Today on the blog, we’ll be learning a little more about the spiritual journey of Nadine Brandes, an award winning author and my beautifully talented sister-in-law. Last year around this time, she released her first book, A Time to Die. It is one of three in the Out of Time Series. On October 16th, her second book in the series, A Time to Speak will come out. (Tip: You can pre-order it now!) So grab a cup of coffee or tea and let’s start the interview!
Let’s go back to the beginning. How did you come to know the Lord? Wow, you don’t start with the simple questions! By God’s grace, I was raised in a Christian home, but I didn’t really turn over my life and control to Him until I was a teenager. Funny how different life gets when He goes from being someone you know to being someone you follow and obey. I grew the most in my relationship with Him through college and graduate school years.
What inspired your growth? My growth in college came a lot from professors. I had the type of professors that not only pushed me to go deeper in my spiritual walk, but they lived it themselves. I was inspired by these professors and could see the way God worked great things through them. I wanted that, so I started the long trek of banishing my laziness and trying to be more consistent with pursuing God. He says in Jeremiah, “Seek me with all your heart, and I will be found by you.” And I put that to the test.
Who was the most influential spiritual leader in your life? Obviously there are different ones in different stages of life. But the one who really influenced me was Dr. Erik Thoennes — my theology professor at Biola University. He taught me to think deeper, to ask hard questions, and to never stop digging. He set me up to be able to pursue God, even if I didn’t have a leader around me. Not only did he help train me up spiritually through his classes, but he taught me how to think, which has served me well ever since.
Who is the most influential spiritual leader that you have not met?
This is where my book nerd comes out.
I’d say Francis Chan, author of the best-selling book: Crazy Love
(though I still hope to meet him someday). Quickly followed by David Platt, an American pastor and author of the New York Times Best Seller: Radical
What is your favorite fiction book? The Mark of the Lion Series, by Francine Rivers. It’s the story of a Messianic Hebrew slave girl who survives the fall of Jerusalem about 20 years after Jesus, and she is in the midst of the Roman rule, coliseum times, trying to understand what it means to follow Christ. It’s so powerful and affected me in many ways as a believer.
What is your favorite book of the Bible? I can’t just pick one! Let’s see….there’s Psalms, Deuteronomy, and Isaiah. Oh, and John! (Gotta get that New Testament in there!)
What do “daily devos” look like for you? It took me a little while to figure out daily time with the Lord. Years, actually, to get into the habit, and then to desire it in the morning. I still have dry spells, but I’ve learned that, even in those, I need to sit and read His word. SO, that being said…I’m not a super-Christian who rises at 4am to pray for three hours. (Though I’ve always slightly envied the people who can do that.) I am using a “read-through-the-Bible-in-a-Year” plan by Debbie Bryson, not because I want to tick off the Bible in a year, but to push myself to read more of God’s word on a daily basis.
In short, I’ll try to read the Word for a half hour or so, and then on occasion I’ll dive into a non-fiction book for spiritual growth. Right now it’s Counter Culture by David Platt (*drool*) I will seriously read anything this man writes. Life changing. Start with his book, Radical. Then Follow Me.
What is your greatest hinderance from doing daily devos?
Busyness is one of them, of course — particularly if I have an early-morning commitment like playing worship at church. But other than that, it’s when I don’t have a plan on what to read. This is why I use the Bible Bus Stop
, because on the days I don’t have an inclination to read one thing over another, I’ll turn to that and pick up where I left off.
I feel that God leads us through different seasons of learning. What do you feel like God has been teaching you lately? Lately, he’s been teaching me about the power of prayer. I don’t know about you, but often times when I prayed it seemed like God did the opposite of what I prayed for. That’s because I, frankly, didn’t pray much. I’m more consistent with the Bible-reading side of things, which I know is imbalanced. Recently I’ve pushed myself to pray more, to try and understand what things God would want me to be praying for. Humility. His will. His guidance. Peace in the situations that are driving me crazy.
And now I’m seeing Him work. It’s not that now He’s answering every prayer with whatever I want, instead it’s that I’m comfortable with the way He chooses to answer prayers, because I’ve grown to trust Him more now that I know Him more.
Are your books inspired by any specific scripture? Yes! Each book has been so drastically inspired by different verses.
A Time to Die: Isaiah 42:6-7 and Jeremiah 29:11-14
A Time to Speak: Hebrews chapter 11, Jeremiah 1:6-8
(Any guesses? No, the number of question marks are not a clue.) You’ll have to stay connected to find out more about Book #3. Check out Nadine on Facebook
and make sure to RSVP for her Facebook Party
, where she’ll be talking about the book and giving away some fun prizes.
And just for fun, if you could have witnessed one of the many miracles mentioned in the Bible, which one would you choose? I think healing the blind man. I have a feeling that, if I were back in Jesus’s time, I’d be the scoffer. The person who tries to logic away His miracles. I don’t like that about myself, but it’s the truth. The healing of a blind man is something I think would get through to me. Not to mention it was prophesied that the Messiah would be the first to heal the blind, so it’d be a pretty powerful miracle.
Thank you Nadine for spending some time with us this morning and answering some questions that give us a little more insight into who you are and who God is forming you into. Can anyone relate to Nadine’s journey? Do you have any other questions for her? I bet I can sweet talk her into answering a few more if you leave them in the comments. Tally Ho!