Amid the swirling fears of the unknown and the losses stacked higher than the victories, a question kept bubbling up to the surface of my mind: Will you trust Me still? And I decided that no matter what lay ahead for us, we could not let anything obscure our view of the God who inexplicably gave us everything, even in the taking away. The God who gave us our deepest desires, not like a genie would, but like a loving Father who offers us what we would want if we knew everything He knew. The God who ultimately gave us the one thing we needed more than anything else in the world . . . Himself. — Jay Wolf in Hope Heals
Will you trust Me still?
You, reading this: will you trust Him still?
I don’t pretend to know all the things you have experienced or are dealing with or are afraid of. I feel quite safe in assuming that you’ve had some hard times, there’s a current struggle (or more) or that there are unknowns out there in your future.
Am I right? (And all the people said Amen!)
Then let me implore you to read this book. Sure, not many of us have suffered a massive brain stem stroke. But surely all of us have had unexpected twists and turns in life. I’ll share a few of mine to get you thinking:
My grandfather (Daddy Pat) died of cancer before we expected him to and about twelve hours before I was set to be at his bedside. On his last night, he asked my parents when I was coming, but I was too late.
My dad lived just five months after a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. I recall sobbing on the phone to my brother “what if dad’s not here for Miles’ first birthday?” He wasn’t.
Our move to Nashville had been set to happen in March of 2006. The very month my dad went Home. We bought a house in Montgomery and settled in. (Or so we thought.)
A week after moving into that house, two lines should up quite unexpectedly on a pregnancy test. I called my mama weeping and afraid.
I found myself sitting on a counselor’s couch. (You know, in between all the vomiting episodes of those days.)
We had three kids age four and under.
Our first born’s kindergarten year was the pits, even after I’d prayed so hard that we’d make the right choices and he’d have the right teacher.
I told my dad’s very sickly momma that he was waiting for her in heaven. She died early the next morning.
Homeschooling was hard.
The economy tanked. Have you ever had creditors calling non-stop and wondered if you’d have money for groceries?
My dad’s sister died, fourteen years after a stage four ovarian cancer diagnosis.
God put a fourth child on our hearts during that very time. Both our hearts, which confirmed it was God. No good providing man would decide to have a fourth child in uncertain times of his own accord.
We put the boys back in school when that fourth baby turned one, though I thought I’d homeschool forever.
Elijah was diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Something that I’d suspected but denied.
Ella struggled to learn to read. Big time. Both of her kindergarten years were very hard. (Could be one reason I’m very much dreading Milla starting kindergarten in the fall?)
God called us to move to Nashville when we thought we’d figured out His plan for us. It was like giving up everything we’d known. It was giving up everything we’d known, except for each other and our children.
So you see, I’ve had some very hard times and some intense and unexpected changes come my way and you have, too. You’re thinking of them right now, aren’t you?
We all hold on tightly to things that we really shouldn’t. Things that are both wonderful and some that are harmful. We ought to hold only to our Father and the hope that Jesus offers, because they are all we have that will last forever. God gives and takes away and we have to hang on tightly to our hope at every turn.
In Hope Heals, Katherine and Jay inspire readers to live like that: holding on to a hope that not only heals bodies, but heals souls. It’s not just the only hope we truly have, it’s the most wonderful hope we could ever imagine.
This wonderful hope doesn’t mean life stops hurting, however. But it means that there’s always something up ahead, though it may be out of sight, that will bring us unimaginable joy. Forever.
Katherine and Jay,
It’s been a great privilege to be part of the Hope Heals book launch team. Your hope in Christ and your love for each other has made a profound impression on me. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing your story with the world, for showing us that God’s plans are truly always better, and teaching us to #hopeitforward.
grace and peace and love to you,
Just a quick few updates on my laundry list of “twists and turns” up there:
Dad didn’t live until Miles’ first birthday, but that sweet baby boy accompanied us on many trips to UAB Hospital and brought his Poppa countless smiles in days that were full of pain and fear. God knows just what we need.
I would’ve never planned to become pregnant just after Dad died and just before Miles turned one. But had it been up to me, the world would be missing my feisty, passionate, big-loving Ella. God knew that she was exactly what we needed.
God showed me that not one single thing changed about Elijah once he was diagnosed with ASD. And He gently reminded me of the preparation He gave me way back in graduate school and my early days as a speech-language pathologist. Elijah teaches me daily to keep trusting the Lord and he’s taught me about saying what you mean and meaning what you say. And love – he’s taught me an awful lot about love.
The day after those two lines showed up on that fourth baby pregnancy test? God provided three side jobs for Jonathan and gently placed us back on our feet after a very scary several months. He was simply waiting for us to take a leap of faith.
Milla is our sweet, fun-loving baby girl. She still makes us take leaps of faith – she keeps telling me I’ll just have to “be brave” when she goes to kindergarten. Man, I love that baby girl.
Homeschooling is hard. Sending kids to school is hard. It’s all hard, but so sanctifying.
Ella is thriving in second grade now. She’s learned tenacity and persistence through struggle at an early age. He’s preparing her for something yet to come.
The whole move to Nashville thing still confounds me from time to time. I truly love it here and in some ways I kinda hate it – more on that in a future post perhaps. For now I’ll share that when the move first came up I told God in prayer that “this move has to be about something more than the business.” And even though He’s (trying) to prune me through some challenges here, I know full well that it was always about more than Jonathan’s business. It’s always been about God’s business.