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Falling Free: Rescued from the Life I Always Wanted Paperback – September 20, 2016
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"Be prepared, as you read Falling Free to have your atrophied, tired notion of God propelled into a new and spacious place. With humor, grace, and not a little jostling of your comfort zone, Shannan Martin will introduce you to the mess at the margins." (Gregory Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries; author of Tattoos on the Heart: the Power of Boundless Compassion)
"I love this book! My wish is for us all to live as passionately, humbly, and loving as the Martins do!" (Bob Goff, New York Times bestselling author of Love Does)
"Engaging, funny, and convicting, this book shook up my soul and invited me into the adventure of taking Jesus at his word." (Ellie Holcomb, Dove award-winning singer-songwriter)
"Shannan Martin can turn a phrase into something so surprising, so stunning, it will both catch your breath and break your heart. Falling Free is an exquisite work." (Emily P. Freeman, author of Simply Tuesday: Small-Moment Living in a Fast-Moving World)
"Falling Free is not only convicting and challenging, it's a refreshing look into Shannan Martin's story where we will no doubt find a piece of our own story." (Brandon Hatmaker, author of A Mile Wide and Barefoot Church.)
"Through beautiful prose and glorious storytelling, Shannan has laid out the gospel for us. The Spirit of God is crackling with transformative power in these pages." (Deidra Riggs, speaker and author of One: Unity in a Divided World)
"Falling Free is Shannan Martin's honest story - and it shows us that trust can be terrifying, hope can hurt, and love can set you free." (Dr. John Sowers, author of The Heroic Path)
"Through Shannan's open and funny writing, I feel like I understand what true freedom in Christ looks like: it's following him with our whole hearts and joining him in his mission to make the world whole." (Osheta Moore, speaker, blogger, and host of the Shalom in the City podcast)
"Shannan Martin's gorgeous words both challenged me to my core and made me float with happiness at all the ways God uses chaotic, messed-up people like myself to bring his kingdom. She is my new favorite theologian." (D.L. Mayfield, author of Assimilate or Go Home: Notes from a Failed Missionary on Rediscovering Faith)
"Falling Free is the rip-roarious story of Jesus in the life of Shannan Martin. It's the ravenous, impossible love of God that heals, unhinges, goes for broke, cobbles together and leads home." (Amber C. Haines, author of Wild in the Hollow)
"Shannan calls us all out of our comfort zones and asks us to examine our choices: Am I living to be comfortable? Or am I willing to make a difference?" (Tsh Oxenreider, author of At Home in the World and Notes from a Blue Bike)
About the Author
Shannan Martin, known for her popular blog Shannan Martin Writes (formerly Flower Patch Farmgirl,) 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. Having sold their dream farmhouse, they now enjoy neighborhood life in Goshen, Indiana.
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“Aren’t we all looking for the same exact things, to be accepted and loved in our brokenness?”
Falling Free is the debut novel of author and long-time blogger, Shannan Martin. She shares her story about losing the comfort of her middle class lifestyle, and the struggle and freedom that came with it when her husband accepted the position of a jailhouse chaplain.
For most of us, we imagine constantly moving forward in life. We want more money, bigger homes, nicer cars and a size-able retirement. This is what the American Dream teaches us, after all. Now imagine willingly going backwards and having a graceful attitude about it. This is exactly what Shannan and her growing family did, in God’s name. Hard to imagine? I know, me too.
“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.”
“…it’s hard to pine for heaven when you already believe you’re there”
Shannan uses her experiences to open readers hearts to living with less, and being happy about it. God put us here to love our neighbor as ourselves. What better way to do that, than by stripping life down and getting into the nitty-gritty with our neighbors? Even if those neighbors live in what we would consider a sketchy neighborhood. Falling Free forces us to examine if we are really loving others the way Jesus did in his time on Earth. He ate with sinners, he touched and healed the lepers, he loved the woman at the well. While we know the stories and know Christ loved others, do we truly love the same way, or even try to? I know I’m guilty of judging others based on their lifestyles or even their clothes, as if I am somehow better than they are. What would happen if instead of seeing their sometimes rough exterior, we simply loved and welcomed them to a meal in our homes? Readers are challenged to be generous, to love deeply, to give up our ideas about what life should be and instead allow God to show us where he needs us. And to teach our children to do the same.
This isn’t a book of theology, but a book to encourage people to love everyone in Jesus’ name. Not just those in our neck of the middle-class suburb. Not only those who are exactly like us. No one deserves Christ’s love more than the other. So let’s put our Christian caste systems away, and pour out the love.
“The Jesus I’m getting to know capsized conventional wisdom and lavished the poor with love. He tells me not to worry about the shirts in my closet or the cereal in my pantry. He invented the cotton and oats. He owns the patents.
My Jesus blesses the poor and spits out what the world values.”
Falling Free opens the heart, applies the Bible to now, and wrecks everything we think we know about being “a good Christian”. Once we have let this book into our hearts and minds, there is no going back to the ignorance we once enjoyed. Be prepared for cold hard conviction.
“Here’s a list of things John [the Baptist] did not tell them to do: memorize more Scripture, pray on your knees in the morning instead of in bed and half-asleep, get up in time to make it to Sunday school, wear shorts that cover your knees, only watch PG-rated movies, quit smoking, and, for the love, keep your hair off your collar.
Here’s what he did say: ‘If you have two shirts, give one to the poor. If you have food, share it with those who are hungry. Don’t take more than you need.’ Be content.”
I hope you will give this book a chance!
Shannan’s words penned with a soft, gentle delivery, pack a big punch. A good ole southern wallop, if I may.
“What I know now is that sometimes surrender means letting go, and other times it means letting in.”
We feel we have done a good deed when let go of the overflow, the excess, discarded things we no longer want. But are we willing to loosen our grip on the things we hold dear?
In Falling Free, Shannan gives us a different prospective. Calling us to let go of the things we want, the things we hold tightly to.
Her words ring raw with transparency as she shares her own struggle of all that she was called to let go. Weaving God’s Word throughout the book, reenforcing our need to take a good long look at how we love others, of the excess we hold on to, and what we are willing to sacrifice and change.
Giving up all they had, moving to the other side of town, some would say, “the wrong side of the tracks,” not to just live in a new community, but living in community.
“There’s a big difference between living in a community and living in community…As an entry point into our brand-new neighborhood, God Sent people just like us. Rebel hearts longing for home.”
Falling Free is a beautiful picture of pouring out oneself and being filled to overflowing with the pouring back in. An invitation to the abundant life.
In my so-called mind, I felt that the bottom had fallen out. Had an angry with God phase .... reminding Him that I've tithed since I was a kid cutting the neighbor's grass, and I've always been a good steward of my talents and treasure... savings, wise investments, refinancing mortgage when interest rates dropped, etc.
Through this book, however, God reminded ME that my entire life, I've been in control, and assumed that since I was so smart and savvy, that He was just standing by and blessing me for my greatness.
Back to my initial epiphany... I've never FULLY trusted God my entire life .. where I've had to give my loving and merciful Father ABSOLUTE and COMPLETE abandonment of myself to His will and providence.
Funny how the we sang "trust and obey" as children, and it takes almost a lifetime to figure out what that means.
Thank you, Shannan, for opening my eyes to what trusting God really means.
In sum, buy the book. I thought I knew it all for 50 years, and Falling Free helped me see otherwise.