Recgonizing Your Gifts in the Body (Guest Post: #Empowered by the Spiritual Life)

Posted By T.H.Meyer | 2 comments

Guest Post: by Kathy Schwanke


{I’ve not met Kathy in person but we frequently “see” each other in the same blogging/writing circles on the interwebs. This past May, she was part of a video series for the book Your Sacred Yes, by radio host Susie Larson. Kathy also spoke at the Set Apart Conference, and is a writer, blogger, mentor, and teacher. Her infectious smile is contagious. Today, she talks about a subject near and dear to my heart–discernment. Do we ever have enough of that? Discernment, helps us recgonize differences between the real and counterfiet, the Spiritual and the natural. It isn’t always easy. Sometimes, rejection becomes an opportunity to learn more of how we’re gifted to operate as we learn to claim it. I’m humbled and honored to have Kathy sharing such a story. Give her a hearty welcome!} 




I yearned to know. The experience of the gift seemed elusive. I knew God had adopted me and that the Holy Spirit was a gift at my new birth. But was I missing something?


We were studying the gifts of the Holy Spirit. It made sense to my young-in-the-faith mind that the gift of tongues was indeed, evidence of “the baptism of the Holy Spirit” as we’d read the account of Pentecost in the book of Acts.


The problem was, I didn’t have that gift.


My yearning caused me to search the scriptures.


I began to see that the Holy Spirit gives a variety of gifts. And that as we walk with God, progressively more of us goes out, as He pours more of Himself in.


He taught me that being filled with the Spirit is progressive and daily.


Like John the Baptist said, “He must increase, I must decrease.”


kathy's pic


Two of the members of our Bible Study spoke in tongues, though I was skeptical. I’d heard them make strange utterances during prayer time. Their words seemed to be repetitive. As if they were given a short phrase that they spoke over and over. I found no value in their use of it during our prayer times. And I noticed one girl being preferred for prayer needs over those without the gift.


This made me more skeptical.  “Aren’t the prayers of all believers valuable?”


We’d met over the course of maybe two years, wanting the deeper life. It was a genuine desire, but with much experimentation.


I’m a cautious personality, and wasn’t buying into it all as easily as it seemed the others were.


One day, the preferred girl, as we were all standing in a circle for prayer, put herself in the center of the circle and walked around to each person holding their hands and weeping.


No words, just holding hands and weeping. When she got to me, I gave her a questioning, apologetic glance and held my hands back.


I’m not sure what she thought of that, but it caused me a small amount of trauma to not be like everyone else.


After going home and praying, the Lord showed me that she struggled with inferiority and was seeking attention. I remembered her weeping in the early days for her perceived lack of value.


Soon after that experience, she started a prayer group at our little country church and called to tell me that the Lord told her that I wasn’t supposed to be a part of it for now.


That stung.


But as I prayed, the Lord assured me that He would never block me from participating in a prayer group. I rested in that, though I’d endure the women talking amongst themselves of times together and felt the sting of being left out.


I found joy in my relationship with Jesus.


Over the course of time, she and another woman would accuse a couple in our church of being witches, and the church went through a devastating split.


Our family ended up moving in the middle of the ordeal, grateful for God’s timing.


So, what about the gift of tongues? It’s in the Bible.


Though I am cautious, I do believe it is a gift for today. I’ve personally experienced the blessing of its use.


My mom has the gift of tongues. She once had a ministry praying with people in her church. People like the lady she told me about, who had lost her young son, but didn’t know if he’d drown in the river out back or had been kidnapped.


She met with that woman and prayed with her weekly, encouraging her.


She prayed “in the spirit” as charismatic worshippers call it, and as soon as her words ceased, she’d write down what she’d heard the Lord speak.


The written words were always framed in scripture, and most often were scripture.


Mom’s Bible sat open on her table, and she often stayed up late reading God’s word.


On a day when anxiety was strangling me, she came to pray.


My husband had his own construction business. I was a young home-schooling mom doubling as his secretary. He’d gotten in a jam with people waiting, and I got to take the harsh phone call. I’ll never forget the man upset, yelling at me because he had to butcher his chickens in the bathtub.


My anxious heart was a tangled mess when Mom came, speaking in tongues, and then writing.


As I read her words, “Turn my eyes away from worthless things, renew my life according to your word.” Psalm 119:37 and “Zeal for your house consumes me and the insults of those that insult you have fallen on me.”  Psalm 69:9


I was set free right there. The relief was tangible, as if I’d just completed a long, hard run.


The Lord spoke to me clearly that day, I knew the worthless thing I needed to turn my eyes away from was doing it all in my own power. I needed to cast my cares upon Him. And through the other verse, I found comfort in knowing that He felt what I felt.


Remembering those days, it’s clear that the Lord gave me the ability to discern a pure gift from a distorted one.


One has the gift of tongues, another the gift of discernment.



What gifts do you see operating through you or through others? What have you learned about them? Where you raised to recgonize such things or did you have to learn on your own?




kathy's bio picKathy Schwanke married her high-school sweetheart. They make their home in Northwestern Wisconsin, love morning coffee, glimpses of the sun setting over the lake in the evening and restoring broken things like cars, homes and hearts. They have two married children and four grandsons. Kathy’s passion is encouraging women to live free of earthly weights, and soar by faith on the sturdy wings of truth and love. She serves through prayer, mentoring, writing, speaking, and teaching God’s word both weekly in a classroom and in community Bible studies. You can visit her blog Free to Fly at, on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest.



As part of the #Write31Days series, I’m writing everyday. However, I’m not publicly publishing every day. But I will be posting more often. You may find mistakes such as grammar or spelling errors. It’s the conversations that matter, right? Feel free to share your thoughts too. 


To find the whole series, click here–Empowered by the Spiritual Life.




  1. I’ll never forget the first time the Lord showed me that He had given me the gift of discernment. A visitor had come to our college youth group. After a couple of visits, one day she “fainted”. She claimed that she was pregnant, but in my spirit, I *knew* she wasn’t and that she was actually faking having fainted. The pastor asked us all to circle around her and pray and for some reason called on me to pray out loud. That was difficult. I don’t remember what I said, but I know I didn’t mention her “pregnancy”.
    As you say here Kathy, our gifts are developed over time, and come to fruition when we have surrendered them to the Lord. I grew up in very dysfunctional and abusive situations, making me leery and watchful of people. The Lord turned that around, giving me the ability to use that watchfulness and observation into a skill as I grew in Him.
    Thank you for sharing your experience Kathy.

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  2. I’ve grown up seeing the gifts used and abused. I believe that tongues, prophesy, etc. are still for today and are needed, but without discernment and the plumbline of the Bible which all of the gifts must line up with, we are vulnerable to all sorts of deception. Yet, we shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bath water. God gave these gifts to the body for our encouragement and to build us up.

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