The theme of change is constant in our lives. Hopefully for the better! Along our morning walking route is a big beech hedge. As fall turned into winter we watched the leaves all around us in this very lush, green land, turn brown, orange, red or yellow and fall off. Except the beech hedge. Its Leaves turned brown, and throughout the winter clung stubbornly to the hedge. We wondered if it was dead. But as winter turned into spring and leaves sprung out everywhere, we began to see tiny tips of new green leaves behind the old, dead leaves on the hedge. Slowly the new leaves pushed the old leaves off and now the hedge is green and beautiful.
As we walked by and watched this process over time, I kept thinking there was a message in it for me. Was I like the hedge? Resisting change? Clinging to old ways?
Then President Bunnell asked our mission to consider Elder Lawrence's general conference talk "What Lack I Yet?". The message of Stake Conference was "Grow with Us", an invitation to grow better. bigger, and stronger in our gospel testimonies and faith.
Now I was sure there was a message for me! Unable to articulate it clearly, I turned to my dear friend, Judy, a poetess, and "commissioned" her to write a poem expressing the thoughts I was pondering She agreed and here is the poem, shared with her permission:
Newness in Christ
by Judy Grigg Hansen
Throughout the frigid days of winter,
beech hedge hoards her brittle leaves,
refusing to release them
Like the elm and sycamore.
Are we sometimes like this bush,
professing sorrow while holding onto sin,
although Christ clearly offers
to make us new in Him?
Can we not trust His promises
and be His pleasant plants,
new wine in new bottles,
precious fruit of His own vine?
I love this poem! It is so beautiful. Change is constant, and I am motivated to be not like the beech hedge, holding on to the natural man and to work harder to become "precious fruit of His own vine".
Zuster Leslee Christensen, May 14, 2017