The Giver of Good Gifts

Sunday, August 17, 2014

If there's one thing I've learned about the personality of our Heavenly Father, it is that He is incredibly giving. Merciful? Most definitely. Wise? The wisest. These are most definitely attributes of godhood. Heavenly Father is all of these things and more. In His role as a divine parent, He is also a giver of gifts. We read in Matthew 7:9-11: "What man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?"

I have been reflecting lately on the many extraordinary and sometimes overlooked gifts our Heavenly Father gives to us. Of course, we are grateful for the gift of life, of families, of education, of the gospel, and of the Atonement. These gifts are everything. Several weeks ago I was attending the Provo temple by myself, trying to regain that special and beautiful spirit I felt had dwindled a bit while the temple was closed for the previous two weeks. Before those two weeks, I felt as if I had been trekking a spiritual mountain and was making good time. I was doing everything I was supposed to and attended the temple as often as I could, which sometimes meant a couple times a week. After the temple was closed, though, I felt like I was cramping as I tried to match my same pace. Part of that struggle was keeping that fire and excitement about serving a mission alive.

I sat in one of the pews, waiting to do baptisms, trying to focus on the scriptures I was reading. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed the girl sitting next to me was smiling and trying to catch my eye. Though I'm still not completely in the practice of striking up conversations with strangers, I felt one of those so-subtle-it-barely-registers maybe-I-should-talk-to-her feelings and so I said hello and we talked a little bit about who we were and our majors and laughed about how we were the only 20+ people doing baptisms in a sea of youth.

As the conversation petered out, I suddenly felt a hey-maybe-this-is-a-prompting-but-maybe-not feeling that I should share the story of my decision to serve a mission with her. I crossed my fingers that she wouldn't think I was a windbag as I randomly began talking about how I had to rely on promptings and faith instead of logic and plans in my decision to serve a mission, about how I really just had to let go of my own ideas about my life and trust that the Lord will show me the way one step at a time and how that has brought me so much peace. She nodded politely as I talked and I thought to myself, "Well, crap-- I must have read that wrong."

We both ended up just talking about how much we love the temple and feel so much peace when we are there. She said, "I just love the temple so much. I feel like every time I come, I am uplifted and talk with someone who says exactly what I needed to hear... I've actually been struggling with my desire to have my own plans work out in my education in the nursing school. I really appreciated hearing your story about having enough faith in the Lord to let go and let Him lead you."

As I walked home from the temple, the sky fading to pink as the sun began to set, I felt dumbfounded. And overwhelmed. And incredibly, incredibly grateful to Heavenly Father for that sweet, special, perfect gift He had just given me-- the gift of confidence in myself to listen to promptings. I was worried about my ability to always be a vessel for the Holy Ghost as a missionary and Heavenly Father knew that. In His infinite wisdom and goodness, instead of just making me feel good again He gave me the gift of an opportunity to grow. He helped me to know that even after a rough week (or two, or more) with His help I can get back to where I was spiritually, regain my footing, and once again be able to hear and respond to even the subtlest of promptings. He wanted me to know that I don't have to be perfect 100% of the time to be a good missionary, that I don't have to feel downhearted when I mess up or have a difficult time feeling the spirit as strongly. This might seem like just the littlest thing but it was an incredible testament to the infinite kindness of our Heavenly Father. He is so incredibly kind. He is a giver of good gifts. What gifts has Heavenly Father given you today?

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