2016-06-30
When Beliefnet asked our users, "Who's your most inspiring relative--and why?" we found out that lots of you have relatives who've moved you to tears, joy, laughter, and admiration. While many of the stories are about mothers and grandmothers, it seems there are also plenty of inspiring fathers, siblings, spouses, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and children out there. See for yourself what others have shared, and then, if you like, add your own story.

My most inspiring relative is my 15 yr old Autistic daughter! Everyday she opens my mind and heart to be more patient and understanding, to have a deeper trust in God. She makes me see that God has a purpose for us, he would not gave me the job of her mother if he thought I could not handle it and he gave me her as his angel and mine!
-- lisaflan

My husband! I just recently married him back in June but have known him for almost 3 years now. After getting closer and closer to him, I began to get my relationship intact with God. My husband has really lifted and given me encouragement along the way and I love him for it.
-- Malaysha

My Grandma W. on my Dad's side. I grew up in a home riddled with various abuse. When we would go out to Missouri from New Jersey for the summer I would stay with her for the entire six weeks. She loved me for me. She showed me what unconditional love could feel like. When she passed away when I was 12, I was devastated. I still remember all the wonderful times that she and I spent together. I believe that knowing her has made me be a better parent than what I had. Any goodness that I have in me is there because of her.
-- TedeBear

My mom. If it weren't for her and her pushing me to go to church when I REALLY don't want to, then I just might be out on the streets using drugs and pregnant by now. She keeps me in line and she can be a good confidant...sometimes. I can tell her some of my secrets and she'll give me advice.
-- Mormongrl

My Grandmother. She had less than an eighth grade education and began studying the seashells she collected with her children, becoming an expert on several shells and having a piece published in a scientific journal. She had been orphaned early, and family was extremely important to her. She spent time with me, cultivating my love of plants and the wilderness, inspiring me to a career as an herbalist.
-- ksvaughan

My mother. Having lost a husband and raising two kids all the while dealing with two brain tumor operations she still kept teaching and was happy. My mother was a very amazing woman.
-- breanme

My grandmother, after having a very tough life (alcoholic father and husband, living through the Great Depression) she has remained strong, faithful, and full of joy. Since her husband passed away 27 years ago, she has lived every day to the fullest. She has been my strength during my times of pain, and has raised me as her own daughter. Her love and laughter has inspired me to be joyful in life, and to always look for the light at the end of the tunnel.
-- ML52779

My daughter Breanna, age 7, is my inspiration. Breanna was born with congenital heart defects and has had 4 heart surgeries. Recently she was also diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver. Breanna has had a very rough road in life but seems to live life to the fullest. She has taught me so much to have faith in God and that God really hears and answers. Please see her prayer on the prayer circle and say a prayer for her.
-- steph4

My sister Linda. She keeps me lifted and motivated. We lost a brother, but we seem to keep each other happy and in each other's prayers with little notes with spiritual sayings.
-- elton

My grandmother on my mother's side. She had been in a wheelchair for 35 years before she passed away and she never once complained about pain or anything. She did the cooking and cleaning and made the best buttermilk biscuits you ever stuck in your mouth. She was always happy. It lets me and others know that having a disability is not the end of the world.
-- tammyg

My sister-in-law, Faye. In January, 1998, her 28-year-old son committed suicide. In August, 2000 she learned she had breast cancer and kept it to herself until September 5, because my daughter's wedding was September 2, and she didn't want to spoil 'her' special day. Through all of her tribulations her spirits were kept up because of her strong faith in God. When I learned of her having breast cancer she told me that if she could get through losing her son she could get through anything. She opted to have her right breast removed believing that her life was SO MUCH MORE valuable than her breast. She is truly an inspiration to me! I know God will bless her with many more years with us. Thank you for listening and sharing all of your stories.
-- msoileau

My grandfather was 87 years old when my grandmother's Alzheimer's started getting really bad. She made him promise that he wouldn't put her in a nursing home and he kept that promise. He would pull his chair up next to her bed for the last few months of her life at bedtime because she panicked if she woke without him. He spent those nights dozing with her hand in one hand and his rosary in the other. He was 95 years old by that time and fed and bathed and cooked for her for ten years before she died. He died about a year and a half later at his grandson's home. He may not have been a perfect person, but he was to her and he was pretty close to perfect to us.
-- julieemile

My mother, because she loves all of her children unconditionally. She grew up as an abused child and suffered tremendously physically, mentally, emotionally, and sexually. However, she was strong enough to overcome her situation and put aside her past so that she could give her children a different life. She has six children and no matter what we have done, she has always loved us. She still gives birthday parties for her forty something year old son. She brings my little girl Easter baskets and tells her that Santa came to her house too to bring gifts. She's never too busy and she puts us first no matter what. Thanks mom, I will forever be in debt to you and will always strive to be the person you are. Love, your baby.

-- Kaiya

My mother graduated in medicine at a time when many barriers were in place for women in this profession. She and her "sisters" paved the way for the young women of today, including a granddaughter (my niece). She married soon after graduation, saw her husband off to the WWII battlefields of Europe at a time when she was 5 months pregnant with my oldest brother. Despite her education, she devoted her subsequent years to what she saw as a higher calling and vocation: creating a home for her children and her husband. When she passed away into God's presence nearly 5 years ago, she accepted the inevitable with great grace and courage.
-- lizard1953

My gay uncle is my biggest inspiration. He gave me the courage to accept what god made me and be honest to all my family and friends.
-- kliffee

A Great Aunt who I never met! Although the women in my family ALL inspired me as far as creativity, moxy, independence and forward-thinking, often against the grain, the one woman who really influenced me was my grandmother's sister. She had no children of her own. She took care of my mom when she was girl. Mom's family had very little money left from the Depression. I love this woman dearly for having taken care of my sweet mom. From what I understand, Aunt Annabell lavished mom with treats from marvelous clothing to manicures and sewing lessons. (The material goodies unheard of during the Depression). Now that I cannot have any children, I became a special education tutor. It is very fulfilling. I give it my all in the name of my Aunt Annabell.
-- Spiritous

My younger brother. We had a very rough childhood. Our mother died when we were 9 and 10 years old. My father remarried, remarried, and remarried. My brother had the hardest time with all the changes. He now has a son of his own and he loves him with all his being. I love my brother and thank God for helping both of us through all our trying times.
-- tcomby

My Mother made us go to church, even when we were so poor we hardly had clothes to wear. She always saw a way and taught us never say we couldn't do something until we tried; she had a great faith in God and to this day I can see how God met her needs. When things were tough she would say "there is always a silver lining behind every cloud." Thank you, Mama. She has earned her reward in heaven.
-- starjoyce

My inspiration has to be my 1 1/2 year old son. He is the happiest little boy I have ever seen. He was born 3 months premature (25 weeks), 1 pound 7 1/2 ounces. He has cerebral palsy, cortical vision blindness, brain damage, a feeding tube, does not walk, crawl, roll over, sit up, or talk, has had 4 surgeries before he was 1 and a couple of more after, communicates great with a smile and laugh, doesn't know hate, only really cries when really sick or tired. He has taught me a lot of patience and endurance...and I thank God every day for him.
-- hopefloats_2

My sister Cheryl. Her only son and youngest child died very tragically and unexpectedly on Oct. 4, 2000. She misses her son so profoundly that living day to day is very hard and yet she has never been angry at God or blamed him for what happened. I love her so much and admire her for not being angry at God through all this pain. She is most definitely my hero and daily inspiration. Please pray for the Lord to ease the pain of missing her son so much.
-- tlheintz3

My most inspirational relative has been my aunt who is also a Franciscan Nun, and Mother Superior of her convent. All my life she has listened to me deny the existence of God and that religion was only for the weak. At 47, while my mother was in the hospital, I felt compelled to go to the Chapel. There I sat quietly and understood what many people understand about spirituality, God, religion... When I told my Aunt I prayed for the first time in my life and how much it helped me to gain insight and strength and not feel alone, she just smiled and said, "I knew one day you would find out it really works!" She never condemned me for my lack of belief, and was always accepting and patient. Now when I say "God Bless You", she knows I really mean it and not just saying it out of respect for her position.
-- mkinsella

My husband's aunt Hildegard was my most inspiring relative. She suffered from a form of MS, never had children, and lost her much-older husband when she was in her fifties. I've never met anyone more genuinely interested in other people. Not in a nosy way, but in a supportive, enthusiastic way. She kept a large old house where she welcomed friends of all ages until she was unable to care for herself. She made the decision to move into assisted living. She never stopped making friends. At eighty she accepted Christ as her Saviour. I think she behaved more like a Christian her whole life than most Christians I know. After that time she absolutely glowed with joy as she continued to encourage friends and acquire new friends. I miss her so much. She's my role model.
-- longhornmo

My 5-year-old daughter is my inspiration. When she was 18 months old had to have surgery to open and enlarge her skull so that her brain would have room to grow. Every day of my daughter's life she faces more challenges and adversities than I have in my entire life!! Everyone that meets her says that she is like a 200-watt light bulb. She is full of life, and the most determined individual I know. Absolutely nothing slows her down. She is my Strength (through God) and has shown me that you should make the best of what you have and not worry or complain about the things you don't have, because after all the most important thing is life itself. It is the Ultimate gift from God.
-- Taz3138

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