A few years ago, things were flying high for the artistic career of Nichole Nordeman: a smash hit radio single ("Holy"), a best-selling album, and a long line of Dove Awards. Then she and her new husband learned she was pregnant-a definite cause for celebration, but also a little ahead of their planned timetable. Suddenly, the acclaimed songwriter found herself rearranging her life to prepare for motherhood reinvesting in relationships with family and friends. Now she's making a highly anticipated return to the music scene. How has her perspective changed and how is it reflected in her songwriting today? Nordeman was all too happy to get together for lunch to talk about the whirlwind of change in her life the last two years, and how it led to the creation of her latest album, Brave.

The last time we saw you was at the 2003 Gospel Music Awards-several months pregnant and winning a slew of Doves. Was it always your plan to take this sabbatical?

Nichole Nordeman Yes, once I found out I was pregnant, which was a surprise in itself. My husband Errol and I always wanted to have kids eventually and we had our own little timeline planned. But I think the unexpected pregnancy was God's way of saying, "I know what a workaholic you are, and the only way parenthood is going to happen is if I surprise you!"

It was also a wake-up call to slow myself down. My personality is all or nothing-I can't do anything middle of the road. I knew there was no way to partially slow down after having a baby, and it would have been unfair to the child if I tried to live my life as if nothing had changed. So I just felt the need to put the brakes on and take a full year off without even thinking about anything musical. I even told my worship pastor, "Please ...

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