Guest Interview: Leslie Newman

On Wednesdays in my Meeting God in the Garden series, I will feature guest interviews with other Christian gardeners.  Today I want to introduce you to my friend and fellow blogger Leslie Newman.

Leslie is a wife, mother, friend, heart-encourager, and recovering perfectionist. She spends her days home educating, writing, and hunting wildflowers on her farm in rural Kentucky. Drop by and visit her at her blog, journeytoimperfect.com, where you’ll find her talking about faith, prayer, and letting go of perfect.

Q: Tell us about your own garden. What is your favorite kind of gardening (flower, vegetable, container, etc.) and why?

By far, my favorite gardens are flower gardens. I love the simplicity and beauty of them. Cultivated flower gardens are lovely, but my favorite kind of garden grows in its natural habitat every spring on
our farm. It’s God’s garden, so to speak, since the flowers I’m referring to are wildflowers. They’ve been blooming on this farm for generations on end.

From early March to mid-May the bluff and creek bottoms are full of a colorful collection of tiny wildflowers arranged so beautifully by the hand of God who created them. I enjoy looking for wildflowers and have come across some of the most delicate and intricate creations of nature that I have ever seen as I walk in the
woods on my wildflower hunts.

Q: What spiritual lessons has God taught you through gardening?

It’s hard to imagine how lovely the spring wildflowers are. Even the photos don’t do them justice. They are so colorful, delicate, and beautiful and there is such a wide variety of them. They have done nothing to earn their beauty. The are beautiful because God made them that way. They are unique and individual and colorful, and they are found in many different shapes and sizes. Their beauty and individuality is a gift given to them by their creator.  He created them with such variety because He wanted to. It pleased Him.

Sometimes though, you have to search long and hard before you see the beauty right in front of you. Although many wildflowers are out in the open where they can easily be seen, others hide away in the nooks and crannies of the woodland or they camouflage themselves with colors that match their surroundings. This is what makes wildflower hunting so intriguing. Every year I find something new.

I see many spiritual parallels. As women, we can’t imagine how lovely we are to God. We can’t do anything to earn God’s love. That is a gift He gives us. He created us beautiful and lovely, full of individuality. We come in as many different varieties as those sweet little wildflowers. He made us this way because it pleased Him. We are His precious creation. His love is a gift that can’t be taken away. It should be what defines us and gives us confidence. It’s where our real beauty comes from.

However, the beauty in our lives can be difficult to see at times. It hides in the recesses of our hearts and lies dormant just like the flowers in their winter seasons. But God, because of His infinite love for us, gives us all that we need to thrive and find the beauty hidden inside. He provides the soils of His word as our firm foundation, and He sent his Son to die for us so we could receive a life we didn’t deserve. He brings the rains of His Holy Spirit to water and refresh our souls, to teach us the truth and to help us through our cold
winter seasons.

When we fix our eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-2), we can push away the old dead leaves of winter and bloom with the confidence and beauty we’ve been given because of the grace of God. We can glorify Him in our day-to-day lives just like one of these tiny and delicate blooms that rises up year after year in the early spring sunshine.

Consider how the wildflowers grow: They don’t labor or spin thread. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these!  Luke 12:27 HCSB

 

Q: In this year’s gardening season, what challenges do you face? How do they correlate with your faith?

In this year’s spring wildflower season I have struggled with setting aside the time it takes to do the looking. It’s a quiet, slow sort of walking with lots of stooping and searching and photo taking. I’m usually in the woods for a couple of hours when I go wildflower hunting. If I let my to-do list take over, I lose time with God in nature that I can never get back. It will roll around again next year, but the beauty of this particular season will be gone.

It is good and healthy to take time out to rest and do things we take pleasure in. When we do this, we enjoy the season while we are in it and we get the added benefit of seeing God in ways we may have never expected!

***

Thank you Leslie for this lovely interview and these gorgeous photos!

Visit Leslie’s social media links:
Facebook  Twitter  Pinterest  Instagram

Questions for reflection:

How do wildflowers inspire your faith?

What kind of beauty is right in front of you today? What do you need to do to see it?

When will you stop and rest in God’s presence today?

Join me tomorrow for another post in my Meeting God in the Garden series! In the meantime, learn how I weed my heart’s garden and how the right soil makes all the difference.

My book The Fruitful Life is a study on the fruits of the spirit, and my book Newness of Life is about trusting in God’s perfect timing.  Both books are available now on Amazon.

Free resources for these books await you if you sign up for my email list below.  Sign up here to gain access to these free resources, plus lots of other exclusive content!

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  • Hi Sarah,
    We’re neighbors today at Coffee for your Heart and I really enjoyed this insightful interview! Gardens are great places for spiritual parallels and a place to enjoy God’s process in growth and blooming through the seasons. Enjoyed my visit here today!

    • Sarah Geringer

      Hi Valerie! Thanks for reading. I’m visiting your site now!

  • Sarah, It has been a real blessing to be a part of your Meeting God in the Garden blog series. Thank you so much for having me today!

    • Sarah Geringer

      I’m so honored to host you here, friend. Your words in this post are encouraging my heart this week!

  • Leslie, your wildflower gardening is such a gorgeous metaphor for the discipline of enjoying God’s blessings wherever they occur. And it’s true that photos just don’t do them justice. Thanks for this walk through your fields and forests.

    Thank you, Sarah, for this lovely series. The grandboy and I were outside weeding rhubarb today, but the ground is still too cold for seeds . . . trying to be patient.

    • Michele, Thank you! I loved sharing here! Thank you for visiting. I enjoyed your garden when I visited with you and Sarah last week!

    • Sarah Geringer

      Hi Michele, here in flooded Missouri it’s too wet to plant my cabbages, tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers yet. They are sitting on the porch waiting for the drier, sunny days of next week to arrive. Can’t wait to get my hands dirty!

  • Bettie G

    Thank you Leslie and Sarah for sharing this great post and series! Wildflowers in the spring are one of my favorites! I do love the way that God shows us His extravagant creativity through them. You are right that they are here for such a short time every year, and it’s sad when we miss that time. But how great that you’ve captured so many of them in these photos for us to share. Thank you for sharing God’s beauty with us! Blessings to you both!

    • Bettie, You are welcome! I really enjoyed sharing my flowers and thoughts in Sarah’s Meeting God in the Garden series. I really appreciate your kind comments!

    • Sarah Geringer

      Bettie, I’m glad this series is helpful to you, and I appreciate all the comments you’ve made!

  • Beautiful post Leslie. I love the symmetry you have used with gardening and your faith. We are so blessed that God continues to shower us with the holy Spirit regardless of where we have been planted. He wants us to bloom for His glory and purpose. Thank you Leslie for sharing your insights and Sarah for sharing this post. My mother loves to garden since I can remember so this post spoke to me. I hope you both have an amazing weekend and may God bless you and yours.

    • Sarah Geringer

      Hello Horace! Thanks for reading. I’m glad it blessed you. Have a wonderful weekend, and God bless you also!

  • Gretchen

    Loved the photos and the rich perspective!! I especially enjoyed the point about the wildflowers being uniquely created by God for His enjoyment. We wouldn’t think of criticizing or comparing flowers. We allow them to be beautiful in their own way yet we won’t allow this mindset for ourselves. Powerful! Thanks for this Leslie and Sarah:) And Leslie, where are you from? I’m from Horse Cave, Kentucky and we still have our family lake house on Barren River Lake that we go back to every summer for family time. Love my home state and so do our kids!

    • Sarah Geringer

      Hi Gretchen, thanks for commenting! I like your point, “We wouldn’t think of criticizing or comparing flowers.” So true, and we need to apply that to ourselves.

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