It’s easy to get caught up in the hard situations of life and forget that even in those dark moments, God is still working.These Real-life Inspirational Stories are sure to encourage you in your faith walk!
15. Real-life Inspirational Stories – Teen Walks Into Hospital With A Shoebox, Then Nurse Sees 3lb Baby Inside
Jeannie Joseph had been working as a neonatal nurse at SwedishAmerican hospital in Rockford, Illinois for ten years when she met the shoebox baby. She was in the special care nursery when she noticed a young boy in a hooded sweatshirt holding a shoebox and crying. His terrified face told her something was very wrong.
Inside the shoebox was a 3-pound infant. Wrapped in a dish towel, the tiny newborn wore a doll’s onesie. The baby boy had been born 6 weeks premature. Without an ounce of judgment, Jeannie took the baby boy, and medical staff immediately went to work. They treated him for hypothermia, dehydration and an infection from the household scissors used to cut his umbilical cord.
“We were sad, of course, but we had to work very fast with this baby,” Jeannie said.
Despite the harrowing conditions, God used Jeannie to help work all things out for good!
Saving The Shoebox Baby
The baby’s condition was grave, but it was a miracle he was alive at all. Premature babies need warmth immediately and often are not developed enough to breathe on their own. And yet, despite the terrible circumstances, this little one was breathing and fighting for life.
“This is one of the cases I won’t forget,” said the doctor who treated the shoebox baby. “There was someone looking down on him.”
As hospital staff did everything to save the newborn, his teenaged father waited outside, sobbing uncontrollably.
Jeannie kept him posted on his baby’s progress. And once the infant’s condition stabilized, she explained to the young, terrified dad that if he gave up his baby that day, he’d no longer be able to receive updates on his health. She reminded him he could take his time in exploring options rather than make an impulsive decision.
The boy took the parental bracelets Jeannie offered him so that he and the baby’s mother could come back to visit him. The young couple returned the next day, and every day after for several weeks.
This baby was fiercely loved and the story of how Jeannie’s reactions and encouragement for this young couple changed their life and the baby’s will inspire you! Click here to continue reading one of many Real-life Inspirational Stories.
14. Real-life Inspirational Stories – Born Without Arms Or Legs, Woman Overcomes More Than Just Disability
25-year-old Zuly may be smiling now, but it’s been a long, hard road to happiness. She was born without arms or legs due to a rare genetic condition, Tetra-amelia syndrome, which prevents limbs from developing properly inside the womb. But her disability was only one of many obstacles she had to overcome. And hearing her story of perseverance left me stunned and utterly inspired!
Zuly’s mother, Guillermina, undoubtedly taught her daughter the meaning of determination by example. Sadly, Zuly’s father committed suicide when she was only two years old, leaving her mother to care for six children alone in Bogota, Columbia — a country that does not provide any financial assistance to people with disabilities.
But Guillermina insisted that her daughter could live a normal life and do anything she put her mind to. She encouraged her daughter to learn how to do things on her own, and Zuly credits her mother and God for being the source of her independence.
“Mum taught me to do basic things like making the bed, brushing my teeth and changing clothes using my mouth and stumps to grip things. She wanted me to do everything an able-bodied person can,” Zuly said.
Unfortunately, her peers were not as supportive.
Bullied For Being ‘Different’
Growing up, Zuly was mercilessly bullied. She was called an alien and some kids would even steal her snacks. She tried switching schools, but the taunting continued.
“I’d go to sleep at night wishing I could just wake up and be like everyone else. I felt ostracized at school and didn’t have any friends. I thought there was no hope for me. Mum tried to keep my spirits up but I felt so low,” she recalls.
Today, Zuly is using her disability and difficult road through her formative years as a platform to encourage others not to give up! Continue reading about Zuly’s amazing story and how she overcame extraordinary obstacles.
13. Real-life Inspirational Stories – Meryl Streep Was Told She Was ‘Too Ugly’ For King Kong
Talk to any “successful” person and you’ll quickly realize that success isn’t instantaneous. First comes failure, and it takes perseverance to press on past the discouragement it brings with it. For example, popular actress Meryl Streep has been wracking up awards since the 80’s. Yet, she shares a powerful story from before she made it big, when she was actually told during an audition that she was “too ugly” for the role. But just look at her now!
Before Meryl Streep earned herself the title as the “best actress of her generation,” she had to battle her own share of insecurities and set backs.
“I didn’t have confidence in my beauty when I was young,” Meryl says.
So, imagine how incredibly disappointing it must have been for the aspiring actress to be denied a major role based solely on her looks!
It was the mid-70’s, and Meryl Streep was working hard to make a name for herself. So, certainly the young actress must have been reeling with excitement after the son of the major Italian film producer, Dino De Laurentiis, invited her to come meet his dad. Dino was casting for the female lead in the 1976 King Kong movie, and after seeing one of her plays, Dino’s son thought Meryl would make a great fit.
But as Meryl walked into Dino’s sprawling Manhattan office, he turned to his son and said in Italian, “Why do you bring me this ugly thing?”
What the father and son didn’t realize was that Meryl speaks Italian. Imagine how painful it must have been to hear such cruel words. But the actress maintained her composure and handled the insult with grace. Meryl responded in Italian, saying,
“I understand what you’re saying. I’m sorry I’m not beautiful enough to be in King Kong.”
Continue reading to hear how Meryl took this opportunity to go against the norm and chose not to place her focus on her looks but on her abilities. Failure is part of life, and it’s something we will all encounter more than once. When we do, it’s important to not lose heart.
12. Real-life Inspirational Stories – This Little Girl Received a Miracle and It Was All Caught on Video
This little girl was in for a miraculous surprise and it was all caught on video. She was at the doctor's office with her mommy for a special visit and she is not going to leave the same way she came. A procedure had been done to correct her eyesight, so they were there to have her bandages removed and test her sight.
She holds on tightly to her stuffed animal when it was time for the doctor to remove the tape from her eyes. The poor little girl is so scared and uncomfortable. She cries as the doctor tugs the tape from her cheeks.
Her mom is also anxious because life as they know it is about to change. She holds her baby girl in efforts to comfort her while the doctor continues to uncover her eyes.
The doctor tries to sing to her to calm her down. Finally, the tape is all off! While she composes herself, she sits still for a second then opens her eyes a little. Once her eyes adjusted to the light she looks around, and realizes she can do something she has never done before- she can see.
These real-life inspirational stories are great way to receive encouragement! Click here to read more about how this little girl received the life-altering gift of sight.
11. Real-life Inspirational Stories – 9 Grannies Secretly Spread Happiness For Over 30 Years
In Tennessee, you will find a "secret society" of sorts that consists of 9 women who call themselves "The 9 Nanas." The mission of this "secret group" is simple – to spread happiness by performing random acts of kindness for those in need. The 9 Nanas have been carrying out this mission in secret for over 30 years. Even their husbands had no idea what the ladies were up to! And to think – it all started with pound cake!
The 9 Nanas
The 9 Nanas consider themselves sisters, and have been together since childhood. Several of them were raised by MaMaw and PaPaw, a couple that was always doing good for the community.
So, one day when the ladies got together for a card game, they started reminiscing about the "old days" with MaMaw and PaPaw. They fondly recalled how MaMaw Ruth used to bake and send pound cakes to families who had recently lost someone. She didn't have to know them. She'd read about a death in the paper, and would immediately head to the kitchen.
The "sisters" decided they wanted to start doing good for their community too. To do so, they knew they needed money. And that's when they decided to do all of their own laundry, setting aside the money saved to fund their good deeds.
"I admit, I protested at first. There’s just something about laundering that I don’t like. But I was outnumbered! So among the nine of us, we’d put aside about $400 a month and our husbands never noticed a thing. Their shirts looked just fine.” says one of the sisters.
And so, the "secret society" of the 9 Nana's was born. With their "startup money" in hand, the ladies kept their ears open as they ran their daily errands. Whenever they heard of someone in need, they'd step in to help — paying a bill for a widow or buying new clothes for the children of a single mom. A package would be sent, and would always include one of MaMaw Ruth's pound cakes and a note that said "Somebody loves you."
And soon, they started to expand their efforts into recon missions.
"We’d drive through low-income neighborhoods and look for homes that had fans in the window. That told us that the people who lived there didn’t have air-conditioning. Or we’d see that there were no lights on at night, which meant there was a good chance their utilities had been turned off. Then we’d return before the sun came up, like cat burglars, and drop off a little care package.”
These Nanas prove that a small plan can make a big impact. Read more of their real-life inspirational stories here!
10. Real-life Inspirational Stories – Girl Born With Her Heart On The Outside
With an extremely rare disease that caused her to be born with her heart outside of her chest, this 6-year-old has been through a lot. But the sweet girl not only takes it all in stride — she already recognizes God's purpose:
"I know why I have heart outside, because Jesus want to show that he can make special things like me."
The condition that plagues the Russian-born Virsaviya is called Pentalogy of Cantrell, and it only shows up in about one in a million newborns. For Virsaviya, it means that her heart and intestines are on the outside of her chest, protected by a sheer layer of skin. She also lacks her chest bone, abdominal muscles and diaphragm. But none of this gets in the way of Virsaviya's happiness.
“My mom always told me that she loves my heart and I really like it.”
You don't have to look far to figure out where Virsaviya gets her strong and faith-filled spirit! Her mom, Dari, has been her daughter's biggest champion since day one. Dari struggled to find doctors in Russia who were willing and able to help Virsaviya. So, the single mom packed up and used everything she had to move to the United States with her young daughter once she finally found a doctor at Boston's Children's Hospital who said he could help the precious girl.
Because of high blood pressure, they'll need to wait two years before the doctor can perform the surgery that's needed to ensure a long life for Virsaviya. There's also the extreme medical costs, compounded by the fact that the Russian mother and daughter are not eligible for insurance. But a fundraising page has been set up for the two, and Dari knows exactly where to place her trust:
“I believe that Jesus will heal her.”
Virsaviya’s story is truly a miracle. But recently Virsaviya learned that another little girl has the same disease and they have joined together to share their real-life inspirational stories as they both wait for the next step in their medical journeys. Click here to read more about their new found friendship!
9. Real-life Inspirational Stories – What Cafeteria Worker Does With Her Money
Jessie Tendayi has worked in the cafeteria at Advocate Trinity Hospital in Chicago for 18 years. In all that time, she’s been a model employee. But many years ago, she started putting aside part of her paycheck. What she did with money was a mystery. But as Jessie’s efforts grew, her secret eventually got out. And everyone was speechless to discover the dedicated cafeteria worker saved money each year so she could bless the sick children at the hospital at Christmas!
Answering God’s Call
Jessie faithfully saves a portion of her paycheck all year long for an end-of-year shopping spree. But the gifts she buys are not for her or her husband. The saving is Jessie’s way of being obedient to God’s plan.
“Why do I do it? God put it in my heart,” she explained. “One day I was watching TV and I saw children in need. I asked myself, ‘What should I do for them to calm down what they are going through?’ So I started saving my money to make sure the children had something to play with while they are sick, so they can forget their pain.”
Jessie and her husband moved to Chicago 19 years ago from Zimbabwe. They make a modest living, and they money Jessie puts aside could easily go towards bills, groceries or other personal needs. But Jessie knows God has a bigger purpose for whatever money she makes!
“It’s not about being rich. It’s not about money. The little we have, we can share. For me, it’s a blessing. I’m able to make a difference for the children. Children, they need somebody who cares about them. You want to make a difference to them. I felt in my heart I had to do something for the children,” she said.
Read more here about how Jessie’s generosity has changed the lives of those around her!
8. Real-life Inspirational Stories – She Began Bible Journaling When Her Son Was Sick And It Went Viral
MaryEsther was suddenly spending countless hours at the hospital after her 2-year-old son, Cole, was diagnosed with stage 4 liver cancer. The time spent just waiting was painfully tedious. Cole needed a miracle and MaryEsther needed to keep busy. But most importantly, she needed God. And that’s when she discovered Bible journaling — the practice of adding verse inspired drawings into the margins of the pages. And now, her story and drawings are spreading inspiration to thousands after going viral on Facebook!
The odds against Cole seemed insurmountable, and bad news seemed to lurk at every turn. Aside from a tumor on his liver, the cancer had also metastasized in the little boy’s lungs. Due to the rarity of this particular type of cancer — Hepatoblastoma — there was no standard protocol for his treatment. Doctors moved immediately into “attack mode,” which meant intense chemotherapy, followed by surgery, followed by more chemotherapy.
MaryEsther’s Bible study group knew she loved to draw. And so, Rachel, one of the women in the group, introduced MaryEsther to Bible journaling — the practice of drawing artistic interpretations of verses and passages on the sides of the pages. There were Bibles designed for this exact purpose, and Rachel suspected it would be the perfect way to help the worried mom pass the time.
Peace Through Bible Journaling
And it was. MaryEsther spent every day studying God’s word, drawing her thoughts in the margins and praying for a miracle for her son.
“During this period of time in my life, I needed God so desperately, and journaling provided a way for me to communicate with Him daily,” she says.
Continue reading about MaryEsther’s testimony was being shared through her journaling and artwork. Hers is an inspirational story of hope in a dark situation.
7. Real-life Inspirational Stories – With Just 81 Cents To Her Name, Chrissy Metz Was About To Give Up
Being broke was nothing new to Chrissy Metz. She grew up without money. But with just 81 cents to her name and nothing on the horizon, she was about ready to give up on her acting dream. And that’s exactly when everything changed. This Is Us star Chrissy Metz proves you should never give up with her incredibly inspirational story of overnight success!
This Is Us star Chrissy Metz plans to never forget what scraping to get by was like. Her parents divorced when she was just eight, and her dad pretty much took off. Her mom raised Chrissy and her older brother and sister in Florida. She did all she could to provide for her kids, but times were extremely tough.
“There were nights my mom wouldn't eat dinner,” Chrissy recalls. “She'd be like, ‘Oh, I'm not hungry.’ I knew she was giving up food to make sure we could eat, but when you're 9 or 10 years old, you can't help. It was devastating.”
Things were so tight that Chrissy remembers walking home from school, terrified she’d see the little red tag from the electric company on the door signaling the power was cut off again.
Chrissy’s mom eventually remarried and gave birth to two more daughters. Things got a little better, but were still pretty tight.
“I remember when my mom couldn't afford to buy me Keds. My friend offered to glue her little blue label onto my Payless shoes! I can laugh about it now, but it was a big deal to me as a kid.”
Finding A Calling
Facing so much adversity growing up, Chrissy turned to humor as an outlet. She knew early on she wanted to pursue acting as a career, but had no idea how to get started.
“I didn't know anybody with connections, I didn't come from money, I didn't go to Juilliard,” she explained.
One thing she did have, though, was determination. Click here to continue reading about how Chrissy was able to use her role in Hollywood to inspire others to persevere.
6. Real-life Inspirational Stories –
A woman in Brazil kept awake during brain surgery moved doctors to tears when she began praising God during a risky operation. She sang a song she wrote herself, thanking God for keeping her alive. And the moment is unlike anything we’ve seen before!
Doctors diagnosed 45-year-old Maria Filomena da Costa with a benign brain tumor two years ago. It needed to be removed, but the location of the mass made things tricky. Removing the tumor without impacting Maria’s speech and cognition wouldn’t be easy.
As a result, doctors determined Maria would need to be kept awake during brain surgery!
“There was a big risk Maria would lose her speech and it was important that she talked to the team during surgery,” neurosurgeon Carlos Rocha explained.
This is a truly one of those amazing real-life inspirational stories! Click here to continue reading about how Maria went through the surgery. Her behavior completely shocked the doctors and staff with her extreme faith.
5. Real-life Inspirational Stories – Freak Accident Leaves Young Mom Paralyzed
25-year-old Alyssa Pfannenstein of Minnesota headed to the park over Labor Day weekend with her 4-year-old daughter and her boyfriend, Justin. While her daughter played, Justin and Alyssa set up a hammock between two large birch trees. The two lovebirds cuddled together in the hammock, as Alyssa’s daughter joyfully ran around. But the peaceful moment soon turned tragic.
Little did Justin or Alyssa know, one of the birch trees was completely rotten on the inside. As a result, it came crashing down on top of Alyssa, hitting her in the back and the head.
"It was surreal. At the moment, there was not even time to panic because it happened so quickly," Justin said.
The impact broke Alyssa’s neck, leaving her paralyzed. Yet, somehow, she remained calm through the whole terrifying ordeal. Rather than worry about herself, she bravely comforted Justin and her daughter.
"Her calmness calmed me and her daughter down and made us understand everything would be OK," Justin recalled.
At the hospital, family learned the freak accident shattered Alyssa’s C5 vertebrae. It left the young mom completely paralyzed. Despite her terrifying circumstances, Alyssa remained just as calm and positive as the day of the accident. Rather than focus on the many obstacles left to overcome, Alyssa is determined to celebrate each victory, encouraging her family to do the same.
"We just want to appreciate every miracle," Justin said. "Accidents happen and we will get through this like anything else."
And there have certainly been miracles to celebrate! Keep reading about Alyssa’s story and her determination to be an inspiration for others.
4. Real-life Inspirational Stories – Mister Rogers’ Surprise Reunion With Boy He Inspired Nearly 20 Years Ago
Fred Rogers, affectionately known as “Mister Rogers” by his viewers, met Jeff Erlanger in 1981. The two shared a special moment — one that Jeff never forgot. Nearly 20 years later, Mister Rogers was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame. This “special neighbor” surprised Mister Rogers on stage to thank him for the difference he’d made in his life, as well as in the lives of all of his viewers!
Making A Difference
Jeff was a little boy when he appeared on Mister Rogers’ popular children’s TV show, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. He explained to the kids who were watching how he came to be in a wheelchair. And though Jeff was “different” from most kids his age, none of that mattered when Mister Rogers sang the song “It’s You I Like” with him. Knowing that Mister Rogers truly liked him just the way God made him had power.
Mister Rogers didn’t just have an influence on Jeff’s life, but also on all of the other kids who watched his show, which spanned more than three decades. Mister Rogers taught kids more than just letters and numbers. He taught them how to be good neighbors. Click here to continue reading about these real-life inspirational stories with Mr. Rogers and how he changed the world one “like” at a time!
3. Real-life Inspirational Stories – Internet Bullies Called Her Boyfriend Fat, But She Responded With Love
Ashley posted a funny pic from a wedding, her boyfriend became an internet target being called fat. But this couple knows how to respond to hate, with love.
When Ashley and Christopher found each other, it didn't take long for them to realize that God had brought them together. They've been dating for two and a half years, and Ashley considers herself the "luckiest girl in the world." She had no idea she'd soon have to be defending her love on a national stage!
In addition to being the love of her life, Christopher is also Ashley's best friend. The two share a similar sense of humor and enjoy joking around together. So, when Ashley caught the bouquet at her cousin's wedding, the 2 saw it as an opportunity to have some fun. They decided to snap a photo where Ashley's dad would be glaring at Christopher, while she and Christopher made goofy faces. The resulting photo was adorable!
But then the photo went viral via Reddit. And the responses will shock and disgust you. The majority of the comments posted were incredibly mean. Most are too cruel and inappropriate to share, but here are just a few examples:
"Is her boyfriend somewhere behind the fat…gentleman?"
"That fatty should be jumping up and down that this girl is even with him let alone him possibly getting that much closer to marrying her."
"Ya she looks way outta his league"
But the couple found comfort and strength in the Lord. They opted to display compassion and forgiveness in the face of such cruelty. Ashley's response was amazing, and demonstrated not just how much she loves Christopher, but also how much she loves God. Continue reading how they have chosen to forgive those who say negative things and are fighting to inspire others to be comfortable in your own body.
2. Real-life Inspirational Stories
Joy, who is from Canada, was 9 years old when the horrific accident occurred. She and her family went to visit some relatives who lived up in the mountains. Someone accidentally left the gas stove on in the cabin where Joy’s family was staying.
Joy went inside to play with her toys, unaware that the cabin had filled with propane gas. When she decided to light a candle, the spark from the match caused an explosion.
“I went to light a candle and next thing I knew, I opened my eyes and could see a million sparks all over the ground,” Joy recalled. “I was terrified and screamed.”
It must have been a nightmare for Joy’s parents. Yet, Joy says it’s because of her father that she’s still alive.
“While driving to the hospital my dad knew if I went into shock I could die, so kept talking to me and asking me questions to keep me awake. He kept asking how I felt, I was hot and cold and very tired, but he wouldn’t let me sleep,” Joy said. “He literally saved my life, my whole family are my heroes.”
At the hospital, doctors didn’t think Joy would survive. Second and third degree burns covered 45% of her body. Her head swelled to the size of a basketball. Her arms and legs swelled so badly doctors resorted to making slits to reduce their size. The only reason she still had vision is because she was wearing glasses at the time of the explosion.
Joy spent only five weeks in the hospital, which was a miracle. During that time, the brave burn victim underwent multiple skin grafts. And while she was grateful to be alive, it was hard adjusting to her new appearance.
“One night I remember crying, scratching at my face, praying that I would wake up and my scars would be gone,” Joy recalled.
The emotional scars left by the traumatic accident only deepened with the insensitive responses to her physical scars. Strangers stared and whispered. Cruel bullies called her a “freak” and told Joy her skin looked like the scales of a crocodile.
“I used to go swimming to help my skin and had horrid comments from kids at the pool,” Joy said. “One said it looked like I was dirty and another thought I was an alien.”
Joy hated the way she looked for a very long time. Self-pity pushed its way into depression, as she longed to change what had happened to her so long ago. As Joy entered adulthood, she was still struggling to find peace with her accident. But then God sent a miracle. Continue reading to learn how Joy’s perspective on life was changed with the birth of her daughter.
1. Real-life Inspirational Stories – American Idol Contestant Rejected For Her Faith Trusts In God
It’s not easy to keep the faith when God says no. But that’s just what American Idol reject Moriah Peters did after being mocked and turned away by the judges for her Christian beliefs. And now, looking back, Moriah sees how that rejection led to much better things God had planned for her life!
It was Moriah Peters’ mom who convinced her to try out for the popular singing show. She told her daughter it was what God wanted. So, Moriah decided to try out.
She certainly had the talent. But her traditional values are the kind Hollywood finds laughable.
The young Christian girl led a Bible study, and had promised to save her first kiss for her wedding day. During her audition, the judges mocked Moriah for her commitment to her faith. They wanted sexy and edgy — not wholesome and grounded. They told Moriah to go out and get some “real-life” experience.
"One of the comments was, ‘You need to go into the world and make some mistakes.‘ One of the judges told me to go out and kiss a guy. I knew that was God, closing a door," Moriah said.
As American Idol reject Moriah Peters was leaving the building after the failed audition, a man came up to her. He praised her for her conviction, and introduced her to a woman from the music industry. From there, things started happening for Moriah and her career! The connection Moriah made after the audition led to a three-song demo to take to record labels.
"And every single label made me an offer," she said. "That was insane and unheard of. God answered my prayers."
Moriah signed with Reunion Records in Nashville. She put out an album, "Choose Jesus", and the single, "I Choose Jesus," reached No. 11 on the Billboard Christian sing chart.
Read more about the doors God opened for Moriah to be an inspiration to others.
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GodUpdates Inspirational Stories Series
This story is part of a series of inspirational stories designed to uplift your day and show you God's hand at work in the world. Here are some other articles in this series that we hope you’ll enjoy!
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