"Soul Surfer"...Soul Searcher

Caitlin and I had already planned to see the movie, "Soul Surfer".  We had actually gone to the theatre the night before and couldn't get tickets.  So, when our pastor mentioned it in his Sunday sermon, we headed back out after church that day to see it.

I remembered hearing the story of the young girl who had her arm bitten off by the shark; it had been all over the news.  I also remembered bits and pieces of the young girl, her Christian faith and spirit to survive and ultimately surf again.  However, what I did not know was the story of her journey back, how difficult it was and how becoming a "soul searcher" made it possible for her to once again become a "soul surfer".

As Caitlin and I sat in the dark theatre watching this movie, one theme became very clear to me..."One can find themselves when they are able to STOP focusing on "self" and BEGIN focusing on "others".  Granted, losing one's arm in a shark attack and surviving is nothing less than a miracle; that much we all know is true.  But it was not until the young girl had given up all hope of ever surfing again and left the country to participate in mission work, serving others, that she was  able to search her own soul and came to realize that all was NOT lost...her journey and opportunities in life had just begun.

Caitlin (along with others...) in the theatre could be heard sobbing.  I agree that it was a very touching story and one that made me think of another young girl who only a year ago thought all was lost.  She had broken things off with her boyfriend and one of her best friends had committed suicide, leaving her distraught and wondering what God wanted her to do with her life.  Who WAS this girl?  My very own daughter...Caitlin.  I attempted to encourage her as she read her Bible and prayed daily.  Although she attempted to remain positive, I could often times see the sadness in her eyes.  And then her own little miracle happened.  It was the Fourth of July and one of the ministers from our church called my mother-in-law who was going on a mission trip to Honduras to say that he had someone drop out, which left a spot open.  He asked if she knew someone who would like to go.  Caitlin begged to go and although I was a bit nervous about her doing so, Robby and I agreed that it might be good for her.

Caitlin left about 2 weeks later for Honduras.  I knew that I wouldn't be able to have very much contact with her while she was there, but that when she could, she would e-mail or call me.  As fate would have it, she was able to e-mail me several times and with each message I received, I noticed a very torn, sad spirit being slowly sewn back together.  By the time she returned, I was excited to see that the light had come back into her eyes and her once broken spirit appeared to be renewed and alive again.  She had spent a week serving and giving of herself in an impoverished country and in the process gained an entirely new perspective and assurance that life DOES go on...even when we don't think it possibly can.

We don't always understand the plans that God has for us, but HE DOES have a plan.  We just have to be willing to listen to HIM and what HE wants us to do.  For the young girl who lost her arm in that shark attack, God definitely had a plan for her...she was able to "search her soul" and in the process become a "soul surfer".  Try searching your own soul...you never know what you might find!

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