Friend, I’ve got to start right off by telling you my favorite quote from today’s conversation. It’s this: “We may not always see God right the wrong. He is more concerned with making us right within the wrong.”
So good, right? And that’s just one of the many wise words Nicole C. Mullen shares as we talk about forgiveness today on the 4:13 Podcast.
Nicole is a gifted singer and songwriter who’s received two Grammy Award nominations and nine Gospel Music Association Dove Awards, including Female Vocalist of the Year honors, plus the Song of the Year for “Redeemer” and “On My Knees.” She was the first African-American female to win Songwriter of the Year for “Redeemer.”
She started as a background singer for Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, CeCe Winans, and The Newsboys. Recently, she collaborated with Kathie Lee Gifford on the moving musical oratory called “The God Who Sees.” Nicole is also the author of book, My Redeemer Lives, It’s Personal, and calls herself a Bible nerd.
By the way, when we recorded this conversation, Nicole was a single mom, but in late 2020 she remarried. Congrats to her and her husband!
So listen in as Nicole talks about the power of forgiveness, what it was like to be a single mom for years, how to navigate hard relationships, and how you can trust God no matter what you you face. I just know you’ll be encouraged!
Jennifer’s Highlights and Take-Aways
These are the gems I took with me from listening to Nicole:
- On Night Seasons. You’ll hear in the episode or read in the transcript below that Nicole experienced domestic abuse and infidelity while she was married. She knows how it feels to be hurt, betrayed, and rejected. But she said, “At the same time, the more you see unfaithfulness on one side, the more faithful Christ appears. The more destruction and violence you see on one side, the more gentleness of Christ you see.”
Nicole wrestled with rejection. There were times when she said, “I collapsed in God’s arms.” She encouraged you and me with the reminder that “His love is greater than anything you go through.” I loved when she said, “I have hope not because life is good but because God is good.”
“I learned more from my night seasons than I gained from the day,” Nicole shared. And, she said that if her songs moved you, they were likely written during her night seasons.
- On Joy. Nicole chooses to have joy or “re-joy.” That’s what happens when we rejoice. She described that joy is a choice you make within your circumstance. Yet, it’s almost impossible to have joy in your heart if you have unforgiveness in your heart.
Forgiveness puts her in a posture to receive joy again. Forgiveness means your heart and hands are wide open—open to release unforgiveness and open to receive the joy. “Unforgiveness,” Nicole said, “is a huge barrier to joy.”
- On Forgiveness. Forgiveness is not an acknowledgment that the offender was right. It is an acknowledgment that there was a wrong that was done. Forgiveness is expensive. It is not cheap. But Nicole says, “Forgiveness is the gift you give yourself because it allows you to be released to experience what God has for you.” So, to begin to get your joy back, you need to ask: Who is it that I need to forgive?
But you need also to remember that you can’t forgive on your own. You need God’s strength to do it. Daily, Nicole prays, “Forgive me my debts as I forgive my debtors.” She literally says, “As an act of my will, I choose to forgive ____.” And, each time she does, she asks God for His grace and strength to live it.
- On Revenge. God will right every wrong. He will balance the scales. In the meantime, God showed Nicole that He is still good.
The Lord showed her that there are situations where God may not right the wrong (at least in the way and timing we can see). He is more concerned with “making us right within the wrong.” So, she trusted God to take care of her situations.
Romans 12 reminds us that revenge belongs to God, not us. Nicole prays for mercy for those who have hurt her instead of revenge.
- On “The God Who Sees.” She described the writing and recording of the amazing song, “The God Who Sees.” It involved Kathie Lee Gifford and Danny Gokey, and you need to listen to the conversation or read the transcript to get the whole amazing story.
I asked her who she most identified with in that song. She identifies with Ruth most of all because Ruth was redeemed. She was sent a kinsman-redeemer who is the prototype of Christ.
The kinsman-redeemer bought back Ruth and put her into the linage of Christ. Man would have discounted her, but God included her in His family. Nicole has been redeemed by Jesus, and she knows her Redeemer lives! “He is the one who buys back our pain, our shame, and our heartache,” she shared. “And He gives us a song in the middle of the night.”
God does see you. He sees what you’ve endured. He knows what’s in your heart, and He wants to make all things right in your heart. If you’ve felt the sting of betrayal, remember what Nicole said, “The more you see unfaithfulness on one side, the more faithful Christ appears.”
So trust Him today and, remember, you can step out on faith. You can forgive and do whatever God calls you to do because you can do all things through Christ, who gives you strength.
Books & Bible Studies by Jennifer Rothschild
- 66 Ways God Loves You
- God Is Just Not Fair: Finding Hope When Life Doesn’t Make Sense
- Missing Pieces: Real Hope When Life Doesn’t Make Sense
More from Nicole C. Mullen
- Visit Nicole’s website
- My Redeemer Lives, It’s Personal: A Story of Hope for Our Time
- “The God Who Sees” Video
- “Greater Still” song
- Follow Nicole on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
Links Mentioned in This Episode
- Don’t miss an episode! Subscribe to the 4:13 Podcast here.
- Were you encouraged by this podcast? Reviews help the 4:13 Podcast reach more women with the “I can” message. Click here to leave a review on iTunes.
4:13 Podcast: Can I Forgive When I’ve Been Wronged? With Nicole C. Mullen [Episode 132]
Jennifer Rothschild: Hey 413'ers, I've got to start off today telling you my very favorite quote from today's conversation. Here it is. "We may not always see God right the wrong. He is more concerned with making us right within the wrong." Wasn't that good?
Well, that was what Nicole C. Mullen said today in this conversation that you are about to hear. I know you know her. She's an incredible singer, songwriter and today she's talking about the power of forgiveness. What it's like to be a single mom, how to navigate hard relationships and how you can trust God no matter what you face. I cannot wait for you to hear this amazing conversation. So KC, here we come.
KC Wright: Welcome to the 4: 13 Podcast where practical encouragement and biblical wisdom set you up to live the "I Can" life because you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. Now welcome your host. She's got a sassy streak of red in her hair today for this episode. Please make welcome Jennifer Rothschild.
Jennifer Rothschild: Hello. Hello. I'm Jennifer, here to help you be and do more than you even feel capable of as you live this "I Can" life of Philippians 413. And it is true, I have a freshly colored red streak in my hair. You like it?
KC Wright: You did not need anything else sassy on you. [Both laughing]
Jennifer Rothschild: Well, here's the thing. I had a new stylist, you know, with Covid. I lost my stylist and so I've got this new one and she's younger. And I said, I said the only thing I need for me is you to make me look like I know my age, but I don't look my age.
KC Wright: Oh, okay.
Jennifer Rothschild: That balance. Right.
KC Wright: Yes.
Jennifer Rothschild: So I need to look trendy, but still aware that I am the age I am. So anyway, I said, yeah, I'd love a little red and wooh. It's so bright that everybody has said, "Oh, you got your hair done." Yeah, it's like fire engine.
KC Wright: I like it.
Jennifer Rothschild: Well, it's fun.
KC Wright: I like it. But you know, I just admire anybody with hair.
Jennifer Rothschild: KC, you having hair issues?
KC Wright: Well, you know, as I get older, you know, things are receding but, you know, I just, you know, praise God for the beard on my face. At least there's hair there.
Jennifer Rothschild: That's right. That's right. I don't know about yours, but when I go to get mine cut, like, they'll be some areas on my head that haven't grown nearly the same amount as other areas.
KC Wright: Right.
Jennifer Rothschild: It's like dense in certain spots.
KC Wright: Right.
Jennifer Rothschild: It's like a chia pet.
KC Wright: Well, and also, you know, it's one of the big mysteries, you know, that I have in my mind of why they can put a man on the moon, but they still haven't come up with the cure for male pattern baldness. I'm like, really? Really? We we can go to space and take samples.
Jennifer Rothschild: I know. I know. Well, I just tell Phil my husband, because, you know, he's got the same issues, I say, "Honey, it's because you're so stinkin' smart, your brain just keeps pushing toward those follicles and they just fall out. They can't handle the pressure."
KC Wright: I love it, I love it!
Jennifer Rothschild: Okay, that has nothing to do with anything that we're talking about today, but it gave the audience a great visual of my red and your recession. So there you go. Anyway, we are talking with Nicole C. Mullens today. Mullen, right? It's singular.
KC Wright: Yeah. Nicole C. Mullen.
Jennifer Rothschild: Sorry, Nicole. Anyway, Nicole C. Mullen. But here's the thing, y'all, if you have not heard her latest song it is called "The God Who Sees."
KC Wright: Oh, wow.
Jennifer Rothschild: Oh, wow. Oh, wow. I'm just saying, ladies, waterproof mascara. It's stunning. It is absolutely stunning.
KC Wright: It is so anointed. The presence of God is all over it.
Jennifer Rothschild: It really is. So I want you to make sure you hear that song today and make sure you stay through the end of my conversation with Nicole today, because she describes how she ended up writing this song with Kathie Lee Gifford, which is fascinating. And they were writing it for Danny Gokey. That's who was supposed to record it, but the result was Nicole recorded it. And if you've not heard the song, you know, there's like this oratory between choruses. It's beautiful. Well, Nicole is just in the studio and she did it spontaneous, y'all. So you need to know all that when you hear the song. And Nicole is going to talk a lot today, though, about forgiveness and just hard relationships and how God sees. So let's get to it, KC.
KC Wright: You will love this lady. Nicole C. Mullen is a gifted singer, songwriter who has received two Grammy Award nominations and get this, nine Gospel Music Association awards, including two Female Vocalist of the Year Honors, plus the Song of the Year for "Redeemer" and "On My Knees." And she was the first African-American female to win Songwriter of the Year for "Redeemer," one of my all-time favorite songs. Nicole started as a background singer for Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, C.C. Winans, and the Newsboys. Recently she collaborated with Kathie Lee Gifford on the moving musical oratory called "The God Who Sees." Nicole is also the author of I Know My Redeemer Lives. And she calls herself a Bible nerd. So get ready to nerd out and be blessed with Jennifer and Nicole.
Jennifer Rothschild: You know, Nicole, I know how much you know and love the Word, and so you know that the Word says that we overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. And so I would just love to start there and just hear a little bit of your story, your growing up, your testimony, how you came to Christ, that kind of thing.
Nicole C. Mullen: Well, I was born and raised in a Christian home where my parents were deacons in the church and both sets of grandparents were Pentecostal pastors. So I love to say I was in church like eight, nine, ten days a week, like all the time. But at the age of eight, I had to come to Jesus moment because I had learned the adults. I had listened and I just caught not even just was taught, but I caught that God had no grandchildren. He only had sons and daughters. And so in our, at our church, at a different church where we were attending, the pastor gave an altar call two Friday nights in a row. And I remember that each time just kind of having a conversation with God. And I was like, God, I don't know if you know, but in our church, the age of accountability is not eight, it's twelve. So technically, I still have four more years to sin. And I was a smart kid.
Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah. You were.
Nicole C. Mullen: I wasn't ready to cash it in yet. Until that second Friday night, my dad promised me, not a spanking, but whooping, Jennifer. And there's a difference. You know, a spanking is, you know, just nice. But a whooping has a song and a dance with it. My dad was very kind. Matter of fact, he's kind of on the boring side because he would always read a whole lot of Scripture and he would just talk and talk and talk and we'd be like, can you get it over with? But he was like, okay, this is what the Word says. And so I had a song and dance of it did not tell you not to you. Well, I didn't want one that night, so I said, "Okay, God, I'm going to make a deal with You. If You can get me out of this whooping that I know I probably deserve but I don't want. If You get me out of this whooping, then I'm going to give You my heart." And so that night where I thought that, you know, God would be, you know, I would be doing God a favor, that was my little eight-year-old mind.
Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah.
Nicole C. Mullen: I realized that He was doing me the greatest favor ever. And so that night my dad completely forgot. God gave him temporary amnesia. And I went up into the room that I normally share with my two sisters, older sisters at the time. And there was no one around except me and the God of the universe. And so that night I bowed my knee, I bowed my heart, and I gave my life to Christ. And I remember getting up off my knees knowing that He had heard me and I felt new. So we had a, we had an old typewriter that I started typing on. And I was like, as of this day, I'll never be the same. Jesus Christ is coming to my heart. I felt His presence. I felt His acceptance. I felt that even though I was eight, I was a little kid, that the God of the universe had stopped time to hear me. And I felt validated.
And so I grew up having this relationship with Him, knowing that He was always with me. I would sing to Him at the bus stop on the way to school. My sisters and I, we weren't the cutest. We were made fun of for being, you know, what they would call "homemade" because we could only wear skirts most of the time back then, back in the day. So we had that. And so, but we grew up and my parents were great. My mom and dad stayed married for fifty-four years. My dad would take us out every Thursday night to have family night. My parents got us up every morning at 5 a.m. to pray as a family.
Jennifer Rothschild: Wow.
Nicole C. Mullen: They covered us. So we grew up with a wealth of relationships with, relationship with Christ. We grew up with being wealthy when it comes to biblical truths and the foundations of the faith. And so at around the age of twelve, I'll try to condense this. At the age of twelve, my dad, he had prayed over my sisters and I one New Year's Eve night. And so he had prayed that the Lord would bless me and music and that He would use me as a songwriting and He would take me around the world singing for Him. And had you seen me, I would be the least likely to be doing what I'm doing. But God, but God. And so the Lord honored that word. There was another lady in our church named Sister Dottie, who confirmed that same word later on that same year. I was still twelve years old. And that year, my very first song, and it's called, "I'll Praise Your Holy Name."
Jennifer Rothschild: Aww.
Nicole C. Mullen: I eventually recorded it and I talk about it in the book, My Redeemer Lives. I put out, ya know, some of the song in there as well. But, so the Lord, I knew He was with me and I would sing to Him and He would give me songs to sing to other people. And, you know, before I knew it, here I was. I was seventeen and I went off to Bible school. I went to Christ for the Nations for a couple of years, had a great time there had some trials as well. But the Lord definitely worked through that. And then when I was around twenty, I thought I was really grown now. It's like, "Okay, God, I've been a good girl, you know, out of Bible school, did catechism been walking with You. You know, from a spiritual background, I'm ready to conquer the world."
And then. And then. Then I met a guy and I thought he was really the cat's meow because he said bless God after everything. He had the Christian jargon down. He's super spiritual. And he also got up every morning at 5:00. He also walk the floors praying. But what, what you know, what wasn't seen to most people is that he also had an anger issue. And so we went on our first date. He proposed to me on the first date. I thought I was super grown. I said, yes. I told my momma. She said, "Nope this is not God" And because now my pride was hurt and I thought, well, God, I can do whatever I want. I lived in Texas at this point, my parents still lived in Cincinnati, where I was born and raised. And so I had this kind of disrespect. I thought, "Well, I have the right to do what I want to do." And so my mom was like, "You're free to do what you want to do, but I won't be there at the wedding." And my dad's that, you know, my dad was the spoiler. He was like, you know, I'll be there. And I was always a daddy's girl and my dad, ya know, so my parents were always great. But, but I didn't have the heart to tell them by the time the wedding came around that he'd already hit me the first time.
Jennifer Rothschild: Oh no.
Nicole C. Mullen: And so for the next three years, I went through domestic violence and just really just a heart wrenching situation where I thought, "Ya know God, where are You?"
Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah.
Nicole C. Mullen: You know, and and I will say this, though, Jennifer, in the midst of my dark night, God still kept showing up. It was as if He kept shining lights here and there. He kept singing over me. He would give me people that would help me. And it was hard, trust me. It was still hard. And eventually He allowed me to get out of that situation. And I had another chip on my shoulder and I talk about it in the book. But, but through it all, I will say this. The Lord, He showed me that there are situations that He may not always, Jennifer, right the wrong. And I think He's more concerned with making us right inside of the wrong than actually righting the wrong sometimes. Now there's going to come a time where He is going to right every wrong. He is going to get justice. He is going to balance the scales. That will definitely happen.
But in the meantime, He was showing me that, "Hey, I'm still good. I am still God. What will you say about Me when You don't see me? What will you say about me when you feel like I owe you something because you were a quote unquote good girl, you know, like those are the things that came back to me." And I have to say, "Okay, Lord, I have to say, You were still good. You are still God. Even when things aren't going my way, You are still here. I choose to believe what Your Word says because not that You don't lie, You cannot lie." And so He has shown me a lot about Himself. I, I believe that I learned more about Him in my night seasons than I even really gained from the day, you know.
Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah.
Nicole C. Mullen: And I love the day, trust me. I love the mountain tops. But if you've ever heard a song by me, if a song that I've ever written has ever moved, has ever moved you, more than likely that song was written in at least a part of my night season somewhere.
Jennifer Rothschild: Well, you know, I think what you said, I mean, there's so many things that you said right there that are so profound. But it is interesting. It's true. The songs that probably mean the most to us that you have written are the ones that cost you the most to write, you know, and they feel like they're pages from your journal. And I think the song is called "Greater Still." Is that right?
Nicole C. Mullen: Yeah.
Jennifer Rothschild: Okay, I love that song. And it's interesting because you have this phrase that you've been kissed by Judas and held by hurt and wrestled rejection. And so I'm hearing those lyrics and I'm laying them over the template of your story, especially of the time of your marriage and the abuse. And I'm wondering, you did wrestle with rejection because?
Nicole C. Mullen: Yes.
Jennifer Rothschild: How'd you come through that? So, in the dark middle of it all, when you know God is still there and you know He's still real, because there are some women who are in some hard places right now. It may not be physical abuse, but they're in a place that if they could snap their fingers and grab a magic wand to wave, they would be out of there in a second. How do you get through it when you're wrestling the rejection or you're being pummeled by hurt or you're even feeling the daily kiss of Judas? How do you do it? How did you get through it?
Nicole C. Mullen: Now, part of that song that you're talking about, "Greater Still" was also written because after that first relationship had failed, you know, here I was. I was bleeding on the inside, you know, not necessarily outer wounds, but but inner wounds now from that. And I did have a chip on my shoulder. I thought God owed me something, because I was a good girl, remember? And I gave you my heart a long time ago thinking that that was going to anesthetize me and keep me from suffering, not realizing that the Bible says in this world you're going to have tribulations.
Jennifer Rothschild: Yes.
Nicole C. Mullen: Regardless of who you are, but be of good cheer. He's already overcome. And He said it's going to rain on the just and the unjust. So after that relationship, I found myself in another relationship where I was married for twenty-one years and I wasn't physically beaten in this next relationship, but there was a lot of infidelity that I had to forgive over and over again. And so I know what it's like to feel betrayed and to feel hurt and rejected, you know, but at the same time, I know what it's like that the more you see unfaithfulness on one side, the more faithful Christ appears. I know what it's like. The more you see destruction and violence and harm done to you, the more gentle and meek Christ appears to be. You know, it's like He is the antithesis of every evil.
And so it was just that the mantra of really, regardless of what I've gone through, Your love is greater still. Regardless of what I will go through, Your love is greater still. There is no ill that You cannot right, that You cannot heal. And so and because of that, I choose to rejoice. I choose to have joy again. Re-joy, rejoice. And so that's a choice that we make. That's not just something that you feel. It's not something that you're led by your circumstances. It's a choice you make and then your circumstances and your feelings follow that. And so that's that's what I know because I've lived it and I'm living it and God is still good.
Jennifer Rothschild: Well, and I hear how much you use Scripture. And so I'm curious if you are trying to if you're sitting across from somebody right now having coffee and they're saying, man, I so relate to you and I want to like the end, like your lyrics say, I will rejoice, I will rejoice because God is greater still. What does that look like? How do you use Scripture? I'm curious, to help somebody rejoice to make that choice to rejoice, since it's not a feeling, it's a choice. How can Scripture empower that choice?
Nicole C. Mullen: Well, part of it is, is what Jesus taught us when He said, when the disciples said, how should we pray? And he taught us over Matthew 6 how to pray. And a part of it was He said, forgive me my debts as I forgive my debtors. I find that unforgiveness is a huge barrier to joy. And so that's it. It's not an acknowledgment that the person who was wrong is now right. No, it's an acknowledgment that there was a real, there was real wrong that was done. There was real harm that was done and it was expensive. Forgiveness is not a cheap gift that you give, but I find that forgiveness is really the gift that you give yourself because it allows you to be released to experience what God has for you.
So for me, the first thing that will come to mind would be who is it that you need to forgive? Like for real from the bottom of your heart. And it's not something that we can do on our own. It's not something we want to do on our own. And so this is what I try to do on a daily basis. I don't always succeed at it, but this when I do this right here. But when I do this here, I'll say this. I always succeed. Now, I don't always do it. But when I do it, I always succeed. And this is, when Jesus said, when we get to the part in the Lord's Prayer, you know, we love the part, "Give us this day our daily bread." That's my favorite part, ya know.
Jennifer Rothschild: Right.
Nicole C. Mullen: But the next part, "And forgive me my debts as I forgive my debtors." That's the hard part. And so, but as act of my will, this is what I say. I say, "Lord, as an act of my will. I choose to forgive. Dot, dot, dot, a, b, c, one, two, three." Whoever it is, for this right here and you may have to say it multiple times a day. And then I say, "Lord, I'm asking You today to show me what that looks like, what it feels like, what it speaks like, what it does and does not do." Like it's an act of my will.
And I'm telling you, I can promise you this, every single time I do that, it makes it a lot easier. It puts me in a posture to be able to receive joy again. It's like I'm sitting with my hands wide open, extended to heaven, palms up. And when I do that, it's like I'm releasing the unforgiveness and God is able to give me all the goodness that He has. But if I have unforgiveness still in my hands, because it's in my heart, He can't get the joy to me. He can't get the prosperity. He can't get the goodness that He has for me because my hands are clogged. And so I think that would be a thing that I would say for those who are hurting, trust me, God knows how to get those who have done us wrong. We can trust Him with them.
Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah.
Nicole C. Mullen: He tells us in Romans 12, you know, don't avenge yourself, don't seek revenge. He said it is mine to avenge. I will repay. And He's faithful to His Word and He has taken care of those who have done me wrong. And I pray for mercy before I pray, "God, get'em, get'em." I'm like, "Lord, have mercy because they're messing with Your girl. You know what I'm saying." And one of your favorites: "I'm one of Your daughters." And You know how fathers are with their daughters, they're protective.
Jennifer Rothschild: Yes.
Nicole C. Mullen: So, I'm like, "Lord, I know You going to get them, but have a little bit of mercy when You," you know and trust me, He knows how to do that. And so that would be one of the things I would definitely advise would be to start with forgiveness.
Jennifer Rothschild: That is a profound word, Nicole, because I don't think we hear that a lot and forgiveness is this invisible undertow that I think drags us around and we don't even recognize it's there. Unforgiveness is, I mean. And so I think that's a powerful connection. It reminds me of David in Psalm 51. I mean, there's that connection right there of being forgiven and having the joy restored. So it makes sense that our forgiveness of others is also going to trigger that joy in our lives. I appreciate how practical that is. Thank you.
Nicole C. Mullen: My pleasure.
Jennifer Rothschild: So here's what I know. So I know now you are a single mom, so clearly your marital status has changed.
Nicole C. Mullen: Yes.
Jennifer Rothschild: And here you are in the public eye, which when your marital status changes, that's never easy. That's never easy.
Nicole C. Mullen: No.
Jennifer Rothschild: But it's on steroids when you're in the public eye, I'm sure. So I'm curious what it was like for you when you stepped back onto a public platform or even when you just stepped back into church. You know, were you self-conscious? Because I read somewhere that it's like over 60 percent of single moms don't even go to church anymore.
Nicole C. Mullen: Absolutely.
Jennifer Rothschild: And so you speak to that. How do you feel? And let's talk through that.
Nicole C. Mullen: Ooh, girl, now you touching it, all right. Yes. Yes. Well, that was a difficult season. That was back in 2014. And, you know, I would advise anyone who is about to make a marital status change, whether to be married or not to be married, to seek godly counsel. And so I did not make this decision lightly. It was among lots and lots of godly counsel. If anything, they said I was slow. You know, they were like, "Okay," you know, but but it was it was extremely difficult. Either way. I saw that it was going to be hard and you know, the Lord, but I believe it's not in necessarily what transpired, but how I went through it. And the Lord gave me specific instructions as to how to keep my heart right, how to keep my mouth shut and those things. And so I did have to eventually reveal it to the public, but it was in the how He gave me the words to say. And it was hard.
Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah I bet.
Nicole C. Mullen: And but I but I will say the body of Christ, the true believers of Christ, were so gracious, they were so loving, that that in itself was a healing balm. But it was difficult I will say this to go back to church, even though I go to a wonderful church. Can I say my church, Grace Chapel, there's no other church like it. I love my church. They are fantastic. But it was hard to go back in as a single mother, as a single woman, when I had attended as a married woman for so long.
Jennifer Rothschild: I bet.
Nicole C. Mullen: And the accusations in my head that, no one had said anything audibly. No one even really looked at me funny, but the accusations of the enemy in my head were: There probably wondering what happened. They're probably think you did something. They're probably all of these things. They started assaulting me and it made me feel uneasy about going back. And I remember the first time I went back by myself. My kids, I think, were with my with their father, my ex.
And I was like, okay, let me sit in the back. And I normally would prefer the back anyway. But I remember I said, like, where do I sit? I don't like I'm not a couple anymore. So I sat in a row with there's another I think there was another two, I think two other women, I think, that were sitting there and they were either single or just by themselves that day and so I sat there. And they were kind we kind of exchanged the, "Hey, how are you doing," a little bit. But I didn't realize how tender it is and how sensitive of an issue it is for single mothers to attend. And then I did take some single mothers out and started just kind of ministering to single moms after that, because now I am and I have a new sensitivity toward...
Jennifer Rothschild: You get it.
Nicole C. Mullen: I get it. And to hear them say, a lot of them said, "I love Jesus, but I do not go to church anymore because I feel like I'll be judged, I feel like there's ... I'm not seen. I feel like the messages are geared toward married couples. And here I am, an oddball, like the friends we used to have are no longer our friends. So it's kind of awkward for me to hang as a single woman with a couple. And now is she thinking that I want her husband because I don't have one now." So there's all these things that you have to deal with. But I will say this, the Lord has, He has covered me well and I have great friends, some who are married now, some who are single. I have great brothers, you know, and some of them, you know, I don't ... there are certain things that, you know, you can and cannot do.
Jennifer Rothschild: Sure.
Nicole C. Mullen: I don't talk to people's husbands without their wives.
Jennifer Rothschild: Right.
Nicole C. Mullen: Those are things you just, you don't do. But ...um ... but I do have great brothers and sisters and I have a great covering for my church. But it is a very difficult thing to go through, but God.
Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah, yeah, and you've said that several times and that is the truth, isn't it?
Nicole C. Mullen: Yes. How can you do without Him?
Jennifer Rothschild: How and, and we are a family. And, so to all of us, as brothers and sisters, as we're hearing this, I appreciate you speaking through that, Nicole, because we are family and we don't want any member of the family to feel like he or she isn't exactly where she belongs when she's sitting right there in the sanctuary on Sunday worshiping with her family.
Nicole C. Mullen: Absolutely.
Jennifer Rothschild: So may we all be mindful of that. My last question, which is probably the thing that I have cried the most, like I'm like really into you right now, Nicole, because I've been listening to one of your songs over and over. I've described it to my friends. It's almost like musical theater, more than a song. It's just like this musical experience it's so epic. And it's called, for our friends who are listening, it's called "The God Who Sees." Okay, it is so moving, it is so beautiful.
And in it you sing about Hagar, who is a single mom, and you sing about Ruth, this woman in Scripture who's starting over and grieving. You go through David, hiding in a cave and, you know, afraid of his enemies. And then you end, of course, with Jesus. And there He is setting Mary Magdalene free and seriously, I like bust out when you start singing as Jesus, "I will be the glory in your midst." I'm like, yes, it is just outstanding. So I want you to just give us a little bit of the skinny on it because I know you wrote it with Kathie Lee Gifford, which I think is beautiful. And so once you kind of explain those nuts and bolts, then I want you to tell me which one of those characters that you wrote about that you identify most with.
Nicole C. Mullen: Wow. Well, first of all, thank you very, very much for, first of all, thank you for having me. Thank you for just identifying with the Lord's presence in what He has given us. Ya know, that again is the Lord's doing on that particular song as well, "The God Who Sees," glory. Kathie Lee Gifford and I we got together one day and we didn't know each other prior to, we had only heard of each other. And a friend of ours, Andy Clawson, she connected us to have a writing session. And I don't really co-write that often. I'm kind of insecure when it comes to that. And so I just pretty much just stick to myself when I write a song, but I thought, you know what, I'll give it a shot. And so I brought my little guitar and I don't play extremely well, but I play a couple of chords and Kathy didn't play at all. And so we got together and she, she had an idea about Hagar and I had started writing a song about Haggar as well. But she also came with an idea. She said, you know, the Scripture that says, "I will be a ring of fire around her."
And the Scripture she was talking about Israel, "I would be the glory her mist." And so we thought, you know what, let's write from the point of view of just different hurting people. And we weren't writing it for me, we were writing it for Danny Gokey. And it is a song that we were, you know, writing that we thought would be a three or four minute song, became an oratorial. And it goes from speaking into singing and speaking into singing and she convinced me to do the demo for it. I wasn't planning on singing the song at all. So Kathie kept saying, "You know, you could do it. You should do it" And I thought, "It's not my ... it's not really what I do." And she was like, "No, I'm telling you, you would be great at it." And anyway, so we get into the sound booth and she tells me, "Well, we haven't written the narrative for it yet, but, you know, can you just go in and just say what comes to mind and then later on I'll write it and then you can go back and insert that portion, but we'll get you speaking and really, I want to capture the singing part right now."
So I got in the booth and I asked the Lord to help me and I don't know if people know me, but I'm kind of a Bible nerd, like I love the Word. I love the wWord of God, and I love these characters that we had written about, you know. Hagar, she is a woman who was, she was a slave. She was an Egyptian. She was not Jewish. She was an outsider, but God still allowed a son to be born through her for Abraham and things kind of got messed up, like really messed up. She had a bad attitude. Sarah was mad at her. So they had this internal fight. So, long story short, she's exiled and she's sent away as a single mother and she doesn't have a lot of supplies. And she's out there in the desert and she's just like, it's her and her son and God shows up.
And then, you know, you have Ruth. And Ruth is a woman who is a Moabite. She is from a culture where incest was their origin. She's from a pagan nation. They worship idols. And they had the testable sacrifices of human beings and babies, and so she's from a culture that was so unlike that of the children of Israel, but eventually got graphs for it. And she comes back to Bethlehem with Naomi, her mother-in-law, who's both of them are widows. And God, pretty much, He shows up without her even seeing Him. He shows up through a redeemer named Boaz and he redeems Ruth. And in doing so, Ruth blesses him with a son and because he hadn't been he didn't have any children, as noted in Scripture prior to that.
And eventually through their lineage, a couple of generations later, you have David in the Bible and he's through Ruth. God allowed David, King David to come from actually two different women. One was his great grandmother, one was his great, great grandmother that weren't, they didn't have the pedigree, they didn't have the claimed bloodline, quote unquote, as most Israelites had. His great, great grandmother was Rahab the Harlot, the prostitute from Jericho and now you have his great grandmother being a Moabite, Ruth. And God allowed David still to be the second king of Israel.
And then eventually, through David, we have the Christ. And so I love the fact. And I'm going to get back to your question. But how Christ came to redeem, you know, those that He even came from. He came from multi, and a multi-ethnic background. He came from, you know, He came to redeem the world. That even was a part of His genetic makeup.
And so we also have Mary of Magdala, who is disturbed. She was tormented by evil spirits. She was possessed by devils the Bible said. And Jesus set her free and she followed Him, and Jesus bestowed honor and dignity upon her. And He allowed her to be the first to see Him when He arose from the grave. And so He definitely had a soft spot in His heart and He showed a soft spot for the broken, the weary, the marginalized, those who know and knew that they weren't qualified. And that's all of us. Whether you're black, yellow, green, white, blue, doesn't matter. We all come to the feet of Christ the same way. That's humbly. And so when He says: I'm going to be a ring of fire around you. I'm going to be your protection. I'm going to be your shield. I'm going to be your reward. I'm going to buy back your pain and your shame. I'm going to be your ultimate redeemer. And so this is what that song is about.
And as far as who identify with the most, honestly, it would probably be Ruth, because Ruth was redeemed. Ruth was sent a kinsman redeemer who is a prototype of Christ. And even this morning, as I was reading the Scripture, the Lord reminded me that the Lord, your maker, the God of the universe, He is your redeemer. He is your husband. And so He is the husband to the husbandless. He is the father to the fatherless. He is the one who buys back our pain, our shame, and our heartache, and He gives us a song in the middle of the night. He brought back Ruth. And because of that, He put her into the lineage of our Lord and our Savior, Jesus Christ, when man would have discounted her, when she had no right to belong. God said: I am including you in my family.
KC Wright: I am such a huge fan of "The God Who Sees." If you haven't heard it yet, you can get on YouTube right now for free and you can download it on iTunes. Go to godwhosees.com. There you will see lots of behind the scenes footage. It's like a musical theater, more than a song.
Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah, it is. You're right.
KC Wright: We will also have a link to it and all things Nicole on 413podcast.com/132.
Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah, you can tell we are big fans. I really can't listen to it without my eyes welling up every time I hear it. It's so moving. You know, though, guys, there's two things I do want to clarify from this conversation, just in case you heard some things that may have not been familiar to you or concerns you.
One of the things that she mentioned was this phrase "age of accountability." She talked about that at the very beginning of the conversation and that may not be a familiar phrase to you. So, let me just tell you what that means. In a lot of denominational circles, in the way some people understand Scripture, the age of accountability simply means that, a person, a child especially, is just not capable until a certain age of understanding what sin is, the weight of their sin. Therefore, they're not accountable for that sin. So, that's what she was referring to when she said the age of accountability.
Also, she talked a little bit about domestic abuse. And I know there may be some of you who can identify with that, and that's really hard. And so, I want you to hear this today as a call to action for you. This is your day to get safe. So I want you to reach out to somebody you can trust, and I will have a domestic abuse hotline on the show notes also to get you connected with help if you need that. But I'm telling you, my sister, your father, God, He sees you, and He wants you to be treated as the valuable daughter that you are.
KC Wright: Yes, He does. You know, her story shows the power of a father's prayer. Remember how she described that he prayed over her and her sisters, one New Year's Eve. So get that picture in your mind, because that is what your Heavenly Father is doing right now over you. In this moment. He is speaking life and a beautiful future over you. So God does see you, my friend. He sees what you've endured. He knows what's in your heart, and He wants to make all things right in your heart.
Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah. If you have felt the sting of betrayal, remember what Nicole said? She said, the more that you see the unfaithfulness on one side, the more you will see the faithfulness of Christ. The more that unfaithfulness shows up on one side, or in one relationship, the more faithful Christ will appear. So, He is faithful, my friends. So trust Him today and remember that you can step out on faith, you can forgive, you can do whatever God calls you to do because you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength. I can.
KC Wright: I can.
Jennifer Rothschild: And you can.
KC Wright: Now, not only does Nicole C. Mullen sing like an angel.
Jennifer Rothschild: Oh, my gosh.
KC Wright: Like I'm praying she's in my corner heaven. But I do know because I know a gal who works for her.
Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah.
KC Wright: That she does listen to this podcast. She is an official 413'er.
Jennifer Rothschild: She is a 413'er. And listen, I only, you know of course was able to broadcast part of this conversation today. Dude, we talked for so long? I love her.
KC Wright: She is full of life and light and love.
Jennifer Rothschild: She is and she's so smart.
KC Wright: I know and when I follow her on social media, she's always got a word. She's got a Raima, fresh word from heaven. She's God's girl. That's all I'm trying to say.
Jennifer Rothschild: Yes she is. She's our BFF. We love her.
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