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386562_524249864254143_105535994_nBy: Ntsiki Mkhize.

The word of God says that ‘no man knows the day nor hour that the Son of Man will be coming back,’ but should it be as the Mayans predict I, am grateful that I have lived and for this year-ending 2012. A beautiful American tradition where a “thanksgiving” dinner is held two weeks before Christmas with friends and family and other loved ones, enjoyed over turkey and other complimentary eats. At this dinner, those gathered go around the table and take turns to mention that which they are grateful for -and should you have me at your dinner, we might be there a whole hour with me giving thanks for all the blessings God has sent my way this year alone – luckily you need not worry about the turkey getting cold, but merely enjoy this read of my account of this year.

Of all things, I am grateful that I am alive and that I not only know God and Christ, but have a relationship with my father and brother. Now while I could have saved that statement as the best for last, I mention it first simply because as obvious as it may seem, this year I have had so many personal encounters with the Spirit – from watching thunder storms form, to wise words from my elders and a certain still voice that guides my steps – and it is truly the most important aspect of my life, the very nature which I am now a new creation in. Secondly, I make this my first point as everything else which I am grateful for this year stems from that.

I am grateful that God is true and just and faithful to His word, and I do not say this as a bold confession of His word, but rather a testimony that ask God and see if He will not pour open the floodgates of heaven. I am grateful for the opportunity I have been given to lead as a Children’s Ministry teacher and of a women’s fellowship group I started at my Day-House at university and I have learnt as much teaching and sharing, maybe even more, from those I have been able to fellowship with.

My family, grandmother – whom I mention specifically because I often get lost in the thought that she was born in 1928 and the life she has lived is in its own reason enough to be grateful, but that’s another article altogether. Friends: when the pieces of this great puzzle of life come together, it makes more sense to me why God has put all these people in my path, including those I have met this year and some I have only had brief encounters with. As the hairs on your head are numbered, I am sure the minutes in your day have also been as meticulously planned out.

I am a graduate! Not a shocking statement to most, but an overwhelming one to me. Studying for three years towards a degree you chose, you kind of figure that at the end you should pass and graduate and that’s it. However, some dear friends reminded me of the hours spent studying, prayers said from a deep place, rejoices, victory dances and tears shed over the years to get this “piece of paper” which, yes, will be taking me out to dinner soon. Also not neglecting the fact that in our country, of every youth, only so many make it into university and only a smaller portion make it past first year and the bunch that see their final year in “record time” , that is something well worth giving yourself a pat on the back for.

I am grateful for good food – I know it might sound stupid, but there is nothing like good food on a chilled day at a wonderful street café or whichever place tickles your fancy, and the memories I have attached to certain eateries.

I am grateful for my Miss South Africa experience, the journey preparing me for that allowed me to grow so much as an individual and the experience put quite a few things into perspective. Every casting, shoot, gig, and rejection – I am what some would call tanzanite: a step further than a diamond being finished.

My enriching experiences through volunteering, as well as every good and great and not so laughable event that has come my way – I am grateful for the stuff that builds character.

I could continue for pages to come, but I will end with the fact that I am grateful for a renewed energy and spirit within, that has reaffirmed that I can really do all things through Him who strengthens me and these plans God has for my life – wow. I am grateful that I am more than a conqueror in Christ and I will continue to stomp the devil flat footed and in six inch heels.

And to you, for taking the time to read this and for this platform that gives us the chance to express our thoughts; to more people than ‘my younger sister’ who has no choice but to listen, without this, these would all be thoughts in my mind and words on a page.

Peace. Happiness. Love.