Sarah Christmyer is a Catholic author, Bible teacher, and speaker with a special love for lectio divina and journaling as ways to draw close to Christ in Scripture. She is the co-developer and founding editor of The Great Adventure Catholic Bible study program and author or co-author of more than a dozen books and Bible studies. Her latest book is Becoming Women of the Word: How to Answer God’s Call with Purpose and Joy (Ave Maria Press). Sarah serves as an adjunct faculty member at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia and as a board member of the Malvern Retreat House in Malvern, PA. She blogs at ComeIntoTheWord.com.
“Some people see God, especially in the Old Testament, as angry and arbitrary and vengeful – but when I saw the whole story laid out in the Bible, I was overwhelmed by God’s mercy. And it hit me like lightning: I am part of that story. That He is pursuing ME; that he has been wooing me for my whole life.”
– Sarah Christmyer
Author Q & A
Who is your favorite person in the Old Testament?
I love Joseph, who was sold into slavery in Egypt. I admire his courage, his trust in God even when things were looking very bad; that he reconciled his awful brothers to their father; the way he handled everything from defeat to fame with grace. And I’ve always admired Rahab for acting on what she knew to be true of God and saving her family. She had guts and faith and fortitude.
What is your favorite parable?
The Prodigal Son — or the Merciful Father, as maybe it should be called. The parable’s so rich, I never get to the end of it.
Do you have a “life verse”?
Probably Psalm 1, about the person who is like a tree planted by water because he constantly meditates on God’s word. Also — in the front of my first Bible, my Dad wrote Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths. That has stood me in good stead many times, as has Philippians 4:6-7: Be anxious for nothing, but in everything with prayer and supplication let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Do you have any advice for someone just starting to read the Bible?
Just do it! Don’t get discouraged, keep at it. Make it a habit. Pray before you start and when you’re done and talk to the Lord as you read. Don’t approach it as a subject to master. Listen. It’s more like a message from a friend.
Who are your favorite saints?
One is St. Helena — Seeker of the True Cross. She shares a name with my Grandma Helen, who was a huge spiritual influence in my life. I also love St. Monica for the way she never gave up praying for her son. And what a son! I wear a medal a friend gave me that has one of them on each side. She and St. Augustine represent the two biggest parts of my life: mother, and writer/teacher of the faith. Those two things are intertwined: as a mother I teach, and as a teacher I spiritually mother. I am always trying to find the right balance.
Tell us about your family.
Mark and I have been married for more than 30 years. We met on the job, and we worked so well together that we decided to make it permanent! We have four children and a growing number of grands. Both of my parents come from large Protestant missionary families, and I was raised in a vibrant evangelical home. Our home, I hope, is a vibrant evangelical one as well – with the difference that we’re evangelically Catholic.
Who do you admire most?
Of people living today – my parents. For their love of life and strength of faith, for their never-ending patience, for their love that doesn’t know the meaning of conditions. They are who I want to be when I grow up.
What do you like to do?
Spend time with my family. Do the Sunday crossword. Curl up with a good book and a cup of hot coffee or tea. Draw. Paint. Write. Walk. Kayak. Garden. Go on pilgrimage, especially to Israel. If only there was more time …