Divine Nature and Destiny, by DeNae Handy

Seek Earnestly the Best Gifts

On the day I received my Patriarchal blessing, I met this cute guy and his mom in the hall. They were waiting for the Patriarch; the cute guy was next to receive his blessing.

I’ve wondered if the Patriarch had any inkling about that cute guy and me—if he suspected that the nearly identical blessings he gave to each of us meant anything other than that maybe it was time he took a nap, reboot the system a bit. He was getting repetitive, after all—not always a good feature in a Patriarch.

Three years later—admit it, you saw this coming—that cute guy and I were married. That we married on the same day as the Patriarch’s daughter we’ve chalked up to coincidence. The dovetail blessings? Nope, that was Divinely intentional.

Twenty-seven years and four children later, we’ve seen the power of Patriarchal blessings bless our lives. For years we each relied on our own blessing, and that of our spouse, to offer direction, insight, and comfort as we made choices we never thought would even be presented to us.

Now, three of our children have their blessings, and we expect our youngest to receive his in the next few weeks. And in the years since our kids received their Patriarchal blessings, I’ve gained greater understanding of the significance of those blessings.

We tend to think of a Patriarchal blessing as something that is ‘mine.’  We even stress that when teaching others about their blessing: “It’s personal. Meant just for you. It shows that you are unique, and known to your Heavenly Father.”

But if we are to take Paul, Moroni, and others at their word—that spiritual gifts are intended to ‘edify’ or build up others—then we have to assume that our blessings are absolutely not personal, not meant just for us.

What good does it do me to be blessed as a teacher, if there are no students, no classes to teach? How are promises of being an inspired mother fulfilled without children to parent?

As my children have received their Patriarchal blessings, I have found myself reading them very closely. Why? Because I’ve realized that their blessings are my blessings. One daughter has been given the gift of healing hands. I’m counting on those hands when I’m in my dotage! My son was told that he is presided over by a ‘council of grandfathers.’ One of those grandfathers is my own father, and I take great comfort in the idea that he sits in council with the great men of my ancestry—endowed with priesthood authority—to have very real influence over the course of my life and the lives of my family. Another daughter has been blessed with the gift of discernment. I’m sticking close to her when the zombie apocalypse comes; she’ll have the inside edge on who’s alive and who’s merely undead!

The Proclamation on the Family states that each son and daughter of God has a divine nature and destiny. Knowing that my children, their spouses, and their children—along with our extended families—all have gifts and callings specially selected by their Heavenly Father with which to bless those around them, gives me courage when facing experiences that might otherwise overwhelm me. Possessed of this confidence, I can better serve others and embrace new opportunities, growing and adding to my quiver of desirable ‘best gifts.’ And I learn firsthand how the greatest gift really is Charity, because it’s that power that enables one to do for others what they cannot do for themselves.

The lessons Paul taught to the Church, to the entire world, I’ve seen bear fruit in our little family. I don’t need to possess every gift; I just need to be a mom. The help I require is just a phone call, a prayer, a fast away, as my children call upon their gifts to bring wholeness to my life.

DeNae Handy is a humorist, blogger, musician, writer, editor, and bi-weekly columnist with Meridian Magazine. With twenty years’ experience teaching Gospel Doctrine, Institute, and Seminary, DeNae enjoys invitations to speak at LDS-sponsored conferences and other events throughout the United States. Her most recent publication,Tell Me Who I Am, is a collaborative work which includes essays and poetry depicting daily life for sixteen Latter-day Saint writers. More of DeNae’s writing can be found on her blog, My Real Life Was Backordered. 


Today there is a “Blog Hop” about Family Home Evening lesson ideas or a craft, either one related to the Family Proclamation. Due to technical difficulties (code for: I am an idiot), I couldn’t get the linking tool to work on my blog.  Please go to any of the other hosting blogs (who apparently are not idiots) and leave a link to your own glorious blog post. I can’t wait to look at your ideas.


Click here to read a complete version of The Family: A Proclamation to the World. The celebration will continue from Sept 17-30.

Remember that during the world-wide-web Family Proclamation Celebration, you can read more posts every day at We Talk of Christ, at Chocolate on My Cranium, and at Middle-Aged Mormon Man.

Every time you leave a comment on any of the Proclamation posts or participate in any of the Blog Hops, you are entered in a drawing to win a giveaway prize.

The giveaway this week is a Dream Big Family Rules Subway Art sign from Landee on Etsy. “One of the reasons we love to create things for our homes is because our favorite people live there! We love our families and want them to be in a happy & healthy environment. We always try to create products that are positive, motivating and uplifting. Stop by our shop and find that special detail for your home that you’ve been looking for!

19 thoughts on “Divine Nature and Destiny, by DeNae Handy

  1. The church is interesting in its emphasis in both the individual and the community. I have never thought about my patriarchal blessing also being meant for others. Great insight. Love ya both.

  2. Even though patriarchal blessings are definitely tailored to the individual, they’re also based on universal gospel truths. I enjoy reading my children’s blessings every so often to be reminded of the things that I should be doing, because everyone should be doing them. And I also enjoy reading them to just see how they capture the unique essence of us as individuals. Next time I’m going to have to read them from your perspective of how I can use the talents I’ve personally been blessed with to serve and help others. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I really enjoyed your insight this morning. Thanks for the part about the blessings being for other’s too. I never really thought of it that way.

  4. I have loved reading my ancestors’ patriarchal blessings too. It has been interesting to see what blessings and talents they had that continue to bless their posterity today. My FIL is a patriarch and it has been quite special to have my children receive their patriarchal blessings from him.

  5. That is beautiful insight into patriarchal blessings. I have my grandparents’s (both deceased) blessings. It’s been years since I read them. I think that may be this week’s project, to find and read them.

  6. Thanks for sharing that DaNae! I love your insight into how we’re all blessed with divine attributes and that as a family we each contribute something different yet equally amazing. it really reinforces the importance of the “family”. Hahaha, like the Incredibles, each family member has a unique super power! That was really nice…

  7. I got my patriarchal blessing when I was married and pregnant with first child (I’m a late bloomer ;)). I have known from the very first moment that I received it that it was intended for both Dallas and me. It’s wonderful to read over it and see promises to my entire family included in it.

  8. This post is wonderful. I love the insight on how patriarchal blessings bless so many more people than only ourselves.

    oh…note to stephanie: you are not an idiot. WordPress doesn’t support the code that the blog-hop thing works with. 🙂

  9. This post means a lot to me. I have been feeling lately like my Patriarchal blessing doesn’t apply to me very well… but this post makes me feel better. I think I’ll go read and ponder my blessing again.

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