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art of adventure feature

Alive to Her Own Adventure: Shannan Martin

On Fridays we feature a woman who is coming alive to her own adventure! A woman who is practicing the rhythms of stepping into the unknown, taking tiny risks, trusting God, and loving extravagantly in her season. It is our desire that through their lives and unique stories of adventure you will be inspired & challenged to say YES to all of God’s gentle invitations for you to follow Him, and in doing so you will come alive to your own adventure! 


Shannan

I’m so thrilled to get to introduce you to Shannan today! I got a tiny peek into Shannan’s life when I read her book, Falling Free, at the beginning of the year, and then I was wrecked for good. Let’s just say, it made me rethink everything I was doing and the direction I was going. It challenged me (and my husband) to realign ourselves with the dreams of God and to continue walking with Him in every detail of our lives. Be warned this book will stir your heart, change you deeply, and awaken you to the unexpected adventure in your midst.

I knew it would be a delight to have Shannan share more of her thoughts on adventure with God, taking risks, and obeying those crazy nudges from Him on the blog…trust me, you will LOVE this interview friends! So find some quiet for this one and take in her Gospel-saturated, wisdom-drenched words.

FIRST, INTRODUCE YOURSELF {TELL US WHERE YOU ARE FROM, WHAT YOU DO, YOUR MOST MEMORABLE/SCARY/BEAUTIFUL ADVENTURE, & ANYTHING ELSE YOU’D LIKE US TO KNOW ABOUT YOU!}

Hey there! My name is Shannan Martin. I’m the author of Falling Free: Rescued from the Life I Always Wanted (released Sept ’16), the jail chaplain’s wife, and mom to four kids who found us through adoption. This summer I met a major life goal by securing the blue ribbon in my city’s salsa contest (condiment, not dance.)

Over the past five years my family has been on an extended adventure that began with selling our dream farm house and moving to a shabby neighborhood in a nearby city. From there, things only got weirder in the best sort of way.

WHAT DOES THIS CURRENT SEASON OF YOUR LIFE LOOK LIKE & HOW DO YOU DEFINE A LIFE OF ADVENTURE RIGHT NOW, WHERE YOU’RE AT?

Our current season is one of juggling our deep commitments to our neighbors along with our families. Our life of adventure looks like having friends from the jail over to share a meal each week, welcoming middle schooler-aged boys into our home each morning before school, attending neighborhood, PTO, church, and other community meetings, and advocating for a few folks who are being pushed around by various power holders.

This adventure doesn’t look particularly interesting or enticing and it might not even look adventurous. It’s a commitment to the daily grind of life and everyday problems. It’s a commitment to pressing deeper and deeper into our space, knowing that as we do, we love it more.

The essence of “adventure” is holding the moments of our life and all of our grand plans with open hands, then choosing to see “interruptions” as the very things we were meant to do. It can be exhausting and frustrating at times, but it’s the most fulfilling work we have ever been part of. God is changing us as we orient ourselves more toward the Gospel of denying ourselves and leaning toward Him and each other. It’s re-shaping the way we see Him, the world, and our small place in it. (Though to be completely candid, we are also beginning to see how important it is for us to be very intentional with carving out moments of down-time and rest.)

SHARE WITH US A SPECIFIC EXAMPLE OF HOW AND WHEN GOD HAS MET YOU WHEN YOU’VE WALKED INTO THE UNKNOWN WITH HIM?

Since moving to our neighborhood four years ago, we have faced uncertainty after uncertainty. We were brand new to this city, knowing almost no one. Our kids were transferred from one of the most esteemed public school systems in the state to one with a failing grade. We adopted our oldest son while he was serving time in prison, then moved him into our home upon his release. We fostered a toddler and walked with her mom as she rebuilt her life. My husband became the full time chaplain of the county jail.

In each of these moments of great uncertainty, God was continually near us, asking, “Am I really enough? Can you trust me more than you trust your own wisdom and resources?” With each step, our faith is built. He rescued us from the life we always wanted and continues to give us a greater desire for more of Him and His kingdom on earth.

Money, status, possessions, our reputations, security, our sense of self-pride and responsibility were all made to fade away in comparison with His goodness and glory. This is a lesson I have to keep re-learning, but He has never left us alone. He’s been with us every step of the way and so patient with us as we continually screw things up.

Family Pic First Friday

WE’D LOVE TO HEAR WHAT TINY RISK(S) YOU HAVE TAKEN RECENTLY OR WILL TAKE SOON?

The tiny risks I’m taking this week are to speak boldly about the truths God is laying on my heart, even if they are seen by most of the predominant church culture as unpopular or even despised. It’s never easy to feel misunderstood or have my motives challenged, but this is precisely the way Jesus lived on earth, so I can rest in that. I can let go of my obsession with having everyone like and respect me for the sake of the Gospel.

We are also working toward tackling some systemic injustice which is affecting one of our dear neighbors. I don’t particularly enjoy conflict, especially when I hope to maintain strong connections with everyone involved. Often, a commitment to justice requires us to walk toward the pain of another and invite conflict. Remembering that God is especially near us in the fight is so helpful. Conflict can be resolved without sacrificing the relationship or harming the community. He has shown us this time and time again.

HOW DO YOU HEAR GOD’S VOICE MOST CLEARLY? IS IT A TIME OF DAY, A PLACE YOU GO, A THING YOU DO…ANYTHING!

I most clearly hear God’s voice when I’m walking home from dropping my kids off at school each morning. In these moment of quiet, I’m able to really focus on this as my God-ordained place, and see the beauty of his creation and humanity around me. There’s something so moving and deeply spiritual about taking those moments to ask for His guidance as I move into a day that will surely not go as I have planned.

WHAT WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT + TRUTH DO YOU HAVE FOR WOMEN WHO ARE HUNGRY FOR AN ADVENTURE WITH GOD, BUT FOR VARIOUS REASONS (FEELING STUCK, CONFUSED, FEARFUL, TOO BUSY, ETC) DON’T FEEL LIKE THEY CAN EVER HAVE THAT IN THEIR LIFE?

Several years ago, I was living the life I had planned for myself. I had a good marriage, precious kiddos, a home and career that I loved. I had grown up in the church and attended a Christian college. I tried to give generously and love those around me. But at the heart of my faith was the sense that there had to be more. Though I didn’t quite realize it, I was desperate to experience the mess of the Gospel, which calls us to abandon the things of this world and spend time in low, overlooked, “less than” places.

Years later, I’m still here with my family, an adorable home, a stocked refrigerator and enough money to pay the bills. I still have far more than I need, quite honestly. I still prioritize the wrong things and lose my focus. I’m still Shannan, with all of my personal failings and woes. But along the way, I continue to learn the miracle of living my life oriented to God’s command to love those around me as much as I love myself, and it is changing everything.

While I believe God is far too creative and funny to call each of us to the exact same story, I know in my guts that He is begging us to live out our faith in actions of love toward the hurting world around us.

If we ask for eyes to see people as He sees them and if we are willing to pay attention to the ways He is constantly at work around us, life will open up to endless opportunities for adventure. Good things grow from low places, but before we can experience it, we have to be willing to step off our ladders and fall.

AND LASTLY, tell us about your first book, falling Free: Rescued from the Live I always wanted. What inspired you to write down your story? And what do you hope the readers of your book will take away from your words?

Falling Free Jail

Falling Free tells my family’s story of realizing God’s “more” for us would actually look like “less”. From selling our farm to losing most of our financial security, to ignoring the skeptics and making our home in a diverse community wracked with problems such as poverty and addiction, at every step along the way, we have experienced “less” than what we once hoped for ourselves. And yet, as we and our world gets smaller, God becomes greater.

I hope readers will walk away from Falling Free with a new urgency to find those around them who are hurting or lonely and wrap them into the wider circle of their family. God created us for deep kinship and brotherhood and though He never promised it would be easy or even fun, He promised us we would experience the fullness of life and the thrill of hope. That’s what I want my readers to experience.


We love encouraging you to come alive to your own adventure with God…so where is He asking you to take His hand and trust Him, or what fears are holding you back right now? 

Share with us in the comments below!

Have Shannan’s words inspired you in some way today? She’d love to hear from you!
And ofcourse you’ll want to snatch up her book Falling Free + join her on
shannanmartinwrites.com or IG @shannanwrites

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