Sunday, February 10, 2013

...and still there are songs

Well, it's been awhile. It's been over a year since I last updated my old blog, Pictures of Egypt. Today I'm not going to write about why I've been silent this past year (though I will, soon). Today I'm just writing to introduce you to my new blog. A new blog for a new year and, in some ways, a new Nicole.

I've been tossing around the idea of a new blog for months. I kept getting stuck on the title. Stacy said she knew it needed to be musical. Liz agreed. "You need a Sara Groves song," she said. My old blog, Pictures of Egypt, was titled after a Sara song about transition, homesickness, restlessness. That was the season I was in when I started the blog in 2006, but it's not really the season I'm in anymore. That's part of why I knew I wanted to start over with a brand new blog for a brand new season.

Liz suggested "It Might Be Hope", an idea I loved. We also talked about "Open My Hands", which has been my theme song this past year. Both would've been great, timely titles for what's been on my heart these days. But then out of the blue, a few days after Liz and I talked, it came to me. I was thinking about how very hard life is, about how so much can - and often does - go wrong. BUT - and it's a big but - God is the one who's in charge, and I know deep down that I can't let the fear of what could go wrong get the better of me in this life. And as I was thinking about these things, the chorus of a different Sara song, "In a Girl There's a Room", came into my head.

Oh, tell me what you know
about God and the world and the human soul
how so much can go wrong
and still there are songs

Awhile back, Matthew and I were driving somewhere and I said to him, "you know, music really is the soundtrack to my life." He laughed. "Um, that's pretty obvious. Music is everybody's soundtrack." Sigh. Here I thought I was being all profound, but he was right. A soundtrack is by definition musical, and everyone, whether they are "music people" or not, has one.

But where I was going with my shallowly profound thought was that music is incredibly important to me. My faith has been defined by music more than just about anything (except the Word). For most significant (and insignificant) experiences in my life, I can pinpoint the songs and albums that were narrating the state of my heart at a particular time. And conversely, if I put my iPod on shuffle, for almost every tune that comes on I can see myself in very specific places and very specific times in my story, and I can see God at work. 

I am in an incredibly difficult season of my life right now (again, more on that later). I've been to some very dark places in my spirit over the past year. But even in all of that, God has given me lifelines - in books, in the Word, in friends and in sisters, and in music. 

Children's author Sally Lloyd-Jones writes, "A bird doesn't sing because it has answers; it sings because it has a song." So that's where I'm at right now, in a trying season where I have more questions than answers, but still there are songs. 

I sing because I'm happy,
I sing because I'm free
For His eye is on the sparrow
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know He's watching me

-Audrey Assad's "Sparrow"


  1. Looking pretty over here. I love your heart and your soundtrack. If you hadn't introduced me to Sara Groves the last three years would have been different I think...she is just so encouraging to me. You are too!

  2. I was going to tell you Wed night how much I LOVE your blog and your first post- lovely! Every since I read it I've been thinking about the "soundtrack" comment and I think I disagree with Matt! I think of my Dad- sure, 1950s country is part of his soundtrack, but so are birds singing and cows bellering. I do think though that music plays a HUGE roll in your life, so I was thinking that maybe you could say it is your "expression" instead of your soundtrack... just a thought!

  3. Thank you for sharing Nicole! Beautiful words and a beautiful blog. I love music and I think God has used it to speak to me at times.... but not like you. I think there's something special there. I think He speaks to us all differently and, for you, it's music. I think that's really special and I'm excited to hear more of your heart :)