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A Life of Joy

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“Now that I am staying in an assisted living home, I am able to use my humor and caring spirit daily to brighten the day for staff and some of the residents whose families have forgotten them.” – Joy Craig

“Growing up in a West Texas home with loving Christian parents, I have relied on God to see me through numerous illnesses, surgeries and other challenging times. I remember standing in our kitchen at the age of 10 years old when I felt the Holy Spirit come upon me and I immediately told my mother that I wanted to make a profession of faith on Sunday. From that time until now, I have trusted God and He has been faithful to always be with me.

“My illnesses started as a young child with a tonsillectomy that had to be redone as a college student. My father, a pharmacist, and my mother looked for solutions for the constant back pain I had that started when I was 12 years old. After numerous doctor visits in Texas, doctors at Mayo Clinic put me in a cast and then gave me a back brace which I wore for several years.

“At 19 years of age, I received a degree in education from TCU, married and began teaching. I taught in several different schools before becoming an elementary principal, and I served as an educator for 35 years. I have always believed my purpose in life is to love and encourage people, especially children. My students treasured the fact that I was always hugging them and many remember that to this day.

“In the early days of my career, women were not allowed to teach while pregnant so I quit teaching when I was expecting twin girls. After their birth, I remained at home for 10 years. I had not planned to go back to teaching at the time, but a former co-worker passed away during the school year and the principal asked me to step in to help the students as they grieved. I feel some of my strongest qualities are compassion and patience, and I loved those precious children through their grief.

“God has helped me through several challenging times. One year in the late ’50s, I was moved as a principal to a school to help the staff and children prepare for integration. Trying to understand another culture and steering the school through a dangerous and difficult time was a very daunting task, but God was with me through it all.

“Other challenging times were when my father and my husband passed away. Even as an adult, I had never dealt with a death in the family until my father died. Later my husband died after battling cancer. As He has always done, God gave me the strength and faith to weather these devastating times.

“University Baptist Church has been a wonderful church home for me and my family since my time at TCU. Dr. Harris, our former pastor, was instrumental in helping my girls understand about their important decision to accept Christ and follow in baptism. He spoke to each of them separately so that neither would be swayed by the other’s decision. I have also had supportive Sunday School classes that have prayed for me and encouraged me through many of my 20+ surgeries and for that I am so grateful!

“Now that I am staying in an assisted living home, I am able to use my humor and caring spirit daily to brighten the day for staff and some of the residents whose families have forgotten them. It saddens me to see lonely people, and it makes me so thankful for my loving family!

“Through all the adversities, my walk with the Lord is much stronger today because of having to rely totally on Him. I have asked the Lord to spare my mind, even as my body has been ravaged with disease and He has been gracious to grant my request. Before each surgery, I have prayed for the Lord to spare my life if it is His will. I thank Him every day for the grace and blessings He has given me through loving me and sending His son so that I will have everlasting life with a new body.” – Joy Craig, as told to Nancy Cotten

Posted by Nancy Cotten with 2 Comments


Shirley Thedford on 1/28/19 7:29pm

Beautiful words from Joy. What a precious woman she is and a real encourager to all. This was also beautifully written by Nancy. Thanks to both of these precious friends.

Peggy Green on 2/11/19 11:18am

This is so true. . Joy has brought so much love to my life. . I have become a much better Christian. because of her . she. is like a mom to me and we share. lots of secrets. . lol. I love.Joy so very much . I thank God for bringing her to me.