A note from Kelly King: I began to hear Katherine Wolf’s story a couple of years ago and have been moved and inspired by her courage. Most of all, her story encourages hope. I love that hope is a confident expectation of God’s faithfulness and sovereignty. Today, may you find hope in Kaye’s article and in Katherine’s story. To learn more, find her book, Hope Heals, here.
A friend of mine recently gave me a gift. It was a sweatshirt, and it says, “Hope Sweet Hope.” I love it. It’s so…hopeful. There really is something sweet about that word. Hope. It seems any pain, struggle, trial, or difficulty is made palatable if there is hope. Hope for improvement of any kind, hope for an end to the season, hope for healing.
I met hope personified a couple of weeks ago. I met her at a Lifeway event called Going Beyond Live with Priscilla Shirer. Her name is Katherine Wolf, and I was marked by meeting her.
Her story is extraordinarily painful to hear and extraordinarily hopeful. Eleven years ago Katherine suffered a massive brain stem stroke without warning. She and her husband Jay are stewarding their story of suffering, restoration, and Christ-centered hope in this broken world through their ministry, Hope Heals. Her book of the same name tells their story with honesty and vulnerability; I highly recommend it to anyone ministering to people in pain.
What struck me about hearing her story in person as well as reading her book was her fierce faith and trust in a sovereign God, as well as her hope for her own recovery and healing against all odds. Her testimony eleven years in is triumphant and faith-inspiring. However, to jump straight from the tragedy of her stroke to the bubbly, hopeful testimony of today is to miss the heart and true hope of her story. Katherine herself gives honest and vulnerable testimony to the difficulty of the days between then and now. Between then and now is a waiting. As I listened to her tell her story, this is what I heard about how to remain hopeful in the waiting:
We must relentlessly pursue…
A Fervent Commitment to Prayer. Prayer and belief that God will faithfully answer their prayers were foundational in Jay and Katherine’s story. If you are struggling, in pain, and find your hope waning, fervently commit to praying it through. Talk to God about all of it. He loves you, He sees you, He hears you, and He will help you.
A Faithful Support System. Jay and Katherine had/have a church family and friends who provide ongoing support to them. It’s one thing to have support; it’s another thing all together to accept that support and help. If someone offers to help you in your need, let them! They are a provision and a gift from God to your life. If someone you know is in need of help, offer them your support as well.
Fierce Courage to Grieve Fully. The trauma of Katherine’s stroke to the entire family is signficant. In telling their story, they share honestly about the value of caring for their whole selves by grieving fully and facing all the emotions, fears, and feels in a way that facilitates healing. I encourage the same for all of us.
If you are in a season of pain or loss, I am so sorry. If you have experienced trauma, please seek the help of a counselor or other pastoral care. You are not alone. There is a hope to anchor to in Jesus, and it is indeed, Hope sweet Hope.
Kaye Hurta has a Masters Degree in counseling from Liberty University and is a crisis counselor for Women’s Events through Lifeway Christian Resources. Whether speaking, singing, or listening, Kaye’s passion is to help others find intimacy with Christ and soul transformation through the living pages of His Word. Kaye met and married her husband Chris in Austin, Texas in 1987. They have two daughters through the miracle of adoption, Madison and Cami. They live in the Chicago burbs where they are both on staff at Willow Creek Community Church. Kaye is also a contributing author for the Lifeway resource, Women Reaching Women in Crisis.