There are two trees that stand tall and wide in knotted glory over the backyard.
I love these two trees that keep a watchful and shaded eye over picnics and football games and those who venture onto the swing hung from their branches.
I couldn’t stop looking at them this Thanksgiving week we spent at the farm though.
Sitting on the back porch, anyone can see they are clearly two trees. But as you begin to wander around the yard, it becomes less evident.
Their expansive branches fuse one right into the other so you can’t tell from above where the one tree stops and the others starts. If you walk to the driveway and study them from the side, you can’t see the window of space which separates one from the other and they merge in your vision into one magnificent mark of nature. Even though we can’t see their roots spread out deep into the soil, I am confident in the depth of the dark dirt they appear even more like one. Roots twisted and turned around each other having grown down deep into the same small space of land.
They’ve been tested and torn. They survived two massive hurricanes in the past ten years. They lost leaves and branches and limbs but still they stood. Each separate but inextricably intertwined with the other.
God’s illustration of marriage.
We’re approaching our ten year wedding anniversary. This week marks our first date twelve years ago.
We’ve faced some hurricanes of our own, one of the biggest hit this fall. This is what I know:
Our branches have begun to overlap so that from some angles we look more like one than ever.
Our roots have grown deep and twisted and turned around one another.
I need this man more today than I ever have.
I love this man more today than I ever knew I could when I began to fall all those years ago.
I have seen earthquakes and hurricanes tear down gorgeous couplings older and deeper than our own. In an era when marriages are assailed with powerful torrents every single day called pornography and addiction and financial indebtedness and loss and mistrust and technology and long hours at the office and Ashley Madison, it’s a wonder any still stand.
I’m not so naïve to think we are immune from the storms. In fact, I wouldn’t want our marriage to avoid all storms because then it wouldn’t be able to withstand a simple bayou breeze when it came through. I know the rain comes and the storms beat on all the houses (Matthew 7) and trees, and the only way a house has a chance of standing is if it’s built on the Rock or rooted deep in Him.
So we pray for strength. We pray for grace. We pray for mercy. We pray for wisdom. We trust that our faith will allow us to draw from something deeper so we will remain standing on the other side of the storm.
I know marriage is hard. (Some days. Some days it is awesome and fun and easy and a piece of cake…) But the ones that withstand the storms are such a beautiful picture of who God is and how two unique and lovely independent trees can come to grow together and rely on one another.