Closer than a Brother
“My First Love”
When growing up, Erin desperately wanted to be a nun because she heard nuns were “married to God.” Deep in her heart, there was a longing she couldn’t understand until she was much older. Very soon, however, Erin changed her mind the instant she discovered nuns had no children of their own.
Erin absolutely loved babies. She loved to make them laugh, to see them smile and giggle when she crawled after them across the floor. Erin played with baby dolls long after she was considered too old to play with dolls. Her favorite game was pretending her baby dolls were all her own babies. Did you know that God said, "Children are a gift from God... a reward!" Erin not only loved babies but she loved gifts and rewards, don’t you?!
Yet, as much as she loved babies and wanted to have a house full of her own children, Erin still had this deep down longing to feel closer to God. Her love for Him began the day she discovered He wanted to be her Best Friend.
FBF “Forever Best Friend”
Like most blessings, Erin discovered her Forever Best Friend in the midst of a crisis. Erin and her older brother went to a private school on the other side of the Hollywood Hills where her family lived. Erin’s brother was four years older and was responsible to take her home. Early in the morning, they were dropped off at school by their dad who worked in the television and movie industry, but it was Erin’s brother, Adrian, who took her home from school each day on the public bus. But on this fateful day, Adrian bribed her with enough money to buy a mile-high ice cream cone if she would go home on the bus by herself.
Adrian quizzed her over and over to make sure she knew the name and number of both public buses Erin needed to take. He asked her how much money for each bus, to be sure to remember to ask for a transfer on the first bus, and where to get off to change buses. Erin, who was just in first grade was too young to understand the danger so she smiled happily, agreeing excitedly, patting all the coins in her tiny blue uniform pocket for the bus fare and her ice cream.
While waiting on the corner, Erin got a bit scared because she was confused as she waited for her first bus. So many buses stopped and opened their doors before she read the right name and the correct number. But as soon as the right bus came and she put her coins into the farebox and got her transfer that folded tightly stuffing it into her tiny pocket, she smiled and took a seat. All she could think about was ordering her strawberry mile-high ice cream cone!
Just as the bus passed the famous Chinese Theater where everyone was taking pictures, standing in the movie star’s footprints and on their knees with their hands in their handprints, she jumped up and excitedly pulled the cord to let the bus driver know she wanted to get off at the next stop. Erin knew she didn’t need to pull the cord, her brother always told her this was the busiest corner in all of Hollywood (maybe the whole world!) and why he held her hand after they got off.
That day no one held Erin’s hand. She stood at the exit before the bus stopped and was the first one off the bus. At the corner, she waited for a green light and crossed the street heading for the corner soda fountain. She handed the man her money and ordered a strawberry mile-high ice cream cone. Delighted, she sat down to read the comic books, forgetting she needed to watch the time. All of a sudden she remembered and her heart started pounding. As Erin rushed outside, she looked up to see the clock on the bank and the time was the exact time when the bus would leave! Then to her horror, she saw where she should have been waiting, and there was her bus—slowly pulling away!
This happened once before when Adrian was joking around with his friends. So Erin knew the next bus going into the Valley wouldn’t come for another hour, so she crossed the street to her bus stop, then went into the bank. Erin and Adrian loved to play in the bank when their mom went down into the basement to the giant vault to put important papers in or take important papers out. They’d ride the elevator up and down. They’d go to the top of the stairs, then sit down and slide down on the marble stairs that curved, taking them to the lobby.
Playing inside was another mistake—it caused Erin to miss the next bus and the bus after that.
By the time Erin got on her bus to get home, it was getting dark. Being on a bus when it was light inside but dark outside frightened Erin. She was sure she’d miss her stop. So even though there were dozens of stops before they’d reach her street, Erin began cupping her hands to peer out the window watching for her stop.
Almost an hour later, after she passed the Party Shop where she stole something and got caught, Erin was relieved to get off and cross the street. But this is when she was the most frightened! There were no streetlights on her block. Erin began by walking up the street but soon she started to run to get home where she would feel safe again.
Now crying, very sure that her brother would be in a lot of trouble for not taking her home. As she walked into the kitchen, she heard her mother call out, “Hurry and take your uniform off, Erin, dinner is almost ready.” Sobbing she told her mother that Adrian had made her come home on the bus alone!! Erin’s mom, still stirring the spaghetti sauce, turned and smiled at her, “But look what a big girl you are, Erin, you made it home just fine.”
All Things for Good
How could God let this happen? Erin knew God loved her, so why did this happen? Why do bad things happen?
Would you believe that what happened was all God’s plan? It’s true. God used this and every difficulty in Erin’s life for GOOD. God allowed this crisis to happen in order to prepare Erin for her future and even her children’s future. It’s the same with you!!
That night, as she lay in bed, Erin realized no one can be with her all the time. There was no one to guide or protect her or make her feel safe all the time. Erin adored her mother but her mother hadn’t understood and she couldn’t always be with her.
Erin had lots of older siblings but none could hold her hand to make her feel safe and not miss another bus. That night Erin longed for a brother, a mother, a friend—Someone who would be with her all the time. Someone who would never forsake or abandon, or desert her. Someone who understood.
Erin rode the bus alone a couple more times that year before summer vacation. And even though she’d learned her lesson to not spend time anywhere else but at the bus stop, the fear of being alone still gripped and frightened her.
At God’s appointed time, when Erin would become His Princess, never to be alone again, something life-changing happened at the beginning of the next year.
Erin’s favorite nun was who God sent to prepare her and her classmates for their First Holy Communion. Even more important was preparing for her first confession. The nun who God chose was raised a Baptist and Erin was about to meet her Prince! The Prince of Peace. The Best Friend she wanted and needed Who would be with her always. The Son of God who Erin fell in love with.
All her life, Erin was about to have Someone who would guide her “He leads me” and protect her and make her feel safe no matter where in the world He would (someday) take her. God causes everything to happen for good so she would meet that Someone who would never forsake, abandon, or desert her. Someone who understood.
It happened when the nun explained that even though there was a priest in the confessional, to imagine that they were speaking to God Himself, confessing everything to Him. Confess everything they'd ever done wrong right there in the church pew. So while kneeling quietly in the dark church, Erin confessed everything to God beginning with wanting her brother punished for making her go home alone. For stealing something in the Party Shop and all the times she talked in class when it was forbidden.
After Erin finished she immediately felt wonderfully different!! Tears of joy began running down her cheeks. The nun saw her and gave her a hug. But the hug she felt was inside and she knew it was from Him. Erin was happier than she ever felt in her life. Erin felt lighter, happier, safer, and peaceful.
Erin’s name actually means peace, but she never felt peaceful. Not like this peace. It was like it surpassed all understanding.
After a few minutes, while everyone visited the priest (the part Erin didn’t like), the nun passed around “unconsecrated” hosts said to be the body of Christ. Then in a very quiet voice, she said it was time to ask the Lord into our hearts because our hearts were now clean. She said to ask Him to come in and live there, in our hearts, giving our lives and future to Him. Bowing her head again, Erin asked Him to live in her heart and at that moment she changed instantly and radically.
Erin didn’t need any more religion. She wanted and needed a relationship with her Creator. Religion isn’t bad or wrong as long as it doesn’t get in the way of a relationship that isn’t earned but given freely.
The change in Erin was so profound that her parents believed it was the Catholic school she went to. They said that to everyone who asked “What’s gotten into Erin? She’s not that rambunctious, naughty little girl that used to give you so much trouble.” They believed it was the strict school and the nuns who had changed her. In a way they were right, it was a nun who introduced Erin to find forgiveness and ask the Lord to live in her heart.
From that day on, Erin was never the same. That year the Lord became Erin’s FBF Forever Best Friend. Due to the way God orchestrated Erin’s life, just like many people in the Bible, and maybe just like YOUR life too—Erin’s life was separated and she was set apart—separate and set apart from just about everyone.
Set Apart for His Good Use
All three of Erin’s brothers were much older, and because of being a tomboy, Erin’s sisters wanted nothing to do with her.
Erin had no school friends either. Living in the Valley, but attending school in Hollywood and as you just read, which took over an hour to get home on the public bus, Erin couldn’t play after school and make friends with the other children like everyone else. And because it was a very strict school, there was almost no interaction during school. Even while having lunch Erin had to sit at her desk and was forbidden to talk, which is why she had to confess this to the Lord.
Much of Erin’s aloneness had to do with being a tomboy, as was mentioned earlier. It meant she never had any close girlfriends. On top of that, talking on the phone to classmates was not possible because back then, it was long distances and very expensive.
In Erin’s neighborhood, all the other children were much younger, and during any other activities, like the ballet she took, and later as a swimmer, Erin was set apart from any girlfriends due to living in cities far from where she lived. SO, this meant that for most of her childhood Erin had only ONE faithful close friend, her Forever Best Friend who went with her everywhere! Someone she could talk to. Someone who listened. Someone who understood. So even though she was alone—Erin was never lonely.
What About You?
Do you ever feel alone? Has God set you apart for something special? For such a time as this?
Sometimes the people we trust let you down like Erin’s brother, Adrian. Sometimes it’s a parent who believes you’re more grown-up and responsible than you feel, like Erin’s mom. Sometimes the person we care about the most is taken from us like Erin’s mother, Grammy, experienced when her parents got divorced and Grammy’s father moved away after she and her brother misbehaved and he sadly drowned.
This means just one thing. No! No! Not that you must rely on yourself and put up a wall to keep yourself safe!! How silly! A wall means you’ve locked yourself in a prison. And getting tough is silly because there’s always someone stronger or tougher. The answer Erin discovered was finding the One who is “closer than a brother” and loves us more than a mother”!!!
So let me ask you again…
Do YOU ever feel alone?
Are YOU ever afraid?
Do YOU ever feel like no one understands?
Well then...Guess what? It’s the appointed time. You’ve been reading and/or listening to this story because this is your Divine Appointment. There’s Someone who's been waiting for you. Someone Who is about to use everything that’s made no sense or what’s hurt you for GOOD.
All you need to do is talk to Him. That’s what prayer is, it’s talking to God! You can talk privately anywhere at any time because you’re talking to Him in your head and in your heart. Begin like Erin did, by confessing everything you’ve ever done wrong right here, right now. Then once you feel clean and free, ask the Lord to come and live in your heart!!
What Happened Later
For seven years Erin often took the bus home by herself but she was never alone. God was preparing her to become very comfortable being set apart so that she would be ready to travel around the world “listening to a word behind her” so she knew when to go “right or left.” “He led” Erin to meet people all around the world who longed for a First Love Who would never leave or forsake them. Someone Who will always be closer than a brother and Who loved them more than a mother. A Heavenly Father Who would comfort them when their parents divorced.
And because His blessings are passed to many generations, Erin’s daughter, Tara, did the same—traveling and meeting people around the world. Little girls and boys and moms who spoke many languages but welcomed His love.
If this story has helped you feel better, please share your story with us. It’s your testimony and it’s what will help other girls overcome difficulties in their lives! And if you shared our story with a friend or someone else, we’d love to hear just how it happened.
It's time to JOURNAL
Begin Journaling as you would in your diary by simply telling your Heavenly Father all that is on your heart and how this story has helped you.
Just remember that what you journal here may be selected and shared with girls around the world to encourage them (if you give us your permission). So make sure you are discreet (being careful what you say) but still journal what's in your heart and what your Heavenly Father has shown you in the chapter of this story.
If you ASK Him, He will show you what to say. You can also ask your Mom to help to make sure.
If this is your FIRST journal, go now to get Your BNN "Brand New Name." Again, you can ask your mother to help you since your mom may use a BNN herself—a name that she uses for her ministry.
I am sure you are very excited to start and we are very excited to hear from you, so read each question carefully and if you are not sure about something, you can click on the question and a grey block will appear on the side to show you the instructions. You can also ask your mom to show you if you don't know.
💝 BONUSES 💝
“Children are a gift from God... a reward!” “Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward.” “Children are God’s love-gift; they are heaven’s generous reward.” Psalm 127:3 TPT
“full of her own children” “Oh, how blessed are you parents, with your quivers full of children.” Psalm 127:5
“God’s plan” “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,’ declares 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
“for GOOD” “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
“Guide with my eye” “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will advise you with My eye upon you.” “I will teach you and tell you the way to go and how to get there and I will watch over you.” MSG “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.” NLT Psalm 32:8
“never forsake or abandon” “for He Himself has said, ‘I will never desert you, nor will I ever abandon you,’” “I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave you,” MSG “I will never leave you alone, never! And I will not loosen my grip[a] on your life!” TPT “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” NLT Hebrews 13:5
“appointed time” “Then the LORD answered me and said, ‘Record the vision and inscribe it on tablets, that he one who reads it may run. For the vision is yet for the appointed time; it hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, WAIT for it; for it will certainly come, it will not delay.’” Habakkuk 2:2-3
“Prince of Peace” “And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6
“confessed everything to God” “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
“wanting her brother punished” “But I tell you to love your enemies and pray for anyone who mistreats you.” Matthew 5:44
“lighter” “For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:30
“surpassed all understanding” “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” 1 Peter 1:8
changed instantly and radically” “Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’” John 3:7
“set apart” “Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.” 2 Timothy 2:21 ESV
“For such a time as this?” “And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14
“let you down” “This is what the Lord says: ‘Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength”...“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.” Jeremiah 17:5, 7
“misbehaved” “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.” Ephesians 6:1-3
“closer than a brother” “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24
“loves us more than a mother” “But how could a loving mother forget her nursing child and not deeply love the one she bore? Even if there is a mother who forgets her child, I could never, no never, forget you.” Isaiah 49:15 TPT
“waiting for you” “Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you,
And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you... How blessed are all those who long for Him.” Isaiah 30:18
“listening to a word behind her” “right or left.” "Your ears will hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right or to the left." Isaiah 30:21
“He leads” “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; HE LEADS ME beside quiet waters. He restores my soul.” Psalm 23: 1-3
“comfort them” “‘Comfort, O comfort My people,’ says your God.” Isaiah 40:1 “who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Corinthians 1:4.
“passed to many generations” “Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps His covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes His unfailing love on those who love His and obey His commands.” Deuteronomy 7:9 NLT
“many languages” "After these things I looked, and here was an enormous crowd that no one could count, made up of persons from every nation, tribe, people, and language..." Revelation 7:9 NET Bible
“testimony” "And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death." Revelation 12:11