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identity1Come back with me in time to 36 years ago and imagine with me 2 expectant parents waiting for their second child to be born. As they approach the fifth month of pregnancy, they go to the doctor just to ascertain that all is well. Ah what a joyful surprise they receive as they discover that they are having twins!! They go home and sit dreaming of what their little ones will look like; what they will become, what they will do. Most of all, they just want their babies to be healthy and whole like any other parents. In the middle of the fifth month however, the mother starts to feel pains and her waters break. She is rushed into hospital and a couple of hours later, a little girl is born, weighing 500 grams. She comes into life, Yelling her tiny lungs out. “She’ll stop crying eventually,” the doctors say to her parents. “She won’t live through the night.” So they take the screaming baby into the sluice room, where they leave her to die. The little girl’s twin brother is born six hours later. He had fought a tough and long fight in the womb and does not survive the night. However, the little girl continues to yell and make her presence heard. The doctors put her in an incubator for a few days then mum and daughter are transferred to Harare hospital. How devastating it is for the parents as they watch their dreams being shattered. The little girl continues to fight for her life as the doctors still pronounce death over her. The mother stays with her and continues to fight for her life. They keep taking her out of the incubator when a stronger baby needs it but she continues to cling onto life. Being in a box is not going to define the life that God has given her. She is determined that she will not end up in another box, a coffin. Her Grandmother on her mother’s side comes to help look after everyone in the crisis. She is a great prayer warrior, and one day when she is is at church someone comes up to her with a word that from God. He said that her granddaughter’s life is not over as the doctors keep predicting, she will grow up and bring joy to her family. She will be the one that looks after not the one that has to be looked after. That gives great hope to the grandmother an also the parents for that person could not have known what that doctors have said. The little girl continues to thrive. Two months after her birth and struggle for survival the doctors tell the parents that their little girl is blind. The story you have just read is my story. It seems to me that the way my life started has defined the journey that God has had me on. I’m the girl who likes to be out of the boxes that the world would have her live in. I still find that boxes although warm and comforting, are not what God would have for me. He wants me to break the boundaries and to live outside the box. Knowing that God had a plan for my life is the foundation of my identity and purpose. If God said it, there it was. He loved me so much He kept me alive despite the odds and to top it all, had some purpose for my life. That’s what kept me going when things were tough, knowing that truth. However that truth was put to the test very soon in my young life. When I was a little girl, I struggled with the fact that everyone wanted me to be healed from my blindness. And how natural that is for parents and families who only want the “best” for their child. However, in my own little world, I was very content to be the way I was. I knew no different. I didn’t feel that I was missing out on much. I enjoyed my life, and rode my tricycle with my brothers and lived a pretty fun-filled life. However my relatives would come to our house and would behave as if a funeral had just taken place. They would cry for my parents and the child that they had been given. So people tried to fix what in their eyes was perceived to be wrong. It became more apparent to me at the age of 12 when a man approached me in the street and asked me if I wanted prayer to get healing for my sight to come back. This was the first time it had happened to me outside the protection of my parents. Suddenly I had to answer for myself. I consented to his prayer and when I was not healed he basically implied that my faith was wrong. He accused me of not having enough faith and implied that it was my fault that I was blind. So I went home and asked my parents whether the man’s accusations were right. My poor parents didn’t know what to do. I then started wrestling with God and my heart. Was it me? Was it my fault that I couldn’t see? Was God OK with who I was? Why was everyone else trying to fix me? Was there something wrong with me for not caring about healing? The answers came in the form of a sermon preached at church. The pastor talked about the fact that each person on earth is not a mistake. That God doesn’t make mistakes. He has a purpose for his people. And we just needed to find it. And that each person is created in Gods image. That sermon gave me freedom to be content with who I am and to enjoy life again. God also used a scripture to confirm this to me. As I sat reading the gospel of John, which was one of only two books of the bible I owned at the time, I came across this passage: “Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.” (John 9:1-3) NKJV This was the second step in my journey of finding my identity. I was not a mistake that needed fixing. My life was purposed by God, the creator of the universe himself. He loved me enough to make me in his image. . Throughout my life, God has continued to shape and form my identity and to show me his purposes for my life and it’s been a tough but wonderful journey. For me knowing those truths of his love, his purposes and how much he values me, have been great foundations for my life. I’m so thankful that he chose to plant those truths in my life at a young age. I’m not there yet, as I keep to having to be reminded, but God in his grace always does. I pondered on the question of why we create boxes that people have to fit into? We like to have boxes that are neat and tidy. These come in many forms and often from what our peers, our parents, and the world around us says. My hypothesis is that we like to place other people into neat boxes for them to fit into and we ourselves like to fit into neat little boxes because it makes us feel safe. Genesis 1:26-30 NKJV says: “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it;.” He is a God of order, so it stands to reason that we also want order. After the fall, all of that got distorted and we started trying to regain our dominion , but instead of it being over the things of the earth, we wanted to rule each other. Our identity, purpose and value then came from conforming to each other rather than from God himself. However, God does not box us. He wants us to be all that we can be. In his world anything is possible. The cry of my heart is that we see that in each other. We are all created in the image of God, and thus we don’t have to conform or be like someone else. We just have to be who we are.