“Soul Surfer” – truly inspirational with an unexpected message

Today my husband and I went to see the movie “Soul Surfer” while our foster son had his visitation with his biological family.  I wanted to see this movie because I figured it would be inspiring.  The story is about Bethany Hamilton, the girl who lost an arm in a shark attack back in 2003.

Beth was on the fast track to becoming a champion surfer when the attack happened.  Even with her arm gone, Bethany never doubted that she would surf again and even become a pro.  Perhaps it was because she was still so young, or maybe she just has a fighting spirit, but Beth never really gave up hope on her dream, even when things looked impossible. 

The movie also shows the turmoil that Bethany’s friends and family went through after the accident.  Although everyone was supportive and encouraged Beth, it was obvious that many of them didn’t think that Beth could really achieve her dream anymore.  In some ways, Bethany’s friends and family started treating her like an invalid, even if it wasn’t intentional.  They wanted so much to make things easier for Beth that they almost crippled her.  However, Beth refused to let them treat her differently, regardless of whether it was at home or during a surf competition.

The movie did have one unexpected aspect.  It had a strong Christian message, even quoting the Bible at various spots.  I didn’t realize that Bethany was such a spiritual girl, but since her faith seemed genuine, I didn’t mind the religious overtones.  When Bethany won a Kid’s Choice Award for courage in 2004, she even told the audience that she believed it was Jesus Christ who gave her the courage she possessed.  What is even more inspiring is that Bethany doesn’t just use her faith to help herself, but has also been using her unexpected fame to help others by partnering with World Vision, a charity that helps children and disaster victims all over the world.

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