A tree could never thrive without the dirt.


There’s a tree outside my music room window that just this past week changed colour to the most magnificent red I have yet to see. I noticed it the day before my friend’s funeral and it brought a smile to my heart in a way that hadn’t happened since before finding out about her death.

I have looked at that tree every day since, and I have noticed more and more beauty with every day that passes. Take the trunk for example; those leaves could never shine in the sunlight without the vertical spine of that trunk. Or how about the ground in which that trunk finds it’s home. And what about the roots that dig to such amazing depths that that trunk couldn’t be swayed even if a large gust of wind tried to knock it down.

That tree has made me think of Kristen’s life.

Her funeral was beautiful. It was everything I expected it to be – inspiring, hopeful, challenging and musical. All of those involved with the funeral did a wonderful job showcasing Kristen’s beautiful leaves. But I must admit, beyond the colour, I couldn’t help but recognize and pay respect to the other parts of Kristen’s tree – her roots, her trunk, her branches, her soil – the people in her life who made it possible for her life to stand tall so it’s beauty could shine. Like Mike, her wonderful husband – the guy who carried her to and from her wheelchair so she could have brief moments of fresh air outside. Like Dave & Kathy, her wonderful parents – who had moved in with Mike & Kristen to help cook and care for the boys. Like Bob Jones, her wonderful Pastor – who would spend hours and hours praying and counselling both Kristen and Mike through the difficult questions of such a diagnosis.

It’s easy to look at someone’s life and think, “Wow, the colours are so beautiful!” But may we never forget that the whole tree is necessary – the trunk, the branches, the roots, the soil and the leaves – they are all connected parts that make the whole tree beautiful. It’s everything and everyone working together to make each part of the tree come alive that determines it’s true value, it’s influence and it’s fruit.

Free 7-Day ebook

Making Space

Carving Out Time For God In The Midst Of Your Busy Life

With a million things to do and not enough hours in the day to get it done, it's easy to zone out and slip into autopilot in order to survive. But perhaps life is not about adding more things to your already lengthy list, but rather, about pausing in the midst of it all to consider if what you're doing is really important.


  • I’ll go first…

    I see myself as a branch. Nothing gives me greater joy in life that helping other people see the beautiful colour that they are. I believe my true calling in life (and what gives me my greatest fulfillment) is when I lend my hands and extend my arms so other people’s leaves can display their colour.

  • Mike Love says:

    Great Blog. Good Word 🙂

  • Catharyn Salazar says:

    Agreed, the shinning people are just as important as the people spreading fertilizer in the soil. And in our world where glitz and glamor is idolized the fertilizers often get overlooked and under appreciated.

    I also think that we are all aspects of the tree. You say you see yourself as branches. But with your kids you are soil, nurturing their roots that they can grow into big strong trees. I have also seen you as shinning leaves, up worshiping with others on the stage or just in a back room with a few people. For your husband you are a trunk, helping him, stabilizing his life. And your roots form as you fall into the arms of our loving Father. Kristen’s leaves did shin, very bright. I also witnessed roots that developed so deep as she grew deeper and closer to our Abba God in her relationship. And I know she was a huge fertilizer, not only with her boys, but every time she stood before us and proclaimed God in her life and how much she was blessed, and her testimony will continue to fertilize us.

    We are all big beautiful trees, basking in the sunlight of our loving Father. We just need to turn our leaves to Him and allow his nutrients to be absorbed by our roots … And together we will grow into an amazing forest.

  • Harriett Hastman says:

    So beautifully written. Thank You for a great object lesson! I am certain that my place on the tree is somewhere along the trunk. Over the past three decades I have been blessed to assist many young women launch their purpose/careers, helping with their little ones…so they can shine and still be wonderful parents.

  • Beth Keating says:

    I love this scripture. It is so very true. Yes, we all serve a uniquely-specific purpose and are fashioned to be our own self. The body (world, church, etc.) becomes dysfunctional when we do not serve the purposes we were so magnificently created to. I love that the big toe is often unseen, yet the whole body relies on it to remain in perfect balance. How many big toes feel they are unseen yet serve such a dutiful role?!

    Hmm…my role? I have been told I am a seed planter … this changes the metaphor slightly … by my joy and passion is to see small seedlings grow into large, mature trees that have unshakable roots, thus they can pass through the storms and summery days, unmoved.

  • genelle shykowski says:

    Just like a tree we all go through dormant times. Times when our true beauty isn’t exposed for the world to see. These are the hard times when we wish for the approval of others, we face obstacles, hurts and wish for the sunshine and warmth to reach our souls….during this Winter time it is easy to forget that our true worth comes only from our Heavenly Father.
    Spring time does come and when it does it makes us truly appreciate the beauty of the leaves that sprout. We have new dreams and renewed energy that comes from our Father who loves us so much!!!

    • Very cool Genelle. In fact, it might have inspired another blog entry, ha! Thanks for the reminder that all seasons of life are important and that us as “trees” are going to look completely different in every season, yet equally beautiful. I love that!

  • Bob says:

    Your story reminded me that its not what you see, but how you see it, that creates inspiration. Open eyes and an open heart to God brings about observations that can create insight and inspiration.
    Thanks for sharing your insight!

Leave a Reply