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Nichole Nordeman Shares the Story Behind Her Song "The Unmaking"

nicole nordeman

Singer and songwriter Nichole Nordeman will be back with her new album on August 28.  Preceding the album's release, Nordeman has already released the album's lead single "The Unmaking."  With a popish beat, "The Unmaking" deals with the issue of self-surrender to Jesus with the words: "This is the unmaking/ The beauty in the breaking/ Had to lose myself/ To find out who You are."

Nordeman has won multiple GMA Dove Awards, including two awards for Female Vocalist of the Year. Her best-known songs include "Why", "This Mystery", "Holy", "Legacy", "Brave", and "What If". She also sang a song on the soundtrack Music Inspired by the Chronicles of Narnia, called "I Will Believe."

During 2006 and 2007, Nordeman wrote an editorial column for CCM Magazine called "Loose Ends . . . Confessions of an Unfinished Faith." She recorded the album "Brave" after giving birth to her son Charlie. Nordeman released the greatest hits album Recollection: The Best of Nichole Nordeman on March 6, 2007 featuring two new songs: "Sunrise" and "Finally Free."

In 2011, Nordeman was approached to create a concept album for Zondervan's The Story campaign, in which churches nationwide go through nearly the entire Bible in one school year, realizing the overarching story that affects everyone. Nordeman accepted and wrote 17 songs written from a first person perspective of characters of the Bible and applying them to today. This collection, called (Music Inspired by) The Story, featured 24 popular contemporary Christian music artists and debuted at No. 11 on Billboard's Hot Christian Albums chart in September 2011.

With regards to her new single "The Unmaking," Nordeman shares with us the story behind the song:

What can I build for God?

I've spent my life asking this.

Maybe it's because I misunderstood what God wanted when I was young, or maybe it's my own pride and ambition, or maybe somewhere in my heart I still secretly suspect that God measures and rates and reviews my spiritual accomplishments. I don't even know what "spiritual accomplishments" actually means. Maybe I still want to have "something to show" for all this work I've done along the journey. So I want to build something for God. I'd like for it to be tall and impressive and for a whole bunch of people to take notice. Especially God.

Not too long ago, I heard a pastor friend of mine named Andrew Arndt say this, "God longs for resurrection in us...but first we have to go through some measure of unmaking."

Unmaking? That sounded like the opposite of what I'd been trying to accomplish spiritually for years. I sat with those words for a long time.

Before things in our lives can be resurrected and given new life, certain things must die. Before beauty blooms in spring, roots must do the hard work under the hard frozen soil of winter. Before you renovate and re-build, you tear down the parts of the structure that are weak or damaged or dangerous.

Before we make, we must unmake.

This didn't resonate with my ongoing "build something big for God" obsession. It didn't resonate because that's never been what God wants. It's what we want. To make God in our own image, so that people might stop and stare and marvel at our awesomeness. I mean God's awesomeness.

Let me tell you where God wanted to meet me these past several years.

On a pile of rubble.

He wanted to sit with me in the silence and dust, after the wrecking ball, and put his arms around me for a while. He asked for vulnerability. And for honesty. I was embarrassed about the rubble and started to explain right away. He didn't want to hear my plans for improvement. He had no interest in my blueprints. He wanted to hold hands and dry my tears. To help me understand that the rubble is where we have to start. The unmaking is first. We sat there for a long, long time until I started to get it.

It's hard still. I'm so performance oriented. As a performer, that stands to reason, I guess. But I'm finding that the more willing I am to be honest about the broken parts of my life that are being unmade, and not necessarily shined up for presentation, the more likely I am to build something that matters. Stacking up these stones again to build what God has really been asking for all along...an altar.

 

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