Tuesday, January 22, 2013

My spiritual gift

Throughout my life, and especially throughout my teens and 20s, I've been searching for my spiritual gifts, the place that I uniquely fit into God's work in the church and in my community. Many people have told me that my spiritual gift is music. I've been playing violin since I was 4 and started piano when I was 9. My younger sister and brother and I often played for special music in our home church and also in many churches throughout the valley. As we grew and matured, both mentally and in musical ability, we began to appreciate these opportunities more and even enjoyed coming up with fun and interesting arrangements to share. Even so, I never felt like playing music was one of my spiritual gifts. Other people told me that writing was my spiritual gift. That seemed quite possible, since I do really enjoy writing and sharing with others in that way. But was it really a spiritual gift? Did my writing actually help my church? I didn't really know.

Today, though, it finally hit me. I was thinking about a Skype conversation I'd had with my friend Kezia last week. I met Kezia while we were volunteers at a baby home in Tanzania two years ago. I had mentioned to her that I'd had the opportunity to meet another former volunteer at a youth conference over New Year's. The other volunteer had mentioned to me that my comments on her blog had really encouraged her during her time overseas last year. When I relayed that story to Kezia, she told me that on her latest visit to Tanzania this past summer, three of the volunteers who were still there had said similar things about my comments to them on their blogs or on Facebook. I was surprised. It was such a little thing I had done. Just read their blogs - which I did eagerly to find out how the babies and children that I loved were doing - and left comments every once in awhile. Not even on every post, but just every so often, when I had something to say. I've been thinking about this exchange for the past week and today it came to me as I was tidying up the bathroom. My spiritual gift could be, might be, is (?) encouragement to others.

Maybe God has given me the gift of listening to others, empathizing with them or for their situation, and responding in ways that give them encouragement. Could it be this simple? Typing a short note on Facebook, writing a quick e-mail, leaving a comment on somebody's blog, doesn't feel like much to me. But maybe, just maybe, it feels like a lot to them. I pondered this for awhile this afternoon, and right in the middle of my pondering I saw that my mum had posted a few new blog posts on our church blog. The last one shocked me. A message straight into my heart. A message to love, care for, and encourage other people. I don't think for one minute that all these occurrences this past week and month were pure happenstance. I think God's been working, slowly nudging me to realize that maybe my words count, that my words matter, that my words can make a difference for people around me. Maybe my spiritual gift is music, maybe it's writing, maybe it's encouragement. Or maybe it's a combination of all three, a perfect blend that God created and has always intended just for me.


  1. Wow, that's really cool, Ali!
    I really think that you do have a gift for encouraging and communicating with others. You're so much better at that than I am! :)
    Love you!

  2. Ali-- you have discovered in yourself what the rest of us have known through the very experience you mentioned. You were ALWAYS the most amazing encouragement to me. Your insight, your compassion, your knowledge, your--- your--- your--- the list could go on and on. You are such a blessing to everyone who knows you! I am so glad to call you friend!

  3. oh, ali. doesn't feel great to know that you are called to be someone special in service for God.
    little things = big things
    to someone somewhere sometime
    christopher's blog post was meaningful for me too.
    it was along the same theme as Oprah's message - listen to the still small Voice and do what you are meant to do.
    thanks for all your encouragement you have given to me along the way.
    love you