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  • Writer's pictureBrandi Bourne

Survival Mode: The end of Chapter 2023.

I wrote down this title on a sticky note on my desk about a month ago, but it ended up buried under a to-do list. When it just so happened to pop up in a prophetic word, I knew God was speaking to me about it. I planned to do this blog on the last day of the year, but I am glad I did not because I have a few things to share now at the beginning of 2024. What I can say is 2023 was a year the broke me, but not in the way you think.

I mean it nearly broke me in the wrong way too. It had me questioning if God was truly listening for the first few months. Many prayers were left unanswered, and I wasn’t sure why. I may have failed some tests, but the one thing I did not do was walk away from the Lord or give up. I held on, sometimes by what felt like a thread. I have already done a post talking about all the things that I went through at the beginning of the year, and it was a lot. But God showed up for us.

I started a new job, and we sold the house merely days before foreclosure was going to start. But then I went through a serious trial at my job that I cannot go into detail about because it involves others. But I chose to stay silent and endure some persecution from an unexpected source. I maintained integrity through it. I nearly walked away from it all. And let me tell you – God had my back the whole time. What I thought was hidden was not. Everything came to the light, and I came out with my head held high because I kept my mouth shut and I didn’t give up. And now, things are better than ever at work. Relationships are being restored. I finally passed a test. And I had an opportunity to see the Lord as my defender – something I needed a reminder of. I am grateful for that trial for that exact reason.

I had a conversation with someone recently and I said something along the lines of “I’m doing the best I can, but I feel like I’m stuck in survival mode.” I was talking more about trying to parent during a monetary crisis, trying to explain myself to someone to whom I owed no explanation. But I looked back at the last few months, and that is exactly what was happening. But then I looked back even further. In my parenting – survival mode. My relationship with God – survival mode. Prayer life, finances, work, every single area of my life – I was in survival mode. I was not living in the fullness of what God had for me. I was just trying to make it. I was doing what I could to "get by." I was stuck with the remnant of a poverty mindset despite trying to break that. Going through and escaping and abusive relationship left me with a trauma response of living in fear constantly ready to run if needed. Losing everything multiple times left me trying to hold onto material things for dear life. I had pride that I couldn’t see, disguised as independence. I had recent hurt and trust issues from relationships that ended abruptly. You know, the people that say they’re there for the long haul but then then leave and forget you exist? I am still walking through healing in that area. I was stuck in a cycle of work-home-work-home-church, with church and serving being the highlights of that process. I was exhausted from running in the hamster wheel the world shoved me into. But at the end of 2023, I broke out of survival mode by letting go. I finally hit that point where it was God or nothing. I hit the point where I had done everything I could, and it was time to hand it over the Jesus. And that is where He met me.

In 2023, pride was broken. Fear was broken. Lack of faith and trust in God was broken. Silence was broken. Fear of man was broken. Complacency was broken. Attachment to material things was broken. My nicotine habit was broken. Bitterness was broken. Selfishness was broken. There are still things that God is breaking in me. But all the shaking revealed to me areas of my life that needed to change. And this time, I chose to do something about it. I spent the last week of the year focused on setting goals for growth. Not resolutions. Not something to start and forget about after the first month. But a plan for the specific areas I wanted to grow in. I spent a weekend listening to what the Lord had to say about it. Then I sat here on New Years Eve with three different spreadsheets getting everything situated for a fresh start. And do you know what, so far, it’s going great. (Side note, if anyone wants some ideas on goal spreadsheets or how to use a schedule to be more conscientious about time, send me your email and I’ll be happy to send you what I have!) My prayer life is back on track. Spending time with the Lord in the mornings is a focus again (though y’all pray that I can get my tail out of bed at 5:30 because that has been a STRUGGLE!). I am spending more of that quality time with my son and setting some things aside to do what he wants to do for once (soccer lol). This blog is back on my radar, as is the addition of the letters (at least until I can afford to start a new website to move those to). I am focused on getting out of debt and I am starting a new journey with my health. I am seeking growth in a way I haven’t before. And you know God really has shown up, just in the first couple days. He gave me a word for this year. Restoration. This will be the year of restoration for my son and I, and I pray for many others too. And how fitting of a word as I enter into my 7th year as a believer.

You know, there is more to life than just “surviving.” More than the daily routine of “wake-work-cook/clean/parent-sleep.” Maybe it is time for you to get out of survival mode and step into what God’s called you into. There are people who need you to step into that calling. People on the brink of giving up and you are the one called to reach them. If you have children, they need you to step out of survival mode. You may not even realize that you were there. Get out of the hamster wheel. That is not God’s design. That is the world’s design. Yes, supporting your family is important, but it is not your whole life. This is your call to make a change. This is your reminder that you aren’t doing this alone. Maybe it is time for you to let go and let God handle this. This week, take some time to sit at His feet and just ask Him – what do you want me to do? Take some time to soak in His presence, let Him envelope you with His love. What better time to start than right now, fresh, in a new year?

If you do not have a plan for growth, I highly encourage you to start creating one. I used inspiration from our Pastor and a few other resources to start setting it up in specific areas – financial, health, intellectual, ministry, parenting, and relationships. Do not just keep going through life riding the wave, hoping that you will grow on the way. Plan for it. And seek God on the details of that plan. Act. Choose to partner with the Holy Spirit to experience real transformation, real change in your life. I am speaking to you reader as a person who in years past did not set goals, a person who was never intentional about growth and time and all these things. I am typically too much of a “freethinker” to plan things, but God has shown me what order looks like not just in the church, but in my own life. I've begun to see each year as a chapter in my story. Now I am not about to tell everyone my age so that chapter can just be the year. But I am excited and full of hope for chapter 2024.

I pray that my story inspires those of you who are in that place. I want more than anything to see hope in people again. There has been so much sadness and depression, so many people wandering, lost. I used to be that person. I know what it is like to not have hope, to think you have no purpose, the “what’s the point” mentality. I also authored a book, “From Darkness to Light – Stepping Out from the Shadows of Depression” ( that talks about all this in detail. But God changed that in me, and He can change that in you too. I know some of the readers will be Christian people who can relate to the struggles. But I also recognize that there are some of you who may not know the Lord yet. And I would be happy to have a conversation with you about that. You can reach me on social media, or email at





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