Internets, We Have A Picture

So several of y’all have mentioned wanting to SEE A PICTURE OF THE AMY, ALREADY.

photo by Kay Williams

Here’s Chris Sligh (I didn’t say a word to him, either, because CHICKEN GOES BOK BOK) and the oh-so-lovely Amy Grant at ASCAP’s Christian Music Awards.

And a couple of things occur to me as I look at this picture (a picture I did not take, by the way – ASCAP had a real-live professional photographer in attendance).

First, Amy Grant looks almost exactly like she looked twenty years ago. The only difference is that she’s even prettier now.

Second, some people navigate college and their early 20s without missing a beat in their faith. I was not one of those people. I really struggled from about 21-25. There were a few mountaintops (the memory of one retreat in particular continues to be very special to me) – but mostly lots and lots of valleys. Lots of bad choices. Lots of pretending that I had my act together when in reality I was pretty stinkin’ miserable. Lots of trying to distance myself from God because I wanted to do things my way and on my terms – not to mention that I figured He wouldn’t want to have a whole lot to do with me given ALL THE REBELLION.


Even in that not-so-sunshiney time, when I didn’t want to surrender to anything that I perceived as getting in the way of the life I thought I wanted, there were days when I’d pull out my copy of Amy Grant’s “The Collection,” and inevitably, as I listened, I would cry. And sometimes I’d wonder what in the world I’d done to the girl who loved Jesus so wholeheartedly as a teenager, and I’d wish with everything in me that things could be that simple again.

What I know now is that things could have been that simple again – I’m the one who overcomplicated them. Got distracted. Compromised. Thought I knew better. Blah blah blahtedy the early 20s are hateful blah blah blah.

What I also know now is that God never let go of me during that time. I can see Him all over the place as I look back on those years. And one way He continued to remind me who I was in Him was through Amy Grant’s music. Even as I type that I think GAH, COULD YOU SOUND A LITTLE MORE LIKE A JR. HIGH DIARY, PLEASE? – but it’s true. And so when I saw her last Monday night, I got a little emotional and teary and whathaveyou. Not because I think she’s some big shot singer person. Not because I think she’s better than the rest of us because she’s famous.

But because she was faithful to sing the music that God put on her heart, and those songs made a difference in my life, and I AM SO STINKIN’ GRATEFUL.

That is all.

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  1. I pretty much had the same experience as you with Amy’s music. Christian music was always my way back to God when I was in the desert. It still is, actually.

  2. Kelly in Carrollton says:

    Amen, Sophie. Amen.

  3. I feel the same way about that same CD. Made such a difference on my younger self.

  4. Valleys really stink. Been there. But without them we wouldn’t know God’s love and mercy and grace and forgiveness. Thanks for putting that out there. I never had an actual Amy Grant album, just Petra and DeGarmo&Key. My kids don’t know how lucky they are to grow up with Newsboys and Chris Tomlin and Jeremy Camp and Switchfoot and ….

  5. Me, too. — “but mostly lots and lots of valleys. Lots of bad choices. Lots of pretending that I had my act together when in reality I was pretty stinkin’ miserable. Lots of trying to distance myself from God because I wanted to do things my way and on my terms – not to mention that I figured He wouldn’t want to have a whole lot to do with me given ALL THE REBELLION.”

    Me, too. –“there were days when I’d pull out my copy of Amy Grant’s “The Collection,” and inevitably, as I listened, I would cry. And sometimes I’d wonder what in the world I’d done to the girl who loved Jesus so wholeheartedly as a teenager, and I’d wish with everything in me that things could be that simple again.”

    Praise God for a place of “further on” with Amy still a voice that brings my heart to tears–this time of joy.

    Love and prayers for you, you beautiful girl–inside and out.

  6. Me too- ditto- you said it well sister- that is a sentiment that I think many of us share- maybe not the Amy Grant part, but definitely the rest. I, however, have every single thing she ever recorded- it borders on a weird obsession, but she calms me.

  7. Love you, Sophie.

  8. Exactly! what. I’ve. felt. before.
    “Not because I think she’s some big shot singer person. Not because I think she’s better than the rest of us because she’s famous.”

    Why would we need to cry over their fame when what we are really impacted by is God’s fame brought through the music (or teaching, in some cases)?

  9. Wow, your past sounds like mine. I have the piano book of The Collection. I was a kid when it came out and was taking lessons. My mom bought it for me. I still love to play El Shaddai and Thy Word. Gives me chills.

  10. She really is beautiful, inside and out. And, she’s had her desert days and hard times, and had to do it in front of a judgemental Christian fan base. She was such a lady throughout that entire time. I do love Chris Sligh, too.. he was interviewed on the radio here before “Empty Me” came out, and they played it. I nearly drove into a tree listening, and as soon as that CD came out, I bought it. I’m thankful that God gifts each generation with a new crop of people capable of “singing to the Lord a new song”…

  11. I’ve been reading your blog for a while now. Most days you make me laugh with your antics and the wonderful way you look at life. But today you showed more of yourself than you usually do, and I want you to know it touched me. Deeply.

    I didn’t go through that rebellious period, but I was just the same touched by Amy Grant’s music. She got me through some tough years of grief. She helped point me to God when I was a new Christian. She was just the coolest.

    What a beautiful picture of her–she absolutely has not changed. (Neither have I!!)

    Thanks for that post. I think it was one of your best. Don’t even THINK about quitting this blog!

  12. I’m with ya Boo. Only mine is Sara Groves. Her music is so honest, and just sums it all up for me. I am CONSTANTLY singing her songs at church, because you name it, there’s a Sara song for that. So when I met her last summer, I burst into tears. Uncontrollable weeping. “I can’t even *gulp* tell you *sniff* how much your *snort* music has meant to *sniff* me…”

    In my defense it was after a Living Proof Conference so the emotions were a little raw to begin with. And I was smart enough not to give her my name, so there can be no restraining order.

  13. i’m so with you on this. i spent most of my youth wanting to be her. i even asked for a pink leopard jacket for Christmas…still waiting on that one.

    i love this post, and the comments that go with it. i spent most of my life being the weird one for having this emotional connection to Christian music. It’s so awesome and encouraging to read that so many others did, too.

    i remember the day i heard Amy for the first time. my dad brought home her Age to Age album and i thought she was the most beautiful person i’d ever seen. then when i heard El Shaddai, (maybe i was 8?) i sat in awe of her voice and the fact that i could sing along with her and it didn’t sound all churchy, just very real. changed my whole entire life, music-wise.

    again, love this post. thanks.

  14. Oh sweet girl, those valleys serve a purpose. They really do. In my case, those valleys keep me from being judgemental and stinky towards others. It also keeps my nasty pride in check.

    I know several other people that use their time in the valley to minister young women. Some through Young Life, some through their church. What a wonderful ministery you could have with college age women.

    What a blessing you would/will be.

  15. And we are so very grateful you are faithful to sing the song God gives you through this here blog.

    The end.

    And, thank you.

  16. “Sing your praise to the Lord,
    Come on everybody,
    Stand up and sing…one more
    Give your praise to the Lord,
    I can never tell you,
    Just how much good…that it’s
    Gonna do ya”

  17. Just like the rest of your commenters I totally thought Amy sang my heart. I often wondered how she could capture my feelings so acurately…isn’t God amazing…using a venue like music to convey His love toward us…simply awesome!

  18. My most vivid memory of Amy Grant’s music involves a glass door way back in high school. I was about to leave a friend’s birthday party and stood at the door talking to her mother. After saying goodbye, I turned to walk out the door. Never saw the glass door in front of me. Now, I’ve run into many a door/doorway/wall in my lifetime, but let me tell you it hurts way worse when you don’t see it coming. Almost knocked myself out. Pride kept me upright and able to make it to my car. I listened to Amy Grant’s “Heart in Motion” tape(!) as I sat in my car waiting to recover from my near-concussion and thinking about what an idiot I was. I will forever hear “Baby, Baby” and think of that sad drive away from the house of my shame. If only I’d heeded Amy’s advice to “stop for a minute,” or at the very least to choose to go “walking through the forest” rather than attempting to walk through a surprisingly sturdy glass door.

  19. Is it possible that we’re the same person? I’m just wondering. I mean, the same except you’re SO MUCH braver than me. For serious. I’m such a wimp that I can’t even talk about the valleys. Bless you, Boomama cause you sho can.

  20. HOpefully her PR peeps will see this and she’ll want to meet YOU! These are the kind of stories that mean the world to people like her-sometimes she/they will never hear how their music touched someone deep in their heart, and all for God.

    Yep. One of these days we are going to see a picture of Miss Amy and Miss Boo-in the same shot!

  21. What a great post. I’m 25, and for the past year I have been at peace with my faith, but for the four before that I was struggling, cynical, and mad. My pastor gave me some words of advice when I told him I needed to get back to my faith in high school. He told me to never wish I was as I was before, because God was clearly guiding me through things, even doubt, to strengthen me. I wouldn’t trade those four years for anything.

    AND… my favorite Amy Grant memory is totally unspiritual. I was with my best friend, sitting on the floor of the airconditioned office of our house (in Papua, where my parents were missionaries), reading the lyrics to Amy Grant by candlelight during a sleepover. We were both intensely crazy over a boy (or, in her case, two boys at once), and these lyrics seemed extremely poignant:
    And I have never been the one to fall in love so soon
    But I could never face another night or day without you
    Baby I’m the lucky one

    LOL. :)

  22. Oh – one more thing. Chris Sligh blogged about that dinner and said it was super fun. He’s hilarious. :)

  23. Samantha says:

    Amen and AMEN! I’m quite sure there were a few people in Rice Hall that walked by and wondered if I was ever going to finish learning how to play that intro to “Sing Your Praise to the Lord” or what? LOL Amy’s Age to Age concert was my first “real” concert and I went to the next tour too–the one with the gigantic stoplight. And I, too, had a little touch of a rebellious period in those first few years of my 20s and it was sad to see after I had been so faithful and so fired up all through my teen years. Thank God for the gift of music. Even when I wasn’t opening up my Bible nearly enough, I was still hearing the Word through the music and I still remembered where I had been and where I needed to be.

    I do love Miss Amy! Did you see her on Paula Deen’s show? She was awesome. :-)

  24. I’m totally lovin that beautifully modest dress too. She’s rocking it.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Boy, I know I’ve been there too!


  25. Mary Helen says:

    What a beautiful post. Amy Grant is beautiful and I know she can’t possibly imagine the impact her music has had on so many.

  26. Awe I needed to read this today… Not so much the Amy Grant stuff but that piece of your heart that you put out there.. I needed that

  27. Amen, sister!

  28. AWWW. Do you need a hug?

  29. Every time I hear a song from The Collection, I’m reminded of the childlike faith I had as a, um, child. Angels Watching Over Me was a particular favorite. I always think of the years I later spent in rebellion. But having come back to Him with the knowledge of how much He’s forgiven me, I can sing those sweet songs with even more love and gratitude. She who is forgiven much, loves much! By the way, have you read her book, Mosaic? I loved it.

  30. The Collection is my favorite too. It was also my very first cassette tape! I had her tape in my pink walkman while I was rollerskating! Ah yes, good times. But even when I listen to her now (I’ve upgraded from cassette tape to buying it on iTunes), the same songs speak to me, but just in a different way.

    Thanks for the memory!

  31. Thank you for sharing.

    Thank you for sharing Amy’s hair.

    And most importantly thank you for sharing that your early twenties were complicated by your wrong choices too. You are such a faithful servant to God, loving wife, and dedicated mama. What a testimony. Can I get an AMEN that things that happened 2 years ago don’t have to ruin my future because we are forgiven and He was there.

  32. Thanks for this post. I have a soon-to-be college graduate who hasn’t been to church at school in the last four years. She’s wondered away from the walk she had during her teens, and while she’s far from a bad young lady, she’s done her share of partying. I sang along to “My Father’s Eyes” when I carried my sweet Sarah in my belly, and I pray that prayer for her even today. I know she is a believer, and I hold onto the fact that I didn’t go to church when I was in college either. I know she loves the Lord, and I just pray that as she moves into “the real world”, she’ll be drawn back to worship and find her own church home when she starts her first job in Louisville, KY – hours and hours and miles and miles from home. She won’t be where I can wrap my arms around her, but I know she’ll be in Her Father’s arms at all times!

  33. As a twenty-something who often feels that I fit into the category that you described above, I have to thank you for this post. My love for Jesus has always been there but it has really been a struggle the last few years to surrender (especially my first year out of college). It gives me hope to see that there are women who have survived the twenties and find peace & fulfillment with themselves & their past decisions through the love & beauty of Christ. :)

    Thanks again!

  34. This post resonates with me.

    My turbulent years were the teen ones (HORRID). And while I wasn’t a Christian then, I absolutely can see how the Holy Spirit was working in me to yield even then.

    I love your last sentence about how you love her for her obedience and not for her fame and big shot-ed-ness (we’ll just make that a word). So, so important.

  35. This is the same experience I had with Amy Grant’s music, and my own rebellion. I think The Collection is one of my favorite albums because of the mix of old and her (then) newer stuff. My best friend and I would sing our hearts out to Stay For Awhile and Everywhere I Go. We always knew who was going to take the melody or harmony at which point in the song, and it’s those kind of memories that make the album even more special and nostalgic.


  36. yep, me and Amy did life together there for a while….she is great.

  37. I big puffy heart Amy, too. :)

    And Chris Sligh. But mainly Amy.

  38. I feel the same way about Rick Mullins. I also have an Amy moment, but I am going to send it through e-mail. I’ll explain why there.

  39. me too! amy’s my all-time fav! the first tape i bought (yes…tape) was her unguarded album. i can remember standing in the music section of whatever store it was and trying to decide between the three poses she had on the cover. seriously. it was a HUGE decision! i got to see her in concert with mws when i was in high school and it’s probably one of the 3 reasons i didn’t COMPLETELY go off the deep end. =)

  40. I went to college with Chris Sligh. :) Small world, huh?

  41. Thanks for the picture. Amy Grant’s music was the soundtrack for my college/early adult years. So many memories tied up in her music. I know she has had her share of hard knocks over the years, but she has emerged gracefully. So grateful for this post. Thank you.

  42. When I was about 12 I went to visit my cousin who was in college at Baylor. Her boyfriend worked for Word – are they still around? – so when I got back home, he sent me a copy of every one of Amy’s albums because I had enjoyed listening to her so much.

    I so hear ya. During my, um, wild years, Amy’s words would constantly come back to me. Amy taught me a lot of things about Jesus that the church failed to teach me, and praise God, it stuck.

  43. I’ve got a tender spot for her too, and her older music brings back all sorts of memories for me too. I assume you read her autobiography? I love that she was very real in it – in my book, she’s a very class act. I can only imagine how honored she’d be to know she made a difference in your life.

  44. with you.

  45. Amy goes to my church. She sat beside me a couple of times. When she started singing it was hard not clap at the end of the hymn. If you want the next time you are in Nashville you can meet me at church and we’ll sit behind her and stare at the awesomenesss that is her hair.

  46. Amen. The valleys, the music – I so get it.

    I went to my first Amy Grant concert last year after so many years of listening and happened to give her a short letter saying what you’ve just said here. Don’t you know that she dedicated a song to me – my favorite – and I didn’t even tell her what it was! I’m so glad she has been faithful to God’s gift. Her heart is as awesome as her hair. :)

  47. You know what – that was excellent.

  48. I can so relate to that… except my story didn’t include Amy Grant, BUT I had a few years (late teens and until around 22) when I turned away from God… but He NEVER turned away from me!

    Thank you for this!

  49. That was really beautiful!!

  50. While I don’t have some big insightful story about coming back to Jesus after a few years of bad choices, I, too went astray for a number of years. But God was faithful. He never strays. Even when times are tough and we are acting like a bratty, little kid, He is there. And for that I am so very thankful! Oh, and *heart* Chris Sligh’s song Empty Me. Fabulous, fabulous song!

  51. There is SUCH sincerity in her demeanor. I’ve adored her since I was a young girl but have NEVER had the pleasure of meeting her. However, ANYone I know who HAS been able to spend ANY time with her alllll say the same thing — that she’s one of THE most personable people you’ll ever meet and that she looks you directly in the eye and speaks to you as if you’re the only one in the room.

  52. Oh Sophie — this post just speaks to me. The rebellion…. oh, my, the rebellion lasted so long in my life, but God never left me. He walked through it with me… and that hurts, so much. Just to know that I took Him to some horrid places in my life.

    I’m just blown away that He uses me…I am so unworthy.

    Thanks for being open, honest and real!
    And for the picture of Amy — she’s lived in the hills and the valleys right before our eyes.

  53. Heather says:

    Hallelujah and an Amen sista to you.

  54. No lie, I am listening to The Collection while reading this. What are the odds of that?!

  55. Oops! Photo credit: Kay Williams :)

  56. Am I the only guy who’s not afraid to stand up and say, I like Amy Grant music?

    I can still be moved by that “Age to Age” album.

    Good post!

  57. What a great post! AG’s music has meant a ton to me over the years. Her Christmas albums still rank among my favorites to pop in on cold winter days. And her hymns collections? Oy, they make me tear up EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I listen to them. Every time. I love the steadiness and the consistency in her ministry. She’s had her rough spots but been so classy and so elegant and gracious through it all. I think we are blessed beyond belief to have an example of godly womanhood like her!

    And thanks for sharing your heart. We all have that little jr. high diary writing girl inside us somewhere. It’s a privilege to peek into yours :)

  58. (Tackles you to ground in the biggest most enthusiastic hug ever.)

    Thank you ma’am. Once again I am convinced we’re related. Or possibly the same person.

  59. Girl, I am with you on a lot of that. Her music represented such a sweet time in my life regarding my faith. I recently found one of her old albums now on cd. I purchased it and all the songs came flooding back to me. I excitedly explained to my kids about what her music meant to me…anyhow, I am so glad for you that you got to see her in person :). Sorry, you could not tell her all those things; maybe she reads your blog!

  60. Boy, she IS still gorgeous, isn’t she? I, too, have a whole plethora of Amy G. songs 100% memorized from all the repetitive play they got during my early teen years.

  61. When I read your –Chicken goes BOK BOK..I just about fell off my chair laughing!! LOL

  62. When I was in fifth grade I couldn’t go see Amy Grant in concert in my town but had expected to (this due to a variety of reasons). My mom cut choir short after school that day and we stood in line – I mean, in line, out the door, around the corner, around another corner, etc. to see Amy in person at a new store and its opening (and this wasn’t even a Christian store – amazes me a bit now). The upshot is we waited until I was probably 30 people or less away, and she had to go. Well, I lost it. My parents had divorced, life was really hard, and I just wanted to see Amy Grant. She stopped on her way by, kissed the top of my head (which is good, because I was all snotty and teary by that point) and apparently told me not to cry, I was too beautiful to be covered in all those tears. Or something like that. I totally get your post. Even if it sounds like a jr. high diary. ;)

  63. I just found your site and have been reading it for hours. Can I say how much I believe we could be very good friends???

    Anyways, my story with Amy’s music is much like everyone here, but I got to meet her last fall. She came in concert to my church, where I’m the video director, and I was jazzed…except I was diagnosed with cancer two months before the concert and was in the hospital having chemo when the concert day arrived. I bugged the crap out of the hospital staff to get me out that night and I was unhooked from an IV at 6:25 and listening to Amy sing at 7:15. Some friends arranged for me to meet Amy backstage (the cancer card…it works!), so for about ten minutes my sisters and I hung out Amy and I can’t even say how awesome she was. I told her I had been listening to her stuff since I was nine and she signed an autograph for me saying, “T-Bird…isn’t it good to feel 9 again?” Love her.

    And Sophie, your blog is da bomb! (/Randy Jackson)

  64. BTW, I’m cancer free 6 months post chemo…God is good, all the time!