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The Gardener of My Heart - Kristina Spivey

My story is well expressed in a song by Emmy Rose titled, “Tend.”

“In the landscape of my life

Lord, you have a careful hand.

You take what’s dead away, and you prune what’s running wild.

Be the gardener of my heart.

Tend the soil of my soul.

Break up the fallow ground, cut back the overgrown.

And I won’t shy away.

I will let the branches fall.

So, what you want can stay, and what you love can grow.”

The door closed. It closed gently but solidly. God made it clear that the profession for which I trained, in which I was highly educated, in which I held deep experience, and from which I claimed my identity and value…was over. If that sounds dramatic…it was. But the closed door is not my story. The story is the two-year refining process that began at its closure.

In the refining, the Lord scooped me up and held our family. He started a whole new season of caring for us. I slowly discovered that who others said I was, is not who I am…that God has a plan for me and the gifts he has instilled in me…that Jesus is real and present…that my confidence comes not from what I do but from the one to whom I belong. It took time in the wilderness to learn those truths.

I learned long ago to drive hard, to out-work anyone, to see into a matter and fix it. But in the refining, on the outside of a closed door, those qualities seemed to have no place. My long-founded identity, my sense of purpose…things that had always been my go-to answer…became questions.

In the refining, God introduced a new friend. Leanne called me every day. “What are your fears? How are you doing?” She helped me shift from driven-ness to rest; to long walks in prayer; to understanding surrender and grace; to listen as Jesus instructed me.

In the refining, the biggest surprise was the growing clarity of who I was and who I am becoming. Jesus showed me the weeds that had grown into my life, weeds that I ignored in my sprint through the day. He gently taught me that it was time to stop and pull those weeds…most importantly, to invite him to pull them. God was becoming the gardener of my heart.

In the refining, there were gifts from Jesus. I learned to walk through suffering of separation. Our daughter came to faith in Christ. I discovered forgiveness in ways I had thought impossible. I experienced restoration from old wounds. I learned to pace myself to God’s cadence. I found peace. God was tending the soil of my soul.

In the refining, the door opened with a phone call. “I am going to run for office. Will you help me? I believe you are the one.”

“But I have no training, no experience in managing a campaign.”

“You have determination. You drive to the end. You organize chaotic details. You know how to fix things. You are passionate. You are the one!”

The Lord nodded. I said yes. The campaign was a success. We won.

I received another call. “Can you help me with my campaign?”

The Lord nodded again. Another win.

There was a third call…that story continues.

In the refining, I learned to wait for God, to respond to his instruction, to act at his nod.

Emmy Rose’s song became my prayer.

“Break up the fallow ground, cut back the overgrown.

And I won’t shy away. I will let the branches fall.

So, what you want can stay, and what you love can grow.”

I am grateful for closed doors. I am grateful for the wilderness. I am grateful for the refining. I am grateful for God’s assignment, and I will do it until he says otherwise.

Kristina Spivey is a native of Birmingham, AL and has been a Mobile resident for the last 20 years after attending the University of South Alabama. Kristina and her husband Mark have been married 12 years and have a daughter, Catherine, who will be a fifth grader at UMS Wright in the fall. Kristina has always had a passion for children, having worked and served in various capacities including a 2nd grade schoolteacher. In late 2021, she began a career path as a political consultant, where she currently serves today.



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