Welcome to Songs of Salvation! Each Sunday I will feature a Christian author sharing a "Song of Salvation" to uplift and encourage believers and glorify God.
And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death. Revelation 12:11 NLT
Authors, find out how to share your Song of Salvation here.
Looking back at the foundations of my song of salvation I can see its beginning before I was born. I was adopted at birth, literally plucked from one family and placed into another. This providential shift in my life, although rooted in loss and grief, placed me on a direct path toward my Savior by ensuring that I would be discipled by two very wise women. I have many times compared myself to Timothy, the disciple of Paul, because like him, my mother and grandmother were greatly influential in the development of my faith.
My grandmother Ruth was the boldest, most unapologetic witness of faith in Jesus that I’ve ever known. I have distinct memories of her stopping to pray with drunkards on the street and her invitations to strangers in stores and on elevators to the many large, joyful gatherings she organized her home. During these parties every guest had a part to play: a piece of scripture to read, a song to sing, a poem to read, a prayer to be lifted. Even when I was a girl of of only three or four, my grandmother—who’d sung in front of tens of thousands during religious crusades—taught me to stand on her piano bench and sing in front of these parties, telling me that no matter who was in the audience I was singing for Jesus alone and I should sing each song as a story for Him.
That same ninety-year-old piano still sits in my front room and is one of my most treasured possessions because upon its weathered and chipped bench my grandmother taught me to sing these words: “I will serve thee, because I love thee, you have given life to me. I was nothing before you found me, you have given life to me. Heartaches, broken pieces, ruined lives was why you died on Calvary. Your touch was what I longed for. You have given life to me.”
This simple old, yet profound hymn taught me three fundamental truths from a young age: He loves me. He died for me. He gives me new life.
So yes, I was raised in the knowledge of Jesus—My grandmother preached the Word both with her mouth and her life. My mother continued her legacy by sharing the Word to me in a way that inspired me to study for myself and by being a faithful prayer warrior and generous supporter of worldwide missions and I went forward at a Billy Graham crusade when I was seven to commit my life to the Lord—but when I was eighteen, shortly after Grandma Ruth went to be with her precious Jesus, I walked away from serving the Lord in order to serve my own selfish desires. I became much like the Prodigal Son, reckless, self-indulgent, hard-hearted, and willfully deaf to the voice of my Father who loves me.
Yet I firmly believe that it was because my mother was such a prayer warrior and because she was so faithful to live out unconditional (and at times tough) love for me, that my time of wandering in the desert of rebellion was fairly short. The truths I’d been taught—He Loves me. He died for me. He gives me new life—had been so deeply ingrained in me that even in the midst of my rebellion the Good Shepherd refused to let me go. He pursued me, He brought people into my life to convict and challenge me, and He reminded me over and over that no matter how broken I was, the heartaches I endured, or the way I’d ruined my own life, He still loved me.
There was a moment that I felt the scales fall from my eyes and I realized that I might as well be wallowing in the mud with the pigs. And so, I repented. I surrendered my heart and life to the One whose healing touch I so desperately longed for, and who took those broken pieces I’d created and began to make something new from them.
It’s been nearly twenty-three years since I turned fully back to Jesus, and there have been many times during those years that I have gotten distracted by the things of this earth, slipped into complacency, or outright rebelled against the Truth, but He never gives up on me. He is faithful when I am not, He is strong when I am weak. And even though I am a fumbling, fractured, fallible mess He is still good. And although sometimes the noise of this world gets too loud and I may at times forget the melody of my song of salvation He never fails to remind me that He loves me, He died for me, and He gives me new life.
May you be encouraged that no matter what your heartaches are today, and no matter how many broken pieces you carry, there is no grief He cannot turn to joy, no destruction He cannot repair, and no sin that outweighs his grace and mercy.
The Word promises that “The Lord your God is among you; He is mighty to save. He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you with His love; He will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17). I don’t know about you, but I cannot think of anything more awe-inspiring than realizing that the voice of the Creator of the Universe, the very same voice that spoke the heavens and earth into being and the Breath that gave us life, rejoices over you and me in song!
I pray that the lessons I learned in the wilderness, especially those broken pieces that inevitably make their way into stories I write, will help to remind you that He Loves you, He died for you, and he gives you new life—if so, then the legacy of my grandmother continues on in you too and she would love nothing better!