I Know Who I Am


“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praise of He who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.” – 1 Peter 2:9

At Children of the Nations, we enjoy honoring our guests with little welcome and farewell programs, bookending their stays with words of thanks and songs of appreciation. If you’re lucky, maybe even a dance. I arrived in Uganda on the same day that some dear friends were leaving, so their farewell and my welcome were combined. 
Welcome ceremony
We sat together in the middle of our home in Uganda and I had the opportunity to hear from and speak to members of my family—the COTN family—that I had never met before. When I told them I was the international liaison for COTN–Sierra Leone there was a ripple of recognition and a few bursts of the shrill cry East Africa uses to express excitement. We were about to finish when one of my friends who was saying her fond farewell put in a song request. And boy, am I glad she did.
What happened next will stay with me for a long time. All of the kids and staff present got up and treated us to a rendition of a song that I had never heard before. Excitement and joy seemed to build with every line and the kids danced as they sang. The lyrics pounded on my heart, their truth only highlighted by the stories of those singing:
We are a chosen generation
Called forth to show His excellence
All I require for life, God has given me
And I know who I am
At COTN we believe that we were called to serve because children in desperate need prayed. And God chose to use COTN as part of how He would answer. It all started with the faith of the children. The rest of us are seeking to be obedient to the call that they initiated. And when we are successful in doing so, an amazing thing happens. These children orphaned by war, injustice, and brutality, become children once again. No longer orphans, they once again live as part of a family. They discover who they are and they are known by others. They belong.
I know who God says I am; What He says I am
Where He says I’m at; I know who I am,
I’m walking in power; I’m walking in miracles
I live a life of favor, 'cause I know who I am
After my stay in Uganda, I traveled to Malawi, and was once again welcomed with a number of programs, welcomed by name and with warmth. I was known. I had been expected. I was welcome. And once again in Malawi this song was sung and danced as part of that welcome. Later, one of the school choirs, “Citizens of Heaven,” would treat us to their own rendition and brought the house down when they sang for a big, local church. 
The COTN choirs are pretty amazing in Malawi and these girls are no exception. At my favorite part, Daphless (pictured below) strains her voice to cry, “Everybody shout out,” and the girls join in with “oh oh oh, I know who I am!” knocking their chests as if to dare anyone to challenge them. Then everything gets taken down a notch as we hear just who it is they are:
I am holy
I am righteous, oh
I am so rich
I am beautiful
Orphans? Destitute? Poor? Hopeless? Broken? No. These are young, confident, African women who know that they are the children of God. Daphless steps forward to cheers from the crowd and raps a little more explanation:
Take a look at me, I’m a wonder
It doesn't matter what you see now
Can you see His glory?
Cause I know who I am!
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