Restoring Brig's Heart
By Mia Evans-Saracual and Jeremy Callahan
The 700 Club
Brig Hart has found the kind of success many people only dream about. But long before he led
a multi-billion dollar business, marketing the health drink Mona Vie, Brig was a kid with a simple dream. “My dream was to have my dad’s attention. It was at the root of everything that was driving me. I just wanted to hear my dad say he was proud of me.”
Those words never came. What little attention Brig received from his father, was violent and abusive. “My dad was a hard, heavy drinker. (I) couldn’t please him. So, that came with physical abuse, mental abuse, statements that caused probably a lot of emotional damage early on, because we just didn’t feel worthy. A slap in the middle of a conversation was a normal thing, but not just a slap, a back handed, off your feet, into the ground.”
Brig escaped from the pain on the beaches of Maryland’s eastern shore.”Surfing was more important than anything else, including school. I was in school, physically, but I was mentally in the waves.”
At home, Brig’s family was drowning in fear. “At about 13, I had had enough of the abuse. To some degree, I was more scared for my mom. Myself, I just couldn’t deal with it emotionally. I was a wreck. There was a day I just told my mom, I says, ‘I’m going to leave. I’m going to run away.’ She actually helped me to pack and, you know, it was hard for both of us. But she felt like it was probably better for me not to be in that environment.”
Brig lived with four different families over a six year period. Though he fled the abuse, he couldn’t outrun the anger that consumed him. “The anger was really focused at my dad. I would drink. I would do drugs. I was on probation for a while, just because I had taken something. I got into breaking and entering. Just filling a void, I believe that was the pain that--I wanted it to go away. It never did.”
He graduated high school and sobered up during a 2-year stint in the Marines. Then, he and his brother opened their own surf shop in Jacksonville, Florida. “My goal was success. I felt like success also was the thing that would get my dad’s attention, that would get the world’s attention. It’s the way to redeem myself. We worked 7 days a week, 8 to 18 hours a day. (We) ended up having 5 surf shops. But that’s when the economy kind of hit a rough time. Our business almost overnight went south. We didn’t know what to do. We were heartbroken. We had worked so hard for naught. At this time, I turned to drugs and alcohol more. That was my escape goat to try and take away the pain. Did it work? No. (I) went into depression.”
After his business failed, Brig lost all hope. “I just decided, ‘I’ve lived my full life. It’s time to end it. Who’s going to miss me anyway?’ I was estranged from my parents and my other siblings.”
“I was at a point where I was so depressed, ‘I just said, ‘I’m going to take my life.’ And I knew how to do it. So I put that shotgun in my mouth early one evening in a drunken stupor. I wasn’t afraid of death because I didn’t think there was anything beyond it. Right about the time I was about the pull the trigger, the phone rings.”
The night before, Brig had met a Christian businessman named Doug. “He says, ‘Well, are you doing anything important right now?’ And I looked at the shotgun and I says, ‘Well, nothing that can’t wait.’”
The two men met the same day, and Doug became Brig’s friend and mentor. “(I) met this gentleman that offered me an opportunity to maybe redeem myself in business. I thought the answer was money. He noticed that I was living in a situation where I was physically hungry. I was probably about 105 lbs, not looking too good. He fed me, and he knew I wouldn’t receive, so he’d leave groceries on my doorstep. (He) wouldn’t tell me. I didn’t know for awhile who it was. That got to me.”
One day at a business retreat, Brig heard a message that altered the course of his life. “The gentleman speaking, T. Aldred, was a very successful businessman, realtor out of North Carolina. And he did nothing but take his Bible and he talked about the #1 best seller in the world, he was going to read from. I didn’t know what that meant. But he opened it up. He didn’t say anything other than, he turned to I Corinthians, 13th chapter, the love chapter. And he just read it - word for word. Something had touched my heart. That love he was speaking of was the kind of love that I was probably hoping for, for my family, for me. A forgiving love, a redeeming love, and he noticed, and I couldn’t contain myself, but I was weeping.”
The speaker approached Brig. “I asked him who wrote that. And he says, ‘Well, I know the Author, and I can introduce Him to you.’ And I says, ‘Really?’ I says, ‘I’d like to meet Him.’ He says, ‘Well, if you’ll bow your head, close your eyes, I’ll introduce you to Him. I did bow my head. I did pray. I felt a weight lift off of me that I can’t even explain. It was like I was weightless.”
That day, Brig became a Christian. Other Christians at the business retreat shared their stories.
“They talked to me about how my past, my sins, were forgiven. That God won’t even remember. They’re as far as the east is from the west. That I’m a new creature in Christ. That all things become new. I have a new chance. They told me about a God that’s a God of a second chance and a third chance. I said, ‘Wow, I need that.’”
“As I drove home I was throwing the beer cans out, emptied my pot out. I went home a free man. I’ve never in 30—31 years ever gone back to my ways of drugs and alcohol. The miracle was the desire was gone. I had no desire whatsoever, where I ran to that as a crutch, it was gone. Jesus came in. There was no room for nothing else. Now I didn’t want anything else.”
Brig says God restored his family. “I went to just about anybody that I remembered I had aught with and asked forgiveness, just like my mom and dad, who in time came to know the Lord. ‘Cause they saw it was real. They saw light in this little guy, this long-haired hippie type surfer guy that gave his life to the Lord.”
Brig prayed for God to give him wisdom in business. I made a covenant with God that if he would put me in front of 1 or 100, I would show this I Corinthians love, with His help, to other folks. I wanted to lead them into this life that I was now experiencing. This new hope in Christ Jesus. In a year and 3 months, I not only paid all my bills, I entered into a field, an industry that evidently God had called me to relational marketing, then went to the top of my field in the next couple years.”
Today Brig and his wife Lita are leaders in the Mona Vie company. Brig’s new book, Why not You? Why not Now ? expresses his passion to help others succeed in life.
“My life’s mission is about ultimate success, knowing God’s perfect and divine will for your life and doing it. I minister through my business cause that’s what God’s called me to do. It’s a joyful thing. I love doing what God’s called me to do. I gave my heart to the Lord. I got a second chance. I met my wife. I have a beautiful family. I have no addictions other than I’m addicted to the love of Christ. I’m fanatical about my faith. Why? Because it’s the only answer in these tough times. Jesus is the answer.”
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