In a whirlwind of excitement, my kids ran in, grabbed their coats, and clamored around me to let me know that it was raining outside. I gave them what they expected, excitedly asking, “It’s raining?” Then they were gone in a flash and out the door.
I can still hear their squeals of excitement as they ran and danced in the rain, jumping through the puddles and trying to catch as many raindrops as they could. In my family, rain is a cause for celebration. A time when some may look out the window and see a dreary day, my kids see it as an opportunity to embrace the simple joys that God has given them.
As a child, I was blessed with an opportunity to learn about the simple joys of life from my younger brother, Sam. Sam was born with a rare genetic condition that left him unable to see. In surgery, he suffered a stroke, causing him to have limited control over his arms, legs, and tongue. He would never learn to walk or talk, yet this did not stop him from loving and enjoying life. I remember watching a parade with him when it started to rain. Sam embraced the rain, enjoying how it felt on his skin, the way it smelled, and even the sounds it made when it hit
against the umbrella. In a moment, that many might have loathed, Sam found the beauty in it.
And it was like that in everything he did, everything he experienced. The feel of the sand at the beach, the warmth of our dog, Andy, who would often cuddle with Sam, the sound of music, or of the birds, the rain. Sam embraced the simple joys of life. My understanding of these simple joys increased when shortly after Sam’s death, I found myself at EFY listening to a song entitled, “It Passes All My Understanding,” by Cherie Call. The song resonated with me because it brought me a greater understanding of why these simple beauties of life can bring so much joy. They were things that testified of God’s existence.
“It passes all my understanding
How it all worked out just right
The distance that we live from the sun,
The stars that shine at night”
Pondering the words to this song, I came to understand the truth of Alma’s testimony to Korihor in Alma 30:44, “…all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator.”
The Lord has created this beautiful world that we live in. The simple joys that we find in life are ways that God lets us know that He loves us, that He is here for us, and that there is a greater plan and purpose to why we are here. In the midst of pain, suffering, and grief, it may be hard to see the plan that our Father in Heaven has for us. At times we may struggle to make sense of it. Yet, there is purpose. There is hope. And there is beauty. As we open our eyes to see the things that God has created for us, we open our hearts to feeling His love for us as well.
One of my favorite primary songs is, “My Heavenly Father Loves Me.” It is a reminder of the simple beauty and joy of nature, and also how my body is capable of amazing things. It ends with this profound but simple idea, “I Know Heavenly Father loves me.” I remember clearly an experience that I had in college as I walked home from school. There was a gentle, yet cool breeze that blew past me. In that moment, I smiled as I embraced the wind on my face. I closed my eyes and took it all in, feeling strongly the impression that the breeze was just for me. It was God letting me know that he was aware of me and that He loved me. Could it have been just a coincidence, just a breeze of wind as I was walking home? Some might think so, but the spiritual confirmation that I received told me otherwise. The Lord knew me. He loved me. And He wanted me to know that.
In Oct 2020 general conference, Michelle D. Craig said this, “There may be times when you…find yourself struggling to see how God is working in your life – times when you feel under siege – when the trials of mortality bring you to your knees. Wait and trust in God and in His timing, because you can trust His heart with all of yours.”
You are a child of God. He knows you. You can trust Him. And He, so very much wants you to know that He loves you.
Karen has grown from being a shy child who wouldn’t say a word to stepping outside her comfort zone each day to inspire others to see what they are capable of as they put their faith and trust in God. She loves the simple joys that life brings and has learned that they are ways that God shows his love for his children. You can find her free “Recognizing God’s Love” gratitude course on her blog.
Karen has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Brigham Young University Idaho and is a certified life coach where she is devoted to helping families realize their divine worth and potential. She has been passionately studying personal development since she was 15 and loves to share the things that she has learned. On Instagram each week she shares affirmation videos for recognizing your worth and potential as well as tips for deepening your connection with self, family, and God.
She and her husband, Jordan, are enjoying their life together with their 3 girls who give Karen much of her inspiration. She recently wrote the book, “Raising Super C Kids” where she shares the things that have helped her to teach her kids confidence, courage, compassion, and connection. Karen currentlay calls California, USA home.