Our Joy-Boy is now a Joy-Boy-Teen!

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“I can’t wait to be a teenager!” Caleb has literally exclaimed the past few months.

When we have pursued his reasoning, Caleb admits that he just thinks being a teenager will be a fun experience for him.

Isn’t that great?

His expectations for this next season in his life are bright, positive and affirming!

It doesn’t surprise me.

This outlook is characteristic of our youngest son, our joy boy!

As I read Romans 12 this week, and also considered the advent of Caleb’s birthday, my eyes continued to rest upon these words in verse 12:

Be joyful in hope

Be joyful in hope

Be joyful in hope

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If there ever was a phrase that encapsulated who our Caleb is and what is destiny is all about in this life and beyond it truly is these four words:

Be joyful in hope

When I looked up joyful in my Greek dictionary, joyful comes from the Greek transliterated word chairos.

Chairos  means to rejoice and be glad.

Chairos means to thrive in the day to day routines of life.

Chairos means to hail the day and look forward to it in expectation.

If you ever pause to listen and watch our kid interact with himself and with others, Caleb is definitely a Chairos-kind of guy!

Now, I also looked up the word, hope, in my Greek dictionary. Hope comes from the Greek transliterated word elpis.

Elpis, too, has wonderful implications when I consider our thirteen year-old son!

Elpis means to have an expectation of good.

Elpis means to have a joyful and expectant confidence in life and for the future.

Elpis means in the Christian sense to have an eager, delightful and sustaining hope in the eternal – that is Jesus Christ!

Again, if ever there was a description for our kid, elpis is it!

Caleb is joyful in hope – and has an expectation that this teen years will be good – and fun!

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Caleb doesn’t have an ounce of cynicism in his body. I hope Caleb never does. I know the workings of this world are often less than delightful, not very fun, and are often deemed – hopeless.

However, this should not be the attitude of the follower of Christ.

We should be joyful in hope and as Roman 12:12 continues… “patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”

Those around us should see and experience this joyful hope that is ours in Christ! If Christ is truly alive within us – as we claim – then our lives should be overflowing with this truth, hope, and love!

You might think that Caleb, being only thirteen years old, really hasn’t been tested by the depravity of this fallen world. Well, I would counter that view. In Caleb’s thirteen years, he has experienced a degree of this depravity. Caleb has undergone physical challenges in that he underwent seven surgeries over a three and a half year period to deal with a birth defect. Caleb was rejected and denied placement in South Africa’s public school system because of his learning challenges and autistic behavior. Caleb has not only observed, but interacted with those in poverty in southern Africa. He has seen kids his age living in conditions that stretch and challenge his expectation that life is good. In spite of these different challenges in his young life, Caleb remains joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.

Prayer?

Yes, prayer.

Caleb not only is our joy boy, but he is the one who is most keen for our family to pray and to keep matters of prayer before our God. If we forget to pray about something, Caleb reminds us – boldly!

I can honestly say that if you know our son, Caleb, you love him. He truly lights up a room with the abounding joy Caleb draws upon from his Savior, Jesus Christ. He expects good in life and he expects good from others. When you are around someone like that, you desire the same!

As I look to Caleb’s future – his teen years and beyond – I pray this will always be so.

Happy Birthday, Caleb!

May your future be full of joy, bright with expectation, and abounding in love! May you continue to hail good tidings upon others and bless them with your joyous attitude and spirit!

You are out joy-boy-teen! And we couldn’t be more happier about that! You have remained true to who you are and we pray you always will be!

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Your dad, your brothers, Micah and Jake, and I love you very much!

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