Aubree Gittins: Women and Spiritual Gifts

10247310_10152186636597551_6164066519813669783_nNot long ago, I attended a conference that was put on by our stake relief society. One of the speakers was our stake patriarch, who spoke about patriarchal blessings. I find patriarchal blessings fascinating, but there was one thing in particular that he said that really grabbed my attention. He said that when he receives the name of a person who is to receive their patriarchal blessing, he will immediately start praying to find out what that person’s spiritual gifts are, and those spiritual gifts form the foundation upon which the person’s blessing is formed.

When I heard this, I realized that I had not thought much about the importance of spiritual gifts. I must not be alone in this regard, for Dallin H. Oaks has said that “[w]e know too little about spiritual gifts. This is evident in our communications, and it is also evident in our failure to seek after and use spiritual gifts.”[1] The thought came to me that if the patriarch seeks to find out someone’s spiritual gifts to form the basis of a patriarchal blessing, should I not be seeking to find and understand my spiritual gifts to form the basis of my service as a wife and mother?

 

What Are Spiritual Gifts?

“Spiritual gifts are blessings or abilities given by God to His children through the power of the Holy Ghost. Gifts of the Spirit are given to bless and benefit those who love the Lord and seek to keep His commandments. (See D&C 46:9.)”[2] Spiritual gifts are blessings that come only to those that are baptized and confirmed members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormon) who are faithful and obedient. Joseph Smith said that spiritual gifts are obtained through the Holy Ghost and “cannot be enjoyed without the gift of the Holy Ghost. … The world in general can know nothing about them.”[3]

How Can We Recognize and Develop Spiritual Gifts?

One way to recognize our spiritual gifts is through our patriarchal blessing. Robert D. Hales said that “often patriarchal blessings tell us the gifts we have received and declare the promise of gifts we can receive if we seek after them.” Aubree guest standOnce we have discovered our spiritual gifts, we must work to develop them. As I researched how to develop spiritual gifts, righteousness and obedience were stressed over and over again. For example, Bruce R. McConkie said that we can develop spiritual gifts through “devotion, faith, and obedience.”[5] And just as exercise strengthens muscle, regular use of our spiritual gifts will develop and strengthen our gifts. As wonderful as it would be, recognition and development of our spiritual gifts will likely not come to us overnight.

Elder Oaks clarified that “spiritual gifts do not come visibly, automatically, and immediately to all who have received the gift of the Holy Ghost. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that most such gifts are ‘not visible to the natural vision, or understanding of man,’ and that it ‘require[s] time and circumstances to call these gifts into operation.’”[6]

Why should we, as women, wives and mothers, seek to find and understand our spiritual gifts?

The last year or more, as I have watched the forces that are attacking Christ’s church and His basic doctrines, I’ve felt so much discouragement and confusion. I’ve felt outside influences tell me that my sacred role as a wife and stay at home mom to three beautiful children is second class. That I should be seeking “more power” and not think of the structure of my family as divinely inspired. As long as I stay close to Heavenly Father and choose to live righteously, I can and will continue to be shown my true value as a woman, wife and mother. I find so much comfort knowing that Heavenly Father has a plan for me. He knows my strengths and weaknesses and can make “weak things become strong.” (Ether 12:27) Aubree guest standI truly believe that as women, we have divine gifts that are uniquely ours.

President Uchtdorf said that “in whatever life circumstance you find yourself—as a wife, as a mother, as a single mother, as a divorced woman, as a widowed or a single woman—the Lord our God will open up responsibilities and blessings far beyond your ability to imagine.”[7]

What a beautiful promise! Heavenly Father needs His daughters to stay true to who He made us to be and to seek after our spiritual gifts. Imagine the powerful change that we could make if we all prayerfully asked Heavenly Father what spiritual gifts He has given us or can give us and how we can use those gifts to fulfill our mission here on the earth. Imagine women changing the world one life at a time … one home at a time … one neighborhood at a time.

[1] Dallin H. Oaks, “Spiritual Gifts,” Ensign, Sept. 1986.
[2] “Spiritual Gifts,”https://www.lds.org/topics/spiritual-gifts.
[3] Joseph Fielding Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 243 (1938).
[4] Robert D. Hales, “Gifts of the Spirit,” Ensign, Feb. 2002.
[5] Bruce R.McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 314.
[6] Dallin H. Oaks, “Spiritual Gifts,” Ensign, Sept. 1986.
[7] Deiter F.Uchtdorf, “The Influence of Righteous Women,” Ensign, Sept. 2009.

10382154_10204305809980608_9019460738028816415_nI have a wonderful husband of twelve years and three beautiful children ages 5, 4 and 1. I grew up in Idaho and was raised in the church since birth.  I had parents that were always so supportive in my interests and activities and they taught me how to make good choices. Recently I have been enjoying learning about the church’s history.  The church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is true!  It has shaped me to be all that I am today and helps me endure all that life throws at me.  It reminds me I am here not only to be tested, but am supposed to feel joy through the journey because women “are that they might have joy.”

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