Every once in a while you find a book or an author that strikes a cord with you. You read the words they have carefully crafted and think, “Yes! That’s it! That’s exactly the way I feel, but I haven’t been able to put into words.”
For me, that author is Regina Brett.
Brett is a New York Times bestselling author of three books, God Never Blinks: 50 Lessons for Life’s Little Detours, Be the Miracle: 50 Lessons for Making the Impossible Possible and her newest book, God Is Always Hiring: 50 Lessons for Finding Fulfilling Work. Her inspirational columns appear regularly in Ohio’s largest newspaper, The Plain Dealer, where she was a finalist in 2008 and 2009 for the Pulitzer Prize in Commentary.
I love Regina because she is so real; she writes from the heart and when you read her books you feel as if you know her. In addition she is wise; she is a woman of faith who tries hard to get life right. When God is Always Hiring came out, I knew I had to buy it. I devoured it, just as I have her other books and knew I wanted to interview her for this blog. Lucky for me, she and her publicist agreed to the interview. So without further ado, please meet one of my favorite inspiration authors, Regina Brett.
Interview with NYT bestselling author Regina Brett
Me-You grew up in a large family, were 1 of 11 children. Was your faith important to you as a child? Did you have any spiritual role models? In what ways did your childhood experiences affect your faith journey?
Regina-Faith and family were the pillars in our house. My parents were super-sized Catholics. We had a three-foot high crucifix over the TV set, a giant statue of Mary in their bedroom, a picture of the last supper in the dining room. It’s like a church exploded in the Brett house.
We read The Lives of the Saints, went to church every Sunday and holy day. My parents were my spiritual role models. I saw my dad on his knees next to his bed where he prayed every night. My mom still loves to say the rosary. They used to line us up along the couch to kneel and pray it.
Faith is the center of my life. A belief and a reliance on a power greater than me who loves me. What has changed is that love is the focus, not fear. Mercy, not judgment.
Me-In your books, you mention various jobs you’ve had (waiting tables, personal assistant, delivering bodies to the funeral home, etc.). What changed in your life to take you from doing odd jobs and dropping out of college, to becoming a college graduate who then became a news reporter, columnist and best selling book author?
Regina-I dropped out of college because I got pregnant at 21. I wasn’t married. At the time, I thought my life was over. It was just getting started. After my daughter was born, I took any job that could pay the rent. When she was 6, I decided to finish my college degree. I made a deal with God: I would finish my degree and go down to part-time work so I could get financial aid and have time to go to school; God would keep us healthy, because I had no health insurance for three years.
I graduated from Kent State at age 30 with a degree in journalism, and my life took off like a rocket.
Me-You’ve overcome a number of difficult personal circumstances in your life. Confusing teen years, bad relationships, becoming a single mother and getting breast cancer to name a few. At what point and in which circumstances did you learn to trust God with the details?
Regina-I have to constantly surrender my life over to God. So often I want to steer the bus, then realize, God’s in charge, not me. Life goes so much smoother that way. When I got pregnant at 21 and when I got cancer at 41, I had to walk out on the tightrope that is faith and trust that God would hold me up. Sometimes I tell God, I can’t hold onto You, so You hold onto me. So far it has worked.
Me-In what ways do you still personally struggle with faith and what do you do to overcome these struggles?
Regina-It’s not so much a struggle anymore, but I do need constant reminders to let go, relax and float on the River that is life and not struggle to go upstream against the current. God is in charge of the flow. My job is to float along like a leaf and let God’s love carry me to God’s perfect will for me.
Sometimes it’s the small stuff that trips me up, the speed bumps of life, not the giant Rocky Mountains. Life gives me ample opportunities to relax my grip and let God run the show.
Me-All of your books inspire me, and likely all readers, to both believe in myself and to trust God in that process. Would you say that is your ultimate message? If not, what do you want to get across to your readers?
Regina-Relax and let God love you. That love will take care of everything. Everything that happens to you is second to how much God loves you. Stop fighting life and love it unconditionally.
Me-Would you say writing inspirational books is what you are meant to do in this life? If so, what led you to realize that? What can those of us who are still figuring it out do to help us find our way?
Regina-After having breast cancer at 41, I got to turn 45 – something two of my aunts didn’t get to do. They both died of breast cancer that spread elsewhere. When I turned 45, I wrote down all the lessons life taught me, they just flowed out like a fountain from my soul. I turned them into a column and it became an internet sensation. That’s when I knew these life lessons were my gift to give the world.
Me-Your latest book, God is Always Hiring, 50 Lessons for Finding Fulfilling Work, encourages readers to find their purpose in life and go for it. What would you say to those who are fearful of chasing their dreams?
Regina-You don’t need to chase your dreams. What works better is to relax into your dreams and flow toward them. Spend a little quiet time each morning just being at peace with being you and getting grounded. I call it getting into alignment with God and my best self. All else flows from that with ease. Action comes after alignment, because once you get aligned spiritually, you get the clarity on what action to take.
Me-Will there be more books from Regina Brett in the near future?
Regina-I’m already working on the next book. I’m most at peace when I’m writing. It’s like breathing to me.
Me-Anything else I didn’t ask that you’d like readers to know?
Regina-I want to thank all the readers who have read my books, written me emails, followed me on Facebook and Twitter and shared a bit of their lives with me.
You continually inspire me to keep writing. We’re all in this together. What a wonderful ride!
“Relax and let God love you” words to soothe a weary soul. For more about Regina Brett, visit her website, at http://www.reginabrett.com.