I received this book to review as part of the Longing for Paris launch team. I was not compensated in any other way for this post and all opinions are 100% my own. This post contains affiliate links.
I love to travel. I was fortunate enough to go to Europe for the first time when I was just 18 years old and I’ve been back twice since. I love getaways with my husband, road trips with my family, and traveling to conferences. New places and experiences are exciting to me.
When I heard the title and topic for my friend Sarah Mae’s new book, Longing for Paris, I knew I would relate. Because sometimes my soul just wants to wander to the newest place or experience or thing. I’m an ENFP who gets distracted by “bright, shiny things” and can sometimes miss what is right in front of me.
Before I get to the book, I have a confession: the first time I visited Paris, I wasn’t really crazy about it. It was beautiful and interesting, but overwhelming as a new high school graduate. I wasn’t too excited about going back five years later. But the second time was different. I was with a similar type of group, but this time I was a chaperone and was with my husband. We were able to make our own plans. We wandered and visited some smaller, lesser-known places. We searched out a great loaf of bread. We sat outside of Notre Dame and watched Parisian life happen in front of us. And this time, I really loved Paris.
Had I not gone back to Paris the second time, I think I may have avoided this book. I wouldn’t have known the beauty of just sitting and watching and soaking in the culture. I would have only know the hustle and bustle of a whirlwind tourist visit. I would have felt no connection to Paris. But I’m so glad I picked this book up, because it’s really not about Paris, but about what Paris represents.
My longings are the reminder that there is more – another world, another place where I am meant to be.
Longing for Paris is about what our souls long for: beauty, passion, confidence, light. These are all things I witnessed firsthand in Paris, but as Sarah Mae points out, they are not only found in Paris. We can find the things we long for right here because they are all found in God. And when found in God, they will satisfy like nothing in this world.
Paris will leave me thirsting for more, and it will ultimately let me down, because I wasn’t made for Paris. I was made for all the things that I long for in Paris: beauty, art, culture, romance, light, and joy.
Sarah Mae talks about how our longings and reality meet. This can be a tricky place full of discontentment when we are not surrendered to God’s will.
I want to know how to not shut out my longings, while at the same time giving myself to the daily work of raising my children well and not being so divided to neglect them.
I was deeply impacted by the way she has searched for the beauty God has placed around her right where she is AND included her family in these discoveries. It doesn’t have to be one or the other, but our longings do need to be directed and filled by our wonderful Creator.
Longing for Paris touches on so many aspects of our life that I can’t possibly mention all of them in one post, but I know that it has helped me open my eyes to the wonders surrounding me in my home and community. God has given me an appreciation for beauty and discovery. I don’t have to travel far and wide all the time to fulfill this longing. I just need to look to Him, then look around.
This weekend, I tried a salted caramel macaron from a French bakery in my hometown and I thought of God and beauty and Paris and Sarah Mae. This is where my life is happening and He is leading me to everything I need and long for in His perfect way. This is beautiful.