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Overcoming Impossibilities

(Rare!) Helen Keller & Anne Sullivan (1930 Newsreel Footage)


This "rare" footage of Helen Keller accompanied by Anne Sullivan almost left me speechless. I was absolutely in awe of the way in which Helen, who was both blind, deaf and mute, overcame the boundaries and limitations set before her.  "Helen Adams Keller was born on June 27, 1880 in Tuscumbia, Alabama. In 1882, she fell ill and was struck blind, deaf and mute. Beginning in 1887, Keller's teacher, Anne Sullivan, helped her make tremendous progress with her ability to communicate, and Keller went on to college, graduating in 1904. In 1920, Keller helped found the ACLU.

The extraordinary determination and courage of Helen Keller to overcome the severe challenge of becoming blind, deaf and mute at 18 months old after contracting an illness called "brain fever" by the family doctor, we can clearly draw the conclusion that all things are possible when the amount of effort, persistence and determination required are released to succeed and accomplish what one desires to do.  It also represents that the reason and determining factor behind why people are committed or uncommitted to fulfillment of purpose and accomplishing goals is simply a matter of choice.

What was even more astounding about Helen Keller's story is how she learned to speak as Ann Sullivan, who had recently graduated from Perkin's Institute for the blind, began to work with her beginning with learning to "finger spell" connecting with objects.  Her journey with Anne Sullivan extended over 49 years during which time Helen Keller mastered several methods of communication, including touch-lip reading, Braille, speech, typing and finger-spelling.  

The ability to learn to speak transformed Helen's life.  Her 1st book and autobiography, "The Story of My Life" was extraordinary.  It told the story about the transformation of her life from childhood to a 21 year old college student, which was used as the basis for the television drama called "The Miracle Worker" in 1957.  In 1959, the story was developed into a Broadway play featuring Patty Duke as Keller and Ann Bancroft as Sullivan. 

From 1894 to 1896, She attended Ratcliff College and graduated cum laude in 1904 at the age of 24.  Helen became a celebrity and well-known lecturer by sharing her experiences with audience and working on behalf of others with disabilities.  She also testified before Congress, strongly advocating to improve the welfare of blind people.

In 1915, along with George Kessler, a renowned city planner in New York, Helen Keller co-founded Helen Keller International to combat the causes and consequences of blindness and malnutrition.  In 1946, Helen was appointed counselor of international relations for the American Foundation of Overseas Blind.  Between 1946 and 1957, she traveled to 35 countries on five continents.  In 1955 at the age of 75, she set out on the longest and most grueling trip of her life in a 40,000 mile journey across Asia, which took 5 months. During her trip she brought encouragement and inspiration to millions of people.  

During her lifetime, she received many honors in recognition of her accomplishments, including the "Theodore Roosevelt Distinguished Service Medal in 1936, the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964, and election to the Women's Hall of Fame in 1965. She also received honorary degrees from Temple University and Harvard University and from the universities of Glasgow, Scotland; Berlin, Germany; Delhi, India; and Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. Additionally, she was named an Honorary Fellow of the Educational Institute of Scotland.  Helen Keller died in her sleep on June 1, 1968, just a few weeks before her 88th birthday.  During her lifetime, she received many honors in recognition of her accomplishments.  During her remarkable life, Keller stood as a powerful example of how determination, hard work, and imagination can allow an individual to triumph over adversity. By overcoming difficult conditions with a great deal of persistence, she grew into a respected and world-renowned activist who labored for the betterment of others."  (Helen Keller, Biography.com)

The story of Helen Keller is a great inspiration to everyone who desires to fulfill their destiny and accomplish great things.  If Helen Keller had the ability to overcome the insurmountable challenges that she faced and experience a total transformation of her life in spite of being blind, deaf and mute, how much more can you accomplish if you are committed to purpose, vision and a worthwhile cause in God. You can make it and overcome everything that opposes you in Jesus mighty name!! Be encouraged to reach beyond the stars, and may the Lord bless you as you endeavor to serve Him and fulfill His will for your life in Jesus wonderful name.  Be sure to "Share" this inspirational story with someone else that you know, and be a blessing to them also.  "I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13 NKJV)

15 Comments to Overcoming Impossibilities:

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Dr. Stanley D. Williams on Saturday, September 28, 2013 4:52 PM
As I began to ponder my beautiful brides latest blog about the life of Helen Keller I was amazed by the tenacity and desire of Ms. Keller. To be born deaf, mute and blind appear to be absolutely insurmountable obstacles but they were obviously not because Helen Keller overcame them all. She became an international inspiration to many and a symbol that with vision,determination and the right mentor One can overcome anything. The question then arises what stops people who don't have a fraction of the obstacles Helen Keller had from excelling. The only plausible answer to the this question is a lack of commitment to purpose. Helen Keller was determined against all odds to learn how communicate with a world she was blocked from by her handicap. She would not take failure for an answer, in her mind the only alternative was success. Because of this type of tenacity and a great desire to help others she affected the lives of many and changed her world for the better. The Bible uses the word impossible 9 times yet Jesus made it clear that nothing is impossible if you only believe. "Matthew 17:20, "And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you." Men are limited in ability but God is not, with God all things are possible. What do you dream of doing are you a budding Joseph, do you see things in your future that seem impossible to achieve but you believe you can. Don't be discouraged, continue to dream and remember when you have faith in God and you seek Him He will reward you. Read the story of Helen Keller, watch the movie be inspired because you were born to taste the grapes and to conquer giants.
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Apostle Bethtina Williams on Wednesday, October 02, 2013 4:51 PM
Amen, Apostle Stanley! Thank you so much for sharing your insightful comments on our community blog. Everything you said was absolutely true. It is nothing more and nothing less than the mindset and mentality of people that keeps them limited in scope and dimension. For this reason, many people never fulfill their greatest potential or overcome self imposed limitations. However, once a person realizes that nothing can stop them from conquering their physical or spiritual giants they are freed to reach beyond the stars and do greater things to the glory of God. God bless you.


Toiya Moffatt on Sunday, September 29, 2013 5:23 PM
Recalling back, I remember when I was first introduced to the story of Ms. Helen Keller and thinking of the strength and courage it took for this woman to overcome such obstacles. I believed that she was somehow exceptional, unique in her ability to accomplish in spite of her limitations, but I've come to realize that we are all exceptional. The difference between people like Ms. Keller and those who are complaisant and stagnant in accomplishing their goals and overcoming the challenges before them is that people like Ms. Keller have taped into the exceptional gifts that God has placed in them to prevail. Everything that we need in already in us. We have been given by God the weapons to fight every spiritual and natural battle and as joint heirs with Jesus Christ we have been guaranteed victory. If God knew us while we were yet being formed and fashioned by His hands then He was also well aware of what we would face. Faith coupled with initiative will always bring about change. Thank you Apostle Beth for another uplifting blog. God bless you!
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Apostle Bethtina Williams on Wednesday, October 02, 2013 6:19 PM
Toiya, thank you so much for contributing to our community blog. Your comments are both enriching and insightful. Initiative, courage, and perseverance are all required to breakthrough barriers and overcome obstacles in life. It is amazing to see how someone who was almost completely detached from this natural realm like Helen Keller was, overcame those limitations to become one of the the greatest success stories in the world. Her real-life story should be an inspiration to us all. It should cause all excuses to erode away into oblivion never to be seen again. Kingdom blessings to you!!


Latresa Lawson on Thursday, October 03, 2013 6:01 PM
Wow Apostle Beth, this is one of my favorite stories. Helen Keller overcame so many obstacles in her life and she accomplished great things. When I think of Ms. Keller I think of the people she was able to help and the lessons that she was able to teach people through her life experiences. It reminds me that we can all be a blessing to someone with our life experiences,to our families, friends, and coworkers. There is always an opportunity to learn new things,and to take a stand for what you believe in, and to make a difference in this world. Our Father put us here on this earth for a reason, we have purpose, and our presence matters. God does the impossible for all who believe in Him!!! Thank you Apostle Beth for sharing this post!!!!
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Apostle Bethtina Williams on Thursday, October 31, 2013 2:34 PM
Latresa, I am elated to hear how much you gleaned from our community blog. The whole intention behind the blog is to motivate and inspire people to take the principles shared and utilize them within their lives everyday. God bless you.


Travis Mimms on Saturday, October 05, 2013 10:44 AM
This is truly a remarkable story of the life of Helen Keller! It brings awareness to the things we take for granted and the power each of us have within us to do whatever we set our mind to do. She battle thru so many things growing up and yet it did not keep her from fulfilling her purpose. Persistence and determination was a key element towards the great things she has accomplished. But greater still is the love and support that she had in her corner. Watching this when I was a boy in grade school I had a different perspective than I do as a man. Helen Keller was deaf, blind, and mute. Most people probably would have given up on their child in today's generation. But this story shows what Love and Support can do!! Any purpose and vision needs Love and Support. With it, it will prosper, but without it, it will fail...
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Apostle Bethtina Williams on Thursday, October 31, 2013 2:39 PM
Travis, thank you for commenting on our community blog. Your perspective concerning persistence and determination is powerful. I takes these to elements to overcome and conquer serious challenges we all face in life. Without persistence and determination operating within our hearts we would simply live average, unfruitful and unproductive lives where very little is accomplished. God bless you.


Candice Mimms on Saturday, October 05, 2013 12:53 PM
The life of Helen Keller is extraordinary. Despite the barriers of being blind, deaf, and mute she overcame what’s known to be barriers. While doing so she inspired others around the world. Her journey is notable because it truly shows the complexity and intelligence that’s present within the human makeup despite the identified barriers. Despite difficulties surrounding us we have the ability to adjust and tap into other abilities such as she did when she directed her attention in the physiological capacity of touch. Her life also describes the natural desire for a human to thrive no matter what they’ve been told they’re capable or incapable of doing. I believe everyone has a desire to advance in life. The key thing to remember from Helen Keller’s life is no matter the circumstance we must know we’re all created by a Great God who does great things and makes great things. Therefore, there are no limitations or boundaries when it comes to us advancing. We have the power and choice to flourish. Great Blog! God bless you Apostle Beth.
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Apostle Bethtina Williams on Thursday, October 31, 2013 2:47 PM
Candice, you always share your comments is such a profound way! Your faithful contribution to our community blog is greatly appreciated. God has created us with the capacity to do great things in spite of barriers and obstacles that we face. When we understand the ability He has given to us and move towards the fulfillment of our purpose and goals with determination, then we will experience great victory which will become and inspiration and encouragement to others. Kingdom Blessings!!


Tracie Fields on Saturday, October 05, 2013 11:56 PM
The story of Helen Keller is a remarkable testimony of how commitment to a purpose will enable one to overcome obstacles and barriers that would hinder the progress of fulfilling a purpose. Ms Keller was determined not to let her handicaps keep her from accomplishing certain goals in her life. Many people would have thrown in the towel and given up. Ms Keller had a desire , determination and persistence Those attributes caused her to succeed in spite of the obstacles. What seemed impossible became possible because she was determined. As people of God if we have that same determination and add to it the power of the most high God we too can do the impossible and do things for God we never imagined. God bless you Apostle Beth for such an encouraging blog
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Apostle Bethtina Williams on Thursday, October 31, 2013 2:52 PM
Tracie, you contribution to our community blog is greatly appreciated. The difference between those who succeed and those who give up is based solely upon a decision. We make decisions everyday, and the decisions that we make ultimately affect our future. The levels of success or failure that we experience is based largely upon the level of determination and persistence that we have on the inside. When we embrace these principles the ability to overcome obstacles and barriers becomes a reality, and we get to enjoy the fruit of good success and fulfillment of purpose. God bless you!!


Nikki Godbolt on Thursday, October 17, 2013 9:30 PM
This is a very powerful and inspirational story concerning the life of Helen Keller. She is one who possessed the drive and determination of an overcomer. We can all learn and glean much from her life story. What I have glean from her is this; no matter what obstacles we may face in life, we can overcome anything if we keep the faith, be determined, and never give up! God Bless!
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Apostle Bethtina Williams on Thursday, October 31, 2013 3:01 PM
Nikki, thank you for sharing on our community blog. You're contribution is appreciated very much. Faith plays a huge role in everything that we do, because our faith determines what we believe in. It is through faith the we are committed and determined to achieve greater things in life, overcome adversities, and inspire others likewise. Faith in God certainly has a large bearing on things also, because when understand how much He cares about us and desires for us to do greater things, it serves to encourage us to live life to its fullest and reach beyond every limitation for the very best. God bless you.


www on Monday, September 15, 2014 5:08 AM
This blog post is Very INFORMATIVE and just FANTASTIC! Great article!
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