Sunday, January 15, 2017

Falling Free by Shannan Martin

Falling Free by Shannan Martin is a book that'll make you think about what your life is meant to be.  Shannan and her husband had everything they wanted: good government jobs, a house on 6 acres in the country, 3 children (maybe adopted but certainly well loved), a good education and the list could go on and on.  The only thing was Shannan wished that she felt closer to God.  Then all at once it happened.  Their financial security/jobs were gone and with it the ability to easily pay for living in the house in the country.  Her husband, Cory, found a job working for the school system for less money and Shannan had found even working part time with the children was becoming impossible so that job's money was also gone and so the house was placed on the market and they began to look in the city of Goshen for their house.  They found a new house close to the rail road tracks.  It was  new though smaller and cheaper and closer to Cory's work.  It was doable. Then Cory was offered a job as chaplain of the jail for even less money.  After discussion they decided that this was the life that God wanted for them.  Not the pretty home but a plain one, not the top of the line school for the children but the poor school at the end of the block with the low test scores.  Their children would grow up along side children from broken homes whose father they didn't even know or were in jail/prison.  This was the life that God had chosen for them.  This life of getting closer to God by getting closer to his people.  This learning to know and love the down and out, the drug addicts, the incarcerated, the tattoos that screamed profanity even if the owner didn't.  When they met and got to know their neighbor they learned what Jesus meant when he said he wanted us to love our neighbor.  Their neighbors( who needed so much from barest of necessity to hearing the Word) became their friends.  The incarcerated became visitors in their home and sometimes if needed their overnight guest.  But the Martins quickly learned it was a two way street.  The poor shared with them from their meager cabinets.  Shannan awakened one morning to the sounds of her sidewalk being shoveled by a man who couldn't dress warmly enough because that is what he could do for the Martins whom he loved.  After a class which combined the jailed inmates along with a class from the school, the inmates took it upon themselves to make Sweet Slam (a concoction of cookies and candy bars mashed together and pressed into bars) and offer it to the class.  The Martins were surrounded by the love of their neighbors.  This is what God wanted for the Martins and they didn't even know to ask for it.

Falling Free is a book about the gutsy move that the Martins made in order to follow the Lord and do his teaching.   This books was written for a high school to adult audience. It would be good reading for anyone though maybe not hold the interest of the younger such as middle school age group.  The book carefully sidesteps actually having curse words in it but alludes to the cussing occasionally.  I especially would recommend this reading especially for those planning to go into inner city mission work.
I received this book from BookLook for this review.

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