I was an impressionable Beehive sitting at a Young Women’s awards night when a very special guest performed. A few years older than me, Nicole Sheahan sat at the piano and sang an inspirational ballad titled, “I am His daughter.” I was riveted throughout the entire performance. I felt like her song was speaking directly to me and reiterating that I had worth and infinite value in God’s eyes.
Nicole Sheahan’s journey from our small town chapel led to many musical opportunities, a stint in Nashville and a career in writing music and releasing albums. Her talents have been recognized in competitions, featured on movie soundtracks and included on EFY albums.
However, her path was not easy. Struggles on her mission helped Nicole build a foundation of hope and resiliency.
“I was learning Polish and that language was really hard for me,” she said “I really struggled with it. Once I got to Poland, I wanted to share the gospel, but not having the words to express what I wanted to was so frustrating…. One day I stopped a woman on the street to try and talk with her about the gospel and she said, ‘Your Polish really stinks and you need to work on it because I can’t even understand you.’ I just felt really down after that. I thought, ‘I’m trying so hard, am I ever going to get better at this?’”
A profound spiritual prompting helped her pivot.“The spirit told me, ‘You can either let this get you down and make you focus on being bad at something or you can double your efforts… and use [the language] as a source of motivation instead of discouragement.’”
Soon everything changed for Nicole. “I learned that my power to choose during times of discouragement is extremely pivotal in determining the outcome,” she said. “That’s an obvious statement, but it really sunk in during that time. I just decided to go at it even harder and try to keep learning and not wallow in sadness because a woman yelled at me. I was definitely bummed about it for a bit, but I’m grateful for that thought that came and it’s been a reminder to me at other points in my life when I’ve faced discouragement.”
Nicole continues to rely on the strength gained from her mission experiences and they were especially helpful when she encountered another mountain in her life.
“A broken engagement was one of the hardest things that I’ve ever experienced,” she said. “My heart had never felt so low, so broken and so hopeless. I really felt confused about God’s promptings in my life at that point. Again, I felt that I could either let this turn me into someone who is really sad all the time… or I can turn to God and really give this to Him. I made the choice pretty quickly, after a good amount of crying, to really rely on God and my Savior. I remember just praying whenever I could for the power of Jesus Christ’s Atonement to be with me and to strengthen me and to help me go back to work and be able to actually focus, move forward and find healing.”
Despite the trials in her life, music has been a constant strength. “Music really plays a role in connecting me to God and to my Savior,” she said. “Whether it’s hearing other songs that help me feel how real God is and His love or whether it’s writing a song about God working in my life or teaching me something. I love how music helps me to process my experiences in a healthy way.”
She said music is her healthy coping mechanism as opposed to something else like eating too much chocolate. “I’m grateful that we have the gift of music,” she said, “because whether or not people want to write or sing it, even just listening to music taps into a sixth sense that reaches deeper into our hearts and helps us to feel things that we might not recognize otherwise.”
Of all her compositions, there is one song that encompasses Nicole’s testimony of Him. “The song that I’d share with the entire world if I could is called ‘Why I Believe,’,” she said. “It expresses how Jesus has changed my heart.”
He is why I believe.
He is why I sing.
He is the sun at noonday
that gives light to everything.
He is why I have hope.
He’s everything good I know.
He’s why my sins can be as white as the snow.
He is why.
Many who know Nicole are better able to recognize the value of hope. Her sweet demeanor and easy smile are welcoming and warm. Her solid foundation of faith helps others feel noticed and at peace, even in the most simple of conversations.
Growing up in the same rural town in Montana as Nicole, I have looked up to her through various stages of life. She uplifted me as a young woman, as a full-time missionary and then several years later when she was a new bride. At her wedding celebration, she glowed in her simple white dress standing next to a grand piano with an adoring man by her side. Missionary service, musical careers, and seeking marriage weren’t easy, but Nicole braced them with courage. Nicole often describes her husband, Braden Eads, as “worth the wait.”
She recommends that everyone learn more about hope and was inspired by that theme during the 2020 April General Conference. “Elder Holland’s talk was one of my favorites,” she said. “I couldn’t give better advice than he could. My advice would be to study his talk because it reminded me that the deepest hopes that we all yearn for are possible. God has been trying to make the hopes that we need a reality since the beginning of time. His words just reminded me to not give up on the deep hopes I have for my life, my development, and my family. “
Nicole recently became a new mom to a baby boy named Eli. ”There’s been a lot of change at once… but I’m learning to be more patient and present,” she said. “I’m learning a new definition of success and that it isn’t being able to ‘do it all,’ but to be able to love and savor whatever I choose to do.”
In her relationships and her music, Nicole cherishes hope and seeks to record it and share it. She enjoys, “writing things out in my journal. Writing helps me process what I’m feeling and dig deeper for solutions to my discouragement… I also often ask God in prayer for strength and hope beyond my own through the power of Christ’s Atonement.”
Her final piece of advice is related to self-worth. “God gave that to us and so often it’s easy to base it on what others do or don’t do or what we do or don’t do,” she said. “I’m in this process of really seeking to develop a greater foundation of my self-worth that will last through the cultural biases that I receive. Investing in the journey of letting God teach you about how much you mean to Him is so important. Then you’re more ready to let the Savior give you extra-strength in those hard times.”
Nicole summarized the reason for her hope. “The change that Jesus has made in me is why I have hope and want to share music,” she said. “I want to encourage others to keep exercising faith in Him and keep seeking His grace.”