“Exquisite and vulnerable…” —Angie Smith

Why I Wrote Longing for Paris

I HAVE READ about women taking off to travel the world in order to discover themselves.

They journey to beautiful places and they meet interesting people, try irresistible food, and gain perspective into their souls. I have often thought about how much I would love to do that. I would love to go somewhere beautiful and release myself to it. I would love to go to Paris. But I have a family and a life that calls me to the normal everyday lifestyle, so I need to figure things out in my soul right where I am.

Some of you might relate. Some of you might feel suffocated and are just about dying to get away or figure out your life or do something that gives breath to your soul. I get it. And so I’m asking, how do I navigate the tensions between my longings and my reality? How do I figure out how to enjoy my life right in the middle of the normalcy of it all?

As I wrestled through these questions I discovered that there were pieces of my soul I had hidden away, parts of me that I had decided years ago to snuff out in order to live right. And those pieces, those parts of me that God wove together, were not content to stay buried. They wanted out; they wanted to breathe and be resurrected from the dead. No, they wouldn’t stay underground. Thumping on my soul, these longings for beauty and art and adventure wanted to be seen; I couldn’t ignore them. But I didn’t know what to do with them. Were they just selfish things trying to make a comeback into my life, or were they justified in wanting to be acknowledged? I could push the longings away, but it was clear they weren’t going to heed my instruction.

I began to gently peek at them in order to discern if they were real or just something I was going through—a phase that would pass. Nope, not a phase. I asked the Lord about them, and I discovered that there was a yearning in me that wanted something more, something I couldn’t quite place. But on the surface, it looked like a desire to explore more of life. I was desperate to see and experience new things. I wanted to get out of the dailiness of life and into an adventure. I wanted to travel and see and touch and do, but my life didn’t afford me that luxury. I couldn’t just up and leave my family in order to figure out what was going on in my soul. On the outside, I wanted Paris. But on the inside, what I was really searching for was a filling to the deepest parts of my soul. And I wanted to know what to do with Paris and my soul and my every day. This book is the story of me untangling my life and figuring out how to experience and enjoy the good things all around me. It’s me doing something about the fact that a half-dead life is no life at all.

I know I’m not the only one who struggles with longings and the desire to understand them and do something with them. I’m not the only one who doesn’t want to live like a zombie. I believe we need each other if we are going to keep on. Life is hard enough; we shouldn’t attempt to survive on our own. We need each other and to hear each other’s stories to know that there is hope and that our being alive and awake to life matters. It’s what the world needs. So this book is me allowing you to watch my evolution, to come into my unfolding story, on the chance that your soul has some longings and questions and color that wants to come out as well.

Thank you for coming along. It’s so much better doing this together.

Much love,
Sarah Mae

“A must-read for moms…” —Sara Hagerty



What Others Are Saying

“So proud of Sarah Mae as I know these words will encourage you. This is by far my favorite thing she has written. It is full of stories of our family as well as some hard things she has learned, and what we have learned together. I can't wait for you to read it.”
—JESSE HOOVER
Sarah's husband

“I suppose I have always struggled with the gap between my wildest longings for life and the often mundane details of what my days actually look like. Many times I’ve found myself dreaming instead of experiencing; hoping instead of embracing. Exquisite and vulnerable, Sarah Mae’s writing will inspire you to bridge the gap once and for all—finding exactly what you hoped you would in a place you may have given up looking. As you read her stories, you will find yourself nodding along, grateful for a voice that understands and ultimately leads you to the peace you’ve been chasing.”
—ANGIE SMITH
Bestselling author of Mended, I Will Carry You, What Women Fear, and the Bible study Seamless

“This book is a must-read for moms. It stirred a great big ‘YES’ within me as I turned its pages. This message of embracing our hunger for beauty and depth and an exquisite life in God—right in the midst of raising children, young and old—is unique. It will invite any reader to consider extravagant motherhood, where God is big and beauty can be felt even among the dishes and diapers and laundry.”
—SARA HAGERTY
Author of Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet

“Sarah Mae has a rare gift to unearth the longings each of us feels for the “more” in life that God created us to have. Compassionate, sympathetic, and inspiring are the ways she understands our personal needs and gently leads us to the One who satisfies. This book is a gift to all who have dreamed of places beyond our present reality and want to know the hope we can cling to each day. I was deeply touched by her words.”
—SALLY CLARKSON
Author of Own Your Life and cofounder of Whole Heart Ministries

“Are you struggling to figure out how to love the life you have right here and now? Longing for Paris shares Sarah Mae’s journey to find joy and adventure in her own home and backyard. You’ll be inspired to slow down, savor life, and embrace the everyday.”
—CRYSTAL PAINE
Founder of MoneySavingMom.com and New York Times bestselling author of Say Goodbye to Survival Mode

“I love how Sarah Mae has spoken up for women’s longings. She’s penned the truth about how we dream and feel helpless about it when our lives demands attention to the daily. I feel seen in the pages of this book. I feel connected to my sisters. Most of all, I feel encouraged to love the space in which I live and find adventure in what already surrounds me. The things I read in Longing for Paris tell me I don’t have to wait to really live, and that’s some of the best news I have ever heard.”
—LISA WHITTLE
Author of {W}hole and I Want God

“This book will speak to the heart of any woman who has wondered how she can fit her life-sized dreams into the tiny minutes of her every day. Through the lens of her own personal adventures, Sarah Mae frames truth with practicality and faith with tips for everyday application. In a word—real—Sarah Mae keeps it real. As she shares her pilgrimage to living a beautiful life, Sarah Mae’s honesty is refreshing, and her message offers freedom and hope to those who read her words.”
—CHRYSTAL EVANS HURST
Coauthor of Kingdom Woman

“Sarah Mae is an author who knows the deep longings of women and isn’t afraid to go there. She did it with Desperate, and she’s done it again with Longing for Paris. She inspires us with her relatable tales of adventure and leaves us feeling hopeful. Many of us know to ‘bloom where we are planted,’ but few of us have the courage to do it.”
—COURTNEY DEFEO
Author of In This House, We Will Giggle and founder of Lil Light O' Mine

“Our hearts and souls have become weary living in such a fast-paced world. Longing for Paris speaks into the desire to slow down... and live well right where we are. Though most of us won’t be able to visit Paris, that doesn’t mean we can’t cultivate “Paris” in our lives. Sarah Mae shares powerful reminders to live with intentionality, savor the precious time we have with loved ones, and embrace life... living like the French and savoring life right down to the very last morsel!”
—ANGELA PERRITT
Coauthor of You Are Loved Bible Study, founder of LoveGodGreatly.com

Longing for Paris is one of those game-changing books. Sarah Mae leads you to a place that she herself has been . . . a place of embracing the season that you’re in while holding on with hope and expectation for what is to come. Every page is filled with great truth, a depth of insight, and personal stories that will encourage and strengthen you in your own journey.”
—KARINA ALLEN
Blogger at (in)courage and For His Name and His Renown

“Through tangles, adventures, stories, and faith, Sarah Mae’s wisdom and insight is life-breath for your journey. Profound yet practical, Longing for Paris inspires the heart, encourages the soul, and unveils the very essence of the spirit: beauty that lies within.”
—LORI COLBY WOLFE
Rise Up Event Coordinator

"The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through was a longing."
—C.S. LEWIS

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