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Beyond My Reach

“I found it! I found it!” I exclaimed. My family looked at me with strange curiosity as I held up the book Charlotte’s Webb. This book, along with a ceramic Care Bear, is my most treasured childhood possessions.

I was in the fourth grade when my appendix ruptured, flooding my body with toxins. The emergency surgery left an ugly scar which now is my visual reminder that God saved my life!

I had many visitors, during my lengthy hospital stay, including my teacher, Mrs. Hodges. She brought me a copy of Charlotte’s Web (the book our class was reading) and a ceramic Care Bear figurine named Wish Bear.

After returning to the classroom, I was behind in math. Understanding long division seemed beyond my reach. Mrs. Hodges tutored me every day after school. With her help and inspiration from the Wish Bear figurine, I eventually mastered long division.

This little bear provided inspiration in the fourth grade and beyond. My struggle with mathematics pursued me in undergraduate and pharmacy school. I sought tutoring in Calculus, Physics, and Pharmacokinetics. I did not allow my struggle with math to hinder my desire to become a pharmacist. Wish Bear sat atop my desk and inspired me in elementary school, JMU and pharmacy school. This little bear is my visual reminder of Matthew 19:26, “with God all things are possible.” I trust in a God who holds everything in the palm of His hand (Isaiah 40:12). Nothing is out of God’s reach!

With God all things are possible. (Matthew 19:26 NIV)

Thirty years later, a wave of nostalgia washes over me as I read Charlotte’s Webb to my own fourth grade daughter. I look into the eyes of my precious girl, thinking she is the age I was when I was hospitalized; when life itself seemed beyond my reach. I touch the rough abdominal scar and tears puddle on the book. Rachel looks up, concern on her face, and I hug her tight. I retell the story of my traumatic fourth grade event and how God saved my life.

Being confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you

will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ.

(Philippians 1:6 ASV)

The Care Bear figure still rests on my desk. Thirty years later, this gift is a visual reminder that with God, nothing is beyond my reach. We may never know the ripple effect of one simple act of generosity. Inspired to share this story, I wrote Mrs. Hodges and thanked her for being a wonderful teacher and for inspiring me that nothing was beyond my reach.


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