Today's blog guest is my sweet friend Rachel Schmoyer, who has a heart for helping women read and understand the "hard parts" of Scripture. I love this idea, because there's for every comforting, easy-to-understand, Instagrammable Bible verse, there are at least three that aren't quite so pretty or easy...but those are God's words, too, and we need to give them as much respect and attention as we do the easy parts. That's why I'm so grateful for Rachel and her ministry!
Welcome to the blog, Rachel!
Thanks so much for having me!
What inspired your passion for helping Christ followers read and understand the hard parts of Scripture?
A couple of years ago, I studied Revelation with my Bible Study Fellowship group. Heading into the study I was excited to dive into the hard parts about the end times and dissect the timeline, but that’s not what we ended up doing. We found simple truths for today in the complex book of Revelation. I was amazed at the heartfelt applications we found in a Bible book that we often avoid because it sounds scary or confusing. This study launched me to find simple truths in other complex passages. Hence, Read the Hard Parts was born!
What is the hardest "hard part" you’ve ever studied, and how did your faith grow as a result?
I think the hardest hard part is always the one I am studying at the moment! I just finished reading Leviticus and I jotted down a list of hard parts while reading. There is the story of a man who blasphemes and he must be stoned to death. That’s tough. What about forgiveness? Soon I will go back and really study this passage and what we can learn from it for today.
One hard part I studied that helped my faith grow was the book of Malachi. Twice in the book of Malachi God says He hates something. I normally think of God as love, so that rubbed me the wrong way. When I dug into the passages, I saw a God who lovingly rescues His people and a God who desires us to love each other. I wrote about the hard parts of Malachi here.
What is the best book you’ve read recently and why?
I recently finished listening to The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald for the second time. I’m not sure why the book captivates me so. I do like how he can paint the picture of a scene in a few words. I’m intrigued by the mystery of figuring out whether Gatsby is a good guy or a bad guy and I’m still not sure if I have an answer there. I’m going to hit some used book stories during my summer vacation and I hope to find a vintage copy of the book so that I read it next year. Then I can go through it slowly to figure out why I am drawn to this book.
What does your writing routine look like, if you have one? What obstacles present themselves in making time to write?
Most days I check in on Twitter’s #5amwritersclub. I get in some words before the rest of the household wakes up which gives me a jump start to my writing day. I am very blessed to have a husband who supports my writing so during the school year when my four kids are in school I have the whole day to work on my writing.
The summer is where I find the most obstacles to my writing between the kids being home and there being no true “normal” summer day. Every day is so different I have to reinvent the wheel each day to find time to write. Yesterday was my husband’s day off and he let me sneak off to the public library for two hours so I could write. It was glorious.
I always have a variety of writing going on. In addition to blogging at Read the Hard Parts, I’ve been busy sending out book proposals and queries to literary agents. My goal is to publish devotional books for women on the hard parts of Scripture. I write a monthly Family Life column for Pandora’s Box Gazette, an online magazine. I am also do copywriting for business clients, and wrote about that for Almost An Author. I am also a copywriter so I write for business clients. I also write about copywriting for Almost an Author.
What do you do when you are not writing?
When I am not writing I do a lot of family stuff: dishes, laundry, cooking, playing games with the kids, answering questions like, “Mom, can I play with candles and fire?” (Editor's Note: You are not alone in this).
I also read a lot. I always have several Bible or spiritual life books going which I keep sprinkled throughout the house so one is always nearby. I read a lot of history and biography, too. For the past several years I have been reading through biographies of the First Ladies of the United States in chronological order. I am in the middle of Lou Hoover right now so I am in the Great Depression. It’s interesting to reread about each major time period since the lives of the First Ladies overlap one another. I read about the Civil War 17 times since it is prominent in the lives of the First Ladies from all the way from Julia Tyler to Edith Roosevelt. The biographies give me a multitude of perspectives on our nation’s history.
If you could have coffee/tea/gratuitous amounts of carbs with any author, living or dead, who would you choose? What would you want to talk about with him or her?
Well, as long as we are having tea, it may as well be a party! I would invite Carl Anthony, who is a First Ladies biographer and historian. I would also invite Elisabeth Elliot, who was a missionary, linguist, writer, and speaker who often spoke about women and their God-given roles. And I would invite Jane Austen. We would have a lively discussion about how women influence society and what makes one woman stand out more than another in both God’s eyes and in society’s eyes as a force for good.
How can we pray for you?
Thank you for praying! That is so kind of you. Please pray that I would be patient and focus on one step at a time in my writing life. I am so eager to write and publish a book, but I need to trust that God will bring a literary agent at the right time.
Rachel Schmoyer is a pastor’s wife and mom of four from the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania. She is a writer at Read the Hard Parts.Her goal is to encourage and equip Christians to find simple truths in the complex parts of Scripture. You can connect with Rachel on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. You can also subscribe to her weekly newsletter with Bible reading tips and insights about the hard parts of Scripture.