Christian singer Susie McEntire-Eaton believes storytelling is a powerful, God-given medium through which people can be uplifted, encouraged and find common ground with others.
McEntire-Eaton is bringing her love of storytelling and her passion for her faith to the big screen, hosting the second season of the Circle Network's inspirational TV show, "Jesus Calling: Stories of Faith." The show airs Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m. ET.
“Every person has a story to tell,” McEntire-Eaton, the younger sister of country music superstar Reba McEntire, told The Christian Post.
“They may not think theirs is as important as others, but it is. They have that story to share with the world. As we share those stories, other people can hear that and say, ‘I’m not alone,’ or, ‘Wow, I thought I had it really bad, but look at these people and what they’ve gone through, and yet they’re still standing and taking a step forward.’”
Based on the 2004 devotional book Jesus Calling, the series will share more inspirational stories of success, loss, heartbreak and redemption told by people of faith from all walks of life — from country star Sara Evans to NFL Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy.
“When Jesus would come upon someone that was having a hard time, He would simply tell them, ‘Stand up,’” she continued. “So, I love stories that help people stand up. In every story, there's something for each one of us to learn from.”
The show will also be a family affair.
Later in the summer, McEntire-Eaton will appear alongside her older sisters Reba and Alice to “talk about our stories of faith and growing up in southeastern Oklahoma in a small little small town of Cowell, Oklahoma.”
The trio will also go into the different churches in which they were raised to "share the funny stories and funny things that helped us to be molded and shaped into the mindset of Christian faith that we have today."
“We grew up singing Christian music; we were ‘The Singing McEntires.’ We cut our teeth in the honky-tonks and bars,” McEntire-Eaton recalled. “We were way too young to be in those places, but we were the entertainment, and my mom felt like we were going to be able to learn so much being in those places. And we did.”
A member of the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame, McEntire-Eaton toured with Reba from 1980 to 1982. She appeared with her sister on The Opry, "The Johnny Carson Show" and "Hee Haw."
In 1984, she re-dedicated her life to Christ and traveled the world as a country gospel singer, recording 17 albums in the process.
“At first, I said I would never sing songs if they didn’t have Jesus in it,” she reflected. “But, I think I missed a lot of opportunities, especially in the areas God sent me.”
“I've realized,” she continued, “that people needed story songs. They need stories that they can relate to and find a Savior in the midst of it. They don’t necessarily need ‘Rock of Ages.’ I think that songs that are not necessarily gospel songs can still be all about God. So, my faith has evolved over the years, and I think it's gotten stronger.”
McEntire-Eaton shared how the Jesus Calling devotional has impacted her life over the years and spoken into various stages of it — from motherhood to touring on the road.
“When I read [the book], it feels like God is trying to get my attention to say, ‘I want to speak to you this morning.’ I enjoy it so much because when it speaks to me, which it does 99.9% of the time, it changes my day. Even though God's word was written so many years ago and the devotional was written many years ago, it can still hit a person's life and day at just the right moment.”
To her, being asked to host "Jesus Calling: Stories of Faith," McEntire-Eaton said, “proves that God is still there and is still noticing and still wanting to use me."
"I get a little emotional thinking about it," she admitted.
McEntire-Eaton hopes viewers feel inspired, encouraged and less alone — especially coming out of a pandemic.
“I hope that as 'Jesus Calling: Stories of Faith' comes on, that people will settle in and they'll listen to the stories and relate to them, and not be under so much shame and guilt of their own story."
She wants viewers to conclude that "These people are real. These people are people like me to go to work, who do their jobs and are still just plain human beings that have struggles, just like me.'"
“The bottom line is, God already knows our story,” she added. “He's already taken it. He's already mixed it into His history. It’s under the blood of Jesus. God is walking with us into the next chapter, and He's going to use this first chapter to influence other people and to heal.”
“Our stories, those hard times, those lessons — we can’t just throw it away. It will forever be in our story," the 63-year-old continued. "We have to embrace it, let it change us and let it teach us what God wants to teach us in that story.”
"Jesus Calling: Stories of Faith" is a part of Circle’s two-hour "Faith Block" that airs from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET on Tuesdays and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. ET on Sundays.