Today’s blog interview is truly historic. I have been trying to get this person to be interviewed on the blog for the last couple of years, but to no avail. Today, all of that changes. It looks as if my persistence has finally paid off! I’m very glad because I believe our guest today has a monumental perspective to share with us that I believe could be a game changer for some. Without further delay, let me present to you our special guest.
It is a great pleasure for me to welcome my wife Brandie Jivanjee to the blog today as our very special guest. Brandie has graciously agreed to come on the blog to answer a few personal questions about herself and our relationship. I hope her responses are as much of a blessing to you as they were to me.
Brandie, over the last couple of years, we’ve had the privilege of being a part of a community of believers outside of the institutional religious system. How would you describe this community for those who may not be familiar with the kind of church life that is described in the New Testament?
This is a difficult question to answer because of the difficulty of describing something that is indescribable. The best way I can explain it is that we are a family in the truest sense of the word. We are joined together under the umbrella of our ‘family name’ -which is Christ. This understanding, that Christ is in each one of us with His very life and DNA running through our veins, creates this family. We don’t get to choose our family, we are born into it.
In the beginning of our journey, our eyes began to be opened to a Christ who is bigger and more profound than we had ever imagined or experienced. I was drawn to Him, His life, and others who were also being drawn to Him. A family was born.
After the birth of this community, there was a honeymoon stage in which everything was perfect. During the honeymoon stage, you can see no flaws or wrongs. You are simply in love. Reality, however, eventually does set in. We are not all alike. Interests, characteristics, strengths, weaknesses, personalities, hobbies- are all different in each one of us. If I went back to my old way of thinking, then I would not be friends with some of the very people in this family that I love dearly simply based on the idea that we don’t have enough in ‘common’.
The intended way for us to be connected is through our only commonality that withstands and transcends all understanding… Jesus Christ. Through this revelation of who Christ is, and what our identity is in Him, the dynamics of our family doesn’t matter. We play, we encourage, we fight, we bicker, we get on each others nerves, we laugh, we cry and we love. We each have a unique portion of Christ and His life in us. Without one person, our family would be incomplete. It’s complete today until the next child arrives. Much like a family, it’s complete in a moment. When a new life is added, however, you forget what it was like before they were added. It then becomes impossible to imagine your family without them in it.
Practically speaking, it looks much like a family too. We live life together. It’s not the typical, see each other once a week and forget about you the remainder of time. Many of us share housing together, we have breakfast/lunch/dinners together, we go to stores together, we have coffee, we watch movies, we run errands, we watch each others kids, we fix each others cars, we work on houses and yards together, we play together, we work together, etc… Not much is done alone. There is not a day that goes by that I personally don’t have some form of communication/interaction with some of my family. I can say confidently that is true for most of us. It’s not doing these things that create community; rather it’s the life that we are living by inside of us that is ignited and encouraged when we are together. We need each other. We belong to each other. We are in love.
In the last year, you have went through a very significant physical transformation. You have mentioned that you feel your external body is now beginning to match the freedom that you have been experiencing on the inside. You have described this as an unlocking process. Can you describe how identity and Christ’s indwelling life have affected your physical body for our readers?
Yes, I have struggled with my physical health and weight for many years. It was a constant roller coaster of emotions and overwhelming hopelessness. I was on my own and that was the hardest part. Up until a couple years ago, I thought this was a battle I needed to fight alone. After all, it was a personal issue. I figured I had gotten myself there, so I should be able to get myself out. I always felt like a failure because I couldn’t overcome this constant battle.
A few years ago, I noticed something new and profound. My life was being transformed internally. My identity was being redefined and I was experiencing life on the inside in a way I never had experienced previously. Through the discovery of Christ’s indwelling life, and the community He placed me in, a new desire started to naturally bubble out of me.
I am a firm believer that our physical being is a picture of our spiritual/emotional life. As my life in Christ was being transformed, my desire for an outward transformation began to increase. Life begets life. Life on the inside was beginning to make its appearance on the outside! This experience was different from all the other times before, however. It wasn’t something I was doing; rather, it was coming from a much deeper place. I had to do the physical work. Yes it was hard at times, but the strength & desire was coming from a place of life and victory. This was quite different from the old place of condemnation and guilt.
This journey wasn’t meant for me to walk alone, however. As I began to understand the life that was taking shape in my spirit, and the life that was being birthed in our community, the Lord began to open my eyes to the reality that we need each other. No journey is meant to be walked alone. We were made for one another. The Lord placed specific people in my community that have helped unlock the door within me to experience freedom in my physical body.
Brandie, we have been married for eighteen years. Can you describe how the foundation of our marriage has changed over the last couple of years? Has this been a significant shift? Describe the role of brothers and sisters in your life and how they have helped unlock you in areas that I have not been able to as your husband.
18 years, wow! I don’t look old enough to be married for 18 years do I?… lol!! Anyways… yes. Over the past two years, our marriage has certainly had a major foundational shift toward life. You cannot be awakened to a revelation of Christ that brings life in this magnitude, and not expect change to overflow to all areas. Like I mentioned above, we all have a unique portion of Christ in us. Its something we have all discovered in community over the past two years. It’s that truth that changes things so much. It has been liberating to understand that I cannot fully fulfill or complete you as your wife, and you cannot fully fulfill and complete me as my husband. Realizing this does not weaken our marriage, rather, it actually strengthens it.
We have all been given everything by Christ, yet not all that we have been given has been fully revealed. Due to the many lies that have been sown into us all over the years, much of who we are lies behind closed doors and locked away from the world. Our identities have been slandered and maligned so that what it true of us remains locked up.
Who has the key to unlock these doors and secret passage ways within us?
And where does He keep those keys?
In each of us!
We all hold healing for one another within us. Slowly but surely as we come into contact with one another, the life in us reaches out and unlocks the doors in our fellow brothers and sisters. Sometimes it’s a simple statement, sometimes it’s in the ongoing relationship being built through His life unto one another.
I have been blessed because I have had many sisters and brothers reach in and unlock some of my locks. In fact, regarding the above question about my physical transformation, it was actually another brother who was a major key holder for me. I had tons of encouragement from my whole family, but it was through the life of Christ in another brother that allowed me to be unlocked, and bring forth my true identity in this area.
Brandie, our day to day lifestyle looks quite different than the norm. As our readers may know, I recently spent a couple of months in Europe without you, and I sometimes travel for weeks at a time without you. Is that difficult for you? Do you cry yourself to sleep when I’m gone? In all seriousness, explain to our readers why our marriage looks a bit different than the norm. Do you actually think this is a good thing?
I am sure nothing would make you happier to than to think I am at home crying my eyes out every time you go. Don’t flatter yourself too much:)
When I described what the community we live in looks like in the first question, I meant every word I said. We are truly in a family who loves and protects. When any member of our family is gone for any period of time, they are missed. They have a uniqueness that only they can bring to the family dynamic. Each and every person is needed and wanted. Yet at the same time, the family can still function if one is gone for a period of time. They don’t cease being a family. When you travel, I am still at home, still in life with my family.
You are missed because there is only one you and you cannot be replaced. I am never alone, however. Since I have been blessed to be a part of such a great and loving family, your traveling is not as difficult as it could be if I were alone and on my own. I know you are following the Lord’s leading in your life when you travel, and you also know I am following the Lord’s leading in my life here. We share the same life.
Yes, our marriage looks different. You don’t have a typical 9-5 job like many. Your day to day looks different than most. Our life therefore is different. A beautiful thing we’ve both come to realize in the past few years is that we’re ok. I’m secure in who I am, and you are secure in who you are. We both have a desire to see the bride’s true identity revealed and to watch her grow and bloom in the freedom that her identity brings. It just plays out a little differently for each of us. Your desires look differently than mine sometimes. One thing that I value in our marriage is the freedom we allow each other. Freedom to discover life, no matter how different that might look to others.
What is your prayer for the body of Christ?
My prayer for the bride is simple; that we may know the fullness of Christ’s life in us, the depths of His love for us, and to experience freedom through the identity he has given us.
Brandie, thank you very much for coming on the blog today to answer such personal questions. I know that’s not easy for you, but I trust what you have shared has been a blessing to those who read here.
Thanks to all of you who have joined us for this blog interview as well. Within the last year, Brandie has become a personal trainer at a local fitness & performance training facility in the area where we live. I am very proud of her. Please take a few minutes to check out her webpage by clicking HERE. Don’t hesitate to contact her if you live in the area and have any questions about the services she has to offer.