17 True Inspirational Stories of Real-Life Overcomers

true inspirational stories of real-life overcomers - short stories on godupdates

This collection of true inspirational stories focuses on real-life overcomers who faced adversity with grace and dignity! Meet these incredible people, hear their inspiring stories and be blessed by seeing God at work in so many mysterious ways. These inspirational short stories are such a reminder of God’s love!

1. True Inspirational Stories – Lianna Lay

A 12-year-old girl named Lianna lay on the side of the road barely clinging to life. She’d been brutally raped by two men, and left for dead. Her face and neck were mutilated in the attack, the scars of which would remain for a lifetime. She thought for sure her life was over - that she never again would feel happiness or peace or any semblance of normality.

Then Lianna learned that she was pregnant as a result of the attack. Her doctor saw this as just another scar from the incident. But one that he suggested could be easily remedied with a simple procedure - an abortion. The doctor encouraged Lianna to have the procedure, telling her it was her right thing to do so she wouldn’t be haunted by a constant reminder of the attack.

But even as a traumatized 12-year-old who had experienced some of the worst this world had to offer, Lianna understood just how precious life is. She knew that ending this baby’s life would not heal her scars or erase the horrific events she had endured.

So this young girl asked her doctor one important question. And his answer confirmed what she already knew she needed to do about her baby. Click here to continue reading about real-life overcomer Lianna and her true inspirational story!

True Inspirational Stories - Real-Life Overcomer

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2. Real-life Inspirational Short Stories – Jacquelina Adan

Jacquelina worked hard and lost 350 pounds. She felt both excited and nervous when donning a bathing suit on the beach for the first time in a very long time. And a few cruel onlookers nearly ruined the huge moment by pointing and laughing. But this incredible woman had come too far to let that happen. And her response is so inspiring!

Jacquelina Adan is a pre-school teacher who didn’t realize just how much weight she’d gained until a humiliating experience at Disneyland where she got stuck in a turnstile. “I was pretty much mortified,” she said.

RELATED: True Inspirational Story of How ‘This Is Us’ Star Chrissy Metz Fired Back At Fat-Shaming Bullies

After finally getting free, she ran to the bathroom and cried. But after the sobs subsided, Jacquelina decided to make a change. She hadn't weighed herself in years, and when she saw the number on the scale - 510 pounds - she couldn't believe it.

“I thought I was going to pass out,” she said. “This could not be real life.”

Now Jacquelina was even more determined. She was going to get control of her weight!

True Inspirational Stories - Real-Life Hero Bodyshamed After Weight Loss

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Jacquelina made healthy lifestyle choices and though it took her years of hard work, she lost hundreds of pounds! She headed to Mexico for a vacation, and having lost 350 pounds, she decided she was ready to wear a bathing suit without a coverup - something she hadn't done for so long.

If the folks around her knew how much blood, sweat, and tears had gone into that moment, perhaps they'd have cheered as Jacquelina shed her cover up. Sadly, though, only one couple took notice. And they cruelly pointed and laughed at Jacquelina.

Read more about Jacquelina’s true inspirational story and how she responded to the body shamers!

3. Short Inspirational Stories – Abandoned Baby Graduates From College Where She Was Found

Real-Life Hero - abandoned baby graduates - True Inspirational Stories

When a college kid heard rustling late at night in the laundry room, he never expected to find an abandoned baby. This was clearly divine intervention!

A San Francisco State University student named Patrick was doing some laundry late one night when he got the shock of a lifetime. A rustling noise drew Patrick’s attention to a cardboard box in the laundry room. And curiosity quickly turned to horrified surprise as a peek into the box revealed an infant! But seeing what God has done in the life of this abandoned baby is truly incredible.

The baby was Jillian Sobol. Her biological mother was practically a kid herself when she got pregnant. Terrified, she hid the pregnancy — even from the father, a boy she’d met at a party — and secretly delivered her daughter in her dorm room. She wrapped the newborn in towels and put her into a cardboard box in the campus laundry room.

The abandoned baby Jillian never cried. She lay in the box for several hours, her temperature dangerously plummeting and her skin turning blue. It would certainly have been the end had the baby’s stirring not caught the attention of the student who’d popped in to put his clothes into the dryer.

Stunned by what he’d found, Patrick ran into the next room to get help from the only other person he could find — another student doing laundry. That student was a sophomore by the name of Esther Raiger. And Esther just so happened to be a nursing student who’d just taken some classes on newborn care. It was clear, even to Esther, that God had put the right person in the right place!

"I really don't believe in luck," said Esther Raiger, now 53. "This would have to be divine intervention."

Read more to learn the rest of Jillian’s amazing true inspirational story and what happened to her next!


4. True Inspirational Short Stories – Pastor Receives Divine Healing After Congregation Prays

Real-Life Hero - Pastor Divine Healing - True Life Inspirational Stories

As the pastor of the Federated Church of Bondurant in Iowa, Jeff Sanderson is no stranger to the power of prayer, the existence of miracles and the greatness of God. But that knowledge recently grew even stronger and more personal after God blessed him with an incredible miracle. And the story of Jeff's divine healing is nothing short of incredible!

The trouble started when Jeff experienced a sharp pain on the right side of his lower back. The pain persisted, and Jeff's doctor noticed that his prostate was enlarged and that his PSA levels - a protein produced by the prostate gland - were elevated. He gave him some medicine intended to help shrink the prostate and suggested Jeff follow up with a urologist.

The urologist found nothing suspicious and explained that an enlarged prostate was fairly common for a man in his early fifties. But when the pain grew unbearable, a CT scan suggested that Jeff needed to be biopsied for potential prostate cancer.

And yet, Jeff tells God Updates that as soon as he got this terrifying news, the pain - which had become overwhelming - was immediately gone. Jeff didn't know it yet, but this was just the first touch from God's healing hand!

A week after the biopsy, Jeff got a call from the urologist. And the words that followed were terrifying, even for a man of great faith!

Click here to read the rest of Jeff’s amazing testimony!

5. True Real-Life Inspirational Stories – ‘Ugly' Baby Left In Hospital Grows Up to Honor The Mom Who Didn't Want Him

True Inspirational Stories - Abandoned Baby Honors Mom Who Didn't Want Him

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When Robert Hoge was born, he was so ‘ugly' that his mother refused to look at him. In fact, she refused to take him home with her. And that moment shaped his life. But not in the way you might expect. And hearing how Robert has redefined what it means to live a life being ‘ugly' and ‘disabled' is truly inspiring!

At the time when Robert was born in Australia, pre-natal ultrasounds were nowhere near as common as they are nowadays. So, his mother had no advanced warning that her fifth baby boy would look radically different as a newborn.

Robert was born with a large tumor in the middle of his face, and both of his legs were mangled. In hearing a description of how her son's appearance from her husband, Robert's mother refused to look at her baby. When it came time for her to go home, she decided to do so without him.

"I wished he would go away or die or something," she wrote in her diary.

It's the kind of admission you'd expect to be devastating to Robert's self-esteem. Perhaps even something he'd spend a lifetime trying to overcome.

RELATED: Baby with rare birth defect abandoned by family gets adopted by the nurse who helped save her

But it had quite the opposite effect! In fact, it's become an integral part of Robert's story and identity. God blessed him with an incredible wisdom that he's now using to inspire others.

Read more about Robert’s incredible true inspirational story and how he used what could have broken him to make him strong.

6. True Inspirational Short Stories – Girl Was Playing In Grandparent's Basement, Then The House Exploded

True Inspirational Stories - godupdates woman burned in a gas explosion helps other burn victims fb

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At only 9 years old, Lesia Cartelli was badly burned in a gas explosion at her grandparent’s house. In fact, the burns were so severe, her own grandfather didn’t recognize her. But now, this brave woman uses her traumatic past to help other burn victims find healing.

Lesia and her cousin were playing in their grandparent’s basement on that terrible day. A gas leak ignited, causing the whole house to blow up. The explosion threw many of the 9 family members in the home across the street.

Already a fighter, Lesia pulled herself out of the rubble. Flames still covered her little body so she rolled in the dirt and snow to put them out.

Lesia’s own grandfather thought she was someone else because of how badly she was burned in a gas explosion. As paramedics loaded her into the ambulance, her grandfather tried to leave. He thought the house debris still held his granddaughter’s body. Even though Lesia was right in front of him, he didn’t realize it was the same child. "That's not her," he said when paramedics suggested the girl in the ambulance was his granddaughter.

RELATED: Mom's Warning After Pumpkin Explosion Disfigures Daughter's Face

Catching a glimpse of her reflection in the ambulance window helped Lesia understand why her grandfather didn’t recognize her. Burns covered 50% of her body and fire burned off all her hair.

Continue reading to learn the one thing Lesia changed about how she looked at life and how her life started to rebuild from that point on!

7. True Inspirational Stories – Real-life Story Of Woman With Rare Skin Disorder

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Life can sometimes be overwhelmingly hard. We all have days where we feel like it’s just not worth it. . .where we just want to give up. And for me, that’s why stories like Mui Thomas’ are just so powerful. Mui suffers from a very rare and severe skin disorder called harlequin ichthyosis. It’s something she could have easily let discourage her. But for the people who take the time to get to know Mui, they can’t help but be impressed by her energy and upbeat spirit!

Mui’s “never quit” attitude is especially uplifting when you take into account all of the hardship she has endured. She’s never known her biological parents. But God blessed her with her adoptive parents, Tina and Roger, when she was very young - something that greatly helped shape her to be the strong and courageous woman she is today.

Tina and Roger never planned to be adoptive parents. But over 20 years ago, while living in Hong Kong, the couple felt a calling to volunteer as foster parents. That’s when they started visiting Mui at the Duchess of Kent Children’s Hospital. Mui was only a few months old when the visits began, and over time, the infant and this kind couple formed a close bond.

But when Mui was moved to an institution for the mentally handicapped, solely because there was nowhere else for her to go, Tina and Roger felt compelled to act. Roger explains,

“She was effectively being hidden away from the rest of society in a home for the mentally handicapped. She has no mental handicap. Now, we had to make the decision.”

They say their decision to adopt Mui made no sense to anyone else. But they knew this little girl needed them, and they had fallen in love with her. And so, they became Mui’s new parents - a true blessing for the long road that Mui had ahead.

Read more of Mui’s story here!

8. Real-Life Inspirational Stories – Acid Attack Survivor Katie Piper Is Moving On And Helping Others

True Inspirational Stories - Katie Piper - Real-Life Hero

Katie Piper thought her life was over when a hired hitman threw sulphuric acid in her face. The brutal assault left the 24-year-old up and coming model/TV personality disfigured and fighting for life. But she's come a long way over the years. And now, 33-year-old acid attack survivor Katie Piper is using her story to help inspire others!

Katie dated Daniel Lynch - the man who orchestrated the attack that forever changed Katie's life - for just two weeks. Daniel turned violent after the brief romance ended. In a fit of jealousy, he hired a hitman named Stefan. Stefan approached Katie on the streets of London, dousing her in sulphuric acid.

RELATED: True Inspirational Stories: Woman's miraculous recovery after being set on fire in a fit of jealousy

The fact that both men received life sentences (Daniel actually got two) offers some consolation. But unfortunately, Katie was sentenced to life, too. A lifetime of dealing with the physical, medical, and emotional effects of the horribly cruel acid attack.

The corrosive acid severely burned Katie's nose, throat and mouth, as well as partially blinded her in one eye. It terribly disfigured her face, almost as though it had melted. The short time it took Stefan to toss the acid, a matter of mere seconds, completely changed the trajectory of Katie's life.

"You think - ‘Well, OK, she's still here, she's still alive, thank God' - but you couldn't really see what was going to happen after she left hospital," Katie's mom, Diane, recalled.

Read here to see how God ultimately blessed Katie, giving her one gift that she thought she’d never receive!

9. True Inspirational Stories – Adult Film Star Found Jesus

True Inspirational Stories - Adult Film Star Finds Jesus

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You may not think “sexual purity” and “adult film star” would ever fit into the same sentence. But our God can do amazing things. Take Brittni De La Mora as an example. She was living a reckless life as an actress in the adult film industry. But once the former porn star found Jesus, everything changed. And her story is an inspiration to us all.

Brittni De La Mora starred in hundreds of adult films under the name Jenna Presley. She was making lots of money and was considered a star in her field. But she was anything but happy.

“I knew that my way in life was not working,” Brittni recalled.

That’s when she met a member of XXXChurch, an anti-porn organization run by Pastor Craig Gross. Intrigued by the group’s presence at an adult-industry convention, Brittni accepted the Jesus Loves Porn Stars literature and Bibles they were handing out.

“My first thought was: ‘Are these people legitimate Christians, because how can Jesus love a porn star?' ” she said. “They were so loving and friendly and welcoming. They actually just handed out the Book of John, but they put their own cool cover on it to make it relatable.”

It was Brittni’s first step towards redemption.

Read more to learn how Brittni embraced sexual purity and found true love and a husband!


10. True Inspirational Short Stories – Reese Witherspoon Shares About Overcoming Abuse

Real-life True Inspirational Stories - Reese Witherspoon Overcomes Abuse

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So many women find themselves suffering in an abusive relationship without even knowing how everything got so bad. Award-winning actress, Reese Witherspoon was one of those women and she recently shared her story in a TV interview.

When Reese was younger, she was in a relationship that was very abusive. It was a very toxic situation. And leaving the abusive relationship was one of the most difficult decisions she had to make. She shared that what made it so hard was having to deal with her own insecurity and doubts.

Reese was going on a fast, downward spiral. She was losing herself in that situation, but she eventually realized her worth and that she deserved better. The person that she was in a relationship with crossed the line and enough was enough for Reese.

Click to see how Reese escaped her abusive relationship and shared her real-life inspirational story to help others.

11. True Inspirational Stories – Pastor Shares How His Praying Mom Saved Him From Drugs

True Inspirational Story - Former Drug Addict Bobby Bledsoe Become Pastor Because Of Praying Mom

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There is no doubt that drugs are ravaging our country. Lives are lost day after day to addiction. And often it feels like there is nothing we can do to help. But there is something we can do, we can pray.

It may seem simple, but when you hear what an impact it can make you'll be inspired. Pastor Bobby Bledsoe of City Reach Network is a former drug addict and was addicted to heroin and crack cocaine.

He would sneak out of his house buy drugs and go to local motels to get high. His mother knew he was addicted and she was completely heartbroken. But she refused to give up on her son so she prayed and prayed. She would pray he would get too sick to get high. And sure enough Bobby would get horribly ill, but still carry on with the drugs.

She would tell him what she was doing and he would just yell at her to leave him alone. But she refused to give up and she told him that God sent her a message and one day he would become a pastor and stop using drugs. He knew she has lost it. Until one day he decided to follow his mom to church.

Continue reading about this inspirational true story of how Pastor Bobby Bedsoe was saved from drugs by his praying mom.


12. True Real-life Inspirational Stories – Woman Overdosed With Baby Boy In Car, Then Posts The Photo Online

Real-Life Overcomer - True Inspirational Story of Woman Overdosed With Baby Boy In Car, Then Posts The Photo Online _ erika hurt _ godupdates

credit: Facebook/Erica Hurt

This 25-year-old mother unexpectedly became the face of the rising opioid addiction crisis. The police photographed Erika overdosed in her car. She was embarrassed and angry. Those initial feelings faded into the sobering realization that she had an addiction problem.

Police found Erika Hurt passed out in the parking lot of a Dollar General store in Hope, Indiana. They took the photo of Erika overdosed, with an empty syringe still in her hand. What you can’t see in the photograph is her 10-month-old son sitting still strapped into his car seat.

Erika found herself stunned and embarrassed looking at the photo.

"I was angry and I wanted to blame the police for putting my business out there and showing the world my private addiction and everything like that," she told NBC News, a year after the image went viral.


She began realizing she never wanted to forget this moment.

Continue reading to find out why Erika SHARED this picture on her own Facebook page.

13. True Real-life Inspirational Short Stories – Suicidal Man Survives Jump from Golden Gate Bridge

True Inspirational Stories - Suicidal Man Jump from Golden Gate Bridge

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Since 1937, more than 2,000 people have lost their lives on the Golden Gate Bridge. Kevin, miraculously, isn't one of them. Pushed to the brink by depression and anxiety his mental illness finally got the best of him, and he decided he couldn't take it anymore. He decided to commit suicide and jump from Golden Gate Bridge.

As he stood on the bridge, he watched people walking and driving past him. One woman stopped to talk to him but only to ask if he would take her picture.

Kevin explains, "I thought, growing up, that everything's going to be great. Then at 17 it all came crashing down."

Continue reading to hear what happened to Kevin on that bridge, and how he picked up life after writing his own suicide note.


14. True Inspirational Stories – A Black Pastor And God's Love Changed The Heart Of A KKK Leader

True Inspirational Stories - A Black Pastor And God's Love Changed The Heart Of A KKK Leader _ Everything Inspirational

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This KKK Leader found himself facing a black pastor who promised to love him and pray for him no matter what. It changed his life.

Johnny Lee Clary grew up in a small town in Oklahoma. Sadly, he was taught to hate as a young boy. His entire family was racist and abusive. For Johnny, hatred of others was not only a normal part of life, it was celebrated.

Hatred is a learned response. You’re not born with hatred, you’re taught it. I was taught it.” Johnny told Fox News.

When Johnny was just 11 years old, his father committed suicide in front of him. Facing bankruptcy brought on by an unloving, cheating wife, his father felt that taking his own life was the only option. After the funeral, Johnny’s mother let her boyfriend move in. He began to abuse Johnny. After the police were involved, his mother threw Johnny out of the house, choosing her boyfriend over him.

Without hesitation, Johnny joined the KKK. He was 14. The next four years, Johnny was indoctrinated with KKK beliefs and when he was 18, he returned to Oklahoma to begin his own chapter as the Grand Dragon.

It was during this time he met Rev. Wade Watts. A local radio station asked Johnny to come and debate a black man on air. Clary saw this as his chance to prove his merit to the Klan and agreed. But what he experienced was unexpected.

Click here to read the rest of this true inspirational story and hear the one thing the pastor said Johnny simply couldn’t begin to process. (And how that changed his life forever!)

15. True Inspirational Stories – Tough Bikers Help Young Girl Recover From Child Abuse

True Inspirational Story - Tough Bikers Help Young Girl Recover from Child Abuse

At 10-years-old, FA's stepfather started to abuse her. Eventually, she escaped the situation and was faced with testifying against him. That's when she met Tombstone, a lifelong biker and member of Bikers Against Child Abuse. Their mission is to protect and empower children who have been the victim of abuse. Together, this group stood watch outside FA's house as a sign of support and safety. This is just incredible!

Continue reading to learn the rest of FA’s inspirational true story.

16. Real-life Inspirational Stories – Single Dad's Inspiring Letter After His Girlfriend Runs Away

Real-Life Hero Stories - True Inspirational Story of Single Dad's Letter after His Girlfriend Runs Away

Bravery isn’t just defined on a battlefield or in a life and death situation. Bravery is stepping up to do the right thing when others do not. It’s standing firm when others crumble. It’s stepping up when others flee. And that’s just what makes Richard Johnson such an amazing father.

He came from a family where everyone was either divorced or a single parent. His dad was not a part of his life. So, when his daughter, Persephone, was born and her mother took off just one month later, he was alone, scared and overwhelmed. But he knew he wanted to be a better father than he’d had. So, he chose to break the cycle of abandonment and do whatever it took to be a good father to little Persephone.

But how?

Read on to hear what Richard shared was the biggest and scariest question he faced.

17. True Inspirational Short Stories – People Stare At Her Rash Covered Body, But She's Not Covering Up Anymore

True Inspirational Stories - Girl Bares Psoriasis

If you've never heard of psoriasis, it's a skin disorder that results in itchy, dry patches of skin that can also be painful. It's fairly common, and the severity and exact symptoms differ from person to person. However, for most people, it is not usually as severe as it is for Giorgia Lanuzza.

For her, the condition showed up when she was 13. Just in time for her teenage years, when self-esteem is perhaps at its most vulnerable. The angry, red rash covers nearly 97% of her body at times, and can be extremely uncomfortable. But for Giorgia, what stings the most is how she is treated by others simply because of her physical appearance. She says,

"People would stop and stare at me in the street. My psoriasis looks like red, raised spots and people looked at me as if I was disgusting and they might catch something. I felt so self-conscious about the condition that it was ruining my life."

As I've already mentioned, the timing of the disorder was horrible. But not just because puberty is stressful enough on its own. Giorgia had also just unexpectedly lost her father. She says, "The condition is often triggered by trauma, and when I lost my dad I felt like my world had ended. My world went to pieces - we were so close when I was growing up, and I couldn't bear losing him. Grieving was difficult enough. Then, when these flaky patches started appearing on my skin, I had no idea what was happening."

Continue reading this true inspirational story to learn what Giorgia did next that showed how courageous and strong she truly is!

True Inspirational Stories – Bible Verses

Matthew 5:5-9

"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

Romans 12:17-21

Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." To the contrary, "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

GodUpdates Inspirational Stories Series – Inspiring Short Stories

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!