The Garden of the Soul: Cultivating Your Spiritual Life, By Keri Wyatt Kent

The Garden of the Soul

Cultivating Your Spiritual Life

by Keri Wyatt Kent

The Garden of the Soul
  • Length: 204 pages
  • Published: June 10, 2002
  • Imprint: IVP Formatio
  • Item Code: 2349
  • ISBN: 9780830823499

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These words can fence in your life. The demands on your time and energy too often leave you feeling depleted. How do you foster spiritual growth amid the realities of life today?

Confession, solitude, service, studying the Word, praying, simplifying. Keri Wyatt Kent introduces these disciplines--the practices that foster a flourishing, fruitful garden within your soul. In The Garden of the Soul Kent explores how common disciplines of gardening parallel these necessary habits of spiritual life.

As you work with God to create the right conditions in the soil of your soul, growth will follow. And the harvest will be glorious.

"Keri joins an ancient stream of thinkers and writers who look at the growth of all living things and reflect on the growth of the heart. Jesus teaches the deep wisdom that we can?t make it happen by ourselves, but we have much to do. It requires wisdom. "Keri writes as a mom, wife and active, real-world person. I remember hearing about a parent who asked once at a seminar on desert spirituality--'Is there childcare in the desert?' If you ever ask that kind of question--how is growth possible in my world?--this book is for you. For it turns out that while there might not be childcare in the garden, caring for children can become one of the ways that God causes the garden of your soul to grow. "Her approach is accessible--anybody who really wants to grow can jump right in. It?s also realistic--you don?t have to resign from your life and go be a hermit someplace. Her voice will bring hope to people who may have felt stagnant for too long. "So here?s to growth. Read the book--slowly if you can--but read it with an eye and ear for God?s hand and voice."

John Ortberg, from the foreword

"With wisdom and humor, Keri Kent offers a practical handbook for gardening the soul. Both the novice and the experienced gardener will delight in her backyard tussels and triumphs, and anyone can grow spiritually through these honest insights to nurturing a relationship with God."

Judith Couchman, author of A Garden?s Promise

"If the thought of the spiritual disciplines intimidates you, then stop by The Garden of the Soul. Keri Kent?s wonderful book helps us understand the importance and excitement that come from cultivating our spiritual life. It will make you want to sink deeper roots with God--and maybe plant a garden too!"

Lee Strobel, author of The Case for Christ

"Our first home was a garden where we were surrounded by natural images that served as teachers for cultivating our spiritual lives. When we left the garden and made cities for ourselves, we lost our connection with the soil. What Keri Kent has done through the garden of her own backyard is to reconnect us with our first teachers whose soft-spoken lessons are winsome as they are wise."

Ken Gire, author of Intimate Moments with the Savior

"In nine short chapters, Kent uncovers connections between gardening and the Christian life. Some of these insights have been fodder for other spirituality-of-gardening books; the necessity of the regular pruning of both trees and souls has been lovingly explored before. Other chapters are more original, as when Kent compares the need for Sabbath rest to the biblical command of allowing land to lie fallow at predetermined intervals. The book is refreshingly honest; Kent gracefully presents an 'ideal' of spiritual practice while admitting that she often falls short of that ideal. Well-written and often perceptive, Kent's book will be most appreciated by fellow gardeners, particularly parents, since many of the insights here relate as much to raising children as they do to growing plants."

Jana Reiss for Religion Bookline (an e-mail newsletter from Publishers Weekly), May 14, 2002


Foreword by John Ortberg
1. Winter: An Invitation to a More Fruitful Spiritual Life
2. Soil: Submitting Yourself to God's Cultivating Work
3. Fence: Meeting God in Solitude and Silence
4. Mess: Connecting with God Through Other People
5. Seed: Hearing and Obeying God's Word
6. Water: Transforming Your Heart Through Reflective Reading, Prayer and Meditation
7. Space: Pruning to Make Room for Growth
8. Rest: Establishing a Sabbath Rhythm
9. Harvest: Celebrating God's Gifts


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Keri Wyatt Kent

Keri Wyatt Kent is the author of God's Whisper in a Mother's Chaos (IVP, 2000), The Garden of the Soul (IVP, 2002), and Breathe (Revell, 2005). She has coauthored several books and Bible studies, including Courageous Faith Through the Year. Her writing and teaching ministry is focused on guiding others toward a deeper and more authentic relationship with Christ. A former newspaper reporter, she has been writing professionally for more than twenty years. She lives with her family in Illinois.