The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

November 2, 2013

Sandy's alabaster box

Patsy Sorrels, columnist
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — At about 8 p.m. on Oct. 30, 2012, a little more than a year ago, a very bright and gifted young man by the name of Brandon Abram-Jay Reynolds took his own life. He passed early the next morning, Oct. 31, 2012.

Brandon was born Jan. 9, 1988, in Oklahoma City, the son of Chip and Sandra Jordan.

He was a graduate of Thunderbird Youth Academy in Pryor, Okla., with a 4.0 in electrical engineering. He had a bright future ahead of him as a welder. He was a whiz at computors and loved to write poetry.

Why then, at age 24, would this talented young man put a gun to his head and pull the trigger? Makes no sense, especially to those left to mourn him.

Suicide never makes any sense. It serves one purpose, to kill, steal and destroy, leaving behind a trail of unanswered questions. The guilt and heartache far outweigh any rhime or reason, and the search for peace continues.

On the anniversary of Brandon’s death, Sandy shared her heart on Facebook in hopes it would help others cope with such a tragic loss, and to assure them that God’s presence is ever there, and His grace is so sufficient.

What Brandon’s mother found in a box of things he left behind, would give her the assurance her heart longed for, that her son was indeed in the arms of Jesus. This is Sandy’s heart and Brandon’s story.

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Looking through some of Brandon’s things a few days ago, I came across the Bible I had given him while he was in jail. Though I knew Brandon had been saved as a youth, I still wondered if after he strayed away as an adult, he ever really renewed his relationship with God. There were times when he would go so far as to say he was mad at God because he couldn’t understand why God was allowing him to go through the things he did.

At a “stupid” season in Brandon’s life, he had even gone as far as carving 666 on his arm and going gothic. He became a cutter and towards the end of his life, it seemed as though he had lost all hope. So, giving him the Bible and writing letters to him with Scriptures included, I could only pray and hope he would read them and re-commit to Christ.

I kept his Bible and his box of things sitting in my room, and until now, had never thought to open it. I’m so glad I did!

Brandon had two letters I had written him, book-marking his place in the Scriptures for Psalm 23:4: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me,” and Psalm 139:1-3: “O Lord, thou hast searched me and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art aquatinted with all my ways.”

Brandon also had written several more Scriptures on the envelope of my letter. One that stood out to me was underlined and he had written “Jesus” next to it. (Matthew 11:28) “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Between these Scriptures and some of the last poems he had written, I now had evidence, and I know beyond a shadow of doubt he did renew his relationship with Christ.

See, God knows us. He knew my worries were about that very detail. He is concerned about every detail of our lives. He knew when the right time was for me to find this.

Brandon truly felt by leaving this world behind, his children and loved ones would be better off. We know that is not the truth, but God knew Brandon’s heart and He knew that after three suicide attempts in one year, leaving him here, Brandon’s illness would continue to worsen and he would not fulfill the work God had for him.

Brandon had a troubled mind here on Earth and was very conflicted. To think he never felt loved much, in his mind anyway, breaks my heart. I know now that in Brandon’s mind, he longed to be with Jesus and have no more torment.

God knew he was ill, and therefore showed him His mercy, grace and love when he came home — no condemnation for how he got there.

I also know it to be true that he is with Jesus, because of what I witnessed in that hospital room the night of his departure.

I haven’t told anyone this part before now.

We were given the grim news that he was brain dead, not breathing on his own, and that even with a risky surgery, they could not remove the bullet from his head; and if by some miracle he lived, he would be a vegetable, totally paralyzed and never lead a normal life.

As we stood there and listened to all that, something rose up on the inside of me, and like a roaring lioness came bubbling out of my mouth, “Maybe that’s the way you see it! And there may be nothing else you can do! But my God can do ANYTHING!!!” Then I began to shake and cry, asking everyone who didn’t believe that to please leave the room.

Shortly after, the doctors removed the ventilator from his mouth and left the room. Then, only Pastors Mike and Brad, Aaron, another police officer, and Chip and I were left there with him, and we began to pray. We prayed for God to give us a miracle, to either totally heal Brandon or take him home to be with the Lord, to be at peace.

Chip started talking to Brandon and his heart rate began to come back up. This is how we knew he was listening to us. We wanted to be selfish and say, “don’t leave us son, stay with us,” but we knew that was wrong. Then, as I lay my head on his chest, I told him, “Son, we know you have a decision to make, whatever you decide, know that we love you and it will be okay.”

Just then, I literally saw Brandon talking with Jesus in a clouded vision. I told everyone out loud, “He’s talking with Jesus right now.” They, of course, didn’t know I could see it.

Shortly after, Brandon’s heartbeat stopped and I knew he had left his body. However, what I also didn’t tell anyone is that I knew the second it happened, because I literally saw Brandon standing in the corner of the room, with Jesus standing next to him.

These things are how our Father lovingly lets us know He is always with us and is always thinking of us. He knows what we need, just when we need it. If you have lost all hope in your life and want to know your Father in heaven, and have a relationship with Him, it can happen now. All you have to do is believe in Him and ask Him to come into your heart. Then, you’ll be on your way to a better, hope-filled life. No matter what comes your way, through the troubles in life, He will be right there with you.

“Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.” (Heb. 4:)

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Brandon’s story is just one amid so many whose minds are troubled, whose thoughts are tormenting and depressing, driving them to take their own life. But, there is hope, my friends, and if Brandon’s story will help someone see the warning signs or keep even one someone from suicide, then his death was not fruitless.

Come to Jesus, my friends, come as you are with all your broken pieces and He will give you rest. You don’t have to go it alone. There is help.

Thank you Sandy for opening your very own alabaster box and sharing its contents. Someone just received their miracle.

For counseling, contact Justin Simmons at Making a Difference, 233-5900 or go to enidmad.org.

Keep the Faith and worship somewhere today.



Sorrels is News & Eagle editorial assistant and can be reached at psorrels@enidnews.com or at (580) 548-8140.