Book Review: Longing For Paris

It is rare that I pick up a book that speaks directly to my place in life and my current emotions, but this book did just that.

The full title of the book is: Longing for Paris: One Woman’s Search for Joy, Beauty, and Adventure-Right Where She Is, and it is filled with wisdom, vulnerability, and joy.

Sarah Mae humbly describes her journey to being content and finding adventures in her own town rather than constantly longing to be somewhere else – in her case, Paris. Her vulnerability and honesty are refreshing and impactful. She gained some amazing insight along the way and I underlined so many full paragraphs throughout the book.

Being a stay-at-home mother (to a terminally ill baby, at that) has often made me feel like I have to put my dreams on hold, like the things I was created to do (missions photography, for example) outside of motherhood will just have to wait. And to some extent they likely do need to wait; but, this book has shown me that there are ways to continue pursuing and refining my God-given desires and longings right here at home.

I don’t have to travel right now to refine my photography skills; I don’t have to travel to become a better writer; if I focus on God and on being content in my circumstances, there are adventures and joy to be found right here, every day, and all of this will continue to prepare me for whatever God has planned for me. This book reminded me that I am called to be where I am right now, and that God has placed these longings in my heart for a purpose, even if I cannot act on them right now.

There is so much more I could say, but I want you to read it for yourself!

Here are a couple of my favorite parts:

‘I want to be who God made me to be: colorful and beautiful and gifted, which brings me pleasure and Him glory…I want to carry myself with confidence in who I am; I want to embrace beauty because God made it. I don’t want to base my identity on physical beauty, because it’s vain and fleeting, but I want to enjoy beauty because it is pleasing to God to have me take pleasure in it.” (p.62)

 “When we look for Him, pushing all hindrances aside; when we aim for and keep our eyes on Jesus, letting nothing compare to Him, then I think we will be fully made available to Him, for Him. And we will change the world because God needs available people to be devoted and dedicated, laid open and vulnerable before Him so that in our weakness He is made strong. His power will come through us, and we will be able to do real Kingdom work, the kind that urges us out of our comfort zones as ourselves. We will be available to be completely used by Him.” (p. 68)

And the last one I will share:

When God wove us together out of dust and love, it was personal and intimate. God did not speak me into existence like He did the sun and the moon and the plants and the animals. He formed me, molding with his hands, and He breathed His breath of life into me. He knit me together in my mother’s womb. He knows me by name, and He knows every hair on my head. I am not spoken into being. I am created. I am art. I am the artwork of God.” (p. 137)

You won’t regret picking up this book. It is beautiful, insightful, vulnerable, and filled with wisdom. Sarah Mae is a talented writer and shares her heart so openly in her writing – see more of her work here.

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