(Pictures from Easter, 2002.
The boys helped to make our traditional lamb cake.)
Easter is the holiday that keeps you guessing. You're not even sure which month it will be in. In 2008, Easter came on March 23rd.
I was serving as Relief Society President and normally it was my responsibility to only give the lessons on the first Sunday of each month, but since we didn't have a teacher lined up, I pulled together an Easter Presentation. I remember getting onto LDS.org and doing a search. Several conference talks popped up and I felt pulled to click on one that was not even remotely the first. It was by Bruce R. McConkie. At first I didn't recognize it for what it was. As I got to the end, tears spilt over as I read his last testimony of Christ. You've heard it quoted before. I don't remember hearing his voice in 1985 when he spoke at General Conference, but I remember my mom, who died from cancer three months later, reading it to me with tears streaming. His testimony was hers; she told me that and she expressed her deep love for the Savior.
In Relief Society that day, I told my sisters about that tender moment my mom shared with me. I said that the suffering from cancer had given my mom amazing spiritual strength. I also said that although I hoped to have a relationship as close to the Savior as she had developed, I acknowledged that I wasn't there. I had yet to experience the refining fire.
I had four 'Readers' sitting up front and the words were intermingled with all the sisters singing Easter hymns. When our twenty minutes were up, I could see that the power of the word and music had touched the sisters. I felt joy that my efforts to increase their testimonies came to fruition.
The following Sunday I was not at church with my sisters. I was home with my family and close relatives. My twelve year old son, Josh, had passed away unexpectedly. With the Bishop's permission we had Sacrament meeting in our living room. Instead of Relief Society sisters reading the parts to that Easter Program, there were our brothers and nephew. Everyone sang. Little Jonathon changed out the scripture pictures that went with the talk. I sat at the piano, glad to have something to focus on.
It was powerful.
If we had simply met as an extended family and partaken of the sacrament, that would have sufficed. But I think Heavenly Father knew that the day after Josh's funeral, we needed more. We needed to hear specifically about the atonement and resurrection of Jesus Christ with the healing power of music included. It was a tender mercy to have a 'sacrament meeting' program already prepared.
I realized that the effort I put forth to serve the sisters and the Lord had really been a preparation to bless my own life and that of my family's.