During the past decade, shark attack survivor Bethany Hamilton’s iron will and heroism in the face of life-changing events have inspired millions of people all around the world.
On Wednesday, she delivered her message of faith and hope to Liberty University’s Convocation, where she told her story and talked about how God has helped her to overcome the tragic loss of her left arm.
Hamilton, 23, related her epic struggles to the many obstacles that people face on a daily basis.
Her core message that was intended for a Christian audience was her personal belief that living for God and trusting his will is vital and that life’s difficulties can be turned around and used for good purposes.
“As I grew up with one arm and relearned how to surf, God taught me that He can take the hard times that I went through and turn them into something beautiful,” she said.
Despite the obstacles she has overcome in the decade since losing her left arm, Hamilton said that she would never undo what she went through, since she believes that this personal tragedy has allowed her to reach out to others.
“I look back on my life now and I am just in awe that God can take a little girl from a tiny island in Hawaii and use my story all over the world to reach so many people,” she said.
In 2003, Hamilton, who was 13 at the time, was attacked by a shark while surfing in Hawaii.
Despite this setback, she continued competitive surfing. Her surprise success and fearlessness has inspired many, but Hamilton credits her faith with her ability to overcome.
Watch Hamilton’s address in its entirety, below: