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Remembering Joy

My feet are still sore and my heart joyously full from dancing last night with my six month old grandson Rhodes, in a huge, beautiful barn with hundreds of others, as his daddy Cory Chisel, sang his heart out on stage with Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell and a band of wondrously talented musicians to raise funding for a number of tremendous organizations (including MusiCares and Music Health Alliance) to support and care for others in need of emergency help of all kinds.

As I watched my daughter Adriel Denae swaying to the music while holding Rhodes, who was gleefully leaning forward, arms out stretched, their twinkling eyes set on Cory, all three rejoicing at the WONDER of it all, I was overwhelmed with joy.  It WAS a night of wonder!


Adriel Denae, Cory Chisel, and baby, Rhodes Wilder

The next morning I woke with a sense of great, joyous peace and expectation, full of the previous night’s celebration of love and life together. Later, as I jumped in the car to work, I stepped into sand from the barn floor that we had tracked in, and smiled. It was then that the Spirit of God spoke to my heart, and caused me to remember…

Last century and many decades ago, my full blooded Croatian first generation American grandmother, Bertha Genevieve Gecan Heverly, took me by my small hand and led me back to see the new barn addition my grandfather had just finished on their farm ‘The Willows’, where I was born and lived for the first two years of my life.

She painted a picture of joyous celebration describing the wonderful parties overflowing with music, singing, dancing and feasting Croatian style, that she promised we’d have with all her huge family of whom I was very familiar and loved dearly! Everyone it seemed, sang, danced, and played the piano… including me!  My mother told me that I was singing before I was talking or walking, and my greatest little girl joy was…dancing!

Those barn parties never happened for reasons barely known to me, but the last time I remember all of us gathering around to sing in the big farm house was after my grandfather’s funeral. My heart has always been saddened that my grandmother’s dream never came to fruition and became my unrequited desire as well.


“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart” Psalm 37:4


That heart-wish was joyfully granted last night, celebrating with my little family and friends old and new, in this new barn and century.  God remembers, and calls me to remember too.

The fact that God knows the desires of my heart, even when I forget, and causes them to happen in the most unexpected ways, always draws me back to the love, welcome and celebration of the joy of the Lord, becoming almost, my greatest joy.

It’s no longer the things that God has done for me that are my greatest joy, nor is it the things I experience and do in his name. It is in fact, the Lord Himself. This is why I’m singin’ my song for YOU! Joy from Inspired by Grace and Glory.

Laurel Heverly Heiss

Laurel is a singer, songwriter, mentor, teacher, wife, mother, and birth/labor coach, church planter, actress, dancer, writer, producer, crew member at Trader Joe’s Nashville, and founder of “Finding Hope,” a Skype-based counseling/life coach/mentoring program. As a  follower of the teachings of Christ, Laurel has made it her life goal to welcome, encourage and walk alongside others on the journey of discovering lasting hope, speaking truth in love, celebrating the wonders of life, love and JOY of living, in working together on this amazing planet of ours with grateful and peaceful hearts.

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