Britney Spears and A Mother's Prayer
By Belinda Elliott
CBN.com Senior Producer
From late night TV to the latest tabloids, the media have incessantly followed pop singer Britney Spears from her musical debut, through painful breakups and bizarre behaviors, and into motherhood, all with a judgmental eye. But how do those closest to her view her? Perhaps the one person who can shed some light, and set the record straight, is the person that knows her best – her mom.
In Lynne Spears’ new book, Through the Storm, she discusses Britney’s rise to fame as well as the lives of her two other children, Jamie Lynn and Bryan. The book is not only about correcting myths in regard to her children; it is also about sharing her heart as a mom and explaining how her Christian faith has carried her through the difficulties of parenting.
Spears describes Britney’s fame as a “tornado” that blew through their family. In many ways, she says, they are still trying to pick up the pieces.
Raising her family in a small town in Louisiana, she never imagined the turns that their life would take. She writes that she was never the “stage mom” that she has been made out to be in the media. She wanted her daughter to succeed, she tells readers, but she never imagined what that would mean.
Britney quickly rose from local dancing and singing competitions to appear on The Mickey Mouse Club and Star Search. Even then, Spears writes, she thought that level of “fame” would probably be as far as her young daughter would go.
When Britney was asked to record a demo for a record company, the family never imagined that what they considered to be a long shot at scoring a record deal one day would culminate with Britney’s very first single “Baby One More Time,” debuting at number one on the Billboard 200 charts in the USA.
“We were all absolutely shell-shocked, no one more so than me. I mean, who hits it like that the first time out of the gate?” Spears writes.
The sudden rise to fame took a toll on Britney and the family. As managers, agents, and record companies became more involved in Britney’s life, Spears writes that she began to have less control over her daughter and the decisions she was making – something she regrets.
“God had opened door after door, which seemed to indicate that it was his will for her to walk through them,” she writes. “I still believe he meant for her to do just that. Of course, our choices on the other sides of those open doors have everything to do with making the most – or not—of the opportunities we are given. And unfortunately, as the business got bigger and seemed to take over more and more of Britney’s life, we as parents started to lose sight of the choices being made.”
They also quickly discovered the downside of attaining celebrity status, the onslaught of media attention that brought with it constant harassment from the paparazzi, insatiable tabloid reporters willing to do anything to get a story, and crazed fans and stalkers.
“Never would I have imagined how my daughters, and to a certain extent the whole family, would come to live under a microscope,” Spears writes. “And how the multitudes would become our judge and jurors to proclaim to the whole world who and what kind of people we are.”
Under this tireless eye of the media, Spears could only watch helplessly as tabloids chronicled her daughter’s mistakes for the entire world to see. Images of Britney beating off the paparazzi with an umbrella, shaving her head, and locking herself inside her home with one of her young sons, refusing to come out, were broadcast nationwide. Eventually, the young singer was sent to the psych ward of a local hospital.
The media were quick to judge Britney as an out-of-control celebrity and an unfit mom, but Spears’ mom knew there was more going on. “Clearly something inside of her had broken and needed to be healed,” she writes.
She explains that at the time, following the breakup with her husband Kevin Federline, Britney was suffering from post-partum depression, grieving the loss of a close relative, and living in the grips of a controlling man who had appointed himself as her “manager” and “life coach.” It all became too much for her.
When the news broke that Spears’ other daughter (teenager Jamie Lynn) was pregnant, a new round of bashing began in the media. Though she never imagined that her teen daughter would become a mother so soon, Lynne writes that she is proud of Jamie Lynn for standing her ground when most of her loved ones and managers wanted her to have an abortion.
Through the Storm is a moving memoir of a mom who has come to grips with and learned from her mistakes, but the book is not about feeling guilty. Though she openly admits her parenting errors, she encourages other parents to not dwell on their shortcomings.
“There’s nothing noble about holding on to guilt,” she writes. “Remember that, all you mothers reading this book who are blaming yourselves for the things you may have done wrong with your children. The truth is, we could have been perfect mothers, and our children may still have gone off the rails at one time or another. At some point, children are going to make their own choices, regardless of the parenting they received.”
She writes that through all of the struggles she has faced, it has been her faith that kept her going.
“The last three years have brought about more growth with my relationship with the Lord than ever. … I have been brought to my knees again and again, where really all you can do is pray,” she writes.
And that is what she continues to do for her children. It is her fervent desire to see all of her kids return to their Christian faith.
In writing about Britney specifically, she says, “Someone told me once that no one is immune to prayer, no one is so rich, so famous, so lost, that she is outside the power of petitioning God on her behalf. So I move toward God and pray for fresh eyes and fresh faith to see his hope for my child. She is not out of his reach.”
Perhaps that is the most poignant message of Spears’ book. No one is out of God’s reach.
Watch a clip of Lynne talking about the book.
Purchase your copy of Through the Storm
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