Life-giving Hugs

Bethany Hamilton Photo from Make a Hero Website

Bethany Hamilton
Photo from Make a Hero Website

Recently Bethany Hamilton, of Soul Surfer movie fame, shark attack survivor, and world-class among women surfers, visited Southern California. One of Bethany’s great sayings is, “I can hug more people with one arm, than I ever could with two.” There were many impressive speakers before she came on, but when hundreds of tween and teen girls surrounded the stage to sit at her feet, my insides just melted. What a humbling, huge embrace!

“We are all beautifully flawed in God’s eyes; He can use our flaws,” she shared.

Seeing all these beautiful girls, and some amputees that are part of her Beautifully Flawed ministry, I was struck by how Bethany, with her shy but determined nature, has helped so many girls strive for more in their lives.

No one made fun of Bethany when to young girls she said, “Purity is out there by God to protect you for the best.” Instead, they all sat with their cell phones video taping her every word.

When encouraged to wait for the right husband, she provided a great example of how to raise the bar on their expectations and hopes. With her husband Adam hugging her side, she said, “We jumped off of a cliff and fell in the ocean and in love.” Huge, wide, grinning smile. What a lovely example of living for God and letting Him direct her path.

I helped with the prayer ministry after Sarah Hill, Bethany’s youth pastor (portrayed by Carrie Underwood in Soul Surfer), gave a wonderful message. I was surprised the girls’ requests often weren’t for themselves, but instead were for loved ones in the hospital or sick ones at home. Many were also in touch with their own need to be closer to God and not miss Christ’s best gifts for their lives. Bethany has opened doors for healing and brought out a special maturity in this generation who needs renewed hope. Don’t we all!

Thank you, Bethany, for raising the bar on my thoughts and prayers, too.

Who sets you thinking of life’s blessings and how you can help others? I’d love to hear from you.

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