The Inspiration Behind “My Heavenly Father Loves Me”
Clara McMaster is the composer to many beloved children’s songs from the LDS Children’s Songbook, including “Teach Me to Walk in the Light,” “Choose the Right Way,” “Reverently, Quietly,” and “My Heavenly Father Loves Me.”
McMaster was born in Beaver Dam, Utah, in 1904 and was the youngest of eleven children. She grew up in a very musical household and became a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for 23 years. She was also on the Primary General Board for 14 years and served with her husband, J. Stuart McMaster, when he served as a mission president of the Kansas-Missouri Mission in 1970.
McMaster’s daughter Diane explained the story behind the song “My Heavenly Father Loves Me,” saying: “The music came first for this song. She had the melody in her mind for a long time, but couldn’t find the words that would fit what she needed to say. She had prayed long and hard for an answer, but she said she realized that she had to be patient to receive the correct answer. One night as she was asking the Lord to help her find the words that would be meaningful to the children, she received a definite impression of someone saying, ‘Tell them what you know.’”
McMaster wondered what this could mean, as she had learned so much in her life. As she pondered on her childhood, she remembered the simple joys of growing up on a farm. She recalled “the birds singing in the trees, … sounds and sights of comfort and joy. A lilac bush had been planted by her bedroom window, while she and her sisters lovingly attended the rose garden behind the house. The words came easily and quickly as she bore her testimony to what she ‘knew’ beyond the shadow of a doubt—that her Heavenly Father did indeed love her.”
Watch the Choir sing “My Heavenly Father Loves Me,” arranged by Nathan Hofheins. The song is also included on the Choir’s 2005 album Love Is Spoken Here.
“My Heavenly Father Loves Me” Lyrics
Whenever I hear the song of a bird
Or look at the blue, blue sky,
Whenever I feel the rain on my face
Or the wind as it rushes by,
Whenever I touch a velvet rose
Or walk by our lilac tree,
I'm glad that I live in this beautiful world
Heav'nly Father created for me.
He gave me my eyes that I might see
The color of butterfly wings.
He gave me my ears that I might hear
The magical sound of things.
He gave me my life, my mind, my heart:
I thank him rev'rently
For all his creations, of which I'm a part.
Yes, I know Heav'nly Father loves me.