazing motherhood memories, built bridges in my marriage and graced me with the chance to build a friendship with a wonderful family from my hometown.

My Wild and Free moment happened on the drive home. It happened writing this post, realizing I can trust him with the details. I can trust that he is a Good Father and though my ideas of the details can be far different from what he allows to unfold, they are no less as great and magical as I imagined.

 

If I’m Honest…

Having a plan always works out, right?! Ummm, not so much. One lesson that seems to always keep showing up is learning to be peaceful and to keep pressing forward despite the challenges of each season.

Staying positive, no matter the circumstances, is very hard for me to do.  I was very good at this in the past, but somewhere along the way I lost this skill.  I am very much a product of my surroundings these days. I feel crazy when my house is out of order or a plan I’ve had for weeks doesn’t follow the course I thought it would. It’s just how I operate. My desire for planning and order increased with motherhood, which is hilarious because that;s probably the worst possible time to crave order and plans.

As I shared with you a few weeks ago in “A New Perspective,”  about a week before the new year I knew it was time to hand it over. I could no longer be lukewarm about my relationship with Jesus. It had regressed back to the “I’ve got this, but having You on the side is nice” kind of thing. My faith and relationship with Christ was my saving grace during my struggle with postpartum, but once I got to the other side after a long 18 months, it was back to status quo, rushing through life not standing still long enough to connect with any consistency.

With many false starts in the past two years, I was throwing my hands up. The weeks that followed were amazing. I was in The Word, I felt light. Then life started to feel like it was unraveling. My grandmother (who is my heart) got diagnosed with Lymphoma, big scary career changes came to light and some serious stress + anxiety set in around making hard calls. The first thing to go was my Bible time. I stuck to prayer, but felt beat up. My written goals to put The Lord first, to work out and make time for my husband were collecting dust.

Surrender

So, I’m calling myself out. I’m not perfect, I fall off track with my goals daily and feel awful about my lack of follow-through on living the life I want to live.

But, He calls us higher. I know this, surrendering to the Lord is not surrendering to the circumstance of life. Surrendering might mean leaning into him more vs. giving up. Surrendering might mean fighting for your surrender. It’s kind of funny that prior to my declaration of surrender things were going pretty well. There were no big waves in life. My circumstances made surrendering easy, the happenings of the past few months are not conducive to meeting a goal of surrendering, if I hold on to the expectation of order and planning.

To surrender in times that are full of uncertainty is a greater accomplishment than to surrender in times of ease. The Lord calls us to master the fruits of the spirit and I will press on toward that goal, fail and try again.

Please don’t be discouraged if you have yet to set a goal, live out the meaning of your 2016 word or take action on any of the things you hoped 2016 would hold for you.

My father gave me some perspective just the other day. He said, “Lay a strip of masking tape down and number it from 1 to 365. Keep laying strips for the next 80+ years.  Each day go and stand on the day it is and realize, you have many days ahead of you.” I’m here to tell you the same thing, you have many more days sister, many more years…”

Let us surrender our hearts, our plans and our circumstance to the Lord. Let us have peace in the understanding that all things work for the good of those who love Him!

Handling Change with Grace | Dana Matonak

Handle_Change_Tips

Handling change:  we all must do it; I used to hate it. I had a way and a plan and for the most part I preferred when things went the way I anticipated.  Anytime my life plan got derailed, I had it out with God, the people around me, and myself.  “Why would God let this happen? Why are the people I love not seeing this the way I am?  Dana, why are you being so ridiculous? ”

Over the years I have had to face change in multiple areas of my life.  Some were big changes and some were small and my reaction to those changes was all over the place.  Emotions ran high and I was always leaping to the worst case scenario.  I’ve come to realize that the root of all of that emotion and negativity was fear. In the book Girl Meets Change by Kristen Strong she says, “change is not something to be feared but something to be received as a blessing from God who works through it, not in spite of it.”  Wow! I could read that one line over and over. Only with the help of Christ and my loving, patient husband, did I figure out how to take fear out the equation and replace it with a little something called grace.  That grace led me to realize how important the following 3 concepts are:

 

God is on the throne.  During times of change and uncertainty, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, resistant, and isolated.  In times like these, I would normally try to control everything I can to keep some normalcy in my life. Have you done this? I often forgot that God is still in control and knows the ultimate outcome.  I spent my time worrying, calculating, and reworking the “plans.” Despite all you feel you need to do, set that aside and immerse yourself in God’s word.  Read your Bible, post Bible verses everywhere you look journal your prayers and cry out to God.  Talk to Him.  Grow your relationship with Him.  Thank Him.  List everything you have to be thankful for, all that He has provided, and all the He promises.

Community is everything.  Don’t take your stress out on the people you love and don’t isolate yourself from them.  When your flesh takes over during times of change, it can be our instinct to run from the people that we need the most.  Your tribe, your people, you need them.  Dive into those relationships, dig deep, love hard.  In Girl Meets Change, Kristen also says, “Quite often, my ability to accept and thrive through change is directly proportional to the state of my near and dear friendships.”  I agree with this wholeheartedly.

Embrace the change. Whatever it may be. Resistance will be your biggest enemy. This is the area where I need grace the most.  It’s so easy to get a bad attitude when dealing with change because it’s difficult and messy and it turns your world upside-down. Thankfully, every day is a chance to start over.  In the trenches of change, the joy might not always come naturally, but if you seek it out, you will find it! Whether its your home, a friend, the sunshine, or a trip to Target– find something that brings you joy! Give yourself grace as you learn.

Handle_Change_Tips

Everything is constantly changing. It’s so easy to let my fear of change decide my actions. I feel that God gives us opportunities to learn from the big, scary, life-altering changes He often throws our way. When I get on the other side of that big change, I see why it happened and what God was trying to show me through it all. I can’t ask for much more than that.

Are there areas in your life where you could use a little more grace and a little less change. Girl, I get it! Amanda and Marrissa get it, too. I’m so glad to have been able to share a bit of my heart with you this month. Head over to my blog if you wanna read on…

With Love,
Dana

Everyday Grace | Introducing Dana Matonak

Contributor Dana Matonak

Hi, everyone! My name is Dana Matonak and I’m so excited to be guest posting on The Wild Revival this month! My husband and I, and our son Rowan, currently live in Morgantown, West Virginia. We are from the Pittsburgh area and are here for my hilarious and hard-working husband’s residency program.  We moved here in 2012, after we got married. Like RIGHT after! We flew home from our honeymoon and drove straight here at 2AM.

So fast forward two years full of highs and lows. And in July of 2014, we added our sweet boy, Rowan to the family.  He is an extremely active, sweet-spirited boy and I feel blessed to be able to stay home with him. Prior to having him, I was a teacher. But after deciding that my heart was all in to staying home with Rowan, we quickly realized we would need another source of income… and that is when my Etsy shop, My Paper Nest, was born.  It began as a paper banner-making business for people’s events and parties, but then after I made a bunch of wood signs for my home and as gifts, it gradually morphed into a sign business, with some banners on the side!

To really give you the fast track version of getting to know me, I thought I would share some random facts about myself.  I’m long winded, I know, but God has gifted me with A LOT of words. (ANDDD also with a husband that hates words, so most of mine come pouring out in spaces like this! HA!)

Contributor Dana Matonak

1.) Making dinner is my nemesis. It pains me each day to come up with what we will eat.

2.) I hate wearing make up and getting ready. I love workout clothes, hair up, and a clean face.

3.) I’m a lover of all things ice cream. Hot fudge milkshakes, sea salt caramel gelato, and moose tracks make the top of the list.

4.) I’ve never really lived in a house that was my own.  I’ve lived in apartments, trailers, townhouses, and for a short span, I lived in a someone else’s house. I’ve never been able to paint, DIY, or “fix up” any sort of space.  The day I get my hands on a house that’s all our own, Josh better watch out!!

5.) I feel torn at times between using no social media at all and then on the other hand, trying to use every outlet that’s available.

6.) I used to be a “save all the things” type person and could never bare to get rid of anything. I’m recently crossed over to “get rid of all the things!” I love decor and sentimental things BUT I love less. Simple and organized.  Everything needs a spot and if you don’t use it, IT GOES!

7.) I love hosting, hospitality, and DECORATING!!  I love making a place for people to come and feel comfortable in my home.  You can read about that HERE in a recent post of mine.  That’s another reason I can’t wait to have a house someday.  I can’t wait to serve people and invite people over to be loved on.  Now I just need that chef so that none of our guests starve or get sick! 😉

8.) There are so many things that set my soul on fire (you can read about them HERE!) that sometimes I get overwhelmed about where to start and how to make a difference in anything.

9.) I have secret plans to write a book someday but I have no idea about what, or how, or when.  I make a joke of it when I talk about it, but it’s a for real thought in my mind.

10.) I love hand-lettering and hand-painting signs for people’s homes but a long term dream of mine is to create a series of journals for kids, and women young and old, to help them through seasons of life.

With all this said, my heart is helping young girls and women find their way through trials and the ever-changing seasons of life. 

Contributor Dana Matonak

I’m only 28, and sometimes that seems so old to me, but then I realize that I’ve just now, finally figured out who I am, what I’m passionate about, and where my value derives from.  I know God has given us all a story to share. He shows grace upon grace to our brokenness. I’m so thankful for all of the fresh starts he has given me. I don’t always handle changing seasons with grace but I am working harder and harder on it and realizing that it will never be done on my own. I can use what I learn along the way for good to make an impact on those around me.  Check out more about my 2016 mantra about grace and how the ladies from The Wild Revival made a huge impact on the way I approached this new year!

In the coming weeks, I will be sharing how I continue to find grace in a season of change. I hope it will encourage you to know all seasons are worthwhile and The Lord’s grace is sufficient.  Please join me in the comments and on social media along the way! 

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