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I am Me

I am Me


Written by: Bradley Jean

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are your works, I know that full and well.” Psalms 139:14

From the time I was a small child, I have vivid memories of the way the outside world portrayed my red hair and my freckly nose. My entire life has been filtered through ‘the girl with red hair.’

Even today as a grown woman, my physical appearance seems to be the leader. In our image conscious culture, we allow it to lead. The world puts our titles next in line, along with our duties and lifestyle. So where then is our heart and our true self?  

And how did it become so quiet and buried? Do we allow the world to say who we are?

We all desire to find our own path and purpose, but we also allow fear to creep in and dictate our direction.

I have a dear friend, who is also a red-head, that has learned to push all fear and worldly views to the side to allow God to say who she is. She is filled with such confidence and ease in her skin she could teach a course on it.

Tori Brinson is a woman living with passion and life. She is a delightful free-spirit and would jump at the chance any day to kick up her feet and share a cup of coffee with you.

Tori says, “Whatever our purpose is and however God created us we need to use it for His glory.”

This is Tori’s story…

Tori resides in Auburn, AL where she owns a floral design business. She is the mother of three children and wife to husband Chad. She has been in the floral business for only two years but has had creative, artistic juices running through her since childhood.

“I had a friend whose mom was an art teacher, and we would go to her house and create things. That was the beginning of unearthing this love for all things art.”

Tori attended Auburn University and pursued fashion design. She worked briefly in this creative industry but soon started a family and became a stay at home mom.


“The creative side of me never went away. I was always itching to do something. Instagram came along and all these mom-preneurs were inspiring me. They were living the life I desired. I wanted to create something and I wanted it to be profitable. I’m not one to get really excited about going home and cleaning my house.”

Tori prayed a very specific prayer in the Fall of 2015, hoping that God would show her a way. She prayed that it would be profitable, that it would fill her creative void, that she could remain flexible for her family, and that she could be her own boss.

Tori’s design skills kicked in when she received a bouquet from her husband for their Anniversary. When it was a few days old, Tori revived it with a few floral purchases from Publix.

She was so proud of her work, she decided to post it to Instagram. Shortly following, a local friend texted her, regarding her new found skills. Her friend had an upcoming wedding and no floral stylist.

“I had never worked in a flower shop, I had never done flower arranging, it was just something I would not have picked for myself to do. I had thought about painting, or fashion again, maybe even interior design, but flowers would have been the last thing I would have thought of. God just used her and I said yes.”

Following her first project, Tori was then asked to do a black-tie event for Auburn University.

“I actually tried to talk her out of using me. In my mind I was thinking ‘I’m not a professional. This is way out of my league.’ But she was very encouraging and I just went for it. God used her to speak confidence into me.”

It was at this point Tori remembered the prayer she prayed weeks ago.  

“I remember thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, is this how you’re answering that prayer Lord? You want me to have a flower business?’ That’s how I knew it was God because it wasn’t my idea.”


Tori’s design style has an English Garden appeal to it; not so perfect, diverse flowers and a slightly wild aesthetic. She says this fits her well as it also resembles her personality.

“Flowers reflect people, they have so many personalities. Some are sensitive like hydrangea and others are more hearty. And even if I get the same flower over and over, it’s never going to look the same twice. And God doesn’t create two of us (alike). We are each made so individual.”

Since her first two initial jobs, Tori has soared in her business both locally and beyond. Through her faith and determination, she has gained a strong sense of who she is. Tori is quick to tell, that this confidence is new to her.

“I used to struggle so deeply. I always felt so different. Besides being a red-head, I was shy and insecure growing up. I was very tender hearted, so anything anybody said to me, stuck with me, especially negativity. I had a hard time standing up for myself, I didn’t have any confidence.”


Tori says it was her leap into her business that allowed her to grow.

“It has been a journey of trusting as He’s brought these opportunities along that have felt way too big for me. There was so much fear that would come at me; whispers of ‘you can’t handle this.’ Every time, God would put someone there to speak confidence into me. As scared as I felt to say ‘yes’ to a job or opportunity, and put my name out there, each one also had the potential to grow me.”

Tori advises others to overcome the fear and voices saying you can’t do it. Sometimes it’s an inner voice and sometimes it comes in the form of people.

“You have to learn to keep the positive in the front at all times and allow it to drive you to do more and keep going. I remember so many times having creative ideas but not following through because of the fear of failure. And I finally got tired of it…One thing I’ve learned is if God’s in it, He’s going to get you through it. It’s way more fun to try and fail than to never have tried at all.”

Tori recalls how she always felt carried. She says, “I knew He wouldn’t bring me to this place just to drop me. Among every event and all the details that felt so much bigger than me, I knew in the end I had the opportunity to give Him all he glory.”

Through her determination and perseverance, Tori has found purpose beyond measure in creating beauty to bring into the lives of others.

“I remember the first time I took someone flowers for a sad occasion and up until that point my work was used to brighten up an already bright occasion. This time, it was a friend whom her brother had committed suicide. You just don’t have words for those situations.”

Tori recalls making her first casket spray. A friend of hers mother had passed away.

“When she saw the flowers she told me how much her mother would have loved my work and the flowers. I remember having tears in my eyes and thinking, ‘This is what I was created for.’ Whether it’s a happy occasion or we are saying good bye to somebody, God is using this to love his people.”

Tori is strong to say that over time, she has gained a confidence of who she is in Christ.

“If you have no one else’s acceptance in the whole world, but you have the acceptance of God the Father, then that’s enough. He did not make any mistakes in any part of you. I used to hate so much about my personality; that I was such a free-spirit, I’m not task oriented, I don’t even make to-do lists, yet there is purpose in me.”


Tori’s spontaneous personality allows her to drop everything she’s doing to be there for people. She has no rigid schedule so she’s able to help others out at the spur of the moment. She’s also learned to accept herself right where she is.

“We all want to feel accepted. I share with my kids all the time that they are uniquely made. I don’t want them to carry that weight that I carried. I want them to be individual and embrace their uniqueness…we are the only ones that can fill a specific space and purpose for God. And if we don’t pursue it, He will find someone else.”

Tori is passionate about teaching other young girls, and women, to be fearless and pursue their calling. She also is an advocate for community over competition.

“I want to pour into other women and help them because others have done it for me. I’ve learned a lot because they’ve been willing to share. I feel like we all come out ahead if we choose to help and support versus the opposite.”

Tori says finding her own path goes way beyond being ambitious or driven.

“What I love about what I do is it touches people in ways I cannot even begin to imagine. You can dream and be creative and be successful and work hard and still in the process be the hands and feet of Jesus”

Tori sweetly talked about the young girl she used to be, the tears, anxieties and feelings of insecurity. What then, I asked her, would she say to her today?

 “You’re ok. God created you perfect…your hair color, your size, the way you relate to people, it’s ok, he didn’t make a mistake.”


{Forward&UP} is a mission meant to inspire and encourage women from all over through the telling of our stories and the changing of our hearts.


About the Writer: Bradley has a passion for serving others and sharing stories along the way. She lives in Auburn, AL with her husband and three children. Bradley likes to spend her free time running, cooking and traveling with her family. {Forward&UP} is a non-profit, founded on faith and inspired by remarkable women.

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