One of the more unexpected and meaningful platforms that I have been given in the past year has been with the American Stroke Association (previous postings here, here). It's certainly been a different focus and audience than I have previously engaged in the sharing of my story, but it's been amazing to see the Lord using this great relationship to connect me to many other things in the way only He does (ex. funny enough, ASA played a huge part in connecting us to Seasons Weekend -- posting here). They recently wrote and featured a lovely "Inspirational Stories" article on us, here.
Last Fall, not long after my leg break, Jay and I got the "only-in-LA", surreal experience of being on a film production set to shoot a public service announcement (PSA) for a new stroke awareness campaign called "FAST". I am so pleased to be a part of a project so focused on the public good, and one that will likely help save a lot of lives.
Certainly the irony was not lost on me that I used to be on similar sets having my picture taken as a model. It was humbling and strange to revisit a small slice of that life that seems so very far away from my current one. To be the token "facial droop" model on this particular set could have been like salt rubbed into a still open wound. And yet, I can say with hard-fought assurance, through the pain, that I am so grateful for the lot God has given me, even if it means I may only ever be a model for the American Stroke Association.
Interestingly, the opportunities I had to communicate story in the entertainment industry BEFORE my stroke may have been on a bigger, more glamorous scale, but the story I get to tell now dramatically outshines those previous ones in its reality, purpose, beauty, and redemption. I may not get to be on a set like that again (which is sad because I am a big fan of the delicious, on-set catering "craft services"), but Jay and I loved every minute of it.
As we headed back home that day (the shoot was in Malibu of all places), ironically down the same ocean-lined highway I used to drive as I returned from the modeling gigs of my old life, I felt a sense of peace. As the sun set into the Pacific, I felt a laying down of those old dreams and that old way of life, but I also sensed the rebirth of a new one. God continues to teach me that some of the most beautiful things on this earth can only come from the ashes.
"He loved us, not because we were lovely to Him, but to make us lovely".
~ Tim Keller from "The Meaning of Marriage"