Living with Joy

Imagine the TV show, “19 kids and counting” and this would give you some idea what the Elliotts experienced when our family of five brought into our home, seven more girls at Big Oak Ranch. Those days were rich with blessing, spilling over with activity, challenges beyond our imagining, much laughter, and sometimes heartbreak.

One October we took our girls to the Fall festival at their school, to be followed by the high school’s football game, a highlight of the week. One of our youngest, newly eight- year old “Trina” became enthralled with the cakewalk. After several failed attempts, she soon turned in all of her tickets to increase her chances of winning the grand prize … a goldfish. Knowing the longevity of such fish in general and the chances of survival of this little fish, in particular,  in our busy household, I was praying Trina would give up and move on to other games. She had already experienced so much loss and pain in her short little life; I just wanted to protect Trina from anymore. Unfortunately, the Mom running the activity began to feel so sorry for this determined little girl, she finally rigged the results and Trina became the proud new owner of the treasured goldfish. I inwardly cringed as she came running to share her exciting news. “I’m going to call her Joy”, she sang out. Now I was really worried, how could I let Joy die in our home when we were already facing so many challenges?

Right off the bat, Joy led a blessed life. Her first night consisted of sitting in a plastic bag in a very cold van for about six more hours, while we attended the game, before we could get her home and situated. But survive she did. She was the namesake of a much admired sixteen year old in our home. Now, at least two girls had quite an investment in keeping her alive. I don’t think there ever was such a beloved fish. She lasted for almost a year, due in part to Trina’s devotion and in greater measure to God’s intervention and grace.

Looking back, I have thought of how I almost missed the Joy, and in doing so, would have denied Trina that experience. In this Christmas season, we too can become so overwhelmed with the frantic pace that we, too, might not slow down enough to invite Joy into our homes. Don’t miss it! Keep your hearts and homes wide open and expectant, hoping for and inviting in, the full measure of all that God has for you.

Merry Christmas from our home at Tapestry to yours….

-Beverly Elliott

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