Emily Belle Freeman
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THIS IS MY JOY

AND MY GREAT REJOICING

When You Just Need to Believe

Celebrating A Christ Centered Easter

Every time the snow fell this winter we pulled out the blue shovel and piled it up in the front garden next to the sidewalk.

The pile grew higher and higher as winter stretched on.

It was the highest pile that little garden has ever born.

The weight of it was thick and heavy.

I wondered if it would ever melt.

There were tulip bulbs waiting under that heavy burden.

Part of me was frightened that they wouldn't grow this year.  Could anything flourish under that thick darkness?

But way down in the bottom of my heart I believed that they would.  They never haven't before.  It is the part of springtime I love the most.

For me tulips symbolize belief.

A promise that the sun will come again.

Do you remember the story of Thomas?

The Lord had come to visit the apostles after his death...but Thomas wasn't there.

The others, seeing Him, had born testimony to Thomas, "We have seen the Lord." (John 20:25)

But he said, "Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe."  (John 20:25)

For eight days Thomas waited.

A long time.

I wonder if the anxiousness in his heart grew higher and higher as the days stretched on.

Would the Lord remember him?

The weight of it must have been thick and heavy.

Under that heavy burden he must have been a little frightened that the Lord wouldn't come again.  That he might have missed his chance to see the Lord after His death.

Then came Jesus.

And he said, "Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing." (John 20:27)

Oh, how I love that moment.  The Savior knew the fears and the deepest longings of Thomas' heart.  To see.  To feel.  To believe.

The Son had come again.

"Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believe: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed."  (John 20:29)

The story of Thomas reminds me of the importance of believing.

We live in dark days.  In the last General Conference Elder Bednar described our day as a "storm of darkness and evil in which we are living."

The weight of it is thick and heavy.

It is hard for belief to thrive under that heavy burden.

How does anything flourish under this thick darkness?

But way down in the bottom of our hearts we must believe.  We have been given a promise.

The Son will come again.

Light will overcome darkness.

If we turn to Him through prayer and scripture study we will be reminded of that great truth.  Then we will be able to see.  To feel.

To believe.

Living Deliberately:

For the past several Fridays we have posted an Easter lesson and tradition on this blog.  This year I realized that in our family we don't anticipate Easter the way we anticipate Christmas.  Our home doesn't fill with the signs of the celebration.  Our hearts don't prepare during the weeks leading up to the holiday.

But this year has been different.

Each week we have studied a gospel figure and celebrated a Christ centered Easter tradition.

My heart has filled with anticipation.

I have learned to love Easter in a way I haven't before.

If you want to look back through the previous traditions, scan through the last few Fridays, or look on the menu bar under "blog themes" and click on the section for 2013 entitled "Living Deliberately."

This week's tradition is simple:

Spend some time pondering the story of Thomas.  Consider what it means to believe.

Then buy a bouquet of tulips and put them somewhere where everyone can see them and be reminded of the lesson.

Let the tulips symbolize belief.

A promise that the Son will come again.