Sister Gilbert is a native of Provo, Utah. She graduated from Brigham Young University in Family Science and taught elementary school before becoming a full-time homemaker.
Sister Gilbert has served in multiple ecclesiastical roles, including Primary president, seminary teacher, and Gospel Doctrine instructor.
She and her husband, Clark, were married as they graduated from BYU. They are the parents of eight children, ages two to nineteen. Sister Gilbert has a love for learning, a passion for her family, and a commitment to the gospel.
"Clearing the Path with Love"
Sister Christine C. Gilbert
April 19, 2017
Winters in New England can be harsh. I learned this firsthand during the years we held early morning seminary in the basement of our Boston home. I spent many snowy, cold mornings clearing the path from our driveway to the door that led to our seminary room entrance. While clearing this path, I would think about our students and the challenges they faced. I thought of Mike being raised by a single mother and Jill staying strong while many of her family members had strayed from the Church. With every shovel of snow, my heart desired to carve out a path and help them as much as I could. I wanted to make it as easy as possible for them to safely walk down the path and into our warm seminary room.
One day, I had an impression that I should take a treat to each of them at their schools. By the time I arrived at the first high school, it was lunchtime. The halls were lined with hundreds of teenagers shouting and laughing as they ate lunch. I felt out of place as cliques of teenagers suspiciously looked me over. I remembered having similar feelings of being out of place on my first day of high school. Is this how my seminary students felt each day as they entered the doors of their high school? As I delivered my treats that day, I realized that I didn't have to worry about lessons or games or special breakfasts to help my seminary students. What they needed most from me was to simply feel loved as I sent them out the door each day for school.
As the Savior spoke to His disciples of the last days, He taught: "And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold." Clearing a path through the cold winters of life will be increasingly difficult in the last days unless we look to the Savior for help.
Clearing the pathway with love doesn't always come naturally in all situations, and it isn't always easy for everyone. I have found that children are wonderful examples of reaching out with simple, Christlike love. One of the great joys of motherhood is when I see one of our children show love in small and simple ways such as a smile, hug, compliment, word of encouragement, or handwritten note left on a pillow or a mirror. Our daughter wrote on our bathroom mirror the other night expressing her love to her parents. The note read:
"Dear Clark, I love you Dad! I hope you love me, too. Can you do me a favor? If so, please tell Mom that she is the best wife in the world and that you love her more than anything in the universe. I love you. Your favorite daughter, Emma"
This note actually came at the perfect time for me. I woke up with a little cloud of discouragement hanging over my head and just didn't feel like I was living up to the mother or wife that I was trying to be. Seeing this note brightened my outlook. I was overwhelmed by this simple act of love that my daughter showed to me. I was humbled as I recognized that President Gilbert had done exactly what Emma had asked by building and encouraging me the night before. We can learn from such spontaneous expressions of love and strive to implement some of these same practices into our daily lives. I know BYU-Idaho is a great place to develop the attributes of showing love, empathy, and kindness as you interact with roommates, ward members, classmates, friends, and teachers. This, in turn, will be a blessing for future leadership in your homes, the Church, and the communities where you serve.
We must look to the Savior's example of clearing the path with love. The Savior has walked every snowy, icy path imaginable. He knows that life can be harsh and doesn't expect us to walk alone. That is why we have each other and why we need to help one another in small and simple ways. As we put the Savior first in our lives, He will help us to know how we can clear the path with love. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.