Author Archive for Allison Woodfin

New York - Chicago - Paris exploring the world one city at a time

Pas encore: ready & waiting

It’s happening, but not yet.

When the Lord put the longing of serving in Paris in my heart, He put it as a burning flame. I wake up in the morning dreaming of my community there and go to sleep with prayers of safety and comfort for those in need.

Since graduating, life has gone completely different that I imagined and hallelujah for that. You see, there’s this crazy myth that graduating means I’m supposed to have my life together, a great career, impressive apartment and a checking account that allows for all the extras in life.  Then there’s reality where getting by is celebrated and paying of student loans is priority. Where what’s in my checking account means nothing to me when I see a kid rummaging through trash on the side of the street. Where serving doesn’t just mean to the poor, but also to the wealthy, because let’s face it: we’re all in need of a Savior and we’re desperate to belong and to be loved. Where Paris will come, mais pas encore because where God has me right now is exactly where He wants me.

Trusting in the Lord is a journey in itself. It starts with humbling myself of my knowledge and ways, and understanding His goodness even when I don’t see his plan.

It’s rejoicing in each day because the Lord is faithful

and the Lion has conquered and hallelujah for that.

It’s giving up all I have to find all I’ll ever need is in Him.

The beauty in Lent

Lent always sneaks up on me and I usually spend the first week thinking of something to give up. This year it wasn’t Facebook, sweets or coffee. It wasn’t like that at all, actually. It was a lot harder. It was giving up my idea of beauty. You see, my definition of beauty has been shaped by the media, society, and unrealistic expectations.  Throw that into a pot and mix it with my judgmental, prideful, yet insecure heart and it’s now a habit of subconsciously comparing and criticizing other women’s appearances.  This of course happens most on the metro. Nobody likes the metro and no one likes anyone else on the metro, especially during rush hour.  It’s crowded and there are six people touching you at all times.  This loss of personal space also means a lack of filter for how I feel about these people.

Lent was the period of time that I realized how ugly my heart could be and so this became my 40 day challenge of finding women on the metro beautiful.  It’d start with me catching myself wanting to compare myself to someone. Then it’d turn into “She is a child of God. She was made by the Creator of all things. She is really beautiful. I wonder if she believes that”.

40 days of standing on the metro and repeating this to myself not only changed the way I viewed the metro, rush hour and Parisian women, it changed how I view myself. Now it’s a daily reminder that is quickly redefining and revolutionizing my once weak idea of beauty.

You are a child of God.

You were made by the Creator of all things.

You are really beautiful.

I wonder if you believe that.

I really hope you do.

Change of Seasons

I have a lot of expectations for my time in Paris. Whether it’s different museums I should see, places I should go, or just all of the history to take in, there is a to-do list I feel needs to be accomplished. However, it’s been getting warmer in Paris, so my motivation to do anything more than sit in the gardens every afternoon is very little. And that’s exactly what I’ve been doing– buying a baguette and some cheese and spending endless hours people watching.
Random parks. No agenda. Just peace.
Half of me lives for taking in the beauty of these warm and sunny days, never wanting to leave that place of happiness; however, the other half of me feels unproductive and as if I am missing out on the bigger things in Paris.  Maybe it’s the Wheatie in me or maybe it’s the fear of not checking things off my bucket list that binds me to a tight schedule of seeing and doing.
This is one of the biggest lessons I’m trying to learn right now– living life without an agenda, without a need to feel successful or accomplished. Learning to enjoy each day and what it brings me.

While this is still a work in progress, the times I have spent countless hours in parks have been rejuvenating, relaxing, and without a doubt, most needed.

IMG_8853 IMG_8350

Finding Purpose

Paris is the dream, so they say.  It’s a magical place of endless croissants, crêpes, and baguettes.  It’s a place where getting lost means finding my new favorite pâtisserie.  It’s a place filled with history, architecture, and museums.  It’s a place where I can now call home.

It’s also a place that, within the first week of moving here, made me feel empty.  It’s easy to fall in love with this place.  I mean, the people, food, and culture are nothing short of extraordinary.  But why am I here? Better yet, who am I here for? Every time I asked myself these questions, my answers left me dissatisfied.

I want something more than the smell of coffee and bread to wake me up in the morning.

I want purpose.  

I want to know that when I leave this place, I’m not just leaving with crêpes in my belly and artsy photos on my instagram.  I want to leave with more than what money can buy.

Eight days after moving here I found my answer.  An answer that left me awed and amazed at the love and care God has for me.  An answer that gives me the privilege of teaching ESL (English as a second language) to men, women, and children from all over the world.

Community. Learning. Growth. Purpose. Jesus.

My internship with this organization gives me everything I need and want and have been lacking.  It mixes my life and my story with people with different stories and backgrounds. It gives us the opportunity to journey through our new lives in Paris together.

This is better than baguettes and coffee in the morning. This is relationships and learning and growing with the children of God.  This is purpose.

Morning Glory

Mornings are my favorite.  A good morning for me sets the stage for how my day is going to play out.  A good morning takes time, focus, and low expectations.  It can be a good morning simply because I give myself time to read or enjoy my coffee before ever getting ready for the day.  A morning can be made beautiful by going on a run around my neighborhood or watching the sunrise.  A beautiful morning can turn into a beautiful day when I focus on my purpose for the day or put my life in perspective to the world around me.  Mornings have so much power, so much depth and beauty, so much eagerness to become something greater.  ”Morning Glory” for me is a mindset that this earth is beautiful and filled with beautiful people.

This is my journey to see something greater, something glorious in each day.

“Look at everything as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time.

Then your time on earth will be filled with glory.”  -Betty Smith