Songs of Salvation – Naomi Stephens

Posted May 5, 2019 by Phyllis Helton in Book Reviews /

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Welcome to Songs of Salvation!
Join Christian authors as they share their "Songs of Salvation" to uplift and encourage believers and glorify God. 

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And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die.

Revelation 12:11 NLT

Growing up, our church in Milwaukee was in many ways a playground. The stairwells. The narthex. The fellowship hall and kitchen. Classrooms and offices. I was a pastor’s kid, and so I knew all the best places to hide out with a scattering of crayons and some paper while my dad was finishing his work. I knew where the best candy was stashed and who was most likely to sneak me a piece. Sometimes my brother, a few church friends, and I played long, sprawling games of hide and seek from one end of the building to the other. Nearly everywhere was fair game, as long as we didn’t play in the sanctuary. These are some of my favorite memories of that place, of our time there, but they aren’t the most important.

Many years later, I am blessed to watch my own children scamper and crawl through the halls and offices of our church. Exploring. Playing. Learning. But when my son—just three-years-old—walks up to the front of the sanctuary, bowing as he considers the altar, I watch a little closer. Because this is what’s most important: he knows what the cross is. He knows the Lord’s Prayer. The Words of Institution. He knows how to say he’s sorry and that he forgives. He can sing “Jesus Christ is Risen Today,” and he can make the sign of the cross in remembrance of his baptism.

I have been remarkably blessed to see my life circle around in such a way, to teach my children in the same crucial way my parents taught me. In my family, I am surrounded by Lutheran pastors. I’m a pastor’s wife. A pastor’s daughter. My brother is a pastor, and so is my godfather. So are many of my family’s closest friends.

As someone who was raised in the church, it can be easy, tempting, to take for granted those things which have been part of my life since well before I can remember romping around the halls of our old church in Milwaukee. But watching my son learn hymns, prayers, and pieces of liturgy—sometimes a word or a phrase at a time—reminds me to cherish every word and phrase, which I learned in exactly the same way. Which have returned to me, time and again, even as I faced unexpected griefs and struggles. Which I will someday carry with me all the way to my death bed.

“God’s own child, I gladly say it: I am baptized into Christ!” These particular words come from a favorite hymn, which we sang when both my children were baptized. They are a constant reminder of my own baptism, which God used—and continues using— to work His great gifts of forgiveness and salvation in me. I am in Christ. He has snatched me from sin and death, He sustains me in His church, and so I will end with these triumphant words from yet another beloved hymn: “The Lord my God be praised!”   

About Naomi Stephens

Naomi Stephens is a bookworm turned teacher turned writer. She received a B.A. in English from Concordia University in Ann Arbor and an M.A. in English from Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne. 

In bookstores, Naomi gravitates towards 19th-century British novels—the broodier the better (i.e., Jane Eyre)—but she can also be found perusing the young adult, mystery, and fantasy sections. Anything that keeps her turning pages past midnight.

Though she has called many places home over the years, she currently lives in Ohio with her husband, her two children, and a rascal of a dog named Sherlock. When not writing or having adventures with her family, she can be found drinking tea, practicing photography, and pining for London.


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