As a mother we strive to protect our children from hurt, ridicule, and not being accepted, all the while wanting them to be the best in Jesus they can be.
Brianna and I were VERY close and had some deep talks the week she passed away. We talked about her plans on wanting to move to Alaska for mission purposes (she told me, “since dad can’t handle cold weather…how about if he and I could share you? You could come and live with me for six months and then you could go back with him”. I told her well that sounds good and we laughed. I asked what about after that? “Well then” she said, “we could all go to Washington State’’). Brianna loved the mountains and had just flown to Washington with her instructor.
Brianna struggled with her feelings, she wanted to have her independence yet she wanted to stay under our roof. Her dad and I talked to her about different options, like staying with us and finding a home that had a little cottage separate for her. She told us on several occasions she didn’t want to become twenty, things were going by just too fast. We talked about if anything happened to her how she wanted her funeral to be conducted and how she wanted to be buried. We talked about a few relationships she was struggling with… and how she was afraid of losing the male friends she had if she made the wrong decisions. She felt pushed yet, she felt lonely of not having a male companion when those around had already had several relationships. Yet she had been abandoned by those friends simply because they were in a relationship and she didn’t fit in. She shared her desire, believe it or not, to meet someone who had not been with another intimately. She shared with us how some male friends she had met felt threatened by her drive for life and weren’t on the same page she was on concerning what was going to hit the world very soon.
Brianna’s dad had instilled in her the importance of KNOWING what she believed. Brianna was seeing prophecy unfold in front of her eyes. Those were some of the talks we had at worship time. She sensed the urgency in reconciling with those who had hurt her deeply.
Brianna had shared with me how she had recently written a friend, who she considered like a sister, but there had been a misunderstanding which caused a ‘break’ in their friendship. The friend didn’t trust her enough to fight for what they shared. I was shocked she was willing to put herself out there like that. I, of course as a mother, responded with enthusiasm to what she had just shared, “Do you think that the both of you can move forward now?” With sadness of voice she replied, “no mom, our friendship is over”. At that moment, my heart was broken in a million pieces for her--I could feel her pain. Brianna had told me so many times how girls were cruel in how they treated each other and I totally understood her feelings.
You see Brianna knew the pain of not really being accepted by some family members and even other friends. She saw how those who said they were her friends, were not there for her in time of need, yet, she was there for them. Brianna was there for many people. She would come in the kitchen or wherever I was and give me a big hug and say, “my love cup is empty, I need a hug”. I dearly miss those times and if I were to try and explain how much, I wouldn’t be able to have enough strength to finish this letter. I’m so thankful and privileged to have done all the things I did for her and with her. She taught me so much about who I was and what a better person I could be. She loved adults and the elderly. She found that they could teach her a lot and they loved her for who she was. She felt they truly understood her and genuinely cared for her, with no ulterior motives.
Brianna shared with me how the video gaming she had become ‘entangled’ in distracted her from where she wanted to be. It took her away from what she loved--seeing God in nature (photography). She just wanted to get away. Now I’m becoming vulnerable with you, sharing things that one might say, “What was she doing gaming?” Well, Brianna was human and she learned by experiencing those things, which many of us have to learn. I told Brianna that at times as parents we forget what we experienced at that age and how going through those experiences, were used by God to shape us into whom we’ve become. As parents we expect our children to respond to life situations as we see them now and not as we saw life at their age. I told her the only reason we do that is because we want to save them from the heart ache we went through. Some times as parents we give the impression that we have “arrived”—but that is far from the truth. We struggle just as our children struggle and sometimes even more. We have been tainted by the world a lot longer than they have. Even though this generation seems to be out of control and disrespectful, yet they are much more eager to take chances, not ashamed when they exhibit passion for a cause they believe in. Further, this generation is more color blind to those of their peers. Maybe we need to focus more readily on their strengths and what they can become in Christ, then picking out their flaws.
Brianna was dealing with “being taken out of her comfort zone”. She felt a deep concern for family members who hadn’t made their decision to serve the Lord, but continued with the “lifestyle” they were living . Brianna also expressed concern for her Dad, since he had been out of work (That was evident when she paid $350.00 for him to attend a seminar that would make him more marketable). We shared how heavy the burden must be on fathers when they can’t provide for their families. She truly was hurting for her father and that was heartwarming to me. She saw how parents can put pressure on their children to adhere to society’s norms and expectations and not what the Lord desires their children to become. She thanked me for not being that way and loving her for whatever she would attain to, as long as it was what God wanted for her. She thanked me for homeschooling her, even when at times she wanted me to put her in ‘a classroom’ environment. She was glad that we stuck to our convictions on how to raise her.
I will forever be grateful to her sponsor for what he did that last week for Brianna. He helped in her sealing process for eternity. She was so ecstatic knowing God had a plan for her and loved her so much that he provided before she even asked. We had instilled in her the importance of going beyond the call of duty and to know God would provide for her and wanted her to work along His side. She never had thought of a sponsor for aviation; she just figured God had answered her prayers in providing her a part-time job and her money would be put towards aviation. She just kept saying to me, “Mom do you know what this means? I can finish my commercial by the ending of December and take my sea plane rating for Alaska.” We thanked God together and all I could say was “Brianna, God loves you that much and has big plans for you”. He did have “BIG” plans for her. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9 Amplified. The thing I am so thankful to the Lord for is knowing that He put within her heart to know that “living” her faith would be much more productive than preaching it. Thank you Brianna, for being such a wonderful example in the way Christ wants us to witness to others. Brianna had started to listen to some worldly music, along with her Christian music, but the week she died she had shared with me how she wanted to weed out the worldly. A friend shared a group that Brianna liked to listen to and how they had put out a new song the day before Brianna died. I’ve listened to it and I can’t help feeling that the words are what Brianna was struggling with. I definitely can embrace the last stanza… my Brianna is sleeping and she doesn’t have to struggle anymore with what is to come.
"I've lost my balance
I fell from the trapeze
This act isn't easy
I've been under water
This storm has been raging
These nights I'm not sleeping
My dreams are now strangers to me
And I need you now
There's too many miles on my bones
I can't carry the weight of the world
No, not on my own
Your eyes are like lightning
Your voice is like water
This place is a desert
I've been walking in circles
I'm screaming for answers
I might fall into pieces
Or maybe I'm finally breaking through
I need you now
There's too many miles on my bones
I can't carry the weight of the world
No, not on my own
No more running, no more hiding
No more hurting, no more crying
No more trouble, no more sighing
No more falling, no more striving
No more heartache, no more fighting
No more fears, only flying" -Lifehouse
Flying was what took her away from the distractions and distresses of the world. She was solid in what she believed in and her actions testify to that. Yet, the world is a lonely place for those who are ‘high achievers’ especially when your friends really don’t watch your back.
Brianna’s number one longing was just to be loved. Wow! five letters that mean so much and to so many. Thus, I ask you…are you so busy that those who hurt are just passed by? Can you really feel for such hurting ones? Is it easier to pass by those who are different, justifying ourselves with the thought, “they wouldn’t feel comfortable with me, since I can’t relate to them”? Do you minimize someone’s hurt because it isn’t the same as yours? Are we so focused on ourselves that those who should mean something just fade away in the back ground? Are we so busy trying to “make it” that our children are given “spiritual fast food” --no planning, no real convictions, no intimate relationship with Jesus--just something made quickly?
I know my Brianna is waiting for Jesus to call her from that grave and start her new life for eternity. Was it possible that God had prompted her casual words to me that morning? “Mom you have to let me go”, and as I looked at my “Baby Doll” I replied, “I will just hold on tighter”. That is what I am doing by sharing the thoughts of my heart with you. It is my prayer, God let us ALL be there. GOD LET IT BE SOON!!!