When circumstances threaten to steal our joy, these three steps can help us find joy in every season. I’m welcoming author and Bible teacher Doris Swift to share today.
I miss my grandparents—and my Italian grandma’s cooking. While her house wasn’t over the river and through the woods, it was up a hill and through a neighbor’s yard. As a young girl, I often ventured up that hill to catch a glimpse of the split-level home sitting on a quiet cul-de-sac.
Did I cut through the neighbor’s yard to get there—yep, I sure did. I loved that shortcut—just not sure the neighbor appreciated it.
I’d ring the doorbell and peer through the side window, my breath fogging the glass as I waited to surprise Grandma. She’d appear at the top of the stairs, and upon seeing my face, I’d hear her shout, “Doris!” as she made her way to greet me.
I loved being Grandma’s surprise at the door. Little did I know, Mom always phoned Grandma to let her know I was heading her way.
A Recipe for a Joyful Heart
No matter the hour of the day, something was always cooking at Grandma’s house. The aroma of a hearty lasagna or chunky pasta fagioli wafted through the air and enveloped you the moment you walked over the threshold. To this day, pasta sauce simmering on the stove, with just the right amount of garlic, takes me back to my grandma’s house.
Our senses help us remember what our hearts can’t forget.
After my parents, sister and I moved to Florida, my grandparents followed us there. Grandma had a new home in a new state, yet the same familiar flavors and aromas followed her. Those same pots and pans, well-seasoned and misshapen from years of cooking up storms of goodness, followed her there too.
I can still hear her voice asking, “Are you hungry, Doris?” Of course, I always said yes to whatever Grandma offered—unless it was liver and onions.
We do that sometimes with Jesus, don’t we? We want what Jesus offers, but when life throws liver and onions at us (no offense if you like liver and onions), we turn our backs on joy.
When that happens, we can take grace for ourselves and remember we have all the ingredients we need for joy — Jesus and the joy he offers. That’s a recipe for a joyful heart.
I’d love to say I own a treasury of grandma’s recipe cards, but I don’t. Italian grandmas never need recipe cards—they know by heart what works. A pinch of this and a splash of that; there you have it, a meal made with love.
I may not have a legacy worth of recipe cards, but you know what? Now I’m an Italian grandma and can make a mean lasagna.
A legacy is more than carrying on—it’s knowing by heart what to carry forward.
I miss grandma’s cooking, but I miss my grandma more. Life has moved on, and not having her around can threaten to steal my joy — but my joy is not up for grabs.
My joy is a gift from Jesus, just like grandma was, and your joy is too.
How do we find that joy no matter the season?
Joy is supernatural, a fruit of the Spirit, and no matter our circumstances or trials, our joy cannot be stolen. Knowing that truth is comforting, amen? Although sometimes it’s hard to find joy amid difficult seasons, like missing a loved one, our joy runs deep.
John 15:11 tells us Jesus placed his joy in us so that our joy would be full. We are filled with Jesus’s joy which fills us to overflowing. But sometimes we forget that truth.
When we can’t find joy, we haven’t lost it — we just need to rediscover it. We need to be reminded that joy is constant regardless of what we see and feel. It’s there because Jesus placed it there, and he will never take it back.
Here are 3 ways to find joy:
- Remember joy is a promise. Jesus promises joy regardless of our season or circumstances.
- Rediscover joy through surrender. Jesus invites us to cast our cares on him.
- Receive joy with open arms. Jesus has freely given his joy to us.
We can walk in joy when we lean on the promise, surrender our worry and open our hands to receive what God has in this season.
Grandma will always be in my heart, and I take joy in the blessed hope that I will see her again in glory. Until then, I’m living a joyful life as a Gammy myself to six amazing grandkids. The baton has been passed, a legacy lives on and the heart carries forward with joy.
“These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:11, ESV)
Doris Swift is an author, speaker, founder of Fierce Calling Ministries, and host of the award-winning Fierce Calling podcast. She’s passionate about equipping women to dig deeper into God’s word and walk boldly in their fierce calling. Surrender the Joy Stealers: Rediscover the Jesus Joy in You, is her new six-week study in John 15. Doris resides in Central Florida with husband Brian, is mom to her son and daughter and their spouses, and Gammy to six awesome grandkids. Connect with at Doris at dorisswift.com for more resources.