This beautiful 8-year old girl has stolen my heart. Society would deem her circumstances worthy of a life filled with anger, bitterness, and sorrow, but none of these words come close to describing little Maryann. The picture below was taken on the first day we met.
Her mother died of HIV/AIDS when Maryann was just a baby. She had her father left, until a few months ago when he, too, passed. I see Christ in Maryann with every day I spend with her. She is like a giant ball of joy and energy. It's sooo easy for us to live without joy and thankfulness when we are daily experiencing the condemnation, trials, and brokenness found effortlessly in this world. I am learning that authentic, unshakable joy comes from these troubling times and situations.
From Andrew Murray's "Abide in Christ":
[Many Christians'] view of the Christian life is that it is a succession of changes, now joy and now sorrow. And they appeal to the experiences of a man like the Apostle Paul, as a proof of how much there may be of weeping, and sorrow, and suffering. They have not noticed how just Paul gives the strongest evidence as to this unceasing joy. He understood the paradox of the Christian life as the combination at one and the same moment of all the bitterness of earth and all the joy of heaven. "As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing": these precious golden words teach us how the joy of Christ can overrule the sorrow of the world, can make us sing while we weep, and can maintain in the heart, even when cast down by disappointment or difficulties, a deep consciousness of a joy that is unspeakable and full of glory. There is but one condition: "I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy shall no man take from you." The presence of Jesus, distinctly manifested, cannot but give joy.
Precious Maryann is full of so much spunk and life. Her giggles are unending and are absolutely contagious. I rarely see her without her huge grin plastered across her face.
One of the few times that I have seen Maryann serious and intense was when we were hiking one afternoon. And she says to me with a solemn and worried expression, "Auntie, let me carry your bag." This isn't uncommon as the kids are constantly trying to help us out by carrying our stuff even though they realize our bags are half the weight of themselves. My bag was pretty heavy as it was filled with food for lunch, camera, and two full water bottles. So I said to her, "Thank you, but I will carry it, it is very heavy today." She wasn't going to accept that as she looked very stern and said, "Auntie please give me your bag, I want to carry it for you." Knowing I couldn't change her mind, I handed her my backpack. As she added the weight onto her tiny, little frame, her trademark grin was across her face again.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
posted by sara d @ 6:34 PM