Storyteller. Grace Dweller.

I’m Jennifer — wife of an Iowa farmer, mom to two girls, new book author. I believe in you, because I believe in Jesus. You matter to Him, and you matter to me. more »

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Tuesday 1st March 2016

The Tale of Two Trees — #TellHisStory (Guest Post by Scott Lee!)

IMG_9286 Every once in a while, I’ll tease my favorite farmer. “Scott,” I’ll tell him, “you’ve got a lot of wisdom up in that noggin of yours. Why don’t you guest post for me on the blog?” To which he says: “Never!”

To which I now say, “Never say never, Mr. Lee.”


Yep. Today’s the day. Scott Lee — my main man, my hot date, my favorite farmer — is guest posting. We’ve been without a pastor at our church, so several interim pastors and lay-leaders have served in the pulpit. On Feb. 14, Scott delivered a beautiful message on marriage and relationships. He’s allowing me to share a little bit of that story on the blog today.

Welcome my favorite farmer to the blog.

The Tale of Two Trees
By Scott Lee

I am a farmer’s son, now a farmer. I’m a fisherman, a hunter, and a guy who loves the Great Outdoors.

I grew up loving nature, and I have always enjoyed being outside. So, it’s no surprise that God sometimes uses nature to speak to me.

There’s a beautiful oak tree near our house. I pass this tree often, sometimes three or four times a day. It’s in a pasture a couple miles north, right across the road from our friend Helmer’s house.

But take a closer look, from a different angle.

This isn’t one tree. This is actually two trees. These trees had a tough life in that pasture. They weren’t watered and fertilized. They withstood the wear of nature. Cows and deer, roaming these fields, have rubbed up against them for years.


One day, when I was passing by, it struck me that the life of these trees was probably a lot like a marriage. Those two trees started growing next to each other, and at times it probably felt like they were fighting each other, competing for water or sun or space to spread their branches. But then something beautiful happened: Their roots grew together and they became inseparable.

And those tangled roots actually made both of them stronger.



As they grew, they each had to sacrifice something, so they wouldn’t choke out the other tree.  The trees grew “outward”– stretching their branches in different ways and different directions, reaching places that they might not have ever ventured, if they had to grow alone.

I noticed something else. In areas where they had a weakness, like a broken branch, the other tree would fill in. They complemented each other. And now this is what became of all that growth, all that pain, all that root tangling, all that movement upward, together:  this is a stunning tree, bigger and fuller than either of them would have been on their own.

This, to me, is marriage. A marriage that puts its roots down in God’s purposes can become like this – it can become one stunning tree.

God created marriage, not for all of us, but for for some of us – and He wants to use marriage to help us grow and make us more like Jesus.

Your Turn: How have your tangled roots made a relationship grow stronger with a spouse, a friend, a parent, a sibling, a child? What else do you see in the picture? 


Hey Tell His Story crew! It is a joy to gather here every week with you. The linkup goes live each Tuesday at 4 p.m. (CT). If you would use the badge on your blog, found here, that would be great! And if you would visit at least one other blogger in the link-up and encourage them with a comment, that would be beautiful! Be sure to check the sidebar later. I’ll be featuring one of you over there! Our featured writer this week is Mary Geisen. Her story about meeting Sylvia is just lovely… “We may find ourselves staring at a blessing not knowing it really is the hands and feet of Jesus.” Find Mary here. To be considered as our featured writer, be sure to use our badge or a link to my blog from your post. 🙂 xo Jennifer

  • Anna Smit

    What a beautiful picture, Jennifer. I love how these two trees show uniqueness (growing outward), support (filling in) and union (roots growing together): just like the Body of Christ too. That husband of yours should guest post here more often! Thank him for sharing this today.

  • Well, that’s it, you’re going to have to have him back to the blog. What a cool analogy. When he describes the tangling of branches at first while competing… how true is that! I could picture the early days of my own marriage… but now the stretching and growing out to new things together and withstanding things together… it’s a beautiful thing. God at the center roots us properly all the way!

    • Right? I do hope he comes back. Thanks for reading along, Christine.

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  • How wonderfully poetic! Great post. (And I agree with Christine– we need some more Scott around here! 😉 )

    • 🙂

      I’ll tell him you said so, Ally! Thanks for reading along.

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  • Mary

    Thank you for these words about relationships and marriage. I am a nature lover too and the image of tangled roots speaks to me of story. The connection of stories as their plot weaves and intersects at different points. The story becomes stronger the more it intersects because of the intricate details that become one. This is also happening with the tangled roots and it speaks of growth, love and willingness to work together.

    Jennifer-I am honored and blessed to spend time here each week. Your words speak loudly to me. Thank you for taking the time to read my story about “Sylvia” and for honoring me in this space I love so much.

    • It’s a joy to point to your great work, Mary. You are a blessing.

  • The story of the two trees with the tangled roots is a great illustration and I love the comment that when we’re growing together we can reach out to new places we would never have reached on our own.

    • Me, too, Carly … It blessed me so. Thanks for reading.

  • Anita

    This is beautiful, Scott! I find the same thing happening with my sweetheart of 27 years. We complement each other and our trials, failures, successes and journies are definintely intertwined in beautiful ways that only God and us know about.

    • Beautiful. Thanks for sharing, Anita.

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  • Such a gorgeous portrait of marriage. My husband and I celebrate 17 years this weekend. There have been knots and tangles along the way, but we’ve let God take His course and we are undeniably stronger for it, and knit together in the most beautiful way. Thank you, Scott for your words and Jennifer for bringing them to us.

    • Congratulations, Tiffany! We’ll hit the 20-year milestone in June.

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  • Thank you, Scott, for your picture of marriage. After 20 years, my husband and I have a stronger, better marriage than ever, but it takes effort and cultivation. I like your point about filling in for each other. We’ve found that usually when one is discouraged, the other can lift him up.

    By the way, I LOVED Mary’s story, reminded me so much of God’s provision for my dad who lives in a retirement center.

    • Thanks, Betsy! And yes, so grateful for Mary and her story. She’s a blessing. As are you. xo

  • Kristi Woods

    The words paint a beautiful picture. Thank you for sharing them, Scott and Jennifer. Marriage done right truly is a complimentary dance. I’m fortuante to have a husband whose roots and canopy grow well with mine. It’s a beautiful thing for any marriage.

    • So glad you have been blessed with a marriage like that, Kristi. xo

  • What a poet you married! His word pictures remind me of a poetic view of marriage provided by my favorite poet, Luci Shaw. She images a rusty trellis propping a thorned rose bush. That’s the way marriage is on this fallen planet – each one giving a bit of help; each one taking a turn at neediness. Thanks, Jennifer, for bringing your guy to the party today.

    • Oh, I love that image, Michele. Luci Shaw is brilliant.

  • This is such a beautiful illustration of marriage, Scott. Thank you for your insight. Nature can teach us so much. Jennifer, how is your dad?

    • Hi Trudy! Dad is doing very well. He maintains a very positive attitude, and is doing beautifully in his therapy. He’ll have a prosthetic leg in about six weeks, God-willing. Thank you for asking and for praying! I’m so grateful for you.

      • I’m so happy to hear this, Jennifer. Thank You, God!

  • Tara Ulrich

    So fun to read Scotts words. This jumped out at me: “God created marriage, not for all of us, but for for some of us – and He wants to use marriage to help us grow and make us more like Jesus.” And featuring Mary…so great! That post was so so beautiful!

    • Right? I loved that, too, Tara. Thanks for commenting. I’ll pass your words along to Scott.

  • Jennifer,
    Thanks for sharing Scott’s wisdom with us 🙂 This: “A marriage that puts its roots down in God’s purposes can become like this – it can become one stunning tree.” Yes!

    • Thanks for being here, Dolly!

  • Wow, what beautiful wisdom, right when I need it. Marriage is hard right now, almost a decade in. It’s a really hard patch. We don’t communicate well at all. I’ve grown a lot in my walk with Christ, and my husband is pretty much the same as he’s always been. Not to criticize at all where he’s at…because no one knows another soul’s heart but the Lord…but the difference in our attitudes and preferences has drifted a part since we said “I do.” This post gives me hope, as have other messaged God has landed in my lap this week on this topic- as He faithfully does!!!!- that in time, and with God, we’ll make it to the “roots entangled” part.
    Happy Wednesday!!!

    • Hey Meg. Thanks for sharing. We had our hardest patch right in the beginning. And I know a lot of folks who are where you’re at — in a hard patch about a decade in. One book that both Scott and I have really enjoyed is “The Meaning of Marriage” by Tim Keller. It’s very theological, but helps with the bigger picture of marriage.

      • Thank you! I appreciate the book recommendation! It’s so much easier to travel through the hard stuff knowing others have been and are there. It makes me look forward to coming out on the other side.

  • Such a beautiful, honest illustration of marriage. So grateful for these words today!

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  • super post, master farmer! so true and as it should be. took us awhile to figure out the alongsidedness thing! (maybe cuz my side tree is also Iowan?? just sayin…) you two are a great team, ptl.

  • It’s good to meet you, Scott, although we’ve grown to ‘know’ you a little through Jennifer’s words. This is a great, insightful post. You deserve a regular spot here! I can so relate to your analogy. In the early days of marriage we acted like two spindly saplings looking for a way to grow close together as life’s storms threatened to tear us apart. And now? Forty years down the line and our marriage resembles a rather gnarly, scarred oak tree which is strongly rooted in Christ, built to endure and persevere, no matter what. I love it that you’ve featured Mary’s beautiful post here too. It’s spoken to many.

    • Thanks for stopping by, and joining the conversation, Joy. And yes, Mary’s post is beautiful. I adore her. And you. xo

  • Susan

    Not only are the roots tangled but they go down deep. To the water source and when a marriage has God at the head of it, then together the roots seek the Water Giver – in the case of marriage, Jesus, He feeds living water into the union…then the two will flourish and spread their branches for the glory of God! Oh yes, and little saplings come forth 😉 …

    • I love that, Susan, your remark about roots going deeper.

  • Beautifully done, Scott!!

    • Thank you, Michelle. I’ll pass your kind words on to my favorite farmer. 🙂

  • Lynn D. Morrissey

    Wow, Scott, it’s fun to meet the man behind the women. I love all three of your girls. And I love that Jennifer is sharing your wisdom (and your talent) with us today. (It gives me hope that maybe someday my newly retired husband will do that w/ me: A dream 🙂 ! ). I love that idea of the intertwined roots of marriage, and how each tree had to sacrifice and compensate so that they could flourish together from the same sources. Too many marriage partners don’t live in tandem at all, but rather, are like those stand-alone trees you sometimes see on farms. But I love this idea of close-coupling and growing strong together. Your thoughts here remind me of what I have read about Aspen trees. Each tree’s roots stretch out to another in order to grow and thrive and gain strength. Not one tree lives without the entanglement of the other’s strength to support the other with vitality. I gotta tell you, too, Scott, that I love seeing your words entangled here with Jennifer’s! You are a farmer-author if I ever saw one! Give all those girls a great, big entangling hug from moi!

    • We really loved the analogy, too, Lynn, and I’m so grateful Scott let me share it here. He’s a really great communicator. He even reads my book chapters before I send them to Tyndale. 🙂

  • Beautiful picture of marriage, Scott & Jennifer!

  • This is such a great post! I love the analogy of the two trees and the tangled roots. What a great picture of marriage!

  • Welcome to the world of blogging, Scott! Absolutely loved your analogy of the two trees being like a married couple. Such perfect insight! Blessings!

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  • A beautiful analogy!

  • That is wonderful! Such truth in the analogy of the two trees and marriage. I’d say you have yourself a very wise man, Jennifer. I have tried to get my fella to guest post, too. He has an amazing amount of wisdom, but so far, no dice. Scott gives me hope that perhaps, one day, Greg will offer up a bit of his wisdom for my blog.

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