4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues,[a] and to still another the interpretation of tongues.[b]11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.
Through prayer, fasting and lots of church attendance, I got to discover that my gift is the gift of knowledge. I believe I likened the small voice I heard so loudly at age 4 to a compass, that lets me know what to do, how to do it , what to say when to say and who to say it to. As such I found myself having out of the ordinary way of knowing about things, I know for a fact that if my mother had misplaced her handkerchief or snyf, the voice would tell me exactly where I would find it and I would run back to her with it. There was a point where I used to think I was relying on my memory, since I loved cleaning so much, at first I thought I would have seen the snyf or the pair of shoe before anybody asked for it. It was only later that I realized that I knew about stuff even before I had seen them.
This experience changed over time to become one of the ability to solve problems. The ability of knowing what to say, especially words of healing, words of comfort. The ability of looking at a person and knowing what they needed to hear that would change their life. I learned of the meaning of the word “edified” at a very young age, the scripture tells us that when we must edify one another through the word of prophecy. I saw how my testimonies would edify the church, someone at the end of the testimony would say, lomntwana unesipho. Now since my church encouraged one to stand and serve in their gifts, I was always propelled to do more and serve with my gift.
So the words of knowledge the words of wisdom were always on my mind. The voice had something to say on a daily basis and I shared and uttered these out in conversations, testimony and Sunday school classes.
There are a number of instances which stood out for me that as I write I am seeing an opportunity where the Holy Spirit is leading me to do the work.
One such opportunity is an instance that occurred when I was 14 years of age. By that time I was fully committed to church and we had a jam packed annual programme. Each section of the church had what we called monthly and quarterly meetings; these were split by branches which required travelling. Every month we met and did a local meeting but every quarter we had an opportunity to meet with the closest branch for a meeting, which is like a conference but on a very small scale. A programme would be distributed to the churches in advance and chorus leaders, Mc’s to preachers would be nominated.
Now each and every one in church knew that it was such an honor to be asked to serve in any position or activities in one of these. Although I was very expressive in my local church and sharp in my gift, I was very shy when coming to any other environment outside of that and so I don’t really recall ever serving that much in the quarterly meetings except in the monthly meetings which were always local. These meetings were such a big deal and they culminated towards an end of year function held at the headquarters of the church where the whole country even international churches came to gather.
I had built a routine of going to these gatherings which required paying cash for them but the very first year in 1996 I didn’t pay much because the church was funding the young ones, plus there were more revivals than travelling. It was in 1997 that I prepared myself to go to the gathering for the girls quarterly. I was 14, feeling confident, I was also a very reliable child, I did all my house chores, swept the yard , did the laundry, made fire , fetched the water. I was an A student , I was an A child and I felt that , this qualifies me to get something from my parents when I ask, especially since I felt I never ask for anything.
My request was a R5 to pay for transportation to the church gathering. My childish mind assumed that since my sister had asked for R5 to go to the hall for a beauty contest, why they wouldn’t give me the R5 to go to church. Plus in those days in my mind’s thinking going to church was a better cause and a holier cause than doing beauty contest, hha!. And when my mother refused to give me the R5, I was devastated, I was shuttered. I started moaning and doing all manner of comparisons in my mind, I cried bitterly to myself in the bedroom
And finally I blurted it all out in anger to my mother…you don’t love me, I said!!! I was yelling and screaming , telling her how much I do in this house compared to how much my sister doesn’t do, I yelled at how I have never asked a single cent from her yet the only time I asked she didn’t give me, yet gave to my sister. I was livid with pain in my chest, I was sad. I went as far as packing a small blue bag; I’m my mind I was packing to go live at my next door neighbor. I felt life will be better there, they didn’t have a child and I was already helping them clean their house every weekend.
My mother’s response was not to address how I felt, but instead she took a big stick and beat the hell out of me. I got a few hot klaps on my face and I thought yooo that was hot. As she beat me she told me she was tired of me complaining all the time. I kept wondering, but I have never complained, this was my first time complaining? I thought I was a well behaved child all along and my very first chance of crying out, I get a hiding??? I was confused, I was lost…
It was midday when this all went down and somehow my siblings were not around. I was on my bed trying to deal with what just happened, tears rolling down my face. I remember my brother Sbu coming to check up on me, in his sweet caring face, asking me what’s wrong and I all I could do was to cry. I was feeling so bad, so guilty and I wanted to go hug my mother and say I’m sorry but I was so afraid of her, I could see what I said hurt her and I didn’t know how to take back those words…..I fell asleep
Then the voice came, the same voice that was always talking to me. In my sleep, I saw all the gifts and awards that my sister had won in her beauty contest. I saw the watch that I enjoyed wiping the dust off it, I saw the dinner set that my mother enjoys using to serve on it when we have guests, I saw the cups we use daily, I saw the sugar coffee milk containers sitting on the display, almost everything that was making our kitchen look beautiful came from the prizes she had won from her competition.
The voice spoke to me , it said I must not compare myself to my sister and I must not hold grudges against my mother for not giving me the money. I also felt in this dream that I was not brining anything tangible to the table by just going to these conferences. I was assured that my sister has a role to play in this family, and I too have a role to play, but both roles are different. I woke up from this dream and tried to find a way to say sorry to my mother, through actions, I don’t know if I ever managed to say the words, because as I write now, I know I am not the strongest person in words and vulnerability.
From that day on, I never compared myself to anyone, my siblings, my classmates etc. I did what I was good at and I left what I wasn’t good at to its people. I then became the biggest cheer leader when people did their own stuff…how I figured all this at 14, beats me too. But I lived in a space where I no longer needed validation nor did I feel that I was less loved because of the R5 I did not get.
Few powerful things happened to me after this dream
- I took my weekend job very seriously next door and paid attention to what I did with my R2 rand pay per week
- I reduced my church commitments on Saturdays by all means and resorted to cleaning next door in order to make some cash
- I paid attention to give a portion of my pay, not sure if I used the 10% principle, but I gave without a doubt
- I never expected my sister to be of my equivalent in my cleaning, tiding up or even cooking habits passion and skill, although I didn’t do cooking as much but I did everything else, I also never made her feel guilty about it, which was very important to me
- In the past, I would clean and hate it when someone stepped over , this all changed, I cleaned with a smile, I presented my cleaning as a skill, I made cleaning very “cool”
- I was always looking for ways to wash laundry, how to use water sparingly, how to dry it up on the grass, the fences and fold before ironing
- I especially looked forward to the washing of blankets , it must be the stepping with our foot that made it exciting for me
- I did all my house chores without expecting anyone else to match my efforts even though we were in a big family
- The voice made me understand that I had something to give, equally as my sister had something to give, BUT it was clear that I did not need to make that mistake to say just because I clean a lot , she too must be like me
- I did enjoy the compliments from my dad though..hhhaa!!! and she was blamed and labelled for being lazy…I was a child…my ignorance is excused J
- I have come to learn in raising kids that , that which is traditional is more revered than what is new … but I give it to my mother, she too has a gift to discern each child’s abilities
- I supported my sister in all her beauty contests, even went to one of them !! something I considered ground breaking for me because I was always in church and would have considered such unholy
I know there is a reason why I was placed on this path, although a lot must still be revealed.
I am grateful that an experience that could have built hatred bitterness between me my sister and my mother was a lesson for me to know my place in the world.
I did not grow a cold heart but I was made to understand and accept the circumstances. I loved my mother dearly and I was always having small whispers trying to explain at each moment what she was thinking and what she was growing through.I could stand next to her and easily predict what she was going to say…that always gave me goosebumps
I felt as though I knew how she felt on most days, without her telling me. As I write, I am getting a feeling that I was her little guardian angel somehow after this experience, I don’t know what this means
I grew up to be a better person and in my view, I put my sister first without any ounce of doubt fear or jealousy. Knowing how bad sibling rivalry can be and having lived long enough to see how it damages families, I know that this was God’s grace to me.
And so putting other people first is something I naturally gravitate to, no matter the cost. I always believe there is a greater good when I do that
It’s not always about me in fact this is so consistent to the person I am today
The gift of knowledge proved powerful at the tender age of 14