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  • Writer's pictureBrandi Bourne

A spoiled brat

Ok so you’re probably wondering what’s up with the title, maybe thinking I met one this week and I am about to talk about it. Well, that’s true – but the “spoiled brat” was me. Now before I get comments like “don’t call yourself that” or “watch your words!” let me remind everyone here that I promised full transparency in these posts. That means sharing raw, real stories from my life. I am honestly in a bit of debate about how much I really want to share about the last few weeks. Especially since the internet can be pretty brutal sometimes and I'm positive I will eventually hear about how I put all this out there for attention or how I am doing the "poor me" routine and maybe even someone saying I complain too much, who knows. I also risk the slight chance of repercussions in other areas since this is public, but I pray for an understanding that everything that happens in my life can be encouragement for someone else going through the very same thing. Something one of our Pastors said just a few days ago was that he found that people related more to his pain than to his success and that really spoke to me. So here I go to expose my problems to the whole world (while hoping I don’t get comments like the new TikTok page – those took me a bit off guard).

So, I never finished the whole rental car story so let me finish that. I ended up booking another rental elsewhere after waiting 3 ½ hours. I got to the new rental place and despite having a confirmation number and email, they had no cars available. So, stranded in League City, I sat on the hot concrete outside with my ridiculously heavy backpack and cried in frustration for about 5 minutes before ordering an Uber home. I ended up not able to work until that Wednesday because that was the earliest I could rent a car elsewhere. The bill for the car ended up being $3200, $3000 of that was financed (trusting God to cover that bill at some point). It took me 3 days of work to pay off the rental ($360), but the positive side was I had a vehicle so I could not only work but get my son to his first play, serve on Serve Saturday and go to church on Sunday.

Doing Uber/Lyft again has reminded me of how much I missed the perks.

1. It is an AMAZING opportunity for ministry. I am the driver who is all extra – I have a shoe organizer that has mints, candies, snacks, phone chargers and most importantly Bibles, invite cards and tracts. I also have a prayer book back there and recently added some more “reading material.” I’ve gotten a ton of positive feedback from that, and I haven’t been rated less than a 5 star since returning so that’s a plus! I expected at least 1 hater but I realized people are much more hungry for truth than I expected.

2. I can create my own schedule so that has allowed me more opportunities to serve. I still have to make money, but thanks to help from my sis, I can work some nights now to cover the days I get to serve!

3. I get to see some beautiful spots and choose where I want to drive. Being able to have lunch on the water feels like a luxury!

Honestly, if it wasn’t for the “cons” being pretty big, I would do this forever because I truly enjoy it. (The “cons” are tearing up my vehicle and honestly not getting paid enough to sustain for a long period of time. This is really meant to be a “side-gig” not a full time job. But praise God I can earn anything right now!)

So now here comes the full-transparency part. And I already know I am probably going to get texts and calls from friends like “why didn’t you say something?!?” Sorry ya’ll, I am still growing in that area. I can’t identify exactly when it started, like what day and time, but at some point 2 weeks ago, the “shadow of” depression hit me hard. Now those that know my testimony know depression is something that I was delivered from the day I was baptized. But it has been a process to keep that spirit from returning. But despite all that, I fell into this whole “poor me” pity party mess and I sat there. My emotions were completely out of whack. My thoughts were completely out of control, and I was allowing some dark thoughts that I never should have entertained.

I knew that the whole not having a steady job/income and this unexpected “long wait time” for a new opportunity had been weighing on me. That part still is a bit to be honest. There was one day that I had 3 or 4 rides all to mansions and this thought just went through my head of “I will never have that life.” I just felt like this little kid who was intimidated by the entire area I was driving in – literally every nice car I was like “I need to get out of here, I don’t belong here.” I just felt so small at that moment, and I hated that feeling. That was fueled by another situation I won’t go into detail about but it was a whole discussion on things that I could not relate to because I’ve never had the money to even consider some of these things. I was raised in poverty. Don’t get me wrong, my family did everything they possibly could to provide for me, but the “system” failed us because we were constantly trapped in that cycle. Of course, as a kid I didn’t really notice that much, not until my early teen years. That’s when the bullying and the insults came full force. I started working at 16 in hopes of eventually escaping the cycle, but a series of bad decisions left me in more debt than I ever imagined. It was not until we bought our home 2 years ago that I realized we had finally broken free from the cycle of poverty, but definitely not on our own. God delivered us from that spirit and that mindset. But losing my job brought a lot of those fears and feelings of insignificance back to the forefront, among other things. (I do want to note though that I am grateful to have been raised in the “struggle” because it taught me so much. Plus, it’s a lot easier to minister to someone in it when you’ve been through it. That is a word right there.)

I allowed the thought of “inferiority” aka the “poverty mindset” transform. I looked back at my life and thought “I don’t recall a time in my life that this was ever easy. It has always been a struggle.” That then transformed into straight up “I’m ready to give up.” The funny thing was, while I felt this way, I was still smiling. I was encouraging others. I was still talking to people about Jesus. I was hiding that pain quite well at first, at least from strangers. But I did one of the dumbest things a believer can do – I did not reach out to anyone. I allowed this false fear of being “judged” for how I felt to take over and I didn’t know who to call. I also didn’t want anyone to be overly concerned when I told them some of the dark thoughts going through my head. I didn’t even know who I could trust with that. But I was truly ready to throw in the towel and give up on it all. And all of that happened in less than 7 days.

Something I want you guys to see and understand through this whole story, a key theme here – I ALLOWED the thoughts. I didn’t rebuke them or pray about them. My “prayer time” was bawling in my car listening to songs begging God to get me out of the hole I knew I had dug for myself. I knew I was having a pity party and I didn't care. I wasn’t in my Word like I needed to be. I was working WAY too much – 8am-11:30pm (with about an hour break to pick up my son) And pride was very evident in my heart as I told God things like “I am a faithful tither, I sow constantly, I serve you in so many ways but the God who owns the cattle on a thousand hills can’t help me?” I fell into the trap thinking that God owed me something – I cringe as I write this now. God saved my life and my soul – I owe HIM everything, not the other way around.

I’m not going to lie, it’s pretty tough to put all this out there right now so I can only pray that it’s for a purpose to help someone who might be going through this very thing. Looking back on all this is a bit embarrassing knowing that I fell for the trap so easily and it went further than it has in the 6 years I have been a believer. But God has a plan and purpose in all things and if I can expose another one of the enemies tactics to help others avoid this pitfall then it’s worth it.

At the beginning of all this mess, I told God I needed a sign. I asked him one night while driving “send someone to pray for me, either in this car or over the phone. Just one person to reach out to me.” (I said this knowing I literally could have called several people and asked for prayer, and they would have prayed right then in that moment…) That sign didn’t happen that night so it was another night sobbing on my drive home because my emotions were COMPLETELY out of control.

The next morning comes and I am just plum agitated. I woke up late, I am exhausted (because I worked until 11:30pm the night before), and I am over it before I even started the day. Then here comes my first trip. It is a pickup that looks like it is at my church, and just so happens to be the name of someone who had just preached at our church. In the 5-minute drive I got all excited thinking “this is it, this is the answer to my prayer, God heard me! This person is going to pray over me because God talked to them.” I don’t know where this thought came from but looking back it makes me laugh because not only is it terribly selfish, but I was clearly looking to man and not to God in that moment. (I mean God has answered some specific prayers in the past but now I can see 100 reasons why it would not have been in this way.) The pickup turns out to be the apartments just past my church – and that was literally the first ride in the history of me doing Uber/Lyft (I did this 4 years ago too) that I was convinced I was about to get robbed or kidnapped. (Though I guess the advantage of being a “big girl” is that the latter is less likely) The area I dropped the person off was so sketchy I turned off the app (ride requests) immediately and hit 45 south and got OUT of dodge. I found myself thanking God that I didn’t get robbed that day. But because I didn’t get my “sign” I started acting like a selfish, spoiled brat from then on. I was acting like a teenager whose dad said “no” to what I wanted - with no regard to His desire/will in the situation. What I didn’t see in the moment was that God was testing my faith. And I failed that test.

Sunday rolls around and God does what He does best – He speaks. Just for context, the sermon was talking about the miracle of Jesus walking on water (and Peter too). But tell me why that Pastor said “…God just give me a little bit more and I will do it. Just send someone famous who’s prophetic to come and pray over me. Just get Pastor Josh to text me the Scripture.” (Pastor Grant Hoyle, “Eagle in the Storm” 25:00 I doubled over in laughter immediately. I knew that exact phrase was for me. That was my “answer.” And let me tell you that whole sermon was what is referred to in “Christianese” as a “gut-punch.” But it was the kind that woke me up and pulled me out of that stupid pit I had dug. It was also the kind that had me in tears because I knew God had heard me. (And I HIGHLY encourage each of you to go watch/listen to that sermon. The link is above where I cited the quote.) The Scripture that stood out the most to me was a little later in that sermon – Matthew 14:31 – “Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him, ‘You of little faith.’ He said, ‘why did you doubt?’”

I teared up because I knew that was Jesus talking to me. I physically felt that “pang” in my chest when that Scripture was read. The tears started flowing and I was over there trying to hide it (because for some reason I cannot stand for people to see me cry - unless it’s in worship, then I do not care what anyone thinks lol). But the part where I lost it was when he said:

“He’s saying to him, some miracles require length. And this is word right now, some of you feel like you’re in the impossible, you feel like you’re doing what God told you to do, but you’re allowing the outside to get in on the inside. And Jesus is saying stretch it out, some miracles are based on length. And it’s how long you can stay and how long you can fight off the outside. Because the outside is waging war to get on the inside…And I really felt to encourage someone here right now, keep going. Take another step. Go another week. Go another month. Believe God for another series. I am telling you right now, God will do what you set out to do. He will not make you look stupid, He will not make you look silly. But as long as the inside stays dry, you’re gonna be alright.” (Pastor Grant Hoyle, “Eagle in the Storm” 28:41 )

It was exactly what I needed to hear (and maybe you too reader). God then sent others to encourage me that same day. You see, sometimes God needs us to see the lesson before He gives us our “answer.” He was testing my faith. And though in that moment I failed, His grace still came in and grabbed my hand just as he did Peter’s and pulled me out of the water and back onto the boat. God reminded me that this “struggle” is not only a test of my faith but its an example for others. There are people watching me to see how I am going to handle this situation that I am in, friends and enemies alike. That includes ya’ll and it also includes my son.

So, let’s talk about these mistakes so maybe you can avoid the same ones. Or maybe you can relate to them because you have done the same thing. All I can say is thank God for His grace.

1. I allowed any and every thought to set up a stronghold in my mind. I let the enemy in without a fight.

2. I didn’t use the Word to fight, I didn’t go into prayer about it – simply put, I didn’t use my faith.

3. I let pride take over and make me think I “deserve” something that I don’t – which elevated my “plan” above God’s plan and purpose for my life.

4. I was not being grateful for what I have already.

5. I did not reach out to my support system.

But in all of this, God opened my eyes to more than just the mistakes I made. He also showed me who my support system is. It’s changed from what it once was, some have come, and some have gone. But the core group is people from my church. I seriously do not know what I would do without them. There were moments that I had these thoughts running through my head and I could literally feel some of these people praying for me. So many have encouraged me and just lead me straight back to Jesus when I tried to be negative or complain about something. I don’t have a lot of “natural” family in my support system, my mom is the only one who lives less than 1000 miles away. But God has placed a spiritual family in my life for a reason.

Let me pause to say – if you don’t have a church family, find one. Seriously. If you are at the place God has called you to be, start connecting with other believers. That’s the whole point of church, to worship God in community. To grow in community. Stop thinking you don’t need church – yes you do. And more importantly – church needs YOU. God will use us in ways we don’t expect. Our obedience to Him is vital to believers and unbelievers alike. I was talking to my sis about this yesterday. I was talking about that Pastor that spoke and the personal story he was telling us. See he and his wife and family went through a whole lot to get to our church, all in obedience to God and the dream He placed on their heart. His “yes” to God meant that on Sunday my faith was strengthened, and I made a decision to keep moving forward and to not give up. And I thought: “How many others did this message hit in the same way?” I know my sister and her fiancé heard from the Lord through that same message. I know I’m not the only one going through a storm. Someone is waiting for your obedience to God. Someone is waiting for your “yes” to Him regardless of the cost. (And don't let this specific example downplay the MANY sacrifices of so many others in this church, primarily our lead Pastors and their "yes" to God)

What is your “storm” right now? A question that Pastor Josh mentioned this morning was “What impossible thing do you need to believe God for?” For any of you out there that are at the end of your rope, who are wanting to give up – here’s your “intervention.” Don’t give up. Keep pushing forward. Start rebuking those negative thoughts. Get into your Word and prayer, spend that one-on-one time with God. And let me tell you sometimes that is going to be a real task and not enough people talk about that. I can tell you about the moments where God spoke to me in church and all this fantastic stuff happened, but there’s also the moments where I was stuck in Leviticus wondering how in the world I’d ever make it through. There’s even been times I glazed over those “red letters” exhausted and missed the point. But seeds were planted. There were times that “prayer” was just tears to God and few words. But I find that if I stay faithful to that one-on-one time with God (which is separate from church and from “doing” things for God by the way), my mind is in a much better place. I am more equipped to fight and when those off-the-wall, dark thoughts come – and they will – I am ready to send them elsewhere. There are times when I just crave that time with God and I know that I need it, but there’s also times I am just plain tired. But there is a reason they call these things disciplines.

And if you are in leadership you’re going to want to double up on your time and your preparation because you are going to be attacked in a greater way. The enemy hates when we lead people to Christ because it means he no longer has control over them. Leaders always get hit harder. Pray for your leaders, ESPECIALLY your Pastors. You have no idea the warfare they go through on your behalf!

This week, I am refreshed. I took that time with God, in His Word and in prayer and it has made all the difference. Today while waiting for/ in between rides I was just enjoying the presence of God in worship. I think half of Seabrook/La Porte probably saw me, but I didn’t care at all. I was having my moment with God in the midst of a busy day.

You might think “oh I don’t have time” but I am going to hit you with a hard question – how much time in a day do you spend on social media? Why not take some of that time and spend it with God? Look if you’re one of those people who can get up at 5am and worship and pray and all that, kudos to you but that is not me. I am learning to not go straight to social media to “wake up” but instead I open the Bible app. That is a work in progress for me. Most of my “God time” is spent in the evenings before bed and guess what – that’s ok too. God doesn’t care when we spend time with Him, He only cares IF we spend time with Him. That being said, starting your day off in the Word is probably the best way to start any day but if you’re not there that’s ok. Talk to Him in brief moments throughout the day – breaks, lunch breaks, during your commute, etc.

And remember that spending time with God isn’t like this mandatory thing you HAVE to do – that’s religion. It’s something you should WANT to do because you are in love with Jesus and want to build a real relationship with Him. I’m not saying it will be easy every time to stay focused. And there will certainly be 1000 things trying to distract you from spending that time. But God can do more in 1 minute than we can do in a lifetime.

This week, I am choosing to trust God in the midst of the storm. And I am praising Him not only in the storm, but for allowing the storm. Why? Because it has drawn me closer to Him. It has been a stretch of my faith. It has shown me areas that I need to improve. It has shown me what is really in my heart when things go south. Something else that Pastor Grant mentioned was how the eagle is the only bird that flies straight into a storm. It uses the momentum to fly to a level above the storm. I want to be like the eagle. I want to use the storm and let it take me to a higher level of faith. I want to be faithful in what God has given me now. I want the people in my life to see and understand that this walk is not easy but with God all things are possible. I want to be grateful for the "million little miracles" (this song is my jam right now - ) that God gives us each and every day.

My son may be young, but he has watched everything God has done for us. He has seen everything that happened. He was actually with me the day I lost my job. One day, when he’s telling this story about how his mom lost her job (and this big-mouth has told so many people already…having a 6 year old is SO much fun ya’ll…), he can follow that up with “but she trusted God through it and He got us through it.” It’s funny that this here was actually a stopping point in the post to go pick him up. I shared a video but there was this whole moment where he made a decision to give to our local radio stations Sharathon drive (something I volunteer for every year too) and it was amazing. He just so happened to grab $2.26 out of his piggy bank to give to this fundraiser. Anytime I see odd numbers like that I have a habit of googling something like “226 Scripture.” The Scripture that came up – Proverbs 22:6. “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Finally, a "win!" and a "mom-win" at that! There’s no doubt that God has been speaking, I just needed to start listening.

So now let me ask:

What is God speaking to you?


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