December 4, 2020

‘War Room’ actress talks new film, laments tendency to hide brokenness in the Church


After starring as Miss Clara in the 2015 faith-based film “War Room,” award-winning actress Karen Abercrombie knew God was calling her to continue using her talents to tell stories that matter. 

“After ‘War Room,’ everybody was reaching out to me from all over the world, wanting me to play their grandmother,” she recalled in an interview with The Christian Post. “It was a blessing, but it was frustrating as well in that there are so many other things that can be done with what God had given me, so many stories that I could be a part of telling.”

Following her stint as prayer warrior Miss Clara, Abercrombie was invited to a number of churches in various denominations around the world — an opportunity she said was nothing short of eye-opening. 

“What God did with my character, it just opened up the doors for me to see a lot of things,” she said. 

One thing Abercrombie was struck by was the shiny veneer on the reality of brokenness, pain, and loneliness in the Church. This lack of transparency, she said, discourages those struggling from ever revealing their pain and prevents them from walking in the freedom found in Christ.

“There are people in churches with stories that they're embarrassed to talk about because what we see projected on to us is, ‘Everything's fine. Everything's beautiful, everything's glorious, everybody is OK,’” she said. “A lot of people dress up what's going on … [but] you know everything inside is broken.”

So she formed her own production company — Earth Mother Entertainment —  to highlight stories that not only teach life lessons, but that also bring people of all backgrounds together and highlight their common humanity.

Her latest film, “Discarded Things,” is one of these stories, centering on finding purpose, recovery, and the challenges facing at-risk youth. 

Starring and co-written by Abercrombie herself, “Discarded Things” follows the life of Grace Wyatt, an esteemed music professor whose life is disrupted by tragedy and alcoholism. 

When she finds herself thrown out of her lavish academic world and into the harsh reality of teaching at-risk youth, she begins to find emotional restoration as she gets to know the teens. Together, they offer each other support through the power of forgiveness and music.

The daughter of two individuals who struggled with substance abuse, Abercrombie said the story was close to home. 

“My parents were alcoholics and my mother was a drug addict as well,” she shared. “I want people to talk about hope about redemption and about the fact that no matter what you've gone through, it makes you an expert in whatever that is God has brought you through. And you then owe it to minister and tell what God has done for you. That will set others free.”

Though a faith-based, inspirational film, “Discarded Things” isn’t lighthearted. It touches on sensitive issues, including the opioid crisis in the U.S., the broken foster care system, and the devastating nature of abuse. 

“My family had been a foster family for quite a while, and I always wanted to do something that dealt with children who have been tossed away,” Abercrombie said. “Once they age out of the system, they're on the streets unless they can find a house.”

Since the film’s initial release, Abercrombie said “people have been coming out of the woodworks” thanking her for addressing difficult — yet timely — topics. 

“With this opioid epidemic ... people have been touched by this whole addiction thing,” she said. “We can pretend it away. We can dress it up and ignore it, but it is what it is. It was necessary to talk about that.”

She expressed hope that “Discarded Things” empowers Christians to talk about the difficult things in their lives — no matter how shameful.

“I thought it was important to tell a story of a woman who was broken [to encourage] people who dare not darken the steps of a church for one reason or another, feeling like they're not good enough, feeling like they're beneath, feeling like other people would gossip or treat them differently,” Abercrombie stressed.

Cognizant of the Holy Spirit’s guidance in her life, Abercrombie said God used the role of Miss Clara in “War Room” to inspire and uplift millions. 

“That's the power of God,” she said. “When that Holy Spirit intervenes and does what God sends it to do, then we see Spirit. We don't see the outer, we see the Spirit.”

Similarly, she prays “Discarded Things” not only raises awareness about the opioid epidemic but encourages viewers to take practical steps to help those struggling. To those mired in addiction, she prays the film reveals to them the hope and freedom found in Christ. 

“I just pray that it sets many a captive free and that they know that no matter what they've done, well before God chose to love them into existence He sent His Son to pay the ultimate price,” she shared. 

“All He wants to have with us is an intimate relationship and just shower us with love. He never promised that this would be a pain-free place [or] that we would not have ups and downs. But He did promise that He would never leave us nor forsake us. Every issue is another time for us to lean on Him even harder and see that He is who He says He is and that we are who He calls us.”