'Soul Surfer' Bethany Hamilton: 'I overcame everything through Jesus'
Pro-surfer Bethany Hamilton, who lost her left arm in a shark attack in Hawaii aged 13, has given a candid interview in which she shared how a strong faith in Christ has helped her get through her toughest times.
Speaking to Fox411, 24-year-old newlywed Hamilton said that she felt immediately comforted by God in the wake of her tragic brush with a 14-foot tiger shark in 2003.
"I remember after I lost my arm, I just had this sense of peace that God was in control," she shared. "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".
Determined not to let the attack stop her from pursuing her passion, Hamilton got back on her surfboard less than a month after the incident, during which she lost a staggering 60 per cent of her blood. She has since participated in numerous world-class surf competitions and her courage in the face of adversity has inspired millions worldwide; she now travels as a motivational speaker, sharing her faith and encouraging girls struggling with self-esteem issues as well as meeting with other shark-attack survivors.
She has also penned several bestselling books, and her inspirational story was even turned into a hit movie, 'Soul Surfer', starring Anna Sophia Robb, Carrie Underwood and Dennis Quaid.
Her latest book, 'Body and Soul', is aimed at teenage girls, and explores the importance of looking after their physical health, as well as their spiritual wellbeing, something Hamilton is passionate about.
"I wanted them to feel loved and encouraged to start making healthier life choices in their daily life," she explained.
"On top of that, I wanted to encourage them in their faith. 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."
Hamilton, who also revealed that she saved herself for marriage and has only ever kissed one man – now her husband – said that her faith has been the "stronghold" of her life, and her relationship with Jesus is what helped her to pursue her dreams despite difficult circumstances.
In the past, Hamilton has declared "From what seems like such a horrible thing, God has just brought glory to Himself".
"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 told Fox411.
"I think 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 life for you and he just wants to be a part of it."