Child-Like Joy

[ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Caleb & Amanda Cox, live in Edmond, OK, with their two girls, Kenna (4) and Callie (11 months). Caleb is an Assistant Golf Professional at a country club and is working to complete his PGA Certification. Amanda enjoys the flexible schedule of working from home as a Billing Manager for chiropractic offices. They are passionate about being outside, crafting, play dates, family time and healthy living, God’s way! Amanda grew up at Glen Elm Church of Christ and met Caleb shortly after graduating from Oklahoma Christian University.]

 

mary and gabrielThe angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God…. For no word from God will ever fail.”

“And Mary said, “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful… of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name.” (Luke 1:35,37,46-49)

What strikes me about these verses is the faith-filled confidence of young Mary’s response. Wow! On the day the angel delivered this unfathomable news, the Holy Spirit had not yet descended on God’s people in the form that we so often imagine and take for granted. We hold the story in our hands every day, from beginning to end, but for Mary, the story was only beginning! Imagining myself in that moment, as a mother, gives me goose bumps!! Reading this chapter fills me with JOY, ANTICIPATION AND GRATITUDE!

Caleb and I have recently been reading (or better described as digesting) a book called, “The Life Model: Living from the Heart Jesus Gave You” by a group of Christian counselors and ministers. The simple word JOY runs throughout the book’s discussion. The context of the conversation is life’s stages of maturity and areas that either solidify or hinder growth as a person ages. With two young children, it was interesting to us when the authors stated that in the first year of life, an infant’s entire existence must be centered on the feeling of joy. As a parent, the crux of our responsibility is to return the child to joy as quickly as possible: change a diaper, comfort an injury, provide nourishment, or deliver warmth and assurance. Our heartstrings are quickly tugged when we see the opposite in action — a child left alone crying, one who is malnourished, an orphan without constant care, or a sick or injured baby in the NICU. At a young age, the more quickly a child “returns to joy” when they are dependent on others, the quicker they will be able to return to joy on their own, as they become independent and mature. Read that again and really let that sink in! The foundation of security, joyfulness, and independence is solidified in the first 12-24 months of life! (I could go off on a soapbox here about maternity leave in the U.S. being 6 weeks, unpaid, versus Canada’s 1 year… but I’ll spare you! If you know me, you can probably picture my rant!)

joy childThe faith of a young child is so pure, innocent, and fully committed. Sharing Bible stories or praying with my four year old has been one of the most humbling and precious experiences of my entire life. Whether she is asking God to “never leave me, always be with me” or giving thanks for “baby sister’s baby spoons,” her expression is pure JOY because her security is solid and unwavering.

As a teenager, Mary’s confidence was in God her Father to provide all her needs, despite the complications surrounding her pregnancy; the trials of motherhood, the whispers of the neighbours. She was glowing with JOY! Giving praise to God for the blessing of His Gift! There was no fear, just faithfulness. No questioning, just gratitude! I do not believe she stated that the generation would call her blessed just because she bore our Saviour, but also because her soul, spirit, and life were a reflection of these characteristics. This is the generational legacy we want to leave!

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