A Love that Transforms

Maria Joy   |   May 19, 2015 

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My mother was only one day old when she was abandoned by her parents. She grew up living in an orphanage and let's just say it wasn't the prettiest picture. She did, however, spend 21 years of her life there. Despite the abuse she faced, she grew up to be a woman of strength, character and love. She fell in love with and married my dad, the most wonderful man. He loved her in every way and made up for her painful past.

My parents have been a major inspiration in my life. Having absolutely no concept of a family, my mother teamed up with my father and raised me to be strong, independent and, at the same time, sensitive towards the needs around me. In both words and actions, they showed us how to love Jesus, and love like Jesus. My relationship with them moulded me into who I am. Not only did it make me realise the importance of having relationships like these, it also inspired me to impact the lives of children in the same way -- loving Jesus and loving like Jesus.

Our family spent most summers at the orphanage where my mother grew up. It has improved drastically over the years. I remember spending each day on the nursery playground with these beautiful babies in my arms and little toddlers running around. On that playground is where I met little Kamal, who came in malnourished, with a pot-belly. When I was five years old I begged my parents to adopt him. That memory still lives in my mind.

We often find comfort merely in the realisation that we have family. But it is a privilege that for many is too big a dream. To put a number to it, there are 150 million 'documented' orphans across the world. Missing in those figures are the 150 million street children, 1.2 million children who are trafficked each year, millions living in institutions, and the tens of thousands of children who are recruited and forced to fight as child soldiers. Global orphans statistics significantly underestimate the number of orphans worldwide and fail to account for many children that are among the most vulnerable, and most in need of a family.

The reality is that there are millions of orphaned children in our world today who deserve nothing less than our greatest efforts and, despite that, less than 1% of those kids are ever adopted. If we don't step in to make a difference, these kids will never know what it is to have family.

The bible in Isaiah 1:17 clearly instructs us to,

"Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow."

God doesn't leave much room to decide if it is convenient or not, or whether we are "called to" help or not. He blatantly says, DO IT! The bible repeatedly directs us to care for orphans in both the Old and New Testaments. Adoption is a wonderful way to do this and is consistent with God’s plan. He says that He is a Father to the fatherless, and that He sets the lonely in families. He provides an example of adoption by adopting us. Adoption is one way of the many ways to care for these children, who are, in fact, waiting for us to.

The least we can do is consistently love one child who may not get that love if we wouldn't step in. Commit to being family to that one child down the street or the child selling flowers at the red light. We are called to be like Christ and this is what the Father of the fatherless stood for. Simply stated, if you believe something is true, you should be willing to act as if it were true. Our words and actions should be consistent with our beliefs.

Over the years, I've had the to honour to work among the less fortunate, abandoned and orphaned. I've worked in multiple slums teaching and reaching out to children, and also in various orphanages and homes for children; I've worked in all areas from management, supervision and teaching to cooking meals for them and putting them to bed. I consider myself blessed.

There have been moments of joy watching the kids relish a meal I make or celebrating their grades that we worked so hard for. I've also felt pain while I watch them burn with fever or go through heartbreak. Since I usually have a lot of children at a time, I've also had moments where I am convinced my mind will blow up with nine boys banging on the drums, slamming their guitars, screaming their lungs out and discovering multiple ways to make the microphone screech . . . all in the name of "jamming". And often I'm pushed to the very last strand of my patience with eleven girls having a mighty stubborn moment.

From adorable faces to dirty diapers, from moments of appreciation to teenage tantrums, from being showered with love to mood swings, I've experienced a fair share. At 24, with no husband or any biological children of my own, I've already tasted motherhood. Now when I look back, being a mother was what I was created to be.

In Mathew 18:1-5 the disciples asked Jesus,

"Who, then is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me."

My dream, further ahead, is to open my home up for kids who don’t have one. Not as an orphanage or shelter but as a family, raising them from infancy until they are adults, with strong foundations. I've very recently started a project to raise funds and support my work among underprivileged and abandoned children and women across Asia. I've hand drawn and designed a line of merchandise with the desire to share hope and encouragement.  Eventually, I wish to see 'From Joy, With Love' grow to be a community that would provide love, joy, hope and employment for the underprivileged.

Currently I'm in Thailand where I help with a home for abandoned and orphaned children who have no hope for adoption. For now, I'm striving towards sharing with these little people I meet God's love in whatever capacity that reaches them.

 

Photo Credit: Unsplash

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Maria Joy, is a tiny Indian with a heart committed to orphan care and empowering women. She wishes to share love, joy and hope wherever she goes. You can read more from her on From Joy with Love.

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28 comments on “A Love that Transforms”

  1. I have had the wonderful privileged of seeing this beautiful young lady grow to be the wonderful person she is today. I know God has important work for you Maria, and He will see you through and provide all that you need! God's richest blessings be upon you. 2 Corinthians 9: 8 - 15

  2. Hi Maria, it's a joy to read your experience and what Christ is doing through you. I am inspired and moivated. I too work for slum children and I am glad to know that God has been blessing the underprivileged through you. Thanks for sharing.

  3. You are doing excellant work Maria and God will bless you abundantly as you are an inspiration to many....Keep it up and all our prayers are with you.... An remember "his eyes are on the sparrow" and he will provide you with whatever you need to do the good work of his.

  4. Hey girl, I feel so blessed to know a person like you. It's so amazing to see someone carrying out the passion of God's own heart in real. I'm so proud of you. I'm always praying for you. And Yes! Please give my love to the kids over there.

  5. We have had the privilege of seeing the very early years of this lovely woman's life and then at irregular intervals. She has trusted God and accepted His leading in her life and is now a channel of love to orphan children and an inspiration to many others.

    Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6.

  6. Maria Joy, you are a wonderful example of how we as Christians are called live our lives. Thank you for sharing your story, it has blessed me and I am sure all who read it. I know God will empower you and bless you in ways you could never imagine. May God bless you and keep you in the shelter of His wings , as you share His love in so ways.

  7. Great stuff Maria! Great heart! A wonderful read.. One of the best I've read! God bless your ministry n your love for children.

  8. Hey Maria, its so nice to read your story and know how much God is working through your life. May God bless you and grow you in his wisdom and compassion. 🙂

  9. You have captured a piece of my heart that I have buried for years. My grandmother died when my mom was just 6 years old and my mom grew up in an orphanage. The tug of your article...no your life message....is so gripping. I am a mess of tears right now. Maybe God is trying to tell me something...Thanks for sharing.

  10. Maria Joy beautifully said, Can't wait to see God unfold his plans for you. May His will always be the desire of your heart. Love you heaps.

    Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
    Psalm 37:4

  11. Well, maria you proved it to me that a girl child is the best child and adoption has been a clear option but still not a decision. Wish i could adopt you 🙂 love bhai we miss you come home soon.

  12. Dear Maria,

    Amazing piece of writing, transpired straight from your heart! It is such a joy to know that you are an instrument in God’s hands and spreading His goodness through your service to the underprivileged children. May our dear Lord bless you and grant you much joy, peace and happiness in all your endeavors. Be assured of our prayers and support.

  13. Hi Maria! I just found you on Facebook and saw that you had this blog. It is so inspirational to see the story behind your heart for kids and orphans. I felt so encouraged seeing you at work at Breanna's House of Joy just one week ago. I'm so happy I got to know you! Thank you for all you do. God is seriously shining through you 🙂 Love, Jaci

  14. Absolutely beautiful! Heart breaking and encouraging... I didn't know your mum's story... but that explains a lot the beautiful, strong, compassionate women you and your sister turned out to be. God bless you Maria! I wish I could express myself better in english to describe the preciousness it is read what you write and to learn from your life... ????

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