Category Archives: Inspiring People

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Inspiring People: Bethany Hamilton

Bethany Hamilton loved to surf.  She surfed every day, often participating in competitions.  She lived on the islands of Hawaii, and was homeschooled, which gave her a more flexible schedule so that she could focus on surfing.  When Bethany was 13  years old, she was out surfing one day with her friend Alana.  All of a sudden, a shark came out of nowhere and attacked Bethany, severing her arm up to the shoulder.  Alana and her dad rushed Bethany to the hospital, where the doctors determined that she would live, though she had lost almost 60% of her blood.

The shark attack greatly discouraged Bethany, putting a damper on her dreams of becoming a pro surfer.  How could she surf with only one arm?  Although Bethany wasn’t sure how at the time, she knew that God would get her through it all.  Bethany knew that God had gotten her through that shake attack for a reason, and He still had a plan for her life.  She set her eyes on working towards surfing again.  Bethany trained and never gave up, eventually achieving her goal of getting back in the water and surfing, even competing, again.  It was not easy, but Bethany Hamilton trusted in God to get her through a hard time, and He did just that and more, giving her opportunities to share her story with others and be an inspirational speaker.

Why She Inspires Me:

Bethany Hamilton’s story reminds me of the story of Joni Eareckson Tata.  What’s the key element to both of these stories?  Both Bethany and Joni never gave up against all odds.  Both of their barriers were very physical, limiting them from doing something they loved, but they both trusted God and came out doing things they never thought they would be able to do.  Bethany Hamilton’s story shows how faithful God is, and how He uses every circumstance for good.  One of Bethany’s favorite Bible verses is 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”  We can know that we do not have to fear, because God is in control and He will get us through with power and love.

NOTE: For more on Bethany Hamilton, I recommend this book: Soul Surfer: A True Story Of Faith, Family, And Fighting To Get Back On The Board by Bethany Hamilton.

 

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Inspiring People: Marian Anderson

Marian Anderson was born on February 27, 1897.  Her father sold ice and coal, and her mother, who loved teaching, could not find a job because the city where they lived did not allow black school teachers.  Marian loved to sing, and when she was just six years old, her uncle encouraged her to join the junior choir at church.  Marian became enraptured by music, and she loved it whenever her aunt would take her to concerts.  She soon began a musical career at a very young age, receiving 25-50 cents for every few songs she would sing.

When Marian was just twelve years old, her father died of heart failure from a work accident.  After that, Marian and her family had to move.  Her family could not afford to send her to high school, much less give her music lessons.  Even in this hard time, Marian did not give up.  She still sang at church, and seeing her need, the church community raised money for Marian to attend high school and get a musical education as well.  After she graduated high school, Marian applied to Philadelphia Music Academy, but was turned away because she was black.  Not to be discouraged, she continued taking private singing lessons.

Because of her color, Marian’s singing career seemed to be going nowhere.  When she was refused permission to sing at Constitution Hall, Franklin Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt, and others stepped up to her defense.  They arranged for her to sing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, where everyone could hear.  This is what Marian is now most famous for.

Marian’s career took off, and she sang with the Metropolitan Opera, for Dwight Eisenhower and John. F. Kennedy’s inaugurations, and eventually got to sing at Constitution Hall.

Why She Inspires Me:                                                                                                                                           Marian Anderson never gave up.  She followed what she loved to do, as well as what God was calling her to do even when a lot of people were against her.   She didn’t hesitate to ask for help when she needed it.  Sometimes people tend to try and do everything and fix everything on their own, but it takes someone with a lot of courage to ask for help.  You may feel weak or vulnerable when you ask for a hand, but God knows what he’s doing and will work in your life through others.

Thanks for reading!  Tell someone you know about this post, someone who needs a little encouragement and inspiration.

For more on Marian Anderson, I recommend this book:                                                                                 When Marian Sang by Brian Selznick and Pam Munoz Ryan.

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Inspiring People: Joni Eareckson Tata

Hi everyone!  Today I am back with another Inspiring People post.  This person inspires me so much, and here is her story:

Joni Eareckson was born in 1949.  She loved to be outside and do things like swimming and hiking.  One day when Joni was a teenager, she was swimming in the Chesapeake Bay.  Thinking the water was deep enough, she dove in head first.  She hit her head on a rock on the bottom and broke her neck, becoming paralyzed from the neck down.  Joni had to be in rehab for two years, during which time she had many spiritual struggles.  Before her accident she was a strong Christian, but now after her accident she doubted her faith in God as she lay useless in the hospital.  She had lots of friends who came to visit her, but she needed spiritual as well as physical healing.

One day Joni’s friend Steve came to see her.  She was so fed up and angry with God for letting her accident happen that she burst out with questions for Steve like, “Why did God do this to me?”, “If God is so powerful then why didn’t he stop it?”  Joni felt like she didn’t deserve to be handicapped for the rest of her life, and she was blaming God.  Steve shared a Bible verse with Joni that challenged her thinking.  Acts 4 :28, which reads, “They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.”  If you read a little bit above this passage in the Bible you can figure out that this section is talking about Jesus’ death.  Meaning Jesus dying was no mistake on God’s part, or anyone else’s.  God knew what was going to happen to Jesus way before it ever happened, and it was for a reason.

This gave Joni the assurance that God allowed her accident for a reason.  She soon learned to paints pictures with her mouth instead of her hands and was out of the hospital in a short time.  Joni now knows that God’s plan is not always the plan she has in her mind, and she uses her disability to praise God.  She is now married and often speaks publicly about her faith.

I find this story inspiring because Joni went through so much, and God never failed to provide what she needed.  Her injury did not stop her from living for God and glorifying Him.  She went through some very hard emotional and spiritual times as well, but God came out on top.  God will always be with us, no matter what’s going on in our lives.

Did you like this story?  If you would like to find out more about Joni or read a more detailed version of her story, I recommend this book:  Joni: An Unforgettable Story by Joni Eareckson Tata, or this blog post by GirlDefined.

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Inspiring People: Nate Saint

“Inspiring People” is a new series I”m starting that tells the stories of real people who have inspired me, and I hope their stories inspire you too!  I’ve decided to start with Nate Saint.

Nate Saint was born in 1923.  He grew up in a Christian home and from an early age knew that he wanted to serve the Lord in his work.  Nate took his first flight in an airplane at the age of seven and became fascinated with flying.  During World War II, Nate signed up for the US Army, hoping to become a commercial pilot but was not allowed to fly due to a leg infection that was bothering him.  While he was in the army, Nate noticed the need for missionary pilots.  He decided to join MAF (Mission Aviation Fellowship) with his wife Marjorie.  They helped open a MAF base in Shell Mera, Ecuador.  Nate’s mission was to show the love of God to the Aucas (a tribe in Ecuador who attacked and killed most outsiders they came in contact with).  He and his MAF team first tried flying over the Auca village dropping gifts to be friendly, but after awhile they knew it was time to talk with the Aucas.  Nate and his teammates Jim, Ed, Peter, and Roger flew a plane to a place near the Auca village and set up camp.  A few tentative Aucas showed up and seemed to be friendly, but they soon left.  Nate and his team were excited to be finally making contact with the Aucas, but, only a few days later, the missionaries were attacked.  All five missionaries were killed.  After Nate died, his family continued to be evangelists and encourage the Aucas.  Many in the village became Christians, including some of those who had attacked the missionaries.

I find this story inspiring because Nate, Jim, Ed, Peter, and Roger did not give up.  They gave their lives serving the Lord.  They may have been discouraged or frustrated, but they kept going and spread the Word of God where others were afraid to.  They did not live to see the outcome of their work, but Nate’s sister Rachel did.  She continued to be a missionary to the Aucas and saw many come to Christ.  Nate’s love for the Lord and devotion to Him motivates me to glorify God in everything I do, even the little things.  Nate had the courage to fly to Ecuador because God was with him.  He trusted that God would use him to make an impact on others.  Nate not only made an impact on the Auca tribe, but his story still encourages us today.

How is this story inspiring to you?  What can you come away with?  Comment below on what other people have inspired you.

Note: If you want to learn more about Nate Saint, I recommend this book:  Nate Saint: On a Wing and a Prayer by Janet and Geoff Benge.