At the age of thirteen, Sarah Koontz had a conversation with God.
“My whole life, people have been telling me to believe you. To trust you. To obey you.
They tell me that you are good and that you love me. And, if what I’ve been told is true, you deserve nothing less than all of me.
And, after taking time to study the Bible for myself, I realize that you are deserving of my whole heart and my whole life. So, from this day forward, I’m all yours.”
Little did she know how the simple prayer would alter the course of her life!
The next twenty years would serve as a spiritual boot camp for Sarah, strengthening her faith and preparing her heart for full-time ministry work. In spite of many dead ends and unexpected detours, Sarah never wavered in her commitment to God—and He never ceased to be everything she believed Him to be, and more.
A deep longing to be used by God motivated Sarah to learn the inductive Bible study method, serve overseas in short-term missions, volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center, and complete a Biblical Counseling training program by the age of twenty-two. A few years later she and her husband, Ryan, were blessed with two daughters, born just seventeen months apart. While her children were young, God taught Sarah that her primary ministry will always be at home—serving her husband and nurturing her children.
As her kids grew, so did Sarah’s desire to serve God in her community. By her late twenties, Sarah was coordinating her local MOPS group, hosting a Bible study in her home, co-leading a Sunday school class with her husband, and personally discipling many women. But an unexpected health crisis forced Sarah to step down from her ministry roles and enter into a season of solitude and healing. While she was recovering, God taught Sarah how unconditional His love truly is.
“When I lost my health, my whole world crashed to pieces. For the first time in my life, I was unable to perform for the acceptance and approval of others. I was no good to anyone, least of all God, and the void threatened to swallow me whole.
In moments of crisis, we either raise our fist in anger at God and shout, ‘How dare you let this happen to me?’ Or we unclench our fingers, reach out our open hand to God, and ask Him to show us a better way. I am so grateful I found the strength to reach up to God in desperation and ask Him to teach me a new way of living—to teach me how to rearrange my life according to His design.”
For the past five years, God has been faithfully teaching Sarah the intricacies of His design for us—His children. She has learned to embrace the intoxicating beauty of a small, purpose-filled life, the indescribable blessing of a weak and fragile body, and the immeasurable benefit of living by God’s design.
In 2015, Sarah Koontz started writing about the things God was teaching her, in hopes of inspiring others to explore the beauty of His design for their lives. Her blog posts, SOULfood e-mails, and Bible studies are packed with engaging stories, memorable illustrations, and deep spiritual truths. Her commitment to rightly divide the Word of God, and her desire to humbly and transparently encourage others is evident in her writing and speaking.
Although she’ll always be willing to share the Gospel message with others, Sarah’s personal calling is to feed the sheep (Jn 21:17). She’s always had a deep love for the Church and a desire to see all Christians experience the glorious riches of their inheritance in Christ Jesus (Eph 1:18).
Ask Sarah why she decided to establish Living by Design Ministries, and she’ll likely hold up a finger, run into her office, and grab a small white book from her little red writing desk. Upon returning, Sarah will place the book in front of you and say,
“This book is completely blank. The cover, the pages, they contain no words. I made this book to serve as a reminder that it is not my job to write my story. I am simply an empty book, God is the Author—and I trust Him to craft something beautiful out of my life.
I feel the same way about this ministry. It’s a blank canvas for God’s love story to unfold upon. Nothing more, nothing less. Where the story goes from here? Well, that’s entirely up to Him.”
Sarah and her husband Ryan live on thirteen acres in the heart of the Black Hills, SD. They have two beautiful daughters, Anya (10) and Nadia (9), a rowdy flock of chickens, and two cats. Sarah is an avid gardener, a faithful coffee drinker, lover of one-pot-dinners, and an unexpected homeschooler. When she’s not covered in dirt or caring for her family, Sarah loves to spend her weekends reading Historical Fiction and listening to Norah Jones on Pandora radio.