What love means

Shannan Martin grew up in a quiet, rural part of Ohio—“God’s country,” the residents called it. Never in her wildest childhood dream would she have imagined that her definition of “God’s country” would be redefined when she and her family sold their own piece of land in the country and moved to the “wrong side of the tracks” in Goshen, IN. While loving used to look a lot more self-absorbed and self-protective, today we welcome Shannan to Q Place to share what that word means to her and her family now in their daily life.


Here’s what I know today about love—it demands every cell of me. It requires long stretches of wandering through the parts of life that have had the color sucked out of them.

It means losing sleep over children who call me “Mrs. Martin,” or “Calvin’s mom,” or who don’t call me anything at all. It means almost giving up—almost—before remembering the heart truly does not choose who to love…

Love means sitting together in sadness, in the dark of night, driving drunks home and hearing their pain. It also means feeling it with them, grabbing a corner to lighten the load in ways that might be imperceptible, but believing it matters anyway.

Love means powering off my phone. Love means burning the noodles and showing up instead with just potatoes and cabbage—this is all I have to offer.

Love means hearing, “I’ll do anything to make it up to you. Anything,” and realizing the only thing I want is to keep him by my side, to have him near, to know he believes all my truths were forged for him, too.

Love is a back rub. A pile of tear-stained kleenex. A brand new set of teeth, offered free of charge. It’s telling the hardest truth and believing we’ll survive. It’s answering the phone after midnight.

It’s asking the complicated questions, mining my history, and spreading it out before me for a long, honest look. This is where I came from. This is how I got here. This is why I stay.

Love means being willing to be lonely. It means feeling out of place so others can feel known. Love means having little but offering it anyway. It also means having a lot but realizing it’s not helpful in the first place.

Love often lives somewhere in the spin of tires, the whir of lawnmowers, the school bells, the timer on the stove. Love loves slow and quiet places. It dares us to enter in


To read Shannon’s blog in its entirety, click here.

This article has 2 comments

  1. Kathy Erickson

    We just started our Q Place in January. The words in this article made me smile, for they express what has happened for me. I think of the friends we made and the joy they have become, which is so well expressed in the phrase: “ Love means feeling out of place so other feel known.”

  2. Michael Duvall

    In God’s Kingdom, we find love when we reach out to people no one else loves and sacrifice what we can’t take to heaven anyway. “It’s no fool to give what one cannot keep, to gain what one cannot lose.”