Reba McEntire is a country music legend with over 56 million albums sold worldwide. Reba’s faith has carried her through the ups and downs of life as a country superstar. Reba says that the Lord is “the Fortress that you lean upon when things go wrong.” She often turns to the pages of Jesus Calling and Jesus Always during her quiet times, and finds strength and inspiration there during every season of life.
Reba McEntire Finds Peace In Jesus Calling – Jesus Calling Podcast Episode 28
Narrator: Welcome to the Experience Jesus Calling podcast. Reba McEntire is a country music legend who has had over 35 #1 singles and over 56 million albums sold worldwide. Reba has become a beloved household name who has made her mark in film, television, theater and retail. She is now releasing a new Gospel double CD project entitled “Sing It Now; Songs of Faith and Hope.” Reba shares a little of her faith journey and why making this record was so special to her.
Reba: Well, I grew up on a working cattle ranch in southeastern Oklahoma. I grew up on 8000 acres. Us four kids; Alice, Pake, myself and Susie; we were the hired hands along with GrandPap and Louie Salmon. Mom and Daddy, all of us, it was a family working ranch so we got out there and we did all the chores. Gathered the cattle, worked them and put them out on pasture up in the mountains. Daddy is a three-time world champion rodeo cowboy. He won the steer roping championship in ‘57 ‘58 and ‘61. Mama was the bookkeeper at the ranch and also the bookkeeper at Kiowa High School where all of us kids went to school. We would rodeo with Daddy in the summer and then stay at home. I had to go back to school; playing basketball and rodeo, all of us did, and Mama would haul us around to singing gigs. We just had wonderful growing up years.
Finding What Works: Reba Recalls Her Early Years
I always wanted to be a rodeo cowgirl. I wanted to be a world champion barrel racer. Then I wanted to be a professional basketball player. I’m 5’6; that wouldn’t have worked out very well, and I wasn’t that good besides that. But that’s the two things I wanted to do. Daddy always was like, “Reba, why don’t you just practice your singing?” And I was like, “How do you practice singing?”
My favorite songs when I was growing up was anything Loretta Lynn sang. I loved her hymns. I loved her albums. I got to meet her when I was a kid. I absolutely loved it. It was at a rodeo there in Ada, Oklahoma and she was one of the entertainers. She was back behind the bleachers, walking to her bus and all of us kids ran up there. I whipped off my belt and I got her to sign it. I don’t know where that belt is now; I’d give anything if I still had it.
So later on, I was in college, but still rodeo-ing and finally got my break in the music business. I was 21 years old when I got my contract singing. I continued singing because that was where I could make the money. What money I made I went off rodeo-ing; spent that on entry fees, then I’d go back singing and make a little more money.
Building A Strong Foundation: Practice and Patience
Everything was a baby step, very slow, and it took six years for me to have a number one record. I didn’t get discouraged. As long as it was moving forward, I’m ok. If I was standing still and going backwards, I probably would have quit. Nowadays, that’s just unheard of. You know, I was very lucky that I came on the scene when I did and that they were patient with me. They taught me; and it really built a strong foundation. Then by the time I did finally get a #1 record, we had lots of friends, buddies, teachers and guides to celebrate with.
When you’ve got a brother and two sisters and the friends I hang out with, you don’t get uppity—you don’t have any chance–they’ll cut you down in a heartbeat. My oldest sister Alice, for Christmas one time, gave me a toilet seat that had embroidered on the top “The Twinkle.” Because I’m not a star, I’m a “twinkle.” “Just remember you’re not as big as you think you are.” Yeah, they’ll cut you down to size in a heartbeat.
Reba On Giving Back To Others
Narrator: Reba considers her success a blessing, and makes it a priority to share with others in need. Reba’s Ranch House in Denison, Texas is just one of the ways Reba gives back, by providing a home away from home for family members who need to be by the side of a loved one while in an area hospital. Reba also recently got involved with relief efforts for East Tennessee after wildfires raged through the area, destroying hundreds of homes and businesses. Reba reflects on why she believes it’s important to “give back,” and what led her to make her first-ever inspirational album.
Reba: I think it’s very important to use your “celebrity-ness” in a positive way to help other people.
I worked three shows with Bob Hope and he told me early on, he said, “Reba, you’ve got to give back. You’ve got to help others. You know this is fine what we’re doing. But when you can give back and help others, that’s more than you being up on stage. You’ve got to help them out and encourage. I learned from an early age. You’ve got to help other people.”
How Sing It Now Came To Be
It wasn’t my idea to do a gospel album. It was my manager that I worked with in the 80s. So I went to the record label Nash Icon; went to Jim Weatherson and he said, “let’s partner up with Capitol Christian, Bill Hearn and let’s get this going.” So that’s how it started. it was friends coming up and saying this is the time; go for it.
…when you can give back and help others, that’s more than you being up on stage. You’ve got to help them out and encourage.
The ones that I like to listen to and I’m really loving to sing on stage; “God and My Girlfriends” and “Back to God.” “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” is a fun one with the band. “I Got The Lord On My Side” is a song Mama and I wrote together. It’s fun to do. There’ll be songs that I don’t think I will be able to sing live. “How Great Thou Art”; I don’t know why I just get choked up when I say the words.
It just hits my soul so hard. I don’t know why, but it has ever since I recorded it.
How Jesus Calling and Jesus Always Carried Reba Through Tough Times
Narrator: Reba’s faith has carried her through the ups and downs of life as a country superstar. She often turns to the pages of Jesus Calling during her quiet times, and finds strength and inspiration there to meet the demands of the day.
Reba: I don’t think I could have gotten through the plane crash, the divorce; all the changes in my life without the Lord. That’s that rock, that’s the fortress that you lean upon when things go wrong; when things go bad.
Jesus Calling and then Jesus Always–I’ve got both of them. I don’t remember who was the first one that gave me one, but there was a time, must have been when it first came out. Fans were giving me that book. My friends were giving me that book. So I’d open it up on the day and read it and I thought, “now how did that book know I needed that today?” I’d call my sister Alice, I’d say, “listen to what this said today.” She said, “Oh my gosh, that hit me so hard. I needed that today.”
That’s that rock, that’s the fortress that you lean upon when things go wrong…
It’s just a short thing to read, doesn’t take any time– but to start your day off like that–it’s so encouraging; makes you feel good.
Learning To Be Still With Jesus Calling and Jesus Always
You know there was one that said about peace, I was looking for it last night, and it was really uncanny that I needed that because of the peace. I listen to Rick Warren every day and Rick was saying that if you’re not in peace with God you’re not at peace with yourself; you can’t be.
You know I tell you what really got me was December the 24th.
“I speak to you from the depths of eternity. Before the world was formed, I am. You hear Me in the depths of your being where I have taken up residence. I am Christ in you, the Hope of Glory. I, your Lord and Savior am alive within you. Learn to tune into My Living Presence by seeking Me in silence.”
When I was going through all my troubles, I was out walking and I would hear “be still.” Okay. “Be still.” And I’d say, “Lord, what do you want me to do?” The next day He’d say “be still.” I’ve finally figured out to “be still”; when you’re still, you could listen. If you’re not still you can’t.
This is a great book. Every page is great. But boy that hit my heart really strong. That’s great.
Our featured passage for today’s show comes from the December 24th entry of the Jesus Calling audiobook:
I speak to you from the depths of eternity. Before the world was formed, I am! You hear Me in the depths of your being, where I have taken up residence. I am Christ in you, the hope of Glory. I, your Lord and Savior, am alive within you. Learn to tune in to My living Presence by seeking Me in silence.
As you celebrate the wonder of My birth in Bethlehem, celebrate also your rebirth into eternal life. This everlasting gift was the sole purpose of My entering your sin-stained world. Receive My gift with awe and humility. Take time to explore the vast dimensions of My Love. Allow thankfulness to flow freely from your heart in response to My glorious gift. Let My Peace rule in your heart, and be thankful.
Narrator: Hear more great stories about the impact Jesus Calling is having all over the world. Be sure to subscribe to the Jesus Calling Podcast on iTunes. We value your reviews and comments so we can reach even more people with the message of Jesus Calling. And if you have your own story to share, we’d love to hear from you. Visit JesusCalling.com to share your story today.