Hymn text by Vernald W. Johns, 1902-1999. View the full text of this hymn.

In our house, the gladdest song we sing is “I’m So Glad When Daddy Comes Home.” Whenever I hear my husband push open our front door, I feel like clapping my hands and shouting for joy every time. There are snack-time songs and car ride songs and songs for diaper changes, most of them utter nonsense. Sometimes we have songs that ascend to heaven in peaceful, reverent tones; others I sing at top volume over the screams of my children strapped in the back of the car.

Then there are nights like last night when the songs are croaked out at 3 a.m. to lull babies back to sleep after a nightmare. This is always followed by a prayer where my son occasionally peeks around the room for something else on which to invoke the Lord’s blessing: his baby sister, the table, his bottle of milk, the closet where I have assured him there are no Disney/Pixar monsters hiding.

These songs, these prayers are part of a small, seemingly insignificant tapestry of routine we are trying to weave around our children.

From homes of Saints glad songs arise.

For there the Lord is King.

There faith is learned and prayers ascend,

The Spirit’s peace to bring.

By teaching our son to pray for himself, he began to ask for blessings I didn’t know he needed. Our son is guiding us step by step, exercising his faith and adding it to my own. I have asked him many times to help me pray (mostly to find lost car keys and the like) and I feel like in some circumstances, a child’s prayer works better than a functioning memory.

God’s truths protect the hearth from wrong

When error’s ways allure,

Lift minds from self to nobleness,

Keep thought and action pure.

As a mother, I cling to this element of the gospel like a drowning woman. Can God’s truths really protect my children? The threat of false information, false idols or false friends bringing harm to my babies is more than I can take sometimes.

But there’s a promise in Isaiah that breathes some comfort into my heart when I get too frantic: “And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children” (Isaiah 54:13).

Then sing, O Saints, in hymns of praise;

Sing thanks to God on high,
Whose counsels kept in homes on earth
Bring heaven’s glory nigh.
I remember one autumn morning in 1997 when my dad, driving me to school, suddenly began quoting “Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood” by William Wordsworth to me from the driver’s seat:
“Our birth is but a sleep and forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!”
There have been times I have seen that glory in my own children, and sometimes it is breathtaking, even momentarily blinding. But it also strengthens my resolve to be the best version of myself as their steward. Sometimes I succeed. Sometimes I fail spectacularly. But every day I try to keep a song in my heart, and to make it glad.

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