“Shannan’s story feels at once familiar and spectacular, ordinary and exceptional. You will discover that at the same time her words make you squirm, you will wish you lived next door to her. You will want her wisdom and you will want her pickles.” —Jen Hatmaker (from the foreword)
Shannan Martin had the perfect life: a cute farmhouse on six rambling acres, a loving husband, three adorable kids, money, friends, a close-knit church—a safe, happy existence.
But when the bottom dropped out through a series of shocking changes and ordinary inconveniences, the Martins followed God’s call to something radically different: a small house on the other side of the urban tracks, a shoestring income, a challenged public school, and the harshness of a county jail (where her husband is now chaplain). And yet the family’s plunge from “safety” was the best thing that could have happened to them.
Falling Free charts their pilgrimage from the self-focused wisdom of the world to the topsy-turvy life of God’s more being found in less. Martin’s practical, sweetly subversive book invites us to rethink assumptions about faith and the good life, push past insecurity and fear, and look beyond comfortable, middle-class Christianity toward a deeper, richer, and ultimately more fulfilling life.
|Publisher:||Nelson, Thomas, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.70(d)|
About the Author
Shannan Martin, known for her popular blog Shannan Martin Writes, is a speaker and writer who found her voice in the country and her story in the city. She and her jail-chaplain husband, Cory, have four funny children who came to them across oceans and rivers. They enjoy neighborhood life in Goshen, Indiana, a place they fall more in love with every year.
Read an Excerpt
Rescued from the Life I Always Wanted
By Shannan Martin
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2016 Shannan Martin
All rights reserved.
When we risk our lives to run after Christ, we discover the safety that is found only in his sovereignty, the security that is found only in his love, and the satisfaction that is found only in his presence.
— Radical, David Platt
A FEW MILES across town stands a church with one of those big signs that showcases inspiring or condemning blurbs via clipped-on plastic letters. In regular rotation is the ominous "God is always watching," and though it might be intended in a "You're never alone!" sentiment, I always read it with a rumble of dread, glancing over my shoulder and warily checking the sky. I assume these blanket statements, entirely divorced from all context, do not compel sinners through the church doors, much less to the saving grace of Jesus. I'm confident we can do better than this, but it's only the first paragraph of my story, and already I digress.
A perkier line in the church's message rotation is, "God is all we need!"
I can't argue with this one, but I sure want to.
The bare-naked reality is that I haven't experienced a single moment in my life where all I had was God. I came close, though, the night a few years back when I was alone in my hotel room in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. I was part of a group of influences doing PR for Mocha Club and fashionABLE, two gutsy, forward-t hinking nonprofit groups that work to fight poverty throughout twelve countries in Africa. My team had been carefully curated to include impossibly cool and savvy women whose effortless style was in no way dulled by third-world surroundings. Aside from my travel mates' exceptional kindness and unflappable fashion sense, several were also legitimately famous.
Meanwhile I had packed for comfort and didn't own a smartphone.
The day before, when one of them asked to see a picture of my family, I had pulled actual paper snapshots from my wallet and passed them around the table to the sound of polite crickets. Never had I been so certain about the full scope of my social inadequacies. I felt ill, and I didn't yet know that actual vomiting was closing in on my horizon.
That night as I sat in my hotel room, separated by entire continents from the comfort of my home and my people, I was green at the gills and feeling like the only high schooler still wearing a training bra.
Everything in me wanted to run to my husband, Cory, or to the solace of my parents. Heck, the persistently friendly produce guy from Kroger would have been useful in the pinch I was in. I needed a real person, someone with skin, who knew things about me and loved me anyway, or at the very least remembered how I prefer my watermelons. Any one of them would have helped. But time zones worked against me, and I found myself entirely alone in the throes of a personal minibreakdown.
My only plan for survival was to endure the night by escaping into sleep, just as I had endured countless family road trips throughout my adolescence. Though my strategy may have worked with a fifteen-hour, midwinter trip back in 1992, on this night it proved wholly impossible.
Somewhere between the hours of 3:00 and 4:00 a.m., it struck me that God was all I had, and he would have to be enough, just as he'd always promised. (That it took me so long to acknowledge this truth speaks to my spiritual condition in a way that we simply do not have time to explore.)
And he was. God was totally enough. He got me through that night, but the hard truth is, he wasn't truly all I had. For one thing, my night of transcontinental angst was spent hunkered down in a beautiful hotel set against the backdrop of a country chewed up by a history of poverty and victimization. I swallowed down meds with clean bottled water while surfing the web from a laptop computer that had traversed the globe in a special case meant to ensure its safe transport. In terms of personal catastrophe, I was doing all right, and that was before I remembered I had God too.
In a world where we possess the power to distract or buy our way out of most discomfort, can we ever really mean it when we say God is all we need? Can untested words ring anything but hollow from our lips?
Faithful and capable folk, we parrot familiar phrases from a place of theory rather than practice and warm ourselves by their feel-good, holy glow. But please don't press us. We don't really know if we actually believe them. No matter what happens, no matter what hard thing we face or how we run to God at the very end after we've exhausted all other options, no matter how misunderstood or hurt or even physically ill we may be, we hold plenty of self-concocted painkillers to buffer us from the ravages of real-world living.
There are the obvious safety nets, like heated homes, city water, and the FDA. But what about stable, prolific employment opportunities? Houses of worship we attend without risk to our lives? Then there are the dead bolts and password-protected financial accounts. Speaking of which, how often do we apply our credit lines like a salve to our wounds?
We have relentless updates on the proper positioning of our newborns in their cribs and three-point harnessed car seats for our toddlers. We have EpiPens, expiration dates, full-coverage insurance, low-VOC paint, and 401(k)s. There are color-coded systems for pollen counts, UV rays, and air travel. We have helmets and knee pads, accountants and pastors, and tiny bottles of Thieves essential oils knocking around in our seasonal purses.
There are other things, too, like communities where we blend in perfectly, churches where we won't ever feel uncomfortable, schools where our children are promised an excellent (and free) education, and neighbors we don't actually know, yet trust all the same, primarily because they remind us of ourselves.
We stand in worship services and sing our hearts out about things like faith and trusting God in deep waters. We say God is all we need, but what we really mean is, "All we need is God, our family, the promise of safety, and money." We roll everything into a ball. We smoosh it together. Our money and our family came from God, right? So it's fine. They're essentially one and the same.
We sing like we mean it while we pray to God we'll never find out if we really do.
What would happen if everything but God were swept away? Would he really be enough? I'm confident I'll never find out, and I'm honest enough to admit that I hope I won't.
But I can tell you from experience that when just a small part of my world was swept away, it rocked me so hard my teeth rattled for months. It was utterly discombobulating. I had wound God so tightly with my externals, I wasn't sure how to separate the two. I didn't recognize this God who asked to be enough in the face of substantial financial loss and the mere thought of danger. This wasn't the God I wanted to need.
Like that night in the Ethiopian hotel, when God's voice got louder in my ear about the places he'd like me to go and the stuff he'd like me to surrender, I simply did not know how to deal. He was asking difficult things of my family, specifically, to sell the home we'd worked so hard for and to move into the unknown. He was pulling us from shore. The earliest days of wrestling God for what I desperately wanted to keep organized themselves into a muddy processional of pain and confusion, an acute sensation of loss and longing, and emotional cloud cover. I knew I was being a wimp, overreacting and hyperdramatizing. But the terrain was foreign and rocky, and I was way out of shape.
The first time I drove down the street where we now live, it was raining, the chilly drizzle that can feel a bit like hamstrung hope. My youngest, Silas, sat unusually quiet in his car seat in what could have either been a blessing or an omen. We crept uphill past the ruins of other lives: crumbling bricks; drab, faded siding; cracked windowpanes; and splitting porch rails. Three hundred feet of mostly brokenness and decay.
It was an unlikely mini-adventure fueled by no more than a hunch. Squeezed into the two-hour time slot of our daughter Ruby's preschool class, we headed to check out the city where we thought God might be leading our family.
As stubborn as I am about being right, I was hoping we'd gotten this one wrong.
My heart pounded as I dialed the radio down to a hush. I knew leaving our home in the country would be painful. My white-knuckled attachment to my easy, wannabe farm girl existence was what had gotten me into this mess in the first place. The truth had descended on me like an early fog — it's hard to pine for heaven when you already believe you're there.
Still, I wasn't sure I could live in this neighborhood. In fact, I was almost positive I couldn't. There were gangs in this city, I'd heard. There was crime. Drugs. From his front porch, a hawkish neighbor watched me between long drags on his cigarette, telling me everything I needed to know. This was the kind of place you resign yourself to, a place you find yourself stuck. It was certainly not a place you choose. That's what I thought back then.
I drove north, mental images of my friendless children and my shy, scaredy-cat self burning my eyes. We would never fit in here. Our lives had done exactly nothing to prepare us for this reality.
"This could be our home," I told Silas, the syllables and spaces in between my words catching in my throat as I tried on what I hoped wouldn't fit. While the neighborhood wasn't an inner-city slum, my dad would never describe it as "God's country." Safety and security, the twin pillars of a good, Christian life, lost their meaning in this urban unknown. I was way out of my element. An imposter.
With every desperate roofline and every sagging porch, dread lodged deeper in my chest. A left turn, then another, we came to a stop behind two new homes. Though not ball gowns by any stretch, they were solid business casual in a jungle of grease-stained jeans. We'd been told there were plans for three more, after the existing abandoned homes lining the block were carted off, brick by brick.
The yards were small, with slopes that eluded common sense. There was maybe enough level ground for a small swing set. Maybe.
My eyes fell on Silas in the rearview mirror, and a fresh wave of panic pulled me under. Our kids were giving up six acres, a giant swing set, a trampoline, and enough bike-riding perimeter to make them good and sweaty. The least they deserved was a decent yard.
I bawled my eyes out.
Then I drove away.
I drove back through town, past the familiar places where we shopped and ate. I drove down quiet, tree-lined roads. I wept and I drove without slowing until we were tucked safely in our six-bedroom home down the longish lane. This place was our dream, and we finally held it with both hands. It was part of us, and we carried it in our hearts like life's ultimate, grown-up lovey — a security blanket of sorts. How could we ever lay it down? What was the point in finally landing here just to end up there? How could we not have a little less of God if we abandoned his country?
But God had pulled back just enough of the curtain to make our hearts beat faster. It was compelling. It was bananas. At our core, we were still Cory and Shannan, entirely human and glaringly ill equipped for change. Who were we to believe we were being called to city living? I had no frame of reference for jam-packed community or even next-door neighbors. My childhood had centered on trips to the village library, the woods across the road, and church. If pressed, I'm going to say the woods prepared me more for urban living than church ever did, but only because my friend Angie and I once tried to plant a garden in a weed-riddled patch of its dry, shaded earth. We did every single thing wrong, but a lone carrot still grew.
This calling felt preposterous, as if we were two kids playing pretend. I was a college graduate before I felt confident traversing a crosswalk, for the love of Pete.
For all of our adult lives, our radar had been locked on one goal: to ensure our own safety and security. We were hardwired to focus on solving our own problems and applauded by the church when we constructed a life that pointed directly at the American Dream, with a side of Jesus.
This calling, this threat to our personal security, was nothing short of monumental. We were moving into level-red territory. Everything seemed foreign, so we did what most humans do in the midst of uncertainty — we conjured some broad, bleak assumptions about the unknown, chief of which was the naive, oppressive belief that people different from us were inherently, primarily dangerous; perhaps not individually, but certainly in the crammed-in, close-city quarters collective.
At the same time we started to wonder what we might be missing. We were cautiously intrigued. Back at the farm we were getting a little desperate to experience some of the mess of the gospel, the parts that come with rowdy redemption and wide-eyed trust, and even the parts that promise pain and land good folks in the same trenches where Jesus chose to spend his time. We wanted to feel something beyond ourselves. We wanted to be free.
Sometimes gently, other times bossy as all get-out, God pointed to that forgotten neighborhood at the fringes of the city. His people needed neighbors, and we could do that. He promised we could. We could simply go, as though he meant it each of the hundreds of times he says throughout the Bible to go, as in literally, move your feet, guys.
Without much fanfare, after a string of teary nights, we took that next little leap. We put the farm on the market. I plucked my lifelong dream of country living like a tick from my heart and tossed it onto the fire without an inkling of how much brighter that altar would burn.
This was the step that took us public. The plans brewing quietly in our hearts were now stitched to our sleeves.
Almost no one understood. People were concerned and skeptical. They stared at us with their heads cocked to the side. They told us this was our Isaac, a test from God to see if we would be obedient. "Congratulations!" they said. "You passed!" The overwhelming message we received was that God didn't actually want us to do this upside-down thing of abandoning more for less. We were getting it all wrong. He simply wanted us to prove our loyalty by being willing.
Friends spoke to us gently, with strained worry. For the most part, they thought we were straight nuts.
On the one hand, I totally related. Up to that precise moment, I would have thought the same. On the other hand, if we were hearing from God, it didn't matter how countercultural it seemed to everyone else.
Longing to make sense of things in the midst of our reservations, I became obsessed with figuring out who Jesus really is, whether these shocking things we believed we were hearing were consistent with his character and how he spent his time on earth. What did he do? How did he live? What mattered to him?
What we saw with fresh eyes was that God's "more" often looks a whole lot like less. In this upside-down kingdom his best gifts are not found on the tallest shelf at the end of a strenuous climb. They're found in the dirt. They're low and humble, lacking as far as we're concerned. He sends his people to do wild, gutsy, backward things for his glory. His refusal to bend to popular convention is his signature move.
His Son was no exception. God didn't ask Jesus to come to earth just to see if he would be willing. He moved Jesus down to earth, where he would spend his first night as a helpless infant, squirming in a feed trough, sheltered by a stable, in the shabby town of Bethlehem. This wasn't accidental, and God didn't merely allow it to haphazardly happen this way. It had been ordered for all of eternity, with great intention.
As Jesus grew into a man, the pattern continued. Nothing about his life was sequestered or esteemed. He fled from high places and gravitated toward wells and jam-packed homes. He was allergic to stockpiling and actively chose risk and adventure, shaking the status quo from its foundation. Jesus traveled to towns where he had no business being and didn't give a rip what anyone had to say about it. He had no home, no cash, and, I'll assume, no high-end, all-terrain sandals.
In striking contrast we prized a quiet existence marked by comfort, ease, and ironclad safety. We disguised our entitlement by calling it a blessing.
We were far away from the life of Jesus. We weren't even across-town neighbors.
This revelation spelled real trouble: thumping-hearts, crying-in-the-shower, how-did-we-miss-this turmoil in the third degree.
It's worth noting that I grew up in full-immersion Evangelicalism. I sort of thought I knew it all. I had memorized the code. I bought the shirt — and I unfortunately mean this in a literal way, as my high school wardrobe-of-choice included a rotation of men's XL T-shirts emblazoned with various obscure religious messages that only other Christians could decode. I had all the trappings but didn't grasp the why of the life I had chosen. I toed the line. I did what I was told. I was a total good girl (except for when I wasn't, which, by the way, I would rather not talk about).
Excerpted from Falling Free by Shannan Martin. Copyright © 2016 Shannan Martin. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Foreword Jen Hatmaker xiii
Chapter 1 Get Risky 1
Chapter 2 Redefine Family 20
Chapter 3 Have Less 45
Chapter 4 Unplan 68
Chapter 5 Live Small 87
Chapter 6 Gather 109
Chapter 7 Open the Door 127
Chapter 8 Grow Together 146
Chapter 9 Commune 163
Chapter 10 Give More 184
A Final Note on Freedom 207
About the Author 216
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
You need to make it a priority to pick up a copy of Falling Free: Rescued from the Life I Always Wanted by Shannan Martin and soak it up. It was one of those books that leaves you forever impacted. If you’ve read Crazy Love by Francis Chan or Radical by David Platt, this is along those lines in terms of content and potential influence. But Falling Free is more of a personal story of living out the Biblical commands given to disciples of Jesus. It is a modern memoir of the cost of discipleship. It is intriguing, empowering, convicting, challenging. It is filled with truth and grace and courage and transparency and humor. And it is well worth every dollar and every minute you spend on it because I guarantee it will point you to the real Jesus and help you evaluate if your life matches what His Kingdom values.
Because I’m a planner, I carry a planner, but the truth is that my planner carries me. All pristine and un-besmirched, the 2017 edition holds out the promise of glorious accomplishment and blessed organization in a life that often feels like spinning plates and chaos management. Shannan Martin started her marriage and motherhood in much the same way. Plan-the-work-and-work-the-plan as a way of life had secured for her and her husband their dream farm with a cute little family and a life that had all the trappings of security. In a journey that began with the hunch that God might be leading them to move — literally — outside their comfort zone, the Martins said good-bye to predictability and hello to an address that had always seemed to them like “the wrong side of the tracks.” Memoir meets manifesto in Falling Free, for Shannan not only shares her story, but also describes the safety she found in risk and the stunning realization that when we say, “God is all I need,” we may be asked to make good on those words. The Martins’ income plummeted to make space for ministry in a life that became centered around a community that included a struggling public school and a circle of friends who had done jail time, who struggled with addictions, and who continually battled poverty. It is no understatement to say that Falling Free challenged some of the assumptions and guiding principles of this homeschooling mum who can just barely see the smoke from her neighbor’s chimney. Reading about Shannan’s “rescue from the life she always wanted” allowed me to consider some fairly uncomfortable concepts: God reserves the right to do the unexpected and to move His people in unlikely directions. He is unpredictable and has not “settled down” since Old Testament times. True family transcends DNA and mirrors the welcome that God extends in the gospel. It’s hard to pine for heaven when you already believe you’re there.” For North American Christians, our stuff is a serious obstacle to living an authentic Christian life. Our most valuable offering to those in need is our “good standing.” One of the greatest needs of the poor is a future: a way to secure employment, stability, and a permanent address. Missional living makes for missional parenting and produces missional kids. If God calls a believer to ministry in an area with failing schools, He is asking her to trust Him with her children’s education. It was delightful to read about Shannan and her family bonding with their newly adopted community around plates of pasta and garlic bread (often well-done). She testifies to the efficacy of the “unfancy dinner table” and to this stunning truth: “If community is the heartbeat of the gospel, hospitality is the hand that opens the door and waves it in.” Falling Free unpacks the biblical image of Jesus “moving into the neighborhood” by first inviting readers to picture someone on the lowest rung of their social ladder — a homeless, meth-addict, for instance. Shannan first nails the pity and lack of respect that I would feel toward her — and then suggests that my trading lives with that addict would not even begin to approach the utter humiliation of the incarnation. Embracing my own smallness is more than a matter of having less. It is about being less, like Jesus, when He “took the form of a servant and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” — less, last, and ordinary. Read more at Living Our Days . . .
I liked this book in that it related to every day life. I felt like the chapters were a little long and started to drag on. I also felt that a few of the topics were a little repetitive. It is a good book if you are looking for something inspiring, however, I wouldn't put it at the top of my recommendation list.
Falling Free is a book unlike any other. This book will did not leave me feeling wiser, fuller, happier, or clearer, as one might expect. Rather, it is as if her words give me permission to to accept and act on deep truth suppressed inside me. Falling Free began to unravel my tightly-wound doctrine and shatter my comfortable, middle-class bubble in the best way possible. The best part is, Shannan doesn’t tell you what to believe: she simply shines provocative light through the lens of her own story. Much of this book left me squirming in my chair, because her assessment of her own heart is so revealing of mine. And while she does address her reaction to the conviction, her humor and humility remind us that we are all still falling, rather than floating to lofty, unattainable perfection. Whether you find yourself decidedly comfortable but actually empty, clinging to freedom for dear life, or already friendly with rock bottom, this book will change the way you view Jesus, His people, and the world.
Falling Free, Rescued from the life I always wanted by Shannan Martin is a very honest, no frills look at what living for the Kingdom looks like. She tells her story in a very easy, conversational way with so many good one liners and sections that my book is already heavily marked! She doesn't present her story as the only way you can submit to God's truth and change your focus from this life right now to the Kingdom that's coming but rather challenges you to consider all areas of your life and honestly assess just how many idols we really do keep set up and neatly dusted. I was so encouraged and challenged by this book! I highly recommend it and give it a resounding 5 stars! **This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review from BookLook Bloggers. All opinions are my own.**
I can relate to Shannan in so many ways— in the ways she grew up and the desires she had in raising her family. I nodded along and agreed and stopped to think so many times as I turned pages. We believe the lie that we deserve a safer, better, quieter, dreamier life, but Shannan reminds us that God has called us to more. The upside down kingdom of Jesus is radical and crazier than anything we could imagine. And when we are brave enough to trust Him, He promises more than we could ever imagine. This book is a breath of fresh air, honest and vulnerable. It’s a gift to us in the trenches, gently reminding us that the life we think we desire is the very one that Jesus will rescue us from…. and His promises are for an abundant, full life of extraordinary adventure. I highly recommend this book!
Shannan's words will hit you to the core of your heart, they will challenge you and also encourage you. You'll find yourself so engaged in the story of how God turned her life upside down that you'll not know whether to laugh, cry of allow the conviction of your heart to flow out. I couldn't stop once I started, I felt like Shannan was an old (0r new friend) that had invited me over for a coffee date and to share the nitty-gritty of life. Having been an avid-reader of her blog, I was especially excited to read her book. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a true glimpse of what it means to surrender your life to the life Jesus plans for you. Shannan's writing is so inviting you really do feel as if though you are there! Be prepared to laugh, to cry, to question your own life and to get down on your face before Jesus, it's that good!
I remember reading Shannan's blog for the first time and loved hearing about bits of her city life and what God was doing through her in it. I couldn't wait to get my hands on the full story, when this book came out. I enjoyed reading the whole story and as I read seeing things in my life that compared to what she was going through. The depth of some of her thought processes and life lived out are still kind of running through the mill of my mind. I am wondering how I am going to live them out or how God might use these tidbits in my life. I appreciate how she has made me rethink about what church, family, forgiveness, love, and the life God has for me should look like. I am looking at life from a different perspective now and wondering how my middle class traditions have affected the way I live and how God really wants me to change, because of this book. Thank you Shannan for your obedience to God and sharing your story with us! I received this book for free as a part of her launch team in exchange for an honest review.
(I received an advanced e-copy from the publisher.) Shannan writes the story of God turning her world upside down and turning everything she thought she knew on its head, and she does so in such a way that the reader is forced to take a good long look at his/her own life. She delivers gut-punching, convicting thoughts on page after page (at times paragraph after paragraph!) but does so without shaming her reader. This book is incredibly thought-provoking, heart-warming, and inspiring, as is all of Shannan's writing. I highly recommend it.
"We can either masquerade as capable earners or fall needy into the arms of a Savior who makes us free. There is no space within our souls to do both." Shannan Martin, Falling Free If you are hungry for truth and no there is more out there than what society tells us we need or should want, then this book is for you. No more will the world around you look exactly the same. No more will you be able to mindlessly wander thinking it is impossible to reach out, impossible to break away. As believers there is such a world waiting for us to reach out with help and with love. Pick up this book, I dare you but be warned it's not for the faint of heart. Get ready to be moved and challenged and get ready to be better for it.
A quick read that requires a slow look at your life. Find someone to read it with because you will want to discuss every page of this book. My favorite book of the year, to include fiction and non-fiction, Shannan Martin delivers a punch, with love and grace. Read it while you eat her award-winning salsa and eat white corn Santitas.
This book wrecked me in so many ways. I found myself constantly wanted to read more, yet at the same time wanting to put it down and forget I had even started it. In this book, Shannan Martin beautifully speaks to the way the Lord rearranged her comfortable American Dream Christian life and shifted her carefully set up boundaries and securities. She is honest and candid with humor sprinkled throughout that had me craving more while bing prompted to examine my own carefully arranged Christian life. This is a book I am recommending to all my friends... with the warning that they should be prepared to have their ideals completely shaken and challenged.
I read Shannan Martin’s “Free Falling” in one day. Our callings aren’t the same, but Shannan affirmed some of what God has been telling me. Her story reminded me that God does want to make broken things – including the people I’m quick to judge and my own family – beautiful. I’ve been following Shannan’s blog for awhile, but I liked her book even more than I expected. Her words flowed through testimony and truth to lead my heart to a deeper understanding of what God is doing in my own world and in the lives of people around me. Even the subtitle – Rescued from the Life I Always Wanted – speaks volumes to me. I often say, my life looks nothing like I expected, and, really, that’s because God has met me most intimately in the areas that I would have never planned. Honestly, I read this book so fast, I'm looking forward to reading it again and marking up the margins. I nodded the whole way through – and laughed some too.
"...hope always comes in the morning, and it usually takes a different form than the one I expect." Falling Free encourages you with the turn of every page to freely embrace the different forms of hope - even when it makes you uncomfortable, especially then! I highly recommend this book!
Falling Free is a beautiful book: encouraging in the best of ways (you'll wish you lived next door to Shannan and shared life over a bowl of chips & salsa) and challenging as well. You'll feel a call to dive deep into what it really means to show up & be present in the lives around us. You'll see a clearer picture of what it looks like to truly love your neighbor as yourself. You'll get an up-close and personal look at what it's like to disregard the American Dream, even when you're deep in the midst of it. Shannan Martin is a witty, relatable, tell-it-to-you-straight writer (but without an ounce of condemnation), and I highly recommend this book to any and everyone.
Shannan Martin's book is a beautifully, wittily written account of her (and her family's) life after she and her husband decided they wanted God to direct them to live radically in accordance with his will for them. "The freedom was in the falling," she writes, and her story resonates with truth, faith, hope and love for his lost and forgotten people, as well as the newfound beauty, grace and community that comes with losing everything to be filled with his everything. *disclaimer: I requested and received an advance copy in order to provide this review.
In Falling Free , Shannan Martin tells her story with vulnerability, honesty and humility. Many who grew up in conservative, Evangelical culture will relate to this book. We were taught the Gospel, wore our WWJD bracelets and then were instructed to live safe, steady lives that look at lot more like the "American Dream" than Jesus. I think anyone who resonated with Crazy Love by Francis Chan will like this book. The great thing about Shannan's story is that it is told with humility. You are not going to read it and walk away feeling guilty. This is not a step-by-step instruction manual. It is a call to a deeper, richer faith.
I've always loved Shannan's way with words, but she's outdone even herself in this gracious, kind, yet firmly challenging book. It's so much more than just beautiful words put together flawlessly, which it is. It's her heart bleeding all over the pages. Her story of finding Jesus in all the least likely places--least likely to those of us who have been washed over by our roots in American middle class Christianity. She openly and vulnerably shares her struggles as Jesus forced her and her family to look Him straight in the eyes and walk like He walked. This book is about getting to the heart of Jesus, and letting His ways penetrate every ounce of your being and livelihood. It's a handbook on stripping down everything you once thought was normal and replacing it with exactly what Jesus wanted us to do in the first place. I will go back to this book until the pages fall out.
I was turning cartwheels by the time I finished Shannan Martin's story of living the un-fancy Gospel. My world turned upside down with gritty challenge and joyful freedom. I was dizzy and still don't have my sure footing. I may never and that's a good thing. The tilted sky never looked so good.
As a long-time reader of Flower Patch Farmgirl, I was eagerly anticipating this book, and it did not disappoint. Shannan tells her family's story with a clear passion and desire for the reader to experience the freedom of a life lived resting in the palm of God's hand - a life where less is more, the small things are not despised, and the forgotten and left-out are embraced. Her story winsomely illustrates the beauty and "safety of staying small." Love this book and I highly recommend it!
Fantastic, Compelling Read! Falling Free: Rescued from the Life I Always Wanted is at once honest, laugh-out-loud funny, convicting, and compelling. A thoughtful read will leave you questioning why you believe what you believe and looking for ways to truly spread the love God has lavished on us. The book challenges our views on family, community, church, and possessions, ultimately encouraging us to seek God first in every aspect of our lives and to trust that freedom comes when we surrender to His leading.
Having read Shannan's blog for many years, I anxiously awaited the release of Falling Free. Shannan's wit and honest writing that I have grown to love was present on every page. I knew I would enjoy the book. I knew that I would laugh. I knew that I connect with her across the pages. What I didn't know what just how much her words would rock me. Even having lived in the city in a transitional neighborhood and befriended and talked to people that I never dreamed would cross my path, I still feel challenged (in the best way) by her story and her words. I found myself wanting to savor each page, while at the same time staying up late into the night because I had to "read just one more chapter." Read this book. No matter what your story is. No matter how much you think you are capable of stretching. Even if you think there is no way you could relate. Get it. Read it. Prepare to have your heart pulled and grown in all the best possible ways. And, if you haven't read Shannan before, prepare to fall in love with her.
Shannan Martin has wrecked me by her conviction of how God would perceive our lives as open vessels for His promptings-come what may. You don't have to "fall" like Shannan, in fact, knowing God you probably won't. He has his own plan for you, but Shannan's story prepares you to say "Here I am, Lord" in whatever capacity that may be. We are about to have our third baby any day now and EVERY TIME I try to say the words "this is it!", I am stopped dead in my tracks. After reading Shannan's book, I can not honestly say "this is it!" for anything anymore. I want to be open to whatever God may have for us, because like Shannan shows us, that's where the true freedom lies.
Reading Shannan's words felt like breaking bread with a trusted friend, the kind that dares you to leave your comfort zone and loves you enough to not let you get away with making any excuses. What’s more, she cheers you on, acknowledging that it isn’t always the biggest leaps that count the most, but the baby steps taken in faith. When you walk away from an encounter with someone who has been with Jesus, you’re never the same. Shannan is one of those people for me.
This is one of the best books I have read this year, and I could not recommend it more. But be warned: this book will mess with you. Like, really mess with you, in the most hard and beautiful way. There is just no way to read it with an open heart and not walk away changed somehow--whether it’s in how you see your neighbor down the street or the poor person on the corner or the kid who just got out of jail, or how you view your bank account or your role in the Kingdom or your place at the table--this book captivates and inspires as much as it challenges and convicts. Every chapter leaves you wanting to lean in closer to the heart of Jesus and to really know and hear His heartbeat for this broken, busted-up, beautiful world around us. I’m so thankful Shannan gave us this glimpse into her journey of finding freedom in the falling, and discovering that “weak is strong, small is big, and less has most definitely always been more.” God used her story to stir my heart, and I will definitely be reading it again and again.