Friday, 23 August 2019

C Columns

Brandi Swindell Forever hopeful, leading with joy

By  Sandy Jones

Publisher's Notice of Correction: While we make every attempt to prevent errors from happening, we apologize to Brandi Swindell and her family for the error in our printed edition of this story as it originally appears in July/August 2019. The error has been corrected here in our online edition.

 

Brandi Swindell of Boise brings a servant's heart to all she does. (Photo by Novella Photography)

Born and raised in Idaho, Brandi Swindell enthusiastically shares that she’s a fourth generation Idahoan! Many Treasure Valley residents are familiar with Brandi’s sweet smile on the evening news, as well as those who know and recognize her from her speaking engagements at many churches and organizations throughout our community.

While Brandi appears to be a “public figure,” she’s actually pretty quiet about her personal life.

She loves “this state, fishing, camping, hiking, snowboarding, visiting farmers’ markets, attending outdoor concerts,” she’s passionate about her church, her family and her friends. She refers to herself as an “activist, CEO, Idaho girl, traveler, music lover, forever hopeful.”

Brandi attended Maranatha Christian School, and maintains many lifelong friendships she started there; sharing that’s where she met Lila Afoa, who to this day continues to be one of her best friends. Although when asked, 6-year-old Brandi was quick to answer that she had two best friends, Jesus and her cat Dolly!

Looking back today Brandi is grateful for the foundation attending both Maranatha Christian School and Central Assembly Church gave her, learning at a very young age “about God and understanding Who He is and Who Jesus is.”

Brandi recalls the day missionaries, in the U.S. on furlough, came to speak at Maranatha. One of them challenged the students to go home, open the Bible to any verse and put “Dear” and their own name in front of it, reading as though God were saying it directly to them. Only 12 at the time, Brandi recalls how it touched her heart, transforming her life forever when she did this after school. From that day on she read a chapter a day, always starting with ‘Dear Brandi,’ no longer feeling that she had to rely on someone else to manage her faith, it was truly, genuinely now her own. She believes that a solid church, and Christian teachers who not only taught their flock but also prayed fervently for them, helped her to be mature in her faith at such a young age.

Life hasn’t always been easy. Brandi’s parents faced challenges; eventually leaving church themselves, keeping both Brandi and her sister at Maranatha even after they separated. It was these early seeds of faith that have carried Brandi through the rough patches in her life. She now has the peace of knowing her parents both loved God and regardless of their own personal struggles, they were both solid with the Lord at the end of their lives.

Curious, I asked Brandi if she has a favorite Bible verse. So many! But one of her favorites is the very first scripture she ever memorized, hearing it on TBN (Trinity Broadcast Network), Proverbs 17:17: a friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

Brandi gives accolades to the many Christian men who have poured into her life, and have so actively supported her ministry; stating that it should never be a competition between men and women. Men are wired to do things women can’t do, and visa versa, women are wired to do things men can’t.

That said, rather than a favorite verse, Brandi shared that she loves the stories of the women in the Bible.

Brandi shared the abridged version of Deborah, and how Barak tells Deborah he’s not going into battle unless she leads the way.

She quickly followed this by the story of the woman at the well; and the woman who was healed simply by touching Jesus’s cloak; Brandi sharing her own observation about how she sees Jesus as being “so attentive to hurting women, and lifting them up, while not wasting time on cultural sexism of the day.”

Brandi then shifted to the Proverbs 31 woman. And finished by sharing the story of Zelophehad and his five daughters in the Old Testament; how when he died, leaving no male heirs, his daughters, led by Tirzah, the eldest, petitioned Moses for their right to inherit their father’s land. Moses then takes it before God; and it is ultimately decided it is only right for the 5 daughters to inherit the land, making them female land owners, with the ability to be counted as citizens for the first time, impacting laws even today.

Brandi goes on, “I just love that story because again God empowers, God uplifts. If you want to really be a mover and shaker in this world, embrace the God of the Bible. Embrace Jesus!”

Brandi paraphrases something Oswald Chambers wrote in “My Utmost for His Highest”: “It’s easy when we’re in ministry to have the ministry replace our relationship with Christ.” She goes on, “That really resonated with me,” adding “at the end of the day, it’s our relationship with Christ.”

Well known as the CEO of Stanton Healthcare, a life-affirming woman’s medical clinic and pregnancy resource center, Brandi is excited that their Meridian location is set for its grand

opening on August 4, 2019.

When asked where she sees herself in five years Brandi responds “continuing in the growing and expanding mission of Stanton Healthcare. The continued calling that I feel God has put on my heart, and on our entire team.” She admits that Stanton is often at the heart of a controversial debate — but is quick to set the record straight, explaining, “We’re not about the controversy of the topic. We’re about what is it that people need; what kind of assistance do they need? What kind of quality care is going to make a difference? The Bible describes the role of the Christian is to love and serve God and to reach out to our neighbor, the whole story of the Good Samaritan. Well we have a lot of neighbors...” “They need a helping hand. It’s showing Christ’s love, that’s what it is.”

She closes with “I always say, I think I’m going to be doing Stanton and life-affirming work for many, many years, but if Jesus calls me out of it and has me scrubbing toilets, that’s what I’ll do. My allegiance is to Him. I am His servant.”

Brandi’s joy is authentic, and genuinely “forever hopeful,” seeing her work as a “Hope Revolution!”

Christian Living Magazine

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