Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful holiday!
I was given a movie for Christmas called Soul Surfer. It's an amazing true story, and I totally recommend it! It's about a teenage surfer named Bethany Hamilton, who survived a traumatic shark attack. While surfing one day in Hawaii, where she lives with her family, a shark appeared and severed her left arm, leaving only a small part of her arm, just below the shoulder. That's mainly what the movie is about, along with her amazing determination to surf with one less arm. In my opinion, though, there's so much more! It was Bethany's maturity and how she dealt with it that captured my (and my mom's) eye. I was so taken with her story that I'm almost finished reading her book, too. I definitely recommend that as well. :)
I'm sure the movie was created because of her unbelievably positive attitude! I really admire her because of that! She tried not to feel sorry for herself...she barely did. She lost her arm... permanently! Instead of wallowing in self pity, she chose to put others first with a happy and thankful heart. Wow! That's huge! What if she had decided to give in to the temptation to stay in a state of self pity? Would that have made a big difference? Definitely! Just a guess- she probably wouldn't have fulfilled her dream, and obviously wouldn't have been able to encourage others to do so. Without even trying, she inspired thousands of people, including myself. She also gained an awesome reputation by not letting the tragedy stop her from pursuing the dream God placed in her heart. I really don't know how to explain how much I admire her! I have given in to the temptation of self pity more than I'd like to admit. :) I hope in the future when I'm tempted to feel sorry for myself about small, temporary things, I'll think of Bethany Hamilton and how she refused to feel sorry for herself for something so huge and permanent!
Bethany was thirteen when she lost her arm. I am thirteen now. My mom asked this question that had me thinking for a while. "Do you think thirteen would be a difficult age for something traumatic to happen to you?" I think so, because most teenagers are known for being pretty self conscious. I can't come up with an explanation as to why we are...I guess it's just because we're teens, and it's a part of growing up. If Bethany had given into self consciousness, she might not have competed in the tournaments, because of the way she looked. By entering the surfing competitions she was putting herself in the limelight. She didn't hide because of her appearance. She kept surfing and competing because she loved it, and she didn't let herself worry about what other people would think. She also chose to serve God by doing interviews and by telling her story, even though she didn't totally feel comfortable with all the attention. I admire her for that! And that's also another lesson I'm learning!
A major thing that really helped Bethany get perspective was a trip to Thailand in 2004, as they had recently been hit by a tsunami. There where many hurting families who lost their friends and relatives. God really gave Bethany an opportunity to see beyond herself and realize that there are so many other people hurting... people who had lost more than she had. In her book she mentioned that her biggest excitement is getting to work with the World Vision Foundation, because through them she can use her voice to help children living in poverty with disabilities get the care and support they need.
Here are some of her sayings/quotes that really touched me:
"I'm proud to be part of God's plans, and I hope, in some small way, this surfer girl from Hawaii can make Him proud, too."
"I think that if I can help other people find hope in God, then that is worth losing my arm for".
"I have a relationship with Christ that keeps me strong and helps me see how good can come out of a bad situation. I think the reason I haven't gotten all bummed out about losing an arm is due to God. I think that the reason I have been able to tell my story on TV and in magazines is because God wanted other people to know that He is the rock that you can build your life on."
I hope that God will use me in an awesome way like He has used Bethany. I also hope that I will be able to share my story with others someday, and help people know how much God loves them.