It never ceases to amaze me, year after year, how a glorious spring can emerge from such an eternally dead winter. These pictures are of the tiny flowers in my flower bed and the forsythia out my front window that bloom forth every spring without any thought on my part. There is an end to winter! This past year we had a brutal winter with lots of snow here in Utah. The days seemed very dark indeed. We've also had some family challenges. I just kept telling myself, "Just wait until spring--things will get better." And now here it is spring! We had a gloomy, rainy day yesterday but Easter Sunday dawned bright and glorious. What a wonderful gift.
I love that Easter time comes during spring, to remind us that Jesus Christ gives us new life, no matter how dead and gloomy our life can seem, just as spring brings new life after winter. I bear testimony that He is our Savior and lives again today. He spoke to Joseph Smith in the Sacred Grove and speaks to our prophet Thomas S. Monson today. He speaks to us individually in our hearts through the Holy Ghost. Because of Him, we are saved from sin and death and will live forever, even as eternal families through temple ordinances.
I have been spending the past few weeks formatting my book, Tree of Life Mothering Volume I. It is almost ready to come out. This book is intended for moms like me, who are into Christ-centered natural family living. I was hoping to have it ready to sell at my natural family living for LDS moms conference on April 25 but I don't think I will quite make it. I've got to polish a few things and then send it off to get indexed.
In my book I explain the symbolism of the meaningful juxtaposition of the image of the Tree of Life in Lehi's dream in the Book of Mormon Another Testament of Jesus Christ with the image of Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ. This is no accident. I feel that God intended this pairing of images because the Tree of Life represents the love of God and mothers, as represented by Mary, come nearer to the love of God than any other people. President Joseph F. Smith even said that. Our motherhood can be a time of consecration as we serve our children and husbands in order to follow Jesus and glorify God. We can be trees of life to our families.
The Ultimate Tree of Life is Jesus Christ. After Nephi saw the Tree of Life he asked what it meant. God told him through a Spirit that it represents the love of God. Then Nephi was shown an image of Jesus being held by his mother, and then Jesus grown up, serving in His ministry, then atoning for our sins and being crucified and resurrected. Jesus represents the love of God because God showed us how much He loves us by sacrificing His Only Begotten Son for us. Jesus is the only name whereby we can be saved. This vision of Jesus was shown to Nephi after he asked what the Tree of Life represented because Jesus is the Tree of Life.
A fascinating aspect of trees is that they take in a poisonous gas, carbon dioxide, and transform it to a gas essential to life, oxygen. Jesus, as the Ultimate Tree of Life, does the same thing symbolically. He takes in all of our spiritual poisons, if we turn them over to him, and transforms them into life-giving elements. He takes upon Himself all of our disappointments, sorrows, sins, weaknesses, inadequacies, regrets, griefs, fears, pains, and illnesses and turns them to joy. It is an amazing miracle!
I tend to be melancholy sometimes and I can turn over a negative thought in my mind over and over, dwelling on it, letting it get me down. Sometimes I have to say, "OK God. This issue is just too big for me to handle. I turn it over to Thee and Jesus. Help me to stop thinking about it. Please turn this into something good." They can, if we let them! We just have to let go of whatever we get out of feeling sad and being victims. As Nephi in the Book of Mormon says, "I glory in my Jesus." (2 Nephi 33:6)
This past winter has been one of intense personal and family challenges for me. I almost felt like giving up on my book. I am so thrilled that spring has come with the promise confirmed that new life does come through Jesus. He is risen, and through Him, we can rise too!