Birthday Tidings

Me at 22 years old

Today is a great day. Amazing. Wonderful. If for no other reason, then the fact that it is the day I make 22 will suffice. Yes, today 14th December 2016, is my birthday and boy oh boy am I excited! I look through the cracked, dust-stained window of the room I am sitted in: I see the sky, in an undefinable colour; a colour which is somewhere between blue, white and grey. It’s beautiful. The sun is shining bright, irradiating every corner and crack that those golden rays can find their way to. Two dark feathered birds flit across the sky, perhaps on their way to an urgent family meeting. The tree branches are gently swaying in a light breeze that is a welcome relief to the scorching unforgiving rays of the sun. From where am seated, I can clearly hear the animated conversation between my mother, sister and aunties that is often punctuated by loud, ringing laughter. If I didn’t say I am grateful to be well and alive on such a day, I would be a liar. 

I first got wind of my birth date during the 2002 Population Census: the first census I witnessed in my lifetime. I do not quite recall why it had never occured to me to ask my mother my birthdate before then. Perhaps it was because it did not matter to me then, given that I lived in an area where one never heard of a birthday celebration. All the major celebrations of one’s life were done on the very day they were born. The rest of the celebrations were reserved for day they were buried; when everyone suddenly remembered how great a life they had lived, and what a pity it was that they were gone so soon. It was a pattern that was never broken. 

And so on that fateful day, I remember it so vividly, while my mum answered the questions asked by the census agent, I took the liberty of perusing through his(the agent’s) notes and there I saw it, my birthdate, I have not forgotten it since. At the time, I was only a little girl in primary four, with no dreams or expectations whatsoever. I was one of those kids who when asked what I would like to be in future, would smile sweetly and then shyly look at my feet until the asker would either be forced to give up the questioning or suggest a profession for me. I always nodded yes to whatever profession was suggested. Doctor, Engineer or Teacher, nothing really seemed appealing to me and yet at the same time they all seemed great titles to have. I was an ordinary girl, living an ordinary life, completely oblivious to the future that lay ahead of me. The 22 year old me, the me now. A girl or should I say woman now, full of a zillion dreams. Dreams to one day walk in to a book shop and find my books on the shelves; not just any books but books full of the grace and love of God. Dreams to one day help many a child find a future, dreams to make a difference in this world any way that I can. Sometimes, the magnitude of these dreams scare me but I am comforted in knowing that the God that brought me thus far will take me even further. 

The best way to summarize 21 years in to one piece of writing is to say, it has been God all the way. His Grace has seen me through seemingly insurmountable hurdles. His love has been relentless: even the times I couldn’t love myself, He still loved me as dearly as the days I was lost in narcissism. He has been faithful to me even when I knew not the meaning of faithfulness. He has comforted me in my times of sorrow, daily showing me that there is no part of my life that He’s not concerned about. He has carried me above the storms of low self esteem, insecurity, poverty and placed me on higher ground. Truly, only the grace of my Lord Jesus Christ could have brought me this far. I owe every bit of my being to the one that was whipped that I may be made whole, the one that was broken that I may be mended, the one that was spat upon that I may be highly spoken of. He was wounded for my transgressions, bruised for my iniquities and finally He gave up His life so that I could truly find life. And so, here’s to more grace, love and purpose filled years. Here’s to spreading His love more. Here’s to making Him known.

Happy Birthday to me! 

To each and everyone that celebrated my birthday through a message, a call, a prayer, a thought, a silent wish… I am eternally grateful! Thank you for being a part of my story! 

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