I Sense Her in the Silence: Writing the Words for A Mother There
As an LDS lyricist and composer, the summer of 2019 will forever be remembered as the "great revision." For me, it will also be cherished as the summer that I was given the words for 'A Mother There.'
This is that story.
It starts with a different song I was hoping to submit for the children’s songbook called 'My Body.' The lyrics went like this:
My body is a special gift From Heavenly Parents above, So I will treat it carefully With kindness, respect, and love.
I'll keep my body pure and clean And fill it with goodness and light. My body is a temple For my spirit to dwell inside.
Since I was out of submission slots, I asked a friend and fellow composer to set the text to music and submit it under his account. He graciously agreed, but, a few days later, I received an email from him wondering whether "Heavenly Parents" should be capitalized. After pouring over conference addresses, he noticed that it was usually left in lowercase. He went a step further and found several examples where Heavenly Mother wasn't capitalized as well. Even in one of Her only inclusions in our current hymnbook, "truth is reason; truth eternal tells me I've a mother there," She is left in lowercase.
This discovery left me feeling dumbfounded, upset, and utterly defeated. 20 years’ worth of questions and longing erupted to the surface, and I needed strength and comfort from my Mother whose arms I left when She placed me in my own wonderful mother's arms. I ached for Her to be a tangible piece of my life.
I could no longer survive on the crumbs I had been given; I needed bread.
In my grief, I turned to Heavenly Father and asked Him to relay a message for me: I wanted to be close to Her, I was ready to know Her, and I truly couldn't know myself and my divine nature and eternal roles until I understood Hers.
In the tender moments that followed, vivid imagery and distinct phrases filled my mind. I pulled out the yellow notepad app on my phone as the lyrics for 'A Mother There' poured through my soul and spilled onto the screen. It was the most beautiful gift and answer to prayer I have ever received.
I learned several things from the words I was given. First, the wonderful things in the world are one of the ways She shows us Her nature and love. “All things denote there is a God” and can remind us of Her beauty, creativity, and care (Alma 34:40).
Second, Her children inherited spiritual gifts from both Heavenly Parents. She and Father are the culmination of everything good in ourselves, our brothers and sisters, and our beloved Savior. We can know Her attributes and understand her nature by looking for kindness, talents, and love in ourselves, those around us, and as we come to know Christ.
The biggest thing that was impressed upon my soul was that She is ever-present in our lives, cares about us individually, and wants to have a relationship with Her children. The last verse of the song is particularly special to me:
I sense Her in the silence, In moments I am still. She reaches back and teaches that Her love is what I feel.
Several months later, when my friend Shane Mickelsen set this text to music, he added the hallelujah choir to the last chorus. Hallelujah translates to "God be praised." She is so worthy of our praise! It is my prayer that Her children praise Her, seek Her, and find Her.
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”—Matthew 7:7