‘The Good-Hard Life’: Jay and Katherine Wolf Speak at Lakeview Baptist in Auburn

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By Bradley Robertson

There are a thousand reasons why living in East Alabama is a treat, but one idea I’ve watched grow and evolve since my own childhood is the community and support for families with special needs children and adults.
With our area growing in size and people, the need for services as well as support for these families is necessary and good.
Churches are becoming more accommodating for special needs families; the city schools do their part well in serving all children in our area, and conversations are more open today on seeing and valuing all human life as beautiful and important.
Last Friday, my husband and I had the opportunity to serve as greeters at Lakeview Baptist church in Auburn for their annual event, Near His Heart.
The mission of this event is to “celebrate and honor families and loved ones with disabilities.” Their focus is, “to encourage and uplift parents and caregivers through offering them a night of dinner and an encouraging message while their children enjoy a special event just for them.”
As part of the service and heart behind the project, the event is free to all attendees.
This year, the guest speakers were a husband and wife team who live daily in the world of disability, Katherine and Jay Wolf. They are well known across the country for their story and gift of hope to all people through their mission, Hope Heals.
More than 10 years ago, while living in Los Angeles, Katherine, at 26 years old and with a new baby boy, experienced a sudden stroke in her home. Luckily, her husband Jay was stopping by to grab some items for school and Katherine was rushed to the hospital.
Katherine miraculously survived the surgery and underwent years of rehab to learn to speak and walk and live all over again in her new, disabled body.
Katherine writes in their original book Hope Heals, “What has happened to me is extreme; however, it is not that different from what everyone deals with. I am a sort of microcosm for what we all feel. I can barely walk…but who feels free even if they can? My face is paralyzed, but who feels beautiful even when they look normal?…I am tired almost all the time now, but who always feels energized to engage fully in their life?…I have double vision, but who sees everything clearly even if they can see normally? My future is uncertain, but whose isn’t?”
Katherine and Jay took the stage following a dinner served by volunteers and worship music played by a handful of locals within in the community.
They received a standing ovation upon entrance, Jay Wolf pushing his wife towards the front of the room in her wheelchair, smiles and joy seen across their faces. Moments later, Jay sat down with a sigh of relief, his wife beside him, and within minutes Jay remarked, “It’s been a hard day.”
What makes this couple so unique in the way they teach and lead others, is their voice to profess the reality of living in hard times but that goodness is present and the two can go together, hand in hand.
Katherine spoke to the audience saying, “Yes, we have struggle and limitation, but we have to change the way we think and the way we tell our stories…Often, we are so obsessed with our lives, we can’t even see the good.”
Jay and Katherine brought a fresh sense of hope and healing to all the families present. They do not try to dismiss their daily reality of living in a disabled world, but they steward what has been set before them in laughter and perseverance to show others that they can do the same.
The couple brings a sense of peace into their surroundings with their authenticity and charm. For at one time during their speaking, one of them took the other’s speaking part and they played it off well, joking and picking at each other, as most married couples do.
Katherine even made a comical remark that when she was testifying for a disabled mom recently, she commented at the end of the trial saying, “I’d like to make a final statement,” not knowing that only attorneys can actually make a final statement within a state trial.
The Wolf’s are everyday family people, trying to make the absolute best of what God has placed before them. They are examples that each of us have the ability to “Suffer Strong.” They are a visual of hope for people everywhere, whether disabled or not.
Following their speaking, the Wolf’s joined together outside the Fellowship Hall to sign their new book Suffer Strong, of which each family in the audience received a copy.
Upon getting my copy signed, I gave them both a hug and told them thank you. “Thank you for serving our community. Thank you for reaching out to everyone that desperately needs your message of hope.”
You may find out more about Jay and Katherine Wolf on their website: www.hopeheals.com.
Bradley Robertson is a local mother, wife and creative. She’s an Auburn University graduate, loves good food and getting outside with her family. Bradley enjoys feature writing, as well as southern culture and lifestyle writing.

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