I grew up in a small town called Prague, Oklahoma. It was started by Czech immigrants and named after their city from back home in the Czech Republic. Every year we have a festival called the Kolache Festival to celebrate that heritage. On the first Saturday in May, hundreds of people from the area descend on Prague for a parade, street dancing and great food. It was a highlight of the year growing up. There are traditional Czech costumes and food and even a Kolache jail.
This small town was such a gem to grow up in. It’s one of those places where everyone knows everyone. The people are kind and the streets clean. Crime is relatively low, and the high school sports competitive. It has just enough but not too much. It’s close enough to the bigger towns but not too close.
High school there was an interesting time for me. There were hard lessons to learn about the world and people. It was a time of joy and sorrow, as I’m sure it is for most. As we grew, I became known as the smart one. It became how I was defined. My nickname was even my ACT score. That part was fun. The Lord gifted me in that way and I am grateful for His grace.
Then I went away to college at the University of Oklahoma. About as many people lived in my building as were in my whole town back home! It was a fun new adventure and I enjoyed the challenge. I made some friends. My freshman spring, I felt like God was calling me to be a nurse. Not a doctor, but a nurse. In some ways, though, I felt the pressure of my home town hopes to be more. To really make something special of myself. To make them proud. To achieve. After all, I was the female who was voted most likely to achieve. The male who was voted that honor ended up being a fighter pilot.
But I was choosing a different path. I believe God does call some to be doctors and fighter pilots and such. And that’s awesome. But that wasn’t what He was calling me to be. He was calling me to follow Him. To be a nurse.
And I remember telling people from back home that I was switching to nursing. I remember them telling me I was wrong and needed to be a doctor. That was hard. But if anything I can be stubborn, so I pushed on to nursing. I got my degree from OU as a nurse and moved to North Carolina to go to Southeastern Seminary. I had really gotten a heart for people who don’t know the gospel and don’t have anyone near them to tell them, so the plan was to go overseas to share the hope of Jesus in a hard place.
I used my nursing to work my way through seminary, then the Lord shifted my direction. Mike came on the scene and though he wasn’t headed overseas, I knew He was the one I should marry. So when he asked, I said yes and the Lord took us to Charlotte and now back to Wake Forest serving His church and continuing with my heart for missions and the unreached.
Which brings me to the kolache. Because of my home town heritage, Prague, Czech Republic is a place I’ve always wanted to visit. I never thought it would happen. And then it did. But not in a typical way, where I’ve made enough money and name for myself to have the means to travel. In a more kind and gracious way from the Father. In a way where I got to serve the people there by teaching English and sharing the love and hope of Christ.
And so I sat in a small cafe a little off the beaten path with friends and ate a kolache in Prague. It was a moment where I felt my small town’s expectations of me collide with God’s call on my life. Not many people from Prague, Oklahoma get to eat a kolache in Prague, Czech Republic. I was reminded of how my God is kind and gracious…how His path may seem hard and not make sense, but it’s still the best one…how He sees and knows things even when I can’t express them…and how He does things far beyond what I could expect or imagine.
And I’m grateful to Him and for His plan for my life. Grateful He led me to follow a different path than the one others would plan for me. Grateful for the people I get to share the journey with. And grateful for that time in Prague where I got to eat a really good kolache surrounded by friends who shared with me in a palpable moment of God’s faithfulness.
2 thoughts on “A Kolache in Prague”
What a beautiful testimony of God’s faith and your heart to follow Him. Thank you for sharing, I could just picture your hometown and you at the cafe in Prague💗