Before this year, I had never given lilac bushes much notice, and neither had my kids. But now they are one of our favorites. Lilac bushes have become a meaningful and special symbol in our family.
In 1892 my great-great-grandparents, Swen and Thilda, along with a few of their children, joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Swen was the first of the family to be introduced to the gospel and to have a desire to join the church. At first, Thilda was not happy about it at all, but that changed after Thilda had an experience behind a lilac bush.
One of her sons, Helge, wrote about Thilda’s conversion: “I still remember when Mormon missionaries came to our home. Father seemed a little interested in their teaching, but mother was hesitant until one time when they came back to talk to father. She went outside, and kneeling behind a lilac bush, she prayed that she might know if their message was from God. After that, she never faltered but remained faithful and true to the gospel all her life.”
This spring, we cut some fresh lilac’s from a bush in my sister’s yard and took them to Thilda’s grave. For several weeks after this experience, while the lilacs were still in bloom, anytime we would see a lilac bush, my 3 year old daughter would point to it and say “that’s the bush were Thilda prayed!”
There are a couple of things that I really love about this. I love that my children feel a real connection to Thilda and they are learning more about her life. I also love that the lilac bush has become a symbol of receiving revelation from Heavenly Father.
I hope that this story from our family history helps my children to know that Heavenly Father was involved in Thilda’s life and that they should seek and expect similar experiences in their own lives.