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. Oh Shannan. What a perfect and beautiful message for us personally and corporately. He never stops chasing us, and indeed leads us into what we see as hard, and holds us close to Himself. I’m with you and so SO thankful for how He loves..no matter what.

  2. What a lovely message, Shannan! I needed this today! I like how you view what we consider failure/discomfort/nuisance as GIFTS. “We are offered gifts of sadness, loneliness, frustration, and insecurity because we need help, and its name is Jesus”. That’s divine thinking. I have come to know and see God as the preserver of my life, the keeper of my soul. Many times I have prayed for deliverance and providence and He has answered my prayers, but in this dry season, I pray that He keeps me. It’s amazing how He chases after us, wanting us to be like Him, to have a deeper relationship with Him. I am reminded often that His will for me is good and pleasing and perfect. Even in the dark days, when I bear my soul to Him and say Amen yet nothing changes in my situation, He reminds me that He is Sovereign, He sits on the throne and nothing is lost on Him!
    I’m linking elbows with you Shannan, Trusting His plan for my life. Thank you xx

    • “The keeper of my soul”. This is so beautiful. Thank you for that image. I’ll be carrying it around with me. 🙂

  3. Shannan,
    “God calls us to hard places to prove our inadequacy.” I’m writing that down if you don’t mind? So many times I have wondered, why the crucible? In order for me to truly know God’s love, I must know deep in my soul that I am inadequate. Why? Because then, and only then, will I realize my dire need for a Savior…for Jesus. I can look back at every trial in my life and see that it was a dry land that could only be quenched with the drenching, soaking rain that Jesus’ love offers. Kind of ironic that intimacy with God can only be built through seasons of dryness. Loved this post and the hope that you offer and remind me of.
    Blessings,
    Bev

    • Yes, Bev, I’m with you! We’re quick to forget that intimacy with our Healer does require some pain on the front-end. Thanks for sharing with us.

  4. How thankful I am that He never stops chasing us and never, ever leaves us! Beautifully written. One of my favorite verses is Hosea 2:14 “Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her.” He often leads us to wilderness places to know Him more intimately. And He is there holding us, wooing us, tenderizing our hearts. What a kind God we have!

  5. Sometimes I wish it didn’t have to hurt so much. I am learning to let go of understanding, and rest in His knowledge. I guess that’s how I’m clinging to Him. Sometimes it’s just so hard.
    Thank you for your beautiful words.

    • Hoping that whatever you’re going through, you see a reminder today of who He is and just how much He loves you.

    • Penny, I understand your pain, and hurting. Letting go of our own understanding is what Jesus wants us to do, and trust Him. Have to ask God to help me to do that at times. Main thing, is to give God our worry, anxiety, fear, doubt. All those get in the way of Gods working in our situation. When we are still. God can move. We will take them back at times, but just give them back to Him. Ask God to help us..God bless you in you pain, and always Give your pain to Him too.

  6. This morning I awakened with a spirit of heaviness, and don’t you know my first devotional was entitle just that. Now I read yours… small and unworthy I am, but I know in my spirit that God has me, helps me, holds me. Did I ever need your post this morning, thank you. Hugs.

  7. Shannan, what a beautiful post. I’ve struggled to surrender all of myself to God. I seem to go through phases where I’m all in on that idea, and then when I wold rather maintain control. But, as you shared, God often doesn’t let us hold onto the facade that we have control for very long. And though, it’s painful, I’m learning to lean into Him, and to trust Him when He allows me into the hard places.

    I loved what you said here: “He is God and we are not. Any safety or comfort we’re meant to hold waits in His hands.”

    Thank you for sharing these truths!

    • My pastor shared that line months ago, “God is God and I am not.” So simple, yet so profound. I remind myself of the truth ALL the time. And it really does help me stay in my lane!

  8. OFTEN…I just have to fight my deep seated selfishness because God’s detour is rarely on my schedule!

  9. Thank you for putting into perspective what most of us call “struggles”. I know God has reached out to me and because of my fear of the unknown I run. I will hold these words close and not run anywhere but to God.

  10. Shannan,
    So beautifully written and God inspired! Last year was a kind of wilderness for me. My aging dad moved into assisted living then had multiple health issues landing him in ER 4 times and in hospital 2 times. He’s finally gotten better. It was hard to watch him go through all that and at the same time have work stresses and hubby just about lose his job. We just clung to Jesus all the more and he saw us through all that!
    Now I pray he will get me through this mini trial of learning venipuncture and being able to do it. Anyway it turns out I know He will be there and His plans are perfect. My life verse is Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a hope and a future”.
    Blessings 🙂

  11. Shannan, I’ve been scared of what surrender might look like – what He might ask me to do. And what I’m learning is that He has been asking things of me to bring me FREEDOM. And share that freedom with those around me.

    • Yes! He wants us free. For me, freedom has meant a lot of letting go, and I’m thankful He loves me enough to keep chasing and nudging.

  12. This message was beautiful, it is something I really needed to hear. I wrote the quotes inside my Bible because of how much an impact it made on me. Lately, I have been struggling to move on with my life after a hardship and it all happened fast and out of no where, though I am feeling better now. Though alot of my friends have been struggling with alot and just reading this made me instantly drop the burdens and gave them to Him.

    • We’re all hurting in different ways and surrounded by hurting people. He’s our only hope. So glad God spoke to you today.

  13. Yes. God calls us to the hard places to prove our inadequacy. What a message I needed to hear in this season of life. Thank you for writing this piece.
    *Isaiah 51:1-3*

  14. These words are so timely. After my friend beat leukemia only to pass away from pneumonia in 2012, I wrestled with the hard questions. Why would He keep me here when she was the one who had so much promise, so much potential? But I can look back on that dark time and say that my faith and my relationship with God has only grown stronger as a result. Now I feel that He is asking me to be brave and to take steps into what He has for me. I feel like I’m not qualified for the task and I ask Him, “Why me?” But you are right. He is reason enough. Thank you for your words!

    • So sorry about your loss. And excited for what waits for you around the corner. 🙂

  15. It is often times tempting to run from the hard stuff that we are called to do. I’m learning to be still in those moments of trials and ride the waves. Anything worth doing is usually the really hard things. God will carry us through. It doesn’t always feel like He is. But seriously what does our feelings know anyway. Obviously I love this post and it certainly has helped me remember that when the going gets rough, the tough get going. We are tough when we receive all of God’s strength to carry us on.

  16. “He loves us too much to allow a life without heartache, the kind that leans hard toward forgetting who He is.”

    Among so many favorite thoughts in your post, this might be my favorite.

    God’s mystery, the ways He’s incomprehensible, are the very things that draw me and deepen my belief. If I could make sense of Him, would I need Him? A God that I can easily explain?

    What a lovely post about the nature of our walk, our call to a suffering road, a reminder of its redemptive end. So beautifully articulated, Shannon. xo

  17. I love that…drives you to the cliff, let’s you fall and none of your bones are broken. My son loves the verse on our bathroom mirror. God holds me by my right hand…” Mom, I’m left handed, so He holds my right hand and I can still do stuff.” (Does that include the video of him long boarding without a helmet?) God is with us alway, He promised.

  18. Thank you! I really needed to hear this today. Life has been such a struggle with my own health issues, my Mom has health issues and then my Dad got cancer. They are in there golden years and i try to help them as much as my body allows i get bad vertigo and fatigue. It’s been a few years of dry land and God has been with me every step of the way. I have been feeling discouraged lately and I rebuke the enemy it’s just so hard sometimes. I read this and I feel so encouraged by what u wrote. God is with me and growing me and I’m so glad I can trust in Him. Great reminder for me. Thanks so much!!!

  19. Dear Shannan. You are God’s instrument of His Peace and Light. With this message which you have expressed so much comfort and you have opened up many, many floodgates of spiritual strenght within each heart that has read it. AMEN. God bless you.

  20. After having a43 year personal relationship with Christ through acceptance of His sacrifice and gift of eternal life, I now ask myself Why? Really though, why?

    Why is it that everywhere in both the Old & New testament the ‘real’ proof in our love for God and His love for us and revelation of His omnipotence and omnipresence is in leading us and putting us through ‘the hard things’? I’m a lifelong Christian who has attended BSF for many years, worships in a very, very well known and historically respected mid-west Bible teaching church and has sought to follow God (through Christ and His Spirit) throughout my life.

    Any yet, right now I’m just tired of the whole concept (the really confounding concept) of being tested and brought to dry, dry lands in order for God to truly reveal my purpose and to show His love for me and my need for Him. Really? I know I’m inadequate. Trust me, that is a message that unfortunately I am fully vested in.

    Regardless, I would NEVER, EVER put my four children through even a ‘G’ version of the trials so many of the followers of Christ, most specifically the Disciples and old testament prophets had go through. Need we even mention what Christ was put through to show His obedience to His Father. Really?

    And what about the serious, serious, serious trials Christians all over the world are dealing with RIGHT NOW!? Not the almost absurdly insignificant ten cent emotional and theological struggles we deal with in the comfort of our safe, Bible strewn, freedom filled bountiful American homes.

    Don’t get it

  21. Sometimes the hard heartbreaking is so unbearable, I know Jesus is with me, Amen. Just this seems to be back to back going on for years. I do see The Lords blessing through it all, my prayer now is Lord how much can my heart endure such heartache and brokenness? Jesus is Love and my position seems so fragile, at times it’s hard to beathe. I aso know Jesus has blessed me with more than I could ask for when I look around me,

    I have been praying and spoke to an assistant pastor at my church for a mentor, praying partner, or women’s group …,,I’m still waiting and praying.

    Thank you for your articles and sharing your heart and time. It’s a life line for some like me spot lighting Gods word and reminders of God in our lives.

    Grateful,
    Cynthia

  22. Hey Breena. It’s me, a whole month later. (I’m sorry!) I didn’t see your comment until now, and it took my breath away. With every word I write about pain and drought, I’m well aware that my “hard” things, or even the hard things around me, don’t come close to the heartbreak so many others know.

    I hope that what is true is always true; that nothing “bad” can happen to us without first passing through God’s hands. But if I were in your position, I’m not sure that would be enough.

    I’m so sorry for your loss and sorrow. I will not claim to know it as my own.

    Praying right now that God draws you near today. And I’ll leave you with one of my favorite song lyrics by Mercy Me, “What appears as incomplete is still completely Yours. And one day we’ll see as we’ve been seen..and we’ll soar.”