longing for Paris

Our book club started the book, Longing for Paris this past September. Little did we know that our last meeting, planned out with a French inspired dinner, was to fall exactly one week after Paris was attacked by terrorism. It was definitely with a different feel that we met and prayed for peace and protection for our world.

The book challenged us to yes, follow the dreams that God has placed in our hearts, but to find “Paris” in our everyday lives, as wives, moms, teachers, friend….whatever roll we may find ourselves in. To be present in the moment and see and feel and experience the love and beauty around us, yet knowing that the desire for something greater is God given. Because of the hope we have in Christ, we know there is more than just this life. So, as I stood in front of my stove cooking for that night, I had feelings of gratitude. Because even as the beautiful city that inspires so many was still reeling from violence and grieving it’s loss, my family was safe. This violence had not touched our lives. My dear friends were on their way over to spend an evening with me, laughing and crying, sharing our hearts over this meal.

Coming into Thanksgiving, I can find the wonder in two lost teeth in one week, or a day spent with Nana cooking for the big meal. We can’t know what is coming, but for now, the piles of laundry, the legos all over the floor, the sleeping teenagers in their beds…this is all a wonderful thing, because it means we have life here, we are together. And for that, I am so thankful. ~Claire

Sometimes I have hard days where I want to run away. I hate those stories where the mother abandons her family. I could never do that, but sometimes I flirt with the what if questions found in that idea. Author Sarah Mae’s dream is to sneak away to visit Paris. Maybe with her family, maybe not. It depends on the day. My longings aren’t usually for a place but rather for a season of life.

I long for the day my family can go on short term missions trips together or travel the country and pray for people to be set free, anything where my kids can learn about the power of God by experiencing it first hand.

I always thought that would happen when we no longer had preschoolers or babies in the home. My big kids were past that age and it still didn’t seem like it could happen. Then my little ones came along. Now that dream seems even further off in the future.

Longing for Paris challenges me to really live life to the fullest in each season I am in, even if I can’t pick up and go to the place or time in my life that I desire most. I can make beauty, find joy, and decide to thrive right where I am.

What does this look like for me? That’s the question I’ve been asking while reading the book. Sarah Mae tells of how she and her family regularly partake in little tastes of her desires until she can one day physically go to Paris. I can read stories of God’s faithfulness to my kids, expose them to testimonies of miracles and heroes of the faith, help them understand and memorize Bible verses that may later become life verses to lead them, take them to services where the Holy Spirit is moving in power, etc. I want them to share my desire to see God move in power through them and through us as a family. In working on this list, I think I’ll find that much of my dream is becoming a reality right before my eyes! ~Angela

 

As I began reading, Longing For Paris, I thought to myself…I don’t have a desire to do something grande like moving to Paris, I wonder if this book will speak to me. The further I read Sarah Mae’s thoughts, the more I realized that our “longings” don’t have to be grande. Her writing encouraged us to be more intentional in our daily life. To look for the joy and beauty around us. For me, it became about reframing the every day. I’ve been trying to start the day with the thought of positive possibilities instead of thinking of the long to do list. The list still gets done (hopefully) but I try not to dwell on the negatives surrounding it. Emphasis on…try. We are all works in progress, right?
Taking time through the day to be thankful…even a ” thank you, Jesus” as I do the laundry or make lunch…seemed to lighten the weight of that long list.

I wondered more about my longings. Was there a dream God placed in my heart? To be honest, I’m still figuring that out. What I do know is that as I allow Him to guide me, true longings or desires of my heart are becoming more clear to me. I’m enjoying the right now and becoming excited for the possibilities and hopes of the later on.  ~Mary

 

Longing for Paris affirmed the verse “without vision, the people perish.”  It was an easy read, which flowed with stories and humor, and devotions at the end of each chapter. Enjoyably, the book created an excitement about Paris, or any historic destination.  The anticipation of a vision or goal helps to live focused and goal oriented. Living intentional is both biblical and motivating. Thank God for His vision and goals, laid out in His Word, that call us to live focused and make life an adventure!   ~Ginger

 

While reading Longing for Paris (ashamedly I have to admit that I have not completed the book, but please do not tell my fellow book club mamas, I fear I might get the boot!) so far there are a few things that I have really been mulling over. By nature I am a doer and I find it difficult to be still, let alone meditate. Sarah Mae encourages the biblical practice of meditation. Meditating to seek the face of God, to immerse yourself in his presence. In my current season of little children and all the many tasks they bring with them, I long desperately to be in God’s presence. I want to just be with him, to rest and rejuvenate in his glory and to feel fully alive in the midst of the one true God. I know in my heart of hearts that this is what God longs for too, because my worshipful meditation will shape me into a better wife, mother, friend and human. In reading this book I have a better handle of what my quiet time with God can look like as a mother of young children. I am praying that I can consistently adopt these practical tips into my daily longing to seek the Kingdom of God first.   ~Deborah

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