Monday, May 8, 2017

The Garden of Grace


For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.  
Ephesians 2:8 (NIV)


In America, and perhaps the rest of the world, many of us are raised to believe hard work will get us where we need to go. As children, our parents told us we could do and be anything we wanted as long as we set our minds to it. We chase the American dream. We admire the person who has pulled himself up from poverty to wealth. And we champion things like, “A hand up, not a handout.” So ascribing to a philosophy that tells us there is nothing we can do to gain our salvation can be hard to grasp.
One of the things that helps me understand grace is my garden. Anyone who knows me will tell you I’m a gardener. I even have a plaque from the local garden club that proves I’m an award-winning gardener.
I’ve planted flowers, bushes, trees, and veggies in my garden. I’ve watered them, picked off the bugs, weeded the soil around them, and tended them. I’ve transplanted flowers from my mother’s garden, the gardens of friends, and purchased plants from nurseries. I’ve even planted a few seeds and watched them grow. To my mind, and the mind of others, I am a gardener.

Yet, I really have nothing to do with what makes my garden grow. My plants grow through the grace of God.  They grow because somewhere, somehow, within the DNA of each plant and seed, He has provided the essence of what each rose, daylily, hosta, maple tree, pine tree, lilac and every other plant in my garden requires to make it whole. 
Yes, I tend the garden.  But in each flowerbed I can find plenty of flowers, tiny trees, and weeds that spring up without one ounce of help from me. My labors keep the flowerbeds weeded, watered, debugged, and mulched, but I can’t create a plant from nothing. In fact, I am not the gardener I believe myself to be. I am merely the caretaker of the garden God has created.

So it is with salvation. I can’t save myself any more than I can create a plant from nothing. No matter how hard I work at it, I can’t keep all God’s laws. I am, and always will be, a sinner. But because God loves me, He has gifted me with what I require to become whole in His sight. He covers me with grace, through my faith. Grace sufficient enough to save me. Grace that will allow me to dwell one day with Him.

So if I have nothing to do with my garden growing, why spend all that time working in it? Why not let God’s grace take care of the weeding, watering, and planting in my garden? The answer is simple: because I love gardening. And because I love gardening, I can’t bear not working in my garden. Thankfully, the Master Gardener God gifts me, and my garden, with grace, and permits me to call myself gardener, a caretaker of what he has created.

As Christians we, like the gardener who can’t stay out of his garden, cannot help but do good works in God’s name. Not because our works save us, but because our works praise the Lord.

So, the next time you see a bower of beautiful flowers, remember God’s grace and His gift of salvation to humankind. For He is the source of all that is good in the garden and in our lives.


Don’t forget to leave a comment to get your name in the drawing for Under This Same Sky by Cynthia Roemer! Winner will be announced in the Weekly Windup on May 15th


Catherine Castle has been writing all her life. Before beginning her career as a romance writer she worked part-time as a freelance writer. She has over 600 articles and photographs to her credit, under her real name, in the Christian and secular market. Besides writing, Catherine loves traveling with her husband, singing, and attending theatre. In the winter she loves to quilt and has a lot of UFOs (unfinished objects) in her sewing case. In the summer her favorite place to be is in her garden. She’s passionate about gardening and even won a “Best Hillside Garden” award from the local gardening club.

 Her debut inspiration romantic suspense, The Nun and the Narc, from Soul Mate Publishing was an ACFW Genesis Finalist, a 2014 EPIC finalist, and the winner of the 2014 Beverly Hills Book Award and the 2014 RONE Award. Her newest book, a romantic comedy with a touch of drama, entitled A Groom For Mama, is due out September 2017, from Soul Mate Publishing. You can follow her on Twitter @AuthorCCastle, Facebook or through her blog Romance for the Ages.


  1. Catherine, beautiful post and comparison of God's amazing grace. Yes, we are the the hands God uses to tend to our lovely gardens and all of the nature God blessed us with through His creation of the world.

  2. Thank you for sharing your beautiful post, Catherine. God is so good and we are all so blessed.

    1. Melanie, yes God is good. Thanks for commenting.

  3. Thanks for stopping by, Marilyn. His grace is wonderful indeed. I'm glad I can share it.

  4. Thank you for your beautiful thoughts. Although I haven't been recognized as such, I am also a gardener but I consider myself the weeder! Just last night I fussed at Adam because God told him that he would be forever be fighting those weeds. LOL.

    1. Oh, how I know about the weeder part! I've never thought to blame Adam. Good idea. I am waiting for my heavenly garden where everything blooms and stays in bounds, much like my hillside garden pictured above in its youth and after a good weeding. We all get one like that, right?