Sometimes I find myself dreaming of two lives, paralleling each other.
In one life, I’m doing what I’m doing now. I’m married, raising my precious children, homeschooling, and — as Barbara Mouser says in Five Aspects of Woman — trying to raise life above the mere existence where God has me. In my other life, I move to Paris and get a place at 39 rue Descartes where Hemingway wrote, wake slowly in the mornings, ease my way into my coffee, and run my fingers on notebook pages ready to be filled.
In this “other life,” have time to write words that matter, words that encourage the soul, because I have time for depth. At the end of the day, I put my work in my bag and walk in the rain along the Seine, then stay up late in rooms filled with music and laughter. Conversations run deep, and my soul’s need for beauty and purpose and relationship is realized.
Then something in me aches as I come back to reality. Why these dreams? Why this longing? I’m happy with my life, thankful for all I have. And yet . . .
It’s this longing for Paris that leads me to explore my deeper longings. And as I begin to look inside my soul, I see that attached to my longings are questions. Lots of questions.
“Lord,” I groan, “what are these longings in my soul? Are they selfish? How do I live and sacrifice and raise my kids well and still “follow my dreams”? Is following my dreams even biblical? What does it all mean? How do I navigate between my reality and my longings? Do I ignore them in order to sacrifice for my family? As a woman, I feel particularly confused with my longings . . . What do I do with them?”
I want to know how to live between this tension of following my dreams and living a Jesus-following, cross-centered life. I want to know how not to 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 that I neglect them.
I want to know: Does the Lord approve of my dreams? And really, what are dreams? What are my longings, and why are they there? Can I be a good mom, an intentional mom, and also allow my longings to come to life?
And can I truly enjoy my life right where I am?
It is these questions that open wide a flood of yearning in me that has been dammed up for quite a while.
And it is these questions that have led me to write this book.
Join me in the unfolding? Maybe you have some questions too.
by Sarah Mae
Want to hear more from Sarah Mae? You can view a free Longing for Paris webinar here!
In Longing for Paris, Sarah Mae will help you: embrace your longings and dreams by having a Biblical understanding of them; adventure with your kids in the everyday (no big trips or lengthy planning required); see romance in a whole new light that doesn’t require flowers or jewelry; and savor your life without leaving your own backyard. Click here to find out where to purchase a copy today!
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Hi Sarah Mae, loved the webinar with you and Sally (and Brian). Can I confess that I have been one of those Christians that has felt guilty about having fun. That it was maybe a tad superficial, given how so many people are hurting in this world. I am thankful that you said those words. And this too, “God, how would you imagine using me in your world, to bring light, love, and beauty?” Reminded me of the very small mustard seed.
Appreciated the encouraging words from you both.
Beth Williams says
I believe everyone has longings. It is what we do with them & how to use them Biblically. My passion/longing is to be a local missionary. I would love go out and cook for people, provide socks, clothing, etc. Be there for them no matter what the situation. How does that work? Thanks for making us think about this topic.
Katherine Alviar says
Hi Sarah Mae!
Thank you for this post. I long to reconcile the reality of my life as a wife, mother of three, a homeschooler, my dreams of travelling and love of seeing the beautiful places around the world and being a woman after God’s heart. Looking forward to reading your book and praying for your continuing journey! God bless you more and the work of your hands!