Sunday night I hurried across S. Perry Street and into the front doors of First Baptist Church.
I made small talk with the lady crossing the street with me, as a good Southern girl would do.
She was a member at this enormous and lovely historic church and I knew if I stuck tight to her side I wouldn’t get lost as I journeyed to the sanctuary.
We made our way into the church with ease and walked in to find our seats.
I quickly realized that I was not-so-fashionably early.
I found myself on the bottom floor, close to stage, in anxious anticipation to listen to the speakers.
Katherine and Jay Wolf were in town to share their story and launch their new book Hope Heals.
The story of overcoming a tragic loss and surviving daily through Hope in Jesus.
Katherine Wolf suffered from a stroke in 2008 and nearly died. Her life has not been the same since this tragedy, but indeed, her life has been a story of treasure and hope to hearts all over our nation.
Literally, people all over were praying for Katherine Wolf.
Their story hit close to this Montgomery home of ours, seeing as Jay was from the Capital City and son of the First Baptist Church Pastor.
Soon after Katherine’s stroke in 2008, people passed out post cards all over the city that read “Pray for Katherine Wolf”.
And we did.
We all did.
We prayed and fasted, read closely to updates, and prayed again.
I can remember going in to get my hair trimmed and my hair dresser pointed to her “Katherine post card” that was sticking to the side of her mirror and said “are you praying for Katherine Wolf?”
“Yes ma’am” I replied.
She responded “Good, I have to make sure every person that I meet knows to pray for her.”
Her story of survival and hope spread like wildfire and the Montgomery Community felt extremely connected to their lives as some of them prayed for a couple they had never met.
Sunday night was this wild opportunity to sit and listen, 8 years later, to a couple that a room of hundreds of people had prayed for.
We laughed, we cried, we worshipped, we prayed.
It was breathtaking to witness what God has done, but more importantly to hear what it really means to hope.
Never, in all my evers, have I heard a message on hope that came alive the way Katherine and Jay’s did Sunday evening.
But, sitting in the presence of God and listening to His spirit work through this couple, hope was washed over the entire audience.
They talked to us with intention in their tones and organic emotion.
As I sat and listened, I began to feel the shift in my own soul.
Most people with lives affected by great loss tend to share a story that’s only theirs, with no ability to engage and connect, but Katherine and Jay have taken their story of tragedy and applied it to all forms of life and loss.
It was remarkable.
“I believe that pain is pain, no matter what the form, but perspective is also perspective. Ultimately, ours is the story of a life overcome by hope. We are discovering joy even in the sadness and choosing contentment when it is very, very hard. For that, and for countless other blessings, I am so grateful to God. In some ways, Jay and I have been blessed to suffer greatly at such a young age because it informs the way we live the rest of our lives. We have learned that when everything else is gone, hope remains.
Perhaps some detours aren’t detours at all. Perhaps they are actually the path, the picture. And, perhaps most unexpectedly, they can be perfect.”-Katherine Wolf.
I know there was not a single soul that walked away from that night with a heart that wasn’t shifted in the best way possible.
I felt like they were speaking directly to my soul.
Every single plan, every single moment, every single everything is for the glory of God.
Every hiccup and loophole that we must work through never ends in despair.
Hope is the anchor for our souls.
And, we have the chance to choose that, every day.
This book, it is a MUST. READ. (Available April 26, 2016)
and you MUST have a box of tissues in hand.
It doesn’t end in sadness, it ends in hope.
Hope that heals.
Katherine and Jay, your hearts are truest gold and your love for Jesus is so honest. Thank you for loving people well and treating others with such relational kindness. Your ministry is moving mountains in the Kingdom of God and a drawing in a world of people who have not yet found hope in Jesus. Thank you for choosing this life to touch your community with the abundance of the Gospel. It was an honor and beautiful privilege to hear your hearts.