I also am a procrastinator so I waited until 9:30 p.m last night to even start my talk. I finished around 11:00 p.m. (mostly because I kept getting distracted and would check my email and Facebook). But at 12:00 a.m. I woke up with my mind racing that I would have to change my talk because it wasn't me. I had kept it brief but it wasn't really what my heart was feeling. So I arose at 6:00 a.m. (that is extremely early for me as I am NOT a morning person.), took my shower and started to rewrite my talk. I needed to be to church by 8:15 a.m. and so my adorable little girl did not get her hair done this morning. I had a choice between her hair and my hair and I was not going to get up and speak in front of a whole congregation without curling my hair.
So I am posting it here for anyone who is interested in reading it. Some of you may be able to figure out what the great oak tree was and others may wonder what I am talking about. Someday I will post what it is but for right now I will just leave the talk as is.
Good Morning Brothers and Sisters,
I am humbled to being giving a talk on Easter morning and was trying to think of what I would be able to share with you that would enrich your testimony of Easter and the Savior; or be something that you may not already know. I am not sure I would really be able to accomplish that in the 5 short minutes I am suppose to speak, but I will share with you my testimony and love for the Savior and for the Easter session.
Easter is my favorite season. I love how green and clean everything looks. I love the smells that are in the air, and I love the cool weather mixed in with some warmer days. I try and soak it all in because I know that all too soon the heat will come and everything will look brown once again.
When I think of all the events that happened in the Savior’s life I think about how Easter is the most important one and President Hunter seems to agree with me when he said this:
"Without the resurrection, the gospel of Jesus Christ becomes a litany of wise sayings and seemingly unexplainable miracles: but sayings and miracles with no ultimate triumph. No, the ultimate triumph is in the ultimate miracle: for the first time in the history of mankind, one who was dead raised himself into living immortality. He was the Son of God, the Son of our immortal Father in Heaven, and his triumph over physical and spiritual death is the good news every Christian tongue should speak"
What a blessing we have in knowing that Christ conquered both physical and spiritual death. And that because of this accomplishment we can do the same and live with Him again.
Recently, I have been reading a book by Stephen E. Robinson called “Believing Christ” and I was going to base my talk on it. Until I realized that I actually already believe Christ. I already know that I am far from perfect and yet that if I give him all my pennies he will make up the difference and I may become perfected in him (from the parable of the bicycle as told in the book) . I seem to have a different problem. One that my husband summed up quite nicely for me this morning when I asked him if he was following me down the stairs. To which he replied “I’ll follow you anywhere – until I want to go a different direction.” This seems to be the story of my life.
In April Conference 2011, D. Todd Christoffson retold a story by President Hugh B. Brown. President Brown spoke of a time when he was pruning a current bush that was trying to become a berry tree. He told about how he was the gardener and how he knew what he wanted the tree to become even if it took a lot of pruning to do so. He then told about a position in the Canadian Army that he really wanted but was turned down for. At first he was upset and questioned why and then figured out that the Lord was the gardener here and that he was going to make him what he intended him to be.
Well lately, I have been on a path to become a great oak tree. At first, I was scared to start down the path. I didn’t think I could endure all that it would take to become this great oak tree. After a while, I was getting use to the idea. I was becoming surer of myself and the path that the Lord wanted me to take. Then one day the pathway was closed and I stood in the garden confused and hurt. Why did the Lord close the pathway? Why did he make me think that I could become a great oak tree if that was not what he had really intended for me.
Now I am not unfamiliar with this way of pruning. I have been pruned this way many times before and when finished have been able to look back and see what it was the Lord was trying to do. Yet, once again I fell into my old pattern of standing and screaming in the garden. Begging with the Lord to just tell me why I wasn’t supposed to be on this path any more. Why was I not good enough to be an oak tree? And if not an oak tree, what kind of tree was I going to become? I’m the type of person who wants to know the end of the story right now.
I am now slowing learning that when the Lord closes a pathway he wants me to stand quietly and ask “Now, where would you like me to go? What would you like me to do next?.” Instead of standing there trying to get him to change his mind.
I do not know what the Lord has in store for my future. The point is that it doesn't matter what kind of tree he wants me to become. It could be that someday he will put me back on that path and I will still become a great oak tree. The thing about an oak tree is they take forever to grow. I know because we have the scrawniest looking oak tree in our front yard that doesn’t look much bigger than it did 7 years ago when it was planted. I think I was trying to grow into the oak tree too fast.
But it doesn't matter what kind of tree I become because the willow tree and the oak tree are both allowed into the Lord’s kingdom. All I have to do is study my scriptures, say my prayers and keep the commandments and the Lord will help me become whatever it is he has planned for me.
The gospel is the good news that Christ atoned for our sins and was resurrected. Easter is a time of great joy. It is my testimony that Christ does live and that he does love each of us enough to prune us down and help us become all he wants us to be. But it would be a lot easier it we didn’t fight it. We need to believe in him enough to trust that he knows what he is doing and to follow him anywhere – even places we may not want to go. And be prepared to change our course when he wants us to.
I am so grateful for the gospel in my life and for all my Savior has done for me. It is my prayer that I will continue to grow through my experiences and be able to become all he wants me to become. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.