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He Loves His Little Ones

I know that he loveth his children.

1 Nephi 11:17

About the Song

This is a very simple song, about a very basic concept, using very simple language.  Isn’t it odd, then, that it would turn out to be one of the more challenging things I’ve written? 

Here’s the story:

I get a lot of requests. More than I can possibly fill. Most of the time they end up in my “Good Ideas” folder.

One such request came from a lovely lady who was heading out to Haiti to do some work in an orphanage with her son-in-law’s non-profit group, Operation Underground Railroad. (If you haven’t seen the kind of work they do, check them out. It may lead you into several hours watching videos like this one, but I promise it will be time well spent.) 

Tamra wanted something she could take to each child as a gift–a tall order when there are 135 of them. She decided to take them a song–something they could remember to help them feel loved. She didn’t feel right about any of songs she knew…and she thought I could write just what the children needed.  Um… hmmm. (Can you say “overconfidence?” 😉 )

There were definite criteria that had to be met: the song needed to be centered on the love of God, but it couldn’t include parents, since some of these children had been sold into slavery by their parents; it couldn’t include learning to feel the love of God from good things in the world around them, because there really weren’t many good things in their world; the language had to be very simple, since English is usually not these kids’ first language.

Oh, and she was leaving on Monday. No pressure.

The idea really intrigued me, but since the Monday thing wasn’t an option, I put it in my “Good Ideas” folder and moved on. It kept nudging me though, and when things nudge you, it’s usually because Heavenly Father is trying to tell you something. So I gave it a try. And it was so much more difficult than I imagined. All the lovely things you want to write into such a song are simply outside these kids’ experience. I thought “This isn’t happening.” And I back-burnered it again.

It still wouldn’t leave me alone, so I tried again. And failed spectacularly. And tried and failed over and over again. Writing a song about the love of our Heavenly Father while leaving out His fatherhood was very difficult for me. It’s who He is, after all. I decided to focus on the evidences of His love that are universal: earth and sky, the oceans, the birds, and the whisper of the Spirit to your heart. When it finally clicked, I was amazed at how very simple it was–just an affirmation that there really is a God in heaven who loves each of His children.

I loved looking at Tamra’s pictures (which you see here), and reading about her experiences at the orphanage. I want to share just a few lines with you:

“Our trip… was life-changing.The children at the orphanage were a picture of love; so beautiful, so open. They were there at our door every morning, each wanting to hold a hand, be held, or ride on my grandson’s shoulders. We each needed 10 hands! I understood why the Savior would go off alone… I was overwhelmed by so many who wanted me to love them, and needed me to love them.”

It was this need for love that I tried to keep foremost in my mind and heart as I wrote these lyrics. I couldn’t finish it up in time for that trip, but maybe it will be useful the next time a child needs to learn about God’s love from a lullaby.

Listen (and free 128kbps MP3 downloads)

Click the Soundcloud download icon to download the free track for personal use.

Recording featuring vocals by Allyse Smith Taylor:

Accompaniment track:

HQ Audio Downloads

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Lyrics

There is a God in heaven
Who made the earth and sky
He filled the mighty seas and taught the sparrow how to fly
He set the stars a-gleaming
He lit the golden sun
There is a God in heaven, and He loves His little ones

In quiet ways He whispers
“Dear child, I love you so!”
And if you listen carefully, within your heart you’ll know
That when the world is waking
Or when the day is done
There is a God in heaven, and He loves His little ones

Oh, how He loves His children!
He calls each one His own
He keeps His arms around us so we’re never quite alone
Remember Him, and love Him
And trust in Him because
There is a God in heaven, and He loves His little ones

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9 Comments

  1. Marlene McMullin

    I can’t open the song. Any suggestions?

    Reply
    • sallydeford

      Hmmm… can you add any details to your question? Like which file you’re trying to open? 🙂

      Reply
  2. J Wright

    This made me cry. Thank you!

    Reply
  3. Diana Lahmann

    Another absolutely beautiful and inspiring piece of music. I am constantly amazed at how talented you are and how you share that talent with us all. What a blessing you are to the world! I’m sure this piece of music will bless the lives of many who don’t understand, as most of us do, the complete love of our Heavenly Father. Thank you again, Sis. DeFord.

    diana

    Reply
  4. Tamra

    The words and music of a truly inspired gentle-woman. Thank you Sister DeFord. A beautiful gift to all of us. You continue to bless my life through your music.

    Reply
    • sallydeford

      And thank *you* for being the catalyst for the inspiration on this one. <3

      Reply
  5. Christina Bartholomew

    This is beautiful! Thank you for writing it and sharing it. We had a Primary party today and took pictures of all the kids. I created a little slideshow of their pictures and this song was perfect for the music to go along with it. 🙂

    Reply
  6. Kathy-Jo

    Heart sigh. SO very beautiful!

    Reply
  7. Sue Smith

    So beautiful and truly simple. Made me tear up. I have a friend who works with Doctors without Borders. She has been to Haiti and the Congo etc. over 26 missions to the down trodden. I’m amazed at my “marie’s” stories. She is a fellow nurse who met Mother Theresa years ago on one of her missions and worked along side of her. Truly God’s gifts in action, are all.

    Thank you!!

    Reply

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