Friday, September 30, 2016

What it Feels Like {& Giveaway Winners!}


I woke up two Tuesdays ago - the birthday of Falling Free - in a state of emotional disarray. The fact that I'm just now talking about it should tell you something. I was jumpy and on guard. Excited and strangely, a little sad. The sky kept talking to me, saying in shades of amber and coral, "all is well, all is well.

Morning stunned me into a place of quiet, so I followed it home to the rhythm of surrender, then sat at the edge of my neighborhood and took a few deep breaths. What did it feel like to have my book "out there"? I had no clue. And that scared me. It was a new day. I was still me. But I couldn't help looking over my shoulder and straight into the sun. I prayed along, "World without end, amen," yet found it impossible to ignore the urge to race ahead of this slow, steady start, or simply to retreat.

The thing about publishing a book is that you both anticipate and dread what people might say about it.

So I hopped into the van with Cory and my travel mug of tea, and we drove North, to the shore of Lake Michigan. I thought I just wanted to look for sea glass - an easy distraction. What I soon realized was that I wanted to stand near the edge of something much bigger than myself, and my long string of words. I wanted to stare at seagulls and contemplate the tides. 

There was no sea glass. None at all. The one piece I found was jagged and crystal clear, not so much treasure as actual trash. I hesitated, felt its weight in my palm, did my best to convince myself it counted. Then I threw it back, wondering why my pulse wasn't slowing down, wondering why escape always seems like the best option in a pinch.

I swear I tried to rally. But I was cranky with Cory, and more sullen than usual. I'd been tempted to hold onto that gnarly, unready piece. I didn't want to leave empty-handed, not in the state I was in. It doesn't make me selfish or scared. Only human. The part that embarrasses me is that I had the nerve to wish God might reward my surrender. Isn't that the point of the book I had written? That surrender is the beginning of a better dream? Didn't it make sense for God to prove it (again)?

Heading back to the van, I veered over toward a cache of boulders. And there it was, as the water rushed over and away, the faint glimmer of mistakes that had been remade into something so much better. Redemption. Sea glass, catching the light and holding it strong. 

Yes, I'm typing a lot of words about sea glass. Yes, I know how ridiculous it might sound. No, I don't fancy myself a modern day Anne Morrow Lindbergh. 

I'm just a woman on the verge, a woman afraid the world isn't small enough to keep me safe, a woman still afraid to come to God like a child, needy and single-minded. I can talk about laying things down, but I am still prone to holding them, instead. I can tell you about surrender, but it remains the fight of my life.


We ate lunch on a roof-top patio, me, still in yoga pants and unwashed hair. The waitress recommended the Reuben for Cory and handed me the most breathtaking salad with giant globs of goat cheese. She was guarded at first, so obviously wary of humans, or at least humans like us. She was tatted and tattered and I looked across a sea of privileged people eating overpriced sandwiches in the middle of a Tuesday, and I wondered if she could begin to imagine that she is who I would take home with me if I had to pick just one. She is my people. That's something I didn't know about myself a few years ago when my life felt simpler and I was all angles and edges. She is the one I'd most want to talk to as the city around us slept and raged, as my children dreamed and maybe hers did too and as dishes waited dirty in the sink.

For the past ten days, I have been loved well. It's undeniable. That so many of you helped spread the word*, sent notes of encouragement, bought a copy and read it? Well, I don't know the best way to carry that debt. So I'll just say thank you. 

You are the glass and life is the sea and yes, you have been banged up and tossed around. You've been cast aside, overlooked, and the world has often been unkind. But look at how much softer you are for it. The pain that should have hardened you made you smooth, instead. You catch the light. You shine it full and bright in my face. You show me a better way, a quiet redemption.You show me Jesus.

Confession: I came here to talk about my trip to Nashville and all the wild places I've been in a week that felt like five. I came to be funny and self-deprecating and to pretend that it isn't awkward at all to keep talking about myself. 

Apparently, this needed to come out of me first. In retrospect, it makes all the sense in the world.

I'll be back soon, with stories, pictures and sky-high drama. 

Until then,
Shannan


* I randomly picked two winners from the comments of the last post. JS McCabe and Denise (@mimipapa07) you are each the winner of a Shannan Martin Writes exclusive plate collection! :) Email me at shannandmartin@gmail.com and we'll round out the details.
@mimipapa07
@mimipapa07
@mimipapa07)

 ** Amazon affiliate link used


20 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Oh Shannan, how I need your words today and every day! This dance with the Lord is just so fun--and wildly unpredictable, I am coming to find. How many times have I taken a teeny tiny step of surrender, then stopped, arms folded, "Your move, Lord."

    I am savoring every word of your book in this season of my own involuntary surrender. Thank you for writing about sea glass; my husband and I have spent entire days beach-combing for treasures in Michigan. I am beginning to see myself in that glass...once useful and productive, now beautifully broken, but far more valuable to the Beholder. Your words are a gift.

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  3. I am loving your book. I am about 2/3 through, and it is the book I need right now.

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  4. I've never been called sea glass. I kind of like it.

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  5. So with your posts about pre-ordering, I thought yup I did that for my currently non-existent book club that fell apart this past year. Then I logged on to Amazon and did not see my preorder. So I thought huh, must have cancelled it or something. So I ordered 1 for me (see non-existent book club). That arrived on Monday, I have enjoyed the 1/3 that I've read immensely, though it is already pushing me in my faith in uncomfortable ways (wholy the point!). Then today, 5 more showed up. HA! So I am the proud owner of 6 of your books. So now I'm pushing my book club gals to become existent again. So your book is already working miracles :) So excited to keep reading and to talk and talk and talk about it.

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    1. Apparently I like the word So. 7 of my sentences in this comment start with that. Yikes.

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  6. Shannan, I just finished your book in what amounts to less than a day, and for me that is a sure sign that I've just read something amazing. Though I've had you in my blogroll since my early days of blogging, I just happened across a photo someone else shared of your book on instagram. I looked it up on Amazon and immediately ordered it. As a seeker, God knew it was what I needed to read. What an amazing gift you've been given and how lucky we all are that you share it so honestly & openly. Congrats!!

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  7. First visit ever to your blog, but with all the resonating, thoughtful words above, I know I'll be back. Substance and honesty and grace-filled. Thankful for Emily P. Freeman pointing me here!

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    1. I am so grateful you stopped over, Christine. If I could, I'd invite you over for some Lady Grey (my brand new obsession!)

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    2. I am so grateful you stopped over, Christine. If I could, I'd invite you over for some Lady Grey (my brand new obsession!)

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  8. First visit ever to your blog, but with all the resonating, thoughtful words above, I know I'll be back. Substance and honesty and grace-filled. Thankful for Emily P. Freeman pointing me here!

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  9. I've been reading along mostly quietly during this whole process. I'm commenting now to say I'm so happy for you!

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  10. You can choose not to post this...I am 73 years old, I survived ovarian cancer, other health issues, family suicides, divorces, deaths, eating disorders with family members and I wake up every day happy, grateful and full of joy. Iread alk the reviews, the stories of all of you Christian bloggers and think...' God, why have you forsaken these women? Why do they question so much? Why is life so hard for them?' I coyld go on and on, i lve all of you but am so sad and heartbroken. I tell my young family members, ' I can give you no words of help. People just want frauma and fear..' But, you do resonate with other hurting folk. God bless you.

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  11. I need to reread before I post...I read all of the reviews. I could go on and on, I love you all. People want trauma. Sorry

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    1. I'm good at reading through typos because I have to read through my own often. :)
      Gayle, I'm sorry life has been a struggle for you and I do envy your ability to not let any of it weigh you down. I'm always trying to cope with the trauma around me. It's usually not even my own. But it does cause pain and I guess part of my job is to give voice to the pain, sometimes. The good news is, I know God is faithful. Even when it's hard to see. He has carried me through so much and has given me far more than I deserve. I'm sorry if I've given you the impression that I'm no more than a Debbie Downer. Life is so sad and so wonderful. I'm grateful I get to taste it all.

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    2. I'm good at reading through typos because I have to read through my own often. :)
      Gayle, I'm sorry life has been a struggle for you and I do envy your ability to not let any of it weigh you down. I'm always trying to cope with the trauma around me. It's usually not even my own. But it does cause pain and I guess part of my job is to give voice to the pain, sometimes. The good news is, I know God is faithful. Even when it's hard to see. He has carried me through so much and has given me far more than I deserve. I'm sorry if I've given you the impression that I'm no more than a Debbie Downer. Life is so sad and so wonderful. I'm grateful I get to taste it all.

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  12. love this, girl. your final sentences reminded me a little bit of Jim Carrey's character from Liar, Liar. your truth telling is beautiful.

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  13. "You are the glass and life is the sea and yes, you have been banged up and tossed around. You've been cast aside, overlooked, and the world has often been unkind. But look at how much softer you are for it. The pain that should have hardened you made you smooth, instead. You catch the light. You shine it full and bright in my face. You show me a better way, a quiet redemption.You show me Jesus." <------ this. this. this. i love these (and all your other) words.

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  14. I just got the book - so excited to read it. 😀

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  15. Thời trang là một trong những điểm không thể thiếu trong cuộc sống. Các phối quần áo có thể nói lên một phần nào đó tính cách của bạn. quần alibaba mặc với áo gì là đẹp và hợp thời trang nhất. hiện nay, có rất nhiều loại thuốc nhuộc tóc độc hại gây ảnh hưởng đến sức khỏe của con người. Cho nên, dầu gội nhuộm tóc là sự lựa chọn của nhiều bạn trẻ. Và dầu gội nhuộm tóc etude có tốt không tìm hiểu chi tiết cùng chúng tôi nhé.
    nhà cung cấp cửa kính tự động tốt nhất tại việt Nam. Đại lý ủy quyền của những nhà cung cấp cửa tự động hiện đại nhất trên thế giới đã và đang được nhiều người tin dùng. có thể nhiều bạn đọc còn thắc mắc rằng Barie tự động là gì? Hãy cùng tìm hiểu chi tiết nhé.

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