Madeline Carroll's face has lit up the big screen in high-profile film projects, appearing alongside Kevin Costner in Swing Vote and Rob Reiner in Flipped, but her most recent turn as Shannon in the Erwin Brothers' release I Can Only Imagine is one of her most recognizable roles as a young adult. The film, which earned $84.2 million at the box office and recently hit No. 1 on the DVD sales charts, was an answer to a desperate prayer for the actress, who started in the film business at three.
After such family-friendly projects as Swing Vote, The Santa Clause 3 and The Spy Next Door, Carroll soon found roles she felt more uncomfortable with as she hit her teenage years. The parts being offered weren't compatible with her faith and at the same time, she was feeling a "drought" of other possibilities. When she turned 20, she hit a crossroads of faith and career.
"I just didn't feel like this is what God had for me anymore, and I was devastated," she said. "I felt heartbroken. I said, 'Lord, I just don't feel You anymore. Am I not hearing You? Have You moved on? Lord, I'm devastated. If this is no longer where You are calling me, then OK, God, I'm willing, I'm willing to say no. I'm willing to give it up."
The day after that prayer, Carroll received a text from Harold Cronk, a producer of faith-based films (God's Not Dead) about the film God Bless the Broken Road.
"I actually couldn't even believe how down to every last detail the Lord answered my prayer, literally the next day," she said.
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