Former Disney child star Jennifer McGill recently shared how, after her mother passed away, she went through an extremely dark period in her life. But when she finally hit rock bottom, she turned back to Jesus and ultimately realized He "had never left me."
Jennifer was born ready for the spotlight. She grew up in a loving, Christian home in Texas. And by age 7, she begged her mom to let her enter pageants. Jennifer’s mom was hesitant to agree. But seeing her daughter's high energy and unshakable love of the spotlight, she finally granted her daughter's wish.
Jennifer started winning her pageants, and soon an agent suggested Jennifer’s parents have her audition for The New Mickey Mouse Club, a Disney show featuring comedy sketches, commercial parodies, music videos, and celebrity guests. Jennifer tried out and landed her “dream job.”
Many of Jennifer’s co-stars on the show went on to pursue their careers — folks like Justin Timberlake, Ryan Gosling, Britney Spears and others.
But after her years as a Disney child star, Jennifer didn’t feel ready for Hollywood just yet.
“I just needed to grow up and grow wiser in order to be the artist I think I was meant to be,” she said.
Instead, Jennifer chose to go on to college — a decision her mother fully supported.
Falling Into Darkness
Both of Jennifer’s parents were supportive throughout her career and schooling. But her mom was her champion — a constant source of support.
Then, when Jennifer was 24 years old, her mom passed away.
"The biggest light and fan was gone,” she said. “The person who'd reminded me that I was unique and valuable. . . I was kind of lost. Untethered. Disconnected.”
The next several years grew very dark. Jennifer drifted away from her faith. She began isolating herself. She felt “lifeless and purposeless.”
“I think I’d lost my joy,” she says.
Things got even worse when Jennifer married.
“I got into a relationship when I was at my most isolated and when I wasn’t taking any advice from God where I ended up marrying a man who was married to somebody else,” she said.
Returning To Jesus
Jennifer went to court to have her marriage annulled after discovering her husband was still legally married to someone else. And that’s when she hit rock bottom. She realized she was basing all of her decisions and all of her life on other people, rather than in God’s plan for her. It was a moment of rebirth.
“I got on my knees and I said, ‘Lord, I don’t have anything of yours in my life anymore’…I asked Him to release me from all of these mistakes and bring me to a place where I could be useful to Him.”
And the former Disney child star realized she’d turned her back on Jesus — not the other way around.
"I had taken so much of my life into my own hands," she shared. "I'd narrowed myself, put myself into a spiritual cage. I felt lost and alone. He had never left me."
As much as Jennifer still missed her mother, she realized she’d let their relationship become an idol. She’d allowed it to get in the way of her relationship with Jesus, which should always come first.
And so, she got herself back on track.
"I went back to where I'd begun," she explained. "God upgraded me to a more intimate relationship with Him."
A New Perspective
With Jesus first in her heart, Jennifer returned to solid ground. She’s now pursuing a new career in music. And Jennifer’s journey away from and then back to her faith is the inspiration behind her album, Unbreakable.
Jennifer also spends her time coaching young artists trying to get into “the biz.” Her advice is unlike what most others give. She encourages up and comers to put fame at the bottom of their list, and instead just trust in God’s timing.
“I’m here to say it’s not a lost cause, no matter how far you’ve slipped…my music is here to inspire,” she says.
At some point in our lives, we all lose our way. But Jennifer’s story is a wonderful reminder that there’s no place God’s grace won’t reach!
WATCH: Former Disney Child Star Jennifer McGill Sings ‘Unreakable’
h/t: Christian Headlines
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