By: Lauren Zawatski
Awestruck. That’s a wonderful word to describe just one of the emotions running through my veins when I first set foot on the streets of Paris.
Recently I had the opportunity to travel to France for a few days - fulfilling a nearly decade-old dream in my heart! Ever since high school, I’ve always had an unexplainable draw toward France and French culture, and I’d hoped to one day visit or even move there. It wasn’t until I started walking with the Lord when I was 17 that I began to discover that this was a dream that God had actually planted in my heart. Throughout college I studied French, and eventually graduated with a minor in French language. I had desperately wanted to do study abroad in college, but the Lord knew it was not the right time for me quite yet. Years continued to pass and the Lord would keep giving me little reminders and confirmations here and there that this was still certainly something that He had planned for me - even though I had no idea what it would look like!
Fast forward to this year, and it has been the hardest one I've ever experienced. Every sphere of my life has been stretched and challenged, and my emotions have done somersault after somersault. Earlier this year, I had put this dream of visiting France on a "shelf" in my mind, trusting God would eventually take me there when the time was right. All the while, the Lord had been preparing the way for me. I never could have anticipated then that later this year I would actually go!
Simultaneously, almost 8 months ago when I started working at the cafe, God was placing me here, though I was unaware, as yet another reminder of how much he knows what He's doing! Not only did he set me somewhere that would be a place of healing and wholeness amidst the ongoing turmoil, he set me somewhere that has been so strengthening for my spirit and has aligned me even more with His heart. Through it all, I've learned to truly pray: "Your Kingdom come, Your will be done," even if it's not what I had in mind.
What this year has taught me is this: I don't have to force anything! My greatest plans are nothing when compared to God's infinite wisdom. I see a partial view, He sees the full. One of my all time favorite passages in the Bible is Psalm 23. Though it's one of the more quoted verses of the Bible, the Lord has taken me through it this year in a truly intimate and practical way. During both the highs and lows I've learned to say:
"The Lord is my best friend and shepherd, I always have more than enough." - Psalm 23:1 (TPT)
Uncommon Grounds Cafe