As someone who hasn’t had a vacation in four years, and is also a confirmed Francophile, Longing for Paris (by Sarah Mae; published by Tyndale Momentum) spoke to me from the moment that I saw it. When I read that it was by a woman living in Pennsylvania (my third favorite state) about trying to find beauty in the place and time you currently inhabit, I knew it was just what my heart needed. In reading this book and learning about Sarah Mae from her transparent, honest, beautiful writing style, I found a wealth of encouragement.
I’m very open, just ask anyone that I friend on Facebook. Some people call it over-sharing, some people think it’s brave and some people think it’s over-dramatic, but it’s really just me trying to “real.” You hear the words “realness” and “authenticity” bandied about in conversation, especially Christian conversations, but I’m not convinced that it’s truly what many people want. Real is messy, real is uncomfortable and real requires that involvement will mean getting your hands dirty. Consequently, I can feel very misunderstood, very alone and like no one “gets me.” From the first chapter of Longing for Paris, I knew Sarah Mae would be my kind of girl. She fearlessly shares her life story, her trials and her search for beauty. It encourages me to know that other women can share their stories, their hearts and have such a beautiful effect for God. It gives me hope about the kind of woman I want to be someday.
The Scripture, quotes and lessons from Sarah Mae’s own life have given me a lot of encouragement and inspiration. After spending the past four years dealing with ever-escalating chronic health problems, two miscarriages, a difficult pregnancy and birth, church problems, money problems and a Bataan death march style move earlier this summer- I’m tired. Reading Longing for Paris gives me some hope for how to plan to see the beauty, give myself some grace and gear up for fall.
I can’t wait to do the “Search Your Heart” questions, because I have a feeling that they will be very revealing about my heart. After reading the first ten, I feel that I really need to sit down to think and pray about them. When was the last time you really asked yourself about your dreams, your fears and your angers? This book also contains great resources for studying with a group or book club.
As summer draws to a close, I definitely still dream about having a vacation. (Now I dream about eating quiche with Sarah Mae in PA as one of those crazy-never-will-happen- bucket list dreams.) But, I now am emboldened with some new resolve to try and find the bits of “Paris” that are all around me. If you need a bit of a heart refresher, read Longing for Paris before the busyness of the fall and holidays overwhelms your schedule.
I started following Sarah Mae on social media and I recommend you do too! She’s fantastic. Her honesty, her humor and her heart for those in many kinds of bondage add so much to any newsfeed.
Kari Liked: Sarah Mae’s writing spoke to my very soul. Longing for Paris is going to remain on my bookshelf of favorites for a long time.
Kari Didn’t Like: I really loved reading this book and I can’t think of a complaint.
(This post contains affiliate links. I was provided with a copy of this book from the Tyndale Blogger Network in exchange for an honest review, all opinions are my own.)