In 2002, at the young age of 14, Elizabeth Smart was abducted from her home in Utah. Her high-profile story is one most are familiar with.
She was a child. Taken, raped and forced to act as a wife to a man who claimed to be a prophet. What happened to her was a nightmare.
But it’s what came after Smart’s rescue in 2003 that’s worth recognizing. While her story started as a tragedy, it is her strength that is truly remarkable.
Refusing to be defined by what happened to her, Smart has made it her mission to advocate for child safety and share her story in hopes that others who have endured similar trauma will one day overcome.
Instead of allowing the clear injustice to break her, however, Smart shared the words of her mother. “The best punishment you could ever give them is to be happy … by holding on to the past … that’s only allowing them to steal more of your life away from you.”
Smart is living proof that life can go on in the best way even after unspeakable tragedy and heartache.
Smart is a wife, a mother, an author and a motivational speaker. She started the Elizabeth Smart Foundation, an organization that exists to “prevent future crimes against children” and help victims of crimes that have already been committed.
Now the inspirational mama has given birth to her third child. “So happy to welcome Olivia to our family!” she wrote on Instagram.
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This is a woman whose faith and drive have inspired many. “…the human spirit is resilient,” she wrote in her memoir, “My Story.”
“God made us so. He gave us the ability to forgive. To leave our past behind. To look forward instead of back.”
She’s definitely looking forward, and her story and spirit inspire others to do the same. What a beautiful example of resilience and courage, and how even the darkest of circumstances can make way for light.
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