The actress and singer who is known for her breakout role in the Dolphin Tale movies and who stars in the new Great American Pure Flix series Going Home says her faith has helped her stay grounded during various trials and is the “whole point” of living.
Actress/singer Cozi Zuehlsdorff portrayed Hazel in Dolphin Tale (2011) and Dolphin Tale 2 (2014) and has starred in other family-centric projects, including Mighty Med (2013-2015) and Freaky Friday (2018).
She portrays the hospice nurse Janey Richards in the new Great American Pure Flix faith-based series Going Home, which is in Season 2.
“My faith is my reason for being,” Zuehlsdorff told ChristianHeadlines. “Jesus and serving Him and following His plan for my life is the only priority I have.”
Zuehlsdorff hasn’t been shy in discussing her faith online. In a Dec. 31 Instagram post, she called 2023 the “hardest year of my life” but said she survived because “Jesus is good.”
“I feel really honored to be on the path that He's put me on and be able to be a part of so many inspiring, beautiful redemptive stories,” Zuehlsdorff told ChristianHeadlines. “And also, when that means trouble crosses my path, what point is there in having faith in Jesus if it doesn't sustain you through the hard times of your life? So it's always a gift to be able to share that publicly. I'm known for being pretty transparent about my faith online, and I do it because that's the whole point. If you don't look at my page or look at my person and see Jesus, then I failed. The whole point is to be a light and to not force that on anyone, but just live authentically as a child of God.”
Going Home follows a team of hospice nurses who bring hope and healing to patients and family members alike. In Season 2, Zuehlsdorff’s character finds romance.
The series, she said, was a natural fit for her.
“When I was a child, I gravitated so strongly toward older people, toward people that were my grandparents' age,” she said. “...But my mom was convinced that I would be a hospice care worker when I was older, or that I would work in a senior living facility. And I loved that idea. So, of course, my life took a little bit of a different turn. But it felt very meant-to-be when I was approached about this material. It felt so resonant with who I am as a person outside of acting and the roles that I play.”
Going Home creator Dan Merchant told ChristianHeadlines he got the idea for the series during the pandemic.
“I couldn't think of any hospice nurse that I'd worked with that wasn't amazing, and that didn't always have the right thing to say,” Merchant said.
The series, he said, has led some audience members to examine their own lives.
"The audience seems to recognize, ‘I don't have to wait to be on my deathbed to have that conversation with somebody that I've been in a fight with for five years. I don't have to wait to my deathbed to deal with this old hurt or this old wound.’ It does challenge us to ask ourselves: ‘How are we living? Are we using this time well? Are we doing what we're supposed to be doing? Am I letting God use me to do what it is that He has for me?’”
Image credit: ©Great American Pure Flix
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.