We met and graduated from Samford University in Birmingham, AL. After marrying in 2004, we moved to Malibu, California, where Jay attended Pepperdine Law School and Katherine pursued a career in the entertainment industry. In April of 2008, at the age of twenty-six, Katherine suffered a massive brain stem stroke while six-month-old, James, slept in the next room. She was not expected to live or recover, but as you may have guessed, she did both. In the time since the stroke, she has re-learned to eat, to speak, and to walk, though all those things look very different than they did before. Many other obstacles remain, from double vision to deafness, facial paralysis to lack of fine motor coordination in her hand, even a small brain aneurysm (which was removed in November of 2013!), and yet hope remains also. We celebrate the beauty and the pain because each day is a gift from God. We know that all too well.
Seven years later, our lives are moving forward in directions we never could have imagined. We have been so grateful to share our story and our hope through many different forums online, in person, and in print. We've been given a platform and a stewardship that we cannot deny. Though we don't exactly know how the future will unfold, we are leaping forward in faith in the full-time ministry of Hope Heals. We like to think of ourselves as missionaries of hope, messengers who have come a long way to bring the good news that hope in Christ heals our souls.
Hope is a powerful force. It charges us to live in the present as if we already knew the end of the story. It makes a previously-saved, drowning rat keep swimming on for days in the hopes of another rescue. It allows a concentration camp survivor to endure a living hell at the thought of impending liberation. It inspires a young stroke survivor to keep living a beautiful life though it looks so different than she ever thought it would.
The experience of true hope can make you do things you never thought you could.
For us, hope has not been in good thoughts or the positivity of the human spirit. As nice as they are, those things fade shockingly fast when you experience the deepest pains of life. The hope we desperately cling to with every fiber of our being is the only true hope that heals--hope in Jesus Christ.
Hope that He will one day mend all broken bodies and broken hearts. Hope that He will create new life and breath-taking beauty out of the ashes of death. Hope that He will withhold no good thing from us because He loves us that much.
This hope has the power to heal us in the place that is most deeply broken, our souls. It enables us to keep swimming, to walk through hell if we must, and to live.
We are neither Bible teachers nor theologians--we are more like starving beggars telling the others where to find the free bread. We don't know much, but we do know that the gospel of Jesus Christ is good news for us all.
Through some of the darkest storms this broken world has to offer, we have experienced a God of love and redemption and hope.
As the years go by, through His grace, our souls become more steadfastly anchored in Him. We are not undone by the wind and the waves, and that long-awaited shore gets clearer and brighter and closer.
UPDATE: On July 26, 2015, John Nestor Wolf was born, a further reminder in flesh and blood of the story of the gospel, new life where there should be none. You can read the truly unexpected and miraculous story of John's birth, HERE.
To read the original blog from the days following Katherine's stroke, visit katherinewolf.info