Abigail Duhon prays she is never put in the same life-or-death situation Rachel Joy Scott faced 17 years ago at Columbine High School.
Should the same circumstances ever arise, however, the Christian artist/actress is confident the Holy Spirit will give her the courage to make the same choice Scott made.
On April 20, 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold calculatingly walked onto the school campus in Littleton, Colorado, and, in cold blood, mercilessly murdered 13 people, including Scott, who was eating lunch with friend Richard Castaldo on the lawn outside the library. Reports, including those from Castaldo and Rachel's brother, Craig Scott, say Rachel was murdered for her faith in Christ.
The FBI claims the faith conversation never took place between Scott and the shooters. However, in the upcoming film I'm Not Ashamed (Pure Flix Entertainment), in which Duhon plays a small part and sings the title song (Dream Records) from the soundtrack, shows a scene where Scott did not waiver from her faith in the face of death.
"It's a question that all believers have to consider," says Duhon, who, at 16, is a year younger than Scott when she died. "What if you had a gun pointed in your face and asked if we believe in Jesus. It's happening every day in other countries. I know my life is not my own. I've already died to myself, and He has taken my entire life. Nobody wants to die, but if I did die in that situation, I would get to see Him and there would be no more pain.
"Her decision impacted me. I believe I would be led to do the very same."
When Duhon and her father, Troy, the executive producer of the smash hit God's Not Dead, heard a faith-based movie about Columbine was in the works, they requested a meeting with producer Chuck Howard. During the meeting, Howard offered Abigail a significant part but, because of her busy schedule, she declined.
Instead, Abigail, who played Abby Wheaton in God's Not Dead, accepted a smaller part and, after reading the script, was encouraged by father to write a song for I'm Not Ashamed.
"I really cried because the movie script touched me so much," said Duhon, who has released three albums since 2012. "It made me realize what one person can do when they stand up for what they believe in. The timing of this film, God's timing, is really perfect.
"I wondered what kind of song I could come up with. But then they gave me one of Rachel's diaries, and I began looking through the book and reading all of the prayers she wrote down. God began showing me what to do and we began to put the lyrics together."
The opening lyrics reflect Rachel Scott's unwavering courage:
"Every life has a time they reach the moment, when they have to choose what they believe. I hope and pray that I will have the boldness, to say Your name when it's my time to speak. No matter what may come, Your love will remain. You will be my strength and I will say, 'I Am Not Ashamed,' because You have given me life. I am not afraid, because You've opened up my eyes. Whatever stands before me, I know that You will hold me. I am not ashamed, no, I am not ashamed."
Abigail has herself shown tremendous courage throughout her life. In 2006 at the age of 6, her family's home was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. In the coming couple of years, the family moved from place to place, each a makeshift dwelling that never really felt like home. During that time, her mother suffered through two miscarriages, but Abigail's faith began to build.
"It was not a great time for us," says Abigail, who has known and loved Jesus from an early age. "It was extremely hard on everyone. But it was then that I wrote my first song, 'Because of You.' We were in a little townhouse, and it was a song about God providing. It's where I started my journey to becoming a Christian artist. And I'm hoping that the songs that God has blessed me with will impact people, especially considering what's going on in the world right now."
As a teen growing up in a chaotic society—one where school shootings have become commonplace and biblical morals are largely ignored—Abigail is well-aware of the incredible pressures young people face. It's a big reason why she wanted to be a part of I'm Not Ashamed, and her hope is the film will help turn the hearts of those who have become apathetic and desensitized to the Holy Spirit during these dark times.
"I am so honored to be a part of this project and, through this movie, to let people know how much God really loves them," she says. "I am really praying that it opens the eyes of teens and young adults especially. Our culture is so used to following the path everyone else takes. It's time for us to turn the other way and run toward Jesus. That's when people get saved, and that's when He does amazing things in our lives.
"Rachel Scott struggled wanting to be light and to be different, and I believe she really made a difference in her school and beyond. For me, that's exactly where I am. I want to be that person of hope. When they see me, I want them to see Jesus.
"That's why I am endorsing the I AM HOPE Movement of youth across the country inspired by the movie. Beginning Sept, 28 at the "See You at the Pole," we launch a 4-week I AM HOPE App that includes my "I'm Not Ashamed" music video, designed to engage youth and provide outreach to the millions of unchurched teens in our nation, culminating with the release of I'm Not Ashamed on Oct. 21."
The song "I'm Not Ashamed" will be available on iTunes on Sept. 2.
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