More than once, I’ve been restless and fully aware of God working to prepare me for something. When this has happened, I don’t know what that something is, but God has always proved himself faithful to continue what he starts.
That restless has started again. God has shown me some of where he’s leading me, but I get the feeling he’s not done in this season.
Meanwhile, I recently read “The Ministry of Ordinary Places: Waking Up to God’s Goodness Around You” by Shannan Martin. After a long break from non-fiction Christian living books, this was the perfect one for me right now. I marked paragraphs and jotted notes down because the message of loving people, opening your life, and letting God use us where we are echoed what God has been doing in my heart. Shannan’s words were a welcomed mixture of wise older sister and teammate.
“Though our lives feel ordinary and small, we’re compelled by the possibility of making a difference where problems loom large. We want to offer the hope of Christ in a world that feels increasingly fractured and gloomy. We believe we can be world shakers from our own little corners, where there are crumbs on the floor and no righteous plan for the dinner hour barreling toward us. We’re growing desperate to experience the mess of the gospel, trading our tight reins and safe ways for the mystery and mayhem of God’s kingdom making its way down.”
It was passages like that in the “The Ministry of Ordinary Places” that left me thinking and praying and hoping. I’ve texted friends sections that reminded me of them.
Chapters six and seven were especially healing for my soul as I wonder what next steps should be for our group that gathers most weeks at my house or in our community. Her words didn’t give me answers, but they gave me hope that God is near. I’m excitedly anticipating what God is going to continue to right here in our ordinary small-town life.
“These small moments, over time, stack into something much bigger than ourselves. One tiny risk, one inconvenience, one imperceptible nudge after another, and here we are, thick in community … . I won’t speak for you, but surrounded by cynics, worrywarts, doomsday prophets, and Facebook apologists with lofty solutions, I’d rather be a hope-holder with mud on my shoes.”
About the book
For Christ-followers living in an increasingly complicated world, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed and unsure of how to live a life of intention and meaning. Where do we even begin?
In “The Ministry of Ordinary Places: Waking Up to God’s Goodness Around You,” Shannan Martin offers a surprisingly simple answer: uncover the hidden corners of our cities and neighborhoods and invest deeply in the lives of people around us. She walks us through her own discoveries about the vital importance of paying attention as well as the hard but rewarding truth about showing up and committing for the long haul. With transparency, humor, heart-tugging storytelling, and more than a little personal confession, Martin shows us no matter where we live or how much we have, as we learn what it is to be with people as Jesus was, we’ll find our very lives. The details will look quiet and ordinary, and the call will both exhaust and exhilarate us. But it will be the most worth-it adventure we will ever take.
This 240-page paperback book is published by Thomas Nelson (Oct. 9, 2018). You can preorder it now on Amazon or wherever else you like to buy books, and Shannan has some goodies for you if you do! For more info on this, visit the book’s website.
About the author
Shannan Martin 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. They enjoy neighborhood life in Goshen, Indiana, a place they fall more in love with every year. Read more from her at her blog, Shannan Martin Writes.
As a member of this book’s launch team, I did receive an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher. But, y’all, I’d recommend Shannan Martin’s words all day long. Both her books are included in my favorite reads. Go ahead and also read “Falling Free: Rescued from the Life I Always Wanted” if you haven’t already. In fact, I quote that one in my own book as well as the FREE How to Serve Your Community with Your Family guide you get when you sign up to receive email updates from me. Plus I just started Hospitality Matters, an email series to encourage you to open your heart, your home, and your life – regardless of what season you’re in.