Guest Interview: Sarah Koontz

On Wednesdays in my Meeting God in the Garden series, I host guest interviews with other Christian gardeners.  Today I want to introduce you to writer, blogger, and speaker Sarah Koontz.

Sarah Koontz invites Christians of all ages to explore the beauty of God’s design through her blog at SarahKoontz.com. She is a passionate storyteller who enjoys using illustrations to communicate deep spiritual truths. Sarah lives on 13-acres in South Dakota with her husband, two daughters and a rowdy flock of 30 chickens. She revels in their simple, uncluttered life.

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

My husband and I built our dream home out on 13 acres in the country in the spring of 2013. We moved in at the end of May after a whirlwind 3-month building project. One of my requests (and all of you women know, it was more of an ultimatum) was that hubby build me a garden ASAP so I didn’t miss the growing season. By June 1, I was planting my very first vegetable garden.

I now tend a 5,000 square foot vegetable and flower garden each summer and I just love preparing garden fresh meals and cutting bouquets of flowers for my kitchen.

My favorite thing about having such a large food garden is all the time my family spends together working on garden projects. My kids have learned how to pull weeds, pick rocks, and water plants. We often make up stories or sing songs with one another, and our time together in the garden leaves our hands dirty and our hearts full. It isn’t always easy to get your kids involved in garden work, but it is well worth the effort!

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

I used to be fearful when late February arrived and it was time to start seeds in my basement. I worried that they wouldn’t sprout, or that they would mysteriously die without any cause or correction. Time and experience has taught me that plants require very little to grow and flourish. A base of nutritious soil, consistent watering, lots of light and a little love is all it takes to nurture a seed into a healthy plant. All I must do is supply these things, and growth is all but guaranteed.

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

In the very same way that I provide for the needs of my plants, God has supplied each of us with all that we need to grow. The difference between a person who sprouts and one who remains dormant is whether or not there is any life within the seed. The only way to guarantee life is to trust completely in the Author of all life. This is the first, and most crucial step in our journey towards fruitfulness.

Just like my plants, I am coming out of a difficult season of life. A season where I was beat down and unable to produce fruit. I am grateful to the Master Gardener who patiently tended to my needs during that time. He did not give up on me; He continued to believe that I was capable of producing a harvest. I have been restored and I am ready to bear fruit!

There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens. Ecclesiastes 3:1

I am learning to accept the fact that there are seasons in life; seasons of restoration, seasons of fruitfulness, seasons of trial and tribulation. We are not capable of producing fruit in each season, but we must always be conscious of the purpose of our existence.

We were created to produce fruit. When we are not, we need to stop and ask ourselves some challenging questions.

~Do I have a relationship with the Master Gardener?

~When was the last time I produced fruit?

~Am I in a season of restoration or tribulation where fruitlessness is acceptable?

~What can I do to move towards fruitfulness in my life?

Just like the plants in our gardens, many obstacles must be overcome in order to reach the place of fruitfulness.  Each and every step we make towards maturity is a crucial part of our own journey towards a fruitful life.

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

I enjoy working with my hands, tenderly caring for my plants and nurturing their growth.  Each time I step foot in my garden I witness both vulnerability and strength.  I see the beauty of the emerging seedling, so much life contained in such a small package. I see the daises, zinnias, and calendula and am amazed by the intricacy of their design.

Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.” Luke 12:27

When we built our home in the country, we decided to live a different kind of life.  We chose peace and tranquility over the hustle and bustle of the city. It took time, but slowly I discovered a new purpose. Encouraging growth in my children, my friends and my garden taught me that I was created to nurture others.

With my words, my actions, and my hands, I help things grow. I will never forget the hard times that lead up to our decision to move to the country.  Each moment I spend in my garden brings me one step closer to the life that I envision for myself.  A fruitful life, a different life.


In our gardens, as in life, storms are an undeniable reality. We get hit by some pretty powerful storms where I live, and I used to be so upset when I watched those clouds roll in. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve run out to my garden with buckets, blankets, and rocks to try to protect what I could from the impending storm.

We are hoping to build some structures to protect my garden from damaging winds and hailstones, but in the meantime…I’ve just got to learn to love the process, storms and all. Even when I’ve lost plants to the elements, I have never regretted the time spent in my garden. I have faith that you won’t either because there is always great joy to be found in the journey.

 

Sarah has created a 12-day e-series compiling her best gardening tips and tricks along with the many life-lessons she has learned along the way. Are you signing up? I am!

***

Thank you Sarah for this wonderful interview!

Follow Sarah on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. Read Sarah’s full bio Here.

Questions for reflection:

Are you coming out of a difficult season? How is God still bearing fruit through you?

How is God protecting you from the storms in your heart’s garden?

Join me tomorrow for my final post in my Meeting God in the Garden series! In the meantime, read my previous gardener interviews with Barb Bailey, Michele Morin, Leslie Newman, Christie Purifoy, Dawn Boyer, and Susan Shipe.

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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This post will be linked up at #coffeeforyourheart, #wisewomanlinkup, #sittingamongfriends, #womenwithintention, #writerwednesday, #encouragingwordwednesday, #rechargewednesday, #messymarriage, and #christianbloggerlinkup. Visit my linkups page to find links to these wonderful blogs.

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Guest Interview with Barb Bailey

April 19, 2017

Guest Interview: Christie Purifoy

May 10, 2017

Guest Interview: Susan Shipe

May 22, 2017
  • Hi Sarah G, It’s great to see you featuring one of my favorite bloggers. I can certainly attest that my Sarah (Koontz) is certainly in the profession of helping things to grow. I have been in her garden for some time now as a reader of her blog and receiver of her Saturday SOULfood emails, and i can attest that she is helping me to grow. Thank you so much for featuring her! And to you Sarah K, all I can say is..That Salad, though! It looks amazing. If I ate more of that I’d certainly have less belly fat! Love you, girlfriend. 🙂

    Tiffiney
    WelcomeHomeMinstry.com

    • Sarah Geringer

      Hi Tiffiney, glad to see you here! I enjoy Sarah K’s blog so much too. I’ve learned a lot from her, and I was glad to feature here in this series. Blessings to you!

    • You are just the sweetest, Tiffiney. Consider yourself invited over for my famous greek salad. Just be sure to call ahead 😉

  • Your words and your pictures nourish my heart!

    • Sarah Geringer

      Thanks for reading, Michele!

    • If you ever take a trip west, you’ll have to look me up. I’d love to cook a garden fresh meal for you, Michele. Oh, and introduce you to my chickens.

  • Meghan Weyerbacher

    Sharing this awesome post!

    • Sarah Geringer

      Thank you Meghan!

    • Thanks, friend!

  • What a joy to see Sarah’s garden and pictures of her amazing land. I love the lessons we can learn about God through gardening. Although I can’t keep a plant alive–I sure do admire those who can. I can’t imagine watching a storm come in that could possibly destroy all the hard work put into tending a garden. Such parallels to the Christian walk.

    • Sarah Geringer

      Hi Valerie, I’m thankful for your visit and comment today!

    • My mom always tries to buy me things in pots, but I can’t keep potted anything alive! The ground is so much more forgiving. I always laugh because I’ll keep this whole huge garden going but that one pot on my deck is dead as a door nail.

  • Wow, what a beautiful piece of land and garden Sarah and her husband have! I would love to live on a farm like that but don’t know the first thing about livestock or gardens for that matter. I think it takes a special person like Sarah Koontz and you, Sarah Geringer, to patiently tend to those emerging shoots of life and fruitfulness. I suppose the only gardens I tend have people as the “plants!” 😉

    I love the biblical insights that Sarah shared with us and I’m reminded of 2 Peter 1:3–knowing that God has given us everything we need through His divine power so that we can grow deep roots into His soil and produce the spiritual fruit that’s being discussed here. Thanks for inspiring us!

    • Sarah Geringer

      Hello Beth…I’d love to have her spread too, but I’m thankful for mine, which is almost more than I can handle! Glad you stopped by today!

    • Can I share a secret? I knew nothing about gardening or raising animals when we moved out here either. I always say it’s a skill you’ve got to learn just like anything else in life. I’ve since discovered that plants and animals are more likely to grow up and be healthy than they are to drop dead, so it’s really just my job to make sure the scales don’t tip too far in the wrong direction.

  • I always love the focus of seasons. So often I find myself rushing into something or lamenting something that just isn’t right for the season I’m in. God’s grace (and reminders like these) show me the importance of His seasons!

    • Sarah Geringer

      Thank you for reading today, Rebecca!

    • I feel the same way, seasons are beautiful and necessary. We’ve always got to remember that we can have it all, we just can’t have it all in the same season (because that’s simply not how life works).

  • That is such a large garden. What a lot of produce you will have this summer! I’m sure you will bless not only your family with it, but others as well. Blessings on you all in your slower-paced life! That’s an awesome way to live.

    • Sarah Geringer

      Thanks for stopping by, Lisa!

    • Thanks Lisa, I’m thinking it’s a bit too large. But we love it, and when we have a good season, there’s so much abundance to share. I love that part.

  • Melanie Maddox Redd

    Great interview, Sarah and Sarah!
    Don’t you love how God always provides!

    • Sarah Geringer

      Hi Melanie! Thanks for your visit today!

  • Shannon Geurin

    What a great interview girls! I love how well-rounded you are Sarah Koontz!

    • Sarah Geringer

      Hi Shannon, thanks for your comment. Can’t wait to link up at #saltandlight tomorrow, and so excited for all God is doing in your life right now!

    • Ha ha ha….oh, Shannon. I desperately try to be well rounded. But it requires constant reconsidering, rearranging, recalibrating. I’m so glad to know at least some of the hard work is paying off 😉

  • Rebecca Lynn

    You ladies knew I needed these words today. I’ve been struggling the last few weeks — feeling not only unfruitful, but just all dug up and covered in dirt. I’ve been questioning everything. Why am I doing this? Have I walked ahead of God … or am I shuffling behind Him? Whatever the case, I feel a bit lost. But I have to trust that it’s simply a time for cultivating the soil to plant something new. It’s a time for trusting, waiting, and being hopeful for the fruitful season. There would be no fruit without cultivating first.

    • Sarah Geringer

      Praying for you, Rebecca. I hope you see new fruit soon!

    • Sweet, Rebecca. Can I tell you something? I’m noticing a similar pattern in my own life. It seems as though….RIGHT BEFORE….God moves me to the next step, I have a week/day/month of doubt and confusion. It’s ridiculous because it seems to happen every time He’s moving me somewhere new. As I look back over the past year, I’ve had so many moments of confusion…sort of like raging storms before rainbows, but not nearly as poetic. I’m starting to think the enemy is attacking me, trying to keep me stuck, scared of what will happen if he doesn’t stop me. Maybe the same thing is going on in your life…

      • Rebecca Lynn

        Oh my goodness, Sarah — yes, yes, yes! I have seen it more than once, and that’s why I’m continuing to strive to see His face instead of all the muck and confusion. And you know what, He is already providing glimpses of clarity and reason. 🙂 He is ALWAYS faithful to those who love Him and seek His purpose. ALWAYS. Thank you for this beautiful reminder. <3

        • I am so glad to hear you are able to see through the storm. Keep pressing on, friend!

  • What a wonderful interview! Love both of you so much!

  • Sarah K., I loved hearing about your garden and enjoyed your insights! Sarah G., thanks for sharing such a great interview! Blessings to you both!

    • Sarah Geringer

      Thanks Leslie! Blessings to you too, and I’m glad you were one of my guests in this series also!

  • Stephanie Thompson

    Having just read Sarah’s post on the FMF linkup (“visit”), I happened upon this post. I’m a fan of both of you so what a blessing it was to read this. I was intrigued by this question-“Am I in a season of restoration or tribulation where fruitlessness is acceptable?” What a compelling question to ponder. We don’t usually give ourselves permission to be in that place. In stead, we experience heaps of guilt or fear. Thank you for lifting this question up.

    • Sarah Geringer

      So true, Stephanie. It needs to be a place of grace instead of guilt or fear.