Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Hope Heals

Hope Heals  

Written By: Katherine and Jay Wolf

Book Overview:

When all seems lost, where can hope be found?
Katherine and Jay married right after college and sought adventure far from home in Los Angeles, CA. As they pursued their dreams, they planted their lives in the city and in their church community. Their son, James, came along unexpectedly in the fall of 2007, and just 6 months later, everything changed in a moment for this young family.
On April 21, 2008, as James slept in the other room, Katherine collapsed, suffering a massive brain stem stroke without warning. Miraculously, Jay came home in time and called for help. Katherine was immediately rushed into micro-brain surgery, though her chance of survival was slim. As the sun rose the next morning, the surgeon proclaimed that Katherine had survived the removal of part of her brain, though her future recovery was completely uncertain. Yet in that moment, there was a spark of hope. Through 40 days on life support in the ICU and nearly 2 years in full-time brain rehab, that spark of hope was fanned into flame.
Defying every prognosis, with grit and grace, Katherine and Jay, side by side, struggled to regain a life for Katherine as she re-learned to talk and eat and walk. Returning home with a severely disabled body but a completely renewed purpose, they committed to celebrate this gift of a second chance by embracing life fully, even though that life looked very different than they could have ever imagined. In the midst of continuing hardships and struggles, both in body and mind, Katherine and Jay found what we all long to find...hope, hope that heals the most broken place, our souls.
An excruciating yet beautiful road to recovery has led the Wolf family to their new normal, in which almost every moment of life is marked with the scars of that fateful April day in 2008. Now, eight years later, Katherine and Jay are stewarding their story of suffering, restoration, and Christ-centered hope in this broken world through their ministry Hope Heals.

My thoughts:

I don't know where to begin with my review of this book.  I was so blessed by this story.  I can honestly say that this story of hope might not have been so moving to me had I come across it a year ago.  Its funny how the trials we face and the storms we weather draw us to things and people that we might have overlooked.  My father suffered a severe ischemic stroke on November 21, 2015.  It seems the list of things we were told he would never do was longer than the list of things they were hoping he would do.  It was very discouraging. It has not been an easy road to walk but has shown all of us who have walked with him, a thing or two about life.  We have a greater appreciation for the 'little things' that people take for granted. One thing that Katherine said in this book that really gave me a different point of view was about miracles.  She talked about people saying that she was such a miracle but yet from her perspective this miracle didn't feel so great. That has given me a different perspective because I know many times we have told my dad that he is a miracle, but I never stopped to think about what that 'miracle' looked like to him.  Or the fact that it meant he was unable to live normally. There is another time in the book where she says, "I can give God the glory and it can still hurt."  I can see where that could be applied to difficult times in life, not just from healing from a stroke. At one point her husband talks about reading through the book of Job and how he saw his wifes name in that story. He talked about his new connection with this book of the bible. I love this quote that follows, "I considered the reality that sometimes suffering comes because of the decisions we make; sometimes it comes as a way for God to gauge His place in our hearts; and sometimes it comes simply as a by-product of living in a world that is in a state of falling apart. Yet no matter the origin of the suffering, God's presence remains the same. He finds us in our hurts, if we want to be found. His power to filter the worst that life has to offer, with goodness remaining, is our great hope." I feel like I could just quote this entire book and talk about how it applies to multiple different struggles we face in life.  I highly recommend this book.  If you know or love someone who has survived a stroke or if you simply need to be reminded of the power of hope, this story is truly inspiring and you won't be disappointed. 
I randomly went out on a limb and decided to fill out the contact us form on the Hope Heals ministry page, to thank her for sharing her story and tell her about my dad... and I was overwhelmed with kindness and hope from the reply that I received.  I was tickled pink to get a response from the author!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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