Christina Baldwin

Being the Garden

Christina Baldwin
Being the Garden

by Kristianna 

You know how people who love to crochet start crochet clubs? Or, you have that friend who really wants to learn new things, so they’re always taking classes? 

It’s almost hilarious, but I don’t think that either Christina or myself truly realized how much we are LIVING Moolily, not until this autumn.  

We wanted to create a resource, a place of encouragement and community and life, centered around certain themes that seemed pertinent to the larger category of women that we belong to. We were aware that these themes were on our hearts because we’ve encountered them in our own lives. The kicker is, I don’t think that we recognized how much they were places of ongoing struggle, growing, and pain, until we started inviting Jesus, and others, into the conversation. 

I didn’t fully grasp my own wrestles with perfectionism until last summer when we were talking about it. I didn’t start thinking about my struggles with self-care until purposefully looking at it and realizing I didn’t even know what I needed! Vulnerability and intentional living, the importance of friendship and community, Immanuel engagement on a daily basis, are all things that I hold precious…and that I really need help in

Every series topic that we’ve felt the Lord lead us in to, be it Joy or Friendship, coincidentally turned out to be something that the Lord wanted to talk to us about like, IMMEDIATELY. With every series we have taken the journey ourselves to process, digest, dialogue with Immanuel, and glean wisdom from the women we speak with. 

I think that, sometimes, we look at leaders, motivators, and initiators, and we imagine that they have had great success in the area they’re passionate about. And sometimes that’s true. But more often then not, I think that we raise our battle/awareness cries over places that we want to live victoriously in. 

Let me assure you, Christina and I aren’t sitting on high thrones doling out wisdom to the broken. We are the broken. And it’s hugely funny how, every time one of us gets a great idea about what we should talk about six months from now, it turns out that great idea, coincidentally, will wind up being a lynchpin place of growing in those future months.

Jesus. He’s a funny guy. And so kind. 

Personally, I think the funniest of all has been this current series. The conversation went something like, “Let’s do self-care. Let’s look at our hearts as gardens. But let’s explore how we can take care of ourselves in the midst of really trying circumstances. Because, you know, lots of people find themselves in that place.” 

A few weeks ago we realized that we’re lots of people

Funny how we didn't see it earlier. Funny how we keep forging ahead, chins down, not fully recognizing that our lives had tipped the scales into another realm of difficult. 

This week I’ve been reflecting on how, whenever self-care comes up in conversations with other women, I hear the same beliefs voiced, over and over:

I don’t know where to start. I don’t have time to do it. I don't have time to figure it out. I don’t know what I need. I’m afraid to open up that door. It’s selfish. 

And then, when I ask about the garden of their heart, I hear things like:

It’s so full of weeds. Ugh, it’s a wreck. I’m sure there’s bad stuff growing in there. I know I’ve neglected my heart. I really should be doing a better job caring for myself. 

I hear overwhelm and shame and a bit of helplessness in those statements. I can empathize.

Right now, I feel a bit pulverized. By the processes I'm in. By pregnancy. I’ve joked about my pregnant brain, with my snarky commentary that it’s no fun being like normal people. (I’m a jerk face, I know.) It’s hard, though, to lose the ability to think clearly, process quickly, have words….to speak…out…what am I writing about? 

I can smell the pork slow cooking in the oven downstairs and it’s torment. 33 weeks y’all, 33 weeks. 

Hardest of all, I have microscopic capacity for anything. When my husband comes home I’ll tell him about the accomplishments of my day, which are something like, “I went to the chiropractor. I pooped. I took a nap and honestly, it was all just too much.” 

Pitiful, I am currently pitiful.

I went from actually enjoying the juggling of children, friendships, writing, PTO, groups, activities, and a large emotional capacity to process my own stuff and be with people, to being utterly undone by the chiropractor and pooping. 


After 33 weeks, I am no longer content with my big accomplishment of simply staying alive. I feel embarrassed at my own lack, my weakness, my inability to do anything. I’ve been trying to write this blog for weeks and, albeit, I had sick kids and big school breaks, but every FLIPPING time I sat down to write I LITERALLY fell asleep. I’m falling asleep right now. 


My trying circumstance isn’t just my pregnancy; it’s several difficult, unalterable things. I’ve found myself asking the question of, “How can I POSSIBLY care for the garden of my heart right now?!” Over the last few weeks the feelings of failure and overwhelm have been mounting inside of me. Seriously, how can I care for myself when I feel like I can’t?!

How do we do it when we’ve got next to no capacity for anything? How do we even begin?

If y’all didn’t listen to our last podcast with Meghan Adams’, do it. She preached and testified and shared from the very depths of her heart and it was awesome. She spoke of the picture the Lord gave her, of her own heart as a garden, and how the things that He showed her have so dramatically brought freedom.

Somewhere in the mix she mentioned how she had a moment when she realized that the garden didn’t belong to her. I think my jaw hit the floor.

The garden of my heart does not belong to me. I’m not in charge of it. 

Obviously, I am the garden. Because of that, I have a heck of a lot of power over what grows there, over whether or not I put up walls around it or plastic domes blocking the sunlight and rain. But I am not in charge! I sat on that one for about a week, hanging out with Jesus, contemplating the immensity of tenderness and gentleness that He had for me in that Truth.  

Y’all following?

What would it feel like if I released that responsibility of perceived ownership? What would it feel like if I stopped holding tightly to the feeling of control, along with it’s heaviness and anxiety? Can I accept that Jesus is in charge of my heart’s well-being, protection, safety, past, present, future? Can I trust that He has got a plan to deal with all the stuff growing on up in there in, in perfect time? Can I respond to His leadership and accept my place as a garden that partners with it’s caretaker? 

Can I believe that I don’t have to figure out how to take care of myself? Can I believe that I’m not responsible for deciphering what are the healthiest and best actions I need to take?  

I’m pathetic right now, it’s true, weak and weary.

I’ve been demoted from high-functioning. I’ve been unwillingly stripped of my super powers of muscling through life. I’m a puddle that eats, and eats, and sleeps, and moans, and can’t wait for the next two months to pass before I get so enormous that they have to pick me up out of this bed with a fork lift. 

What can I do for myself? Not much. Good thing I’m not in charge of my heart, right? 

WHOAH! Maybe it’s obvious and it’s just my pregnant brain that is so confounded by this Truth, but here’s where I’ve found incredible comfort…

In this place of unchangeable, difficult circumstances, in my season of weakness and tiny capacity, the requirement for my heart-care is ASKING Jesus what He’s going to do next and what I need to do in response to Him.

Because He is in charge. 

I’m not failing. I’m not a disappointment to Him. I’m not subpar in my heart care. I’m not doing a bad job. I don’t have to make a plan. I don’t have to figure it all out. I don’t have to assess the state of my garden on a daily basis and sort through the weeds and the fruit and “deal with it.” 

I think this is so pertinent for all of us who find ourselves in difficult circumstances. BECAUSE, whether you're pregnant or not, chances are, your capacity is going to be highly affected by whatever difficult circumstance you’re experiencing! 

Right? It feels like a catch 22. Now, more than ever, I need to care for my heart…but I have so little ability to do so! 

I want to speak right to that feeling of pressure and failure and potential anxiety and remind ALL of us that Jesus is the Lord of our hearts. Can we pull out our years of Bible memorization and scripture digesting and remind ourselves of the Truth? Jesus is the King of our hearts. He asks us to give Him our heart. He asks us to surrender Lordship to Him. He tells us (in about a thousand ways) that our surrender to Him puts Him in charge. We are no longer our own, bought with a price, purchased by His precious blood. 

What the heck do you think that means?! 

It’s not platitudes. Not trite. It means that when we surrender ownership we are NOT in charge anymore. If we walk out that surrender, each day surrendering again, we can rest in the assurance that when we ask, He will help us to understand what we need. And He will help us to get it. 

Yes, we can have all kinds of conversations about what it looks like to partner but right now let's just look at how a lot of us women, (of much capacity), have a proclivity to muscle through our seasons of weakness, because we feel like it’s our responsibility to figure it all out and do a bang-up job while we’re at it. 

Stop it. 

Find a quiet moment to connect to His heart. Surrender, once again, the role of gardener. Surrender is hard and maybe there are spaces that you feel like you can't give to Him. He KNOWS! Invite Him to show you what you need today and how He plans on bringing you EVERYTHING that you require for safety, health, comfort, nurturing, wellness, and life. 

His heart for you is so tender and He longs, deeply, to bring you into a place of trust and confidence in the midst of the hardest seasons.