Her name is Joy.
To see her most days, joy is what you see on her face. Life for Joy Lynn Stricklen is not easy. More than 15 surgeries have still not corrected all that disease has damaged. Prayer it seems has been around this family since the beginning.
"I prayed a lot, just let my baby be okay," says Joy's Mother Sheila Stricklen. "I prayed all the time, everyday. Then she got here and we started working on him. And I had the church pray for him and different ones praying for him."
Him is dad, Tommy Stricklen. Tommy admits his faith wasn't a focus for most of his life. That began to change when Joy was born, but it wasn't until mom and daughter got him to a revival at their church four years ago that Tommy found new strength in faith. [30:16-Tommy Stricklen]"When I went to this revival, the guy that was preaching was Jim Bob Griffin," remembers Tommy Stricklen. "He had this sermon and at the end of this sermon he said if you don't get yourself right you won't see your mother, brothers, sisters..went through the whole family chain and he said or your kids again. And that just locked it right there. Just the thought of spending eternity without Joy or Sheila either one kinda bothered me...so I hit my knees and I've been running ever since."
It is not uncommon for families to be torn apart when facing challenges like those facing the Stricklen's. But in the days following that revival, the Stricklen's have a new found hope and peace that comes through they say, the power of prayer. "We just celebrated ten years," says Tommy, "I think a big part of the reason we are still together is the fact that we are trying to grow... not just grow as Christians, we are trying to grow as a family in Christianity, luckily we have a great support group at our church."
"Feels like there is a whole family instead of just half a family," says Sheila, "and she enjoys her daddy being there too. Instead of just hollering momma, momma she can go to her daddy to talk to or ask questions.
"Prayer, to me is probably the greatest ammunition against ill feelings, ill health and every thing else that is wrong with the world," says Tommy. "The one thing we have prayed for is peace of mind through all the surgeries and we're never worried about it."
The Stricklen's know that the challenges they face are not going to go away anytime soon. They do know that they now have the strength and peace to face everyday as a family, because of the power of prayer.