About the Author

Shannan Martin is the author of Falling Free: Rescued From the Life I Always Wanted, wife of a jail chaplain, and mom to four kiddos. She's a big believer in community and salsa, and blogs at ShannanMartinWrites.com.

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  1. Shannan and Lori,
    You are living the concept of community that Christ talked about. Thank you and bless you for being the hands and feet of Jesus. When we really…I mean really, step outside our American bubble living, there’s a world of hurting people. Some are just a few miles away and some are across an ocean. Regardless of where, their hearts crave to be known and more importantly know that they are known and loved by their Creator. Like Tami, I loved this post!
    Blessings,
    Bev

  2. I’ve been praying about whether or not to buy a house in not the ‘best’ part of town. This post and Lori’s story has helped me realize that by moving there we could help others and love them as Jesus wanted us to. THANK you for posting this today. Was just what I needed to hear!!!

  3. Shannon,
    I also love your post. I’m really happy for you too how well it’s all worked out.You have reminded us of how it is far better to blend in with a community than it is to try and stand out. It’s what draws us closer together just as it was intended for us.
    I remember when I stayed @ the hospital for weeks with my daughter. Everyone was so supportive of each other. I will always be thankful for that feeling of community. I guess it doesn’t matter where we live it’s who we live with that makes it feel that way.

    Blessings to all,

    Penny

    • Hey Penny!
      Isn’t it just like God to use some of our most uncomfortable circumstances to draw us closer to each other, just as it draws us to Him? And yes, wherevwr we are, THAT is our community and we owe it to ourselves to be authentic and real. Thanks for this comment.

  4. So inspiring! And I add my “Amen” to the prayer: Lord, help me touch the lives of those in my new neighborhood. Thank you, Shannan!

  5. Shannon and Lori, I love your stories and how you are both living out the command to love your neighbors. I admit, I’ve lived the American bubble lifestyle. God’s been awakening my heart to live beyond the small borders I’ve placed around my life. The desire to live differently—to live with Jesus’ mindset—begins in the heart. As He gives me eyes to see the hurting around me, then I’ll be better able to be Him with skin on to those around me.

    Sorry, I’m thinking “out loud” in response to your post. 🙂 I loved it so much.

      • Truly, I’ve seen it spelled wrong more than right in my lifetime. I don’t even notice! Oh, parents, who had to be “creative”. 🙂

    • It just starts with that little spark and girl, I can see that fame growing from here. 🙂 I remember when things first began to change in my heart and it makes me excited to see what happens next for you. What a fun journey we’re on and happy to be on it together!

  6. Sorry Lori,

    In the midst of things I did n’t mean to leave you out earlier this morning. Thank-you for also being part of blending into Community and for reaching out to make things better along with Shannan.

    Take Care and blessings to you and your family,

    Penny

  7. Hi Shannan and Lori. Your post resonated with me because this describes lots of what I do as a cross-cultural worker in a Muslim city. We don’t live among the truly underprivileged (that would get us kicked out of the country faster than nobody’s business) but we spend a lot of time rubbing shoulders, eating together, and playing together. Thanks for sharing your beautiful story.

  8. Ok, I cannot tell you how embraced and convicted I feel at the same time by this conversation. These words are warmth to my cold, distant from my neighbors, heart. God placed us in our comfortable middle class neighborhood 13 years ago. This spring, just around the corner from our home, the city decided to add low income housing units and we wanted to run! I’m ashamed and saddened at my haughtiness. But we aren’t leaving, not yet. I would love your prayers for our interaction with our new neighbors. That we may show them the gospel through forming relationships and inviting them to church with us just down the road. We have been terrible at this in the past, it’s like we freeze and have forgotten how to just be in this together with those who sleep just a few feet away from us every night and the only thing that separates us is wood and nails, while what we really need is to let the wood and nails of the cross be our bridge across driveways and yards.

    • I am praying for you Trish. I was in the same spot that you are, 4 years ago. Pray for God to give you eyes to see your new neighbors. If you can see then like Jesus does, you will learn to love them. I so love your authenticity here. Grace abounds, sister.

    • Trish! I’m so excited for you! I don’t think our human response surprises or even disappoints God. He knows who we are. But He’s pushing you to imagine how much better things are about to get…and He chose you to be part of it! AND…you’re hearing His voice in this! So much goodness going down. I know that feeling so well of forgetting how to act or what to do. I remind myself all the time that I can just be regular. God does all the heavy lifting. Excited for you!

  9. Shannan and Lori,
    Thank you for listening to the voice of God and obeying Him!!! God has given me the gift of encouragement! Last year I had the feeling that I wanted to quit my job-one that I dreaded-and be a local missionary! God has allowed this to happen!! I am trying my best to live out what being a missionary is like. I send out cards, cook meals, buy gifts, do things for people because I want to show them the love of God. I also do more church work and try to build up my “defenses” by praying more, listening more to Christian radio hosts, and getting more Bible reality in mind and heart! That way I can defeat the devil and do more good for our community!

  10. I have had to learn in our neighborhood that perfection isn’t found in me. It’s found in Christ. My first mistake was looking around at others and judging everyone from a distance. After raising 2 children from a previous marriage born in 82 and 83, when my third child came along in 2002 I wanted everything to be right for her. I homeschooled her until this year. When she wanted to attend public school I was terrified if she would learn what I had learned in the 70’s and go through what my other children had experienced, “all of what ‘life’ had to offer”. I knew I had to go forth for the good of my daughter.
    My first effort was to attend a church in our community instead of “my favorite one”. I began to notice all around me were a lot of people who needed to understand who God/Christ/Holy Spirit is. They were where I was in the 70’s, 80’s and even 90’s. By looking at them in this perspective I began to stop judging and start praying. When Christ bent down and wrote in the sand saying; those who have not sinned cast the first stone. Reflecting on my own past and even present, I am beginning to realize more and more so ever clearly, my righteousness is not His, yet his righteousness is ours for the asking and receiving. For the building up of His Kingdom.
    Opening our eyes and hearts allows our shallowness to become deepness in Christ, and the image of God seems to become the shadow we walk in.

    • Knowing others is the key to not demonizing them. That’s what Father Boyle says and he’s so right. We can’t hate those whom we know. Peace to you as you love from a place of grace!

    • Such a good, truthful word here. God doesn’t need what we have to offer… But we need Him, and He let’s us play our wonky roles in building His kingdom. Better together!!
      Also, you have my heart with the neighborhood which thing. We did the same thing and it’s far from perfect, but it is key to keeping us engaged and keeping our hearts where they need to be, which is low to the ground. 🙂 Happy Sunday to you!

  11. y’all are the best! i am constantly so encouraged by how you are DAILY figuring out how to love Jesus by walking alongside and loving others… i hope in 40 years we are still having these same conversations and God is teaching us new things about how to live in community with our neighbors every day. Blessed to be learning and falling and trying again alongside of y’all!