September 09, 2006
Saga of the Child Star
Proverbs 27:7 says, "He who is full loathes honey, but to the hungry even what is bitter tastes sweet."
I read this Bible verse the other day and realized, "That's It!" That is the answer to the question I get all of the time, especially from the media. I'm so often asked, "How come your life turned out so much differently than the typical child star." I actually love this question because it is the perfect set up for me to inoffensively share my testimony.
I simply explain that, in my opinion, it is because we are all born with an emptiness inside. (I don’t go into all of this but I believe that emptiness is there because of the separation between us and our Creator that happened when man first disobeyed and sin entered the world.)
I was fortunate because when I was a little girl I asked Jesus to come into my heart and fill that emptiness by restoring my relationship with God, my heavenly Father. When I moved to Hollywood a few years later, I was satisfied, content, full. I wasn’t looking for something to fill me up.
Most child stars have the money, freedom, access, and opportunity to go down any path looking for something to fill them up. We know that most of those paths end in destruction. I am so grateful to God that this verse was Truth in my life. Because I was full, of Jesus, I was not hungry for the honey the world had to offer.
My heart goes out to current and former child stars, in particular. They are so hungry, that even what is bitter, even that which they see in the lives of those around them doesn’t satisfy, even those things taste sweet to someone who is starving. Starving for unconditional love, forgiveness, purpose beyond fame and fortune.
I consider it the mercy of God who called me to Himself before He sent me as light into a dark place. By the time I broke into show business at the age of 12, foundational issues were already settled in my life. My identity wasn’t as an actress; it was as a child of God. Therefore, when my television show ended, I wasn’t devastated, wondering who I was and where I was going. I knew that my Father, the King, had even greater things in store for my future.
I didn’t move to Los Angeles to become famous, I was simply obeying God’s call in my life. That made losing that fame easier. I knew that I was to simply obey God’s call for the next season of my life. The money might not be as good, but the benefits would still be more than worth answering the call.
I can honestly say that my life has just gotten better and better. Heck, it started out good – I was born in Texas, for goodness sakes! I had a wonderful childhood and I met Jesus as a child. What a merciful God to spare me from having a dramatic conversion testimony! Then I discovered acting and found the talents God invested in me and wanted me to reinvest. Anyone who remembers discovering their gifts and what an impact that encounter has on their self-confidence and purpose knows what an impact this revelation can have on a child. My life was set on the path of the next season of my journey.
Next, I moved to California to become a Mouseketeer on Walt Disney’s “New Mickey Mouse Club.” Can you imagine getting paid to sing and dance and ride on giant mouse ears down Main Street in Disneyland. God is a good God! From there I was cast as “Blair” on “The Facts of Life.” Once again, an embarrassment of riches in so many ways. I had the privilege of going to work every day with three girls who were like sisters and we laughed all day – and got paid for it. If that isn’t evidence of a good God, during seasons 7 & 8 the produces hired George Clooney to join the cast. Now, that is evidence of a good God – and an awesome Creator!!
After the show went off the air, I immediately got married and had three children within three years. Over the next ten years, I was a pastor’s wife and homeschooling mother. Five years ago, I wrote my first book, which launched the current season of my life, writing books and speaking.
So there, in a nutshell, the course of my life, thus far. I rehearse all of that to conclude with this, my life didn’t begin when I became a child star and it didn’t end when my career ended. My happiness never has, and never will, be dependent upon my circumstances. My heavenly Father has been faithful when I was making millions and when I lost everything. I felt special when I was on television and when I was stuck at home all day with three toddlers.
I am eternally grateful that God chose this little Texas girl to fill up with His love, hope, joy, and destiny, and saved me from a life forever looking for satisfaction in bittersweet, temporal, empty promises of happiness.
May I ask you a personal question? Is your heart and life so full that the sweetest “honey” the world has to offer doesn’t even tempt you? I sure hope so. I’ve seen too many childhood friends chase after bitter things because of a deep hunger. I pray that you enjoy a deep, settled, contentment that comes from knowing you are a child of God who is profoundly loved.
Posted by weblion at 05:30 PM