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'Soul Surfer's Bethany Hamilton Inspires Young Girls to Overcome Self-Image Struggles with Faith in Jesus Christ

( [email protected] ) May 15, 2014 09:38 PM EDT
Bethany Hamilton, who lost her arm several years ago in a shark attack, says her faith in God supported her through the loss of her arm. She wants to encourage young girls struggling with their self-image to know that they are beautiful and loved by God.
Bethany Hamilton says her faith in God supported her through hard times, wants to inspire other young girls. (Photo: BethanyHamilton.com)

"Ultimately, my confidence comes from my faith in God and no matter what happens at the end of the day, I can still trust that God is in control ...He's going to help carry me through whatever circumstances I have to overcome."

These words, spoken by "soul surfer" Bethany Hamilton, reveal how she was able to turn extreme adversity into a way to inspire others.

At the age of 13, she lost her arm in a horrific shark attack, experiencing what she calls a "life changing event."

Now, nearly nine years later, the award-winning surfer has written several best-selling books, become a popular speaker, and even gained a few movie deals. Hamilton recently revealed to Fox411 that her indomitable faith in God is what enables her to be an inspiration to others.

"I first accepted Christ's gifts when I was 5 years old," Hamilton told FOX411. "Even at that young age I remember I was with my best friend and we were just hanging out at our house and we were like, 'Let's ask God into our hearts' and that was kind of the start of it."

Hamilton, who his recently married, revealed that while she struggled with her self-image following the loss of her arm, she never doubted that God would take care of her.

"I remember after I lost my arm, I just had this sense of peace that God was in control and that's kind of weird for a 13-year-old to be like, 'Hey, God, you're in control,' like I just lost my arm."

Bethany Hamilton
(Screen capture via Youtube/The Gospel Herald)

She says she now wants to encourage young girls suffering with self-image issues that they are beautiful exactly the way they are in her new book, "Body and Soul."

"Beauty is so much deeper...than how you look," she said. "There's so much pressure from the media and from magazines to look a certain way...and that's not real beauty."

"When I wrote 'Body and Soul' I didn't want to make girls feel uncomfortable with themselves," she explained. "I wanted them to feel loved and encourage them to start making healthier choices in their daily life," she continued.

While physical health is certainly important, Hamilton wants girls to know the importance of spiritual health as well.

"On top of that, I wanted to encourage them in their faith," said Hamilton. "And I think God calls us to take care of our bodies and to love and respect our bodies and I think that can be done through the way that we eat and the way that we move but also in the way we think towards ourselves and how we think towards God."

Bethany acknowledges that without her faith, she would be unable to recover from the tragedy of losing her arm, and she wants other young girls to be able to know that they too can have that support, whatever they may be going through.

"I think that we all go through different hard times in our lives and challenges and things to overcome and I just know that how I overcame was through Jesus Christ and that has been my stronghold," she shared.

"The thing God's taught me is first of all he forgives me when I make a mistake and he calls me to forgive the people around me that make mistakes and hurt me. In that is just God's gift of amazing love and forgiveness and that's why He died on the cross for our sins so just know that God loves you and He has this amazing love for you and He just wants to be a part of it."