Daffodils are one of my favorite flowers. Many years ago, the young women in the Church earned awards in what was then called the Mutual Improvement Association or M.I.A. These awards were displayed on a felt band that was worn over one shoulder. We were asked to choose a flower to represent ourselves, and I chose the daffodil. It has remained one of my favorite flowers to this day. I like all varieties of daffodils, but my favorite is the bright yellow one.
A year ago, my daffodil bulbs needed desperate attention. I dug them all up, split the bulbs, and replanted them. I planted the pale yellow daffodils in the backyard. The bright yellow ones were planted in pots in the front yard. They were all beautiful in the spring. When they finished blooming, I left the bulbs in the ground in the backyard, but I took the bulbs out of the pots in the front yard and planted other flowers. The bulbs were carefully packed away to replant for this year. Then life got in the way, and the bright yellow bulbs didn’t get planted until the first part of February. Spring flowers bloom early where I live, and the pale yellow flowers in the backyard are already blooming—yet I have only just planted the bright yellow ones. I have no idea whether they will bloom or whether I have ruined the bulbs.
Testimonies are like daffodil bulbs. They need care to bloom. The seed of the testimony is planted in fertile soil, watered frequently with prayer, and warmed by the sunlight of scripture study. The roots are carefully loosened with fasting and repentance, and fertilized by partaking of the sacrament. The blossoms thrive when we magnify our callings. The bulbs are separated and replanted through challenges and adversity.
Many years ago, before I married my husband and early in our marriage, I had a lot of houseplants. I loved taking care of them and watching them thrive. When our first child was born, I realized that I had the energy to care for children or houseplants—but I couldn’t handle both at the same time. I gave away all my houseplants except one hardy philodendron that didn’t need much care. I don’t know how, but the silly thing has miraculously managed to survive our 43 years of marriage. It totally gets ignored until it is on the verge of death. Then I take it in the kitchen, loosen the roots with a spoon, and give it some water until it perks up.
I looked at that silly philodendron last night, wondered why oh why it doesn’t just give up, and almost tossed it in the garbage. Then I didn’t. I realized that I take care of my philodendron the same way I take care of my testimony. I have spurts where I read my scriptures, my prayers are more meaningful, I attend the temple more regularly, and I am more diligent in my church callings. My testimony thrives, and I grow spiritually. Then through pure laziness, prayers become rote, scriptures remain unopened, and weeks go by without walking through the temple doors. Without even realizing it, my testimony looks like my starving philodendron.
One would think that I would eventually get the hang of this, but this appears to be the cycle of my life.
But a testimony is not a work that is merely completed and concluded. Indeed, it is a process in continuous development. Nourishing and strengthening our testimonies is essential to our spiritual survival. …
Brothers and sisters, I am absolutely sure that you can imagine how long my journey was to arrive here. But I ask if you know what brings me here? And I hasten to answer: my testimony.
It is a special gift of our Heavenly Father given through the Holy Ghost to all people who search for truth. (See Moro. 10:4–5.) It is wise to gain and improve a testimony of the truth because it not only helps us face our daily challenges, but it also opens our eyes, minds, and hearts to the great and marvelous things created by our Heavenly Father for our improvement and eternal happiness (Elder Helvécio Martins, “The Value of a Testimony,” Oct. 1990 General Conference).
I will water my philodendron this morning, I’ll water my daffodil bulbs, then I’ll curl up in my chair with my scriptures. The beauty of the plan of salvation is repentance. It appears that the repentance process will always be tied to my testimony. I need my testimony to thrive, so I will repent and give it nourishment—just like I repent and nourish the philodendron and daffodils. Let’s hope that my testimony is always as resilient as my plants.
Tudie Rose is a mother of four and grandmother of ten in Sacramento, California. You can find her on Twitter as @TudieRose. She blogs as Tudie Rose at http://potrackrose.wordpress.com. She has written articles for Familius. You will find a Tudie Rose essay in Lessons from My Parents, Michele Robbins, Familius 2013, at http://www.familius.com/lessons-from-my-parents.