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Cheri Hamilton experienced every mom’s worst nightmare – the emergency phone call from the police. The voice at the other end informed her that her 13 year-old daughter had been seriously injured.


Her only daughter, Bethany, was attacked by a shark while surfing. She was hospitalized in critical condition.

Ten years ago on an October evening, Jocelyn and I had dinner with Cheri at Kelsey’s in Claireview. She was in Edmonton for a showing of “Soul Surfer,” Bethany’s story.

Cheri was engaging, easy going, and laid back – everything you’d expect to find in a surfer mom.

Surfer Mom

Cheri talked about her favourite chorus – Matt Redman’s “Blessed Be Your Name.” It’s the worship song in the opening scene from the film. The song is the Hamilton’s theme song. The lyrics express their perspective on life –

“Every blessing You pour out, I’ll turn back to praise. When the darkness closes in, Lord still I will say, Blessed be the name of the Lord Blessed be Your name.”

The Hamiltons are familiar with darkness.

No Coincidences

Following the showing Cheri addressed the audience and reminded them that everything in the film was an actual reflection of what happened to her daughter, Bethany.

Her husband’s same day surgery interrupted to allow surgeons to operate on their daughter; a paramedic vacationing near the sight of the attack, coming to Bethany’s assistance, and the quick action of the friends surfing with Bethany that doctors say saved her life.

Cheri witnessed the ways God stepped in and gave them a higher purpose.

“We were in the middle of God’s plan and we saw how he was using our lives to draw people to faith in Him. I could see that God always kept us in His care.”

Read more in Cheri’s book, “Raising a Soul Surfer.”

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