Let me introduce you to one of my favorite bloggers, Shannan Martin. See awesome picture below that I snagged from her instagram. *All photos (except one) below are from her lovely instagram–another avenue she uses to challenge my thoughts and encourage my soul. I discovered the quirky but so relatable Shannan about two years ago and have read every single post of hers since. When I first read her words I gobbled them up. I would spend hours upon hours reading her blog posts. That widget at the bottom of each post that says “You might also like” got me every.single.time. One day last spring I just felt like my kindred spirit needed to know how much she meant to me—too weird? Maybe but I didn’t care. I sent her an email telling her all about how connected to her story I felt. We had just moved to “the wrong side of the tracks” in our busted up neighborhood but we were experiencing Jesus more than I ever had, just as Shannan had described.
I sent the email really not expecting for her to respond. And she didn’t. For almost five months. Then one day I opened up my inbox to find her response which included an explanation at how terrible she is at email. But I did not care one bit–I was just so stoked that she read my words and took the time to write me back. From there, we exchanged a few emails where we discussed life, TV shows (thanks for Broadchurch recommendation!) and where I pretty much invited myself onto her launch team for her book that wasn’t expected to release for another year or so. Despite my abrasiveness she told me she would call me in as a launch team member and she kept her word. This summer I was emailed an early PDF version of her book and instead of gobbling it up like her blog posts, I have chewed on each word savoring them slowly. And I am still chugging along at a super slow pace. Taking her words to heart and trying to examine them against my life.
Her book Falling Free is a GOOD, soul-changing, flip your world upside down kind of book. It has shattered so much of the pretty, wrapped in a bow faith that I have walked in for so long. It has challenged me to my core and caused some major shifting within my heart. Some much needed restoration.
Falling Free: Rescued from the Life I Always Wanted *(affiliate link)
This book has pushed me to redefine what it means to love my neighbor and show hospitality. It has given a new definition to who my neighbor truly is and how much God cares for them.
Example A: From page 144-145 (at least in the PDF version)
When God spoke about hospitality throughout the Bible as if on a loop, he wasn’t just referring to hosting a church Bible study or commiserating over steaming cups of Earl Grey with our besties.
His great hope is that we would experience the sparkling intimacy that bubbles up when we drop the veil and get real. His intention was for us to invite the stranger—the immigrant, the overlooked, the one we cannot understand, the one we say we hate—into our sanctuary and love them as we would love our own sister.
Hospitality looks different than I have always known it to look. It’s deeper than I have always thought it to be. And through this book I am asking more questions of my own heart and intentions than I ever have before–about my neighbors, about poverty, about the grace and love of Jesus and so much more.
Do yourself a favor and pre-order this book and take your time as you digest it. It’s needed. It’s important. It’s a must read. AND as if the book wasn’t enough if you pre-order before Tuesday the 20th when it officially hits the shelf you get some sweet freebies including a downloadable file of this GORGEOUS print.
Instagram photo: Jennifer Tucker