Emily Belle Freeman
IMG_0901ed.jpg

THIS IS MY JOY

AND MY GREAT REJOICING

According to Design

IMG_9284.jpg

 A Christ Centered Easter

Have you ever noticed that a testimony is constantly changing?  Growing?  Increasing?

Sometimes I think we are given opportunities to experience growth.  Personal moments with the Lord.

I don't think these moments come by happenchance.

I think they are according to design, by a Heavenly Father who creates experiences that will allow our testimony to grow.

Mary Magdalene is a favored woman in the scriptures.

She had the privilege of coming to know and love the Savior.  Perhaps she was a dear friend, even a close confidant.  We do not know much about Mary, but we do know that she was the first person to see the risen Lord.  I have often wondered why.

Was her faith the most sufficient?

Was she the most prepared to receive the Savior?

Did Christ know she would recognize Him when He called her name because she had before?

For whatever reason, she went to the tomb early one morning after Christ had died, and here an important lesson was learned.

She went seeking the Savior.

In her hour of greatest need, in deep despair and longing for answers, she did what she had been taught to do–– she turned to Christ.

Weeping, she sat outside the tomb.  A man approached her and asked, “Woman, why weepest thou?  Whom seekest thou?”  And Mary, thinking He was the gardener, replied, “I seek my Savior.”

Mary was a woman who had a great level of knowledge pertaining to the teachings of Christ.  She lived on the earth and had come to know the Savior during His ministry.  So we might wonder why she did not at first recognize Him.

Perhaps it was because on that Easter morning Mary’s level of understanding was that Christ was dead.  Weeping in frustration and sorrow, she sought to find Him.  She did not recognize His voice at first because in her mind it was not possible.

But then­­–– it was!

Mary’s testimony of Christ increased.

She had reached a new level of understanding.

How often do we come to a point in our lives when we are comfortable and confident in our relationship with Christ?

We may go forward for a time serving and learning.

Inevitably a trial will come that will test our knowledge.  We question what we believe and know of the Lord.  At these times we realize that our testimony is never stagnant. Trials provide an opportunity for us to seek the Savior.  As we prove Him, we gain more understanding and knowledge.  We come to know Him in a way we might not have before.

Mary did not recognize the Savior until He called her name.  “A moment’s pause, and He spake her name in those well-remembered accents…She could not mistake the Voice.”  (Alfred Edersheim)  Then, all of the sudden, light and understanding came.

A new level of knowledge; Christ was risen; He lives; there is life after death.  He had conquered and was victorious.

The Savior stood by her in her moment of learning.

He waited patiently until she was ready, and then He taught.

Just like the experience Mary Magdalene had at the tomb that Easter morning, the Lord will come to each of us.

He will stand by us, and He will call us by name.

In those moments, just like Mary, our knowledge of Him will increase...our testimony of Him will grow...and because of Him our life will never be the same.

Living Deliberately:

A common Easter tradition that reminds me of Mary Magdalene's experience is the dying of Easter eggs.  We take an object that is plain and simple and we add brilliant colors.

It is like our testimony.  As we have personal experiences with the Savior we add  to our testimony.  Each experience adds beauty and definition.  Happy moments add a touch of yellow, moments of sorrow add a hint of blue.  Times of celebration might be defined by purple, and moments of reflection a soft shade of pink.  Just like every Easter egg is different, so it is with our testimony.  It is unique to us, because of the personal nature of the moments we experience with the Lord.

As you dye Easter eggs with your family this year, maybe you could talk about how our personal experiences with the Lord add to our testimonies.  How they are unique.  Fragile.  Worth taking special care of.

But most important, how our testimonies can change according to the situations of our life.  Just like Mary Magdalene's did on the morning of the resurrection.

And just like a simple white egg when carefully dipped according to design.