Love Is Stronger Than Fear with Amy Julia Becker

S4 E3 | How Brokenness Brings Healing with Katherine Wolf

February 02, 2021 Katherine Wolf Season 4 Episode 3
Love Is Stronger Than Fear with Amy Julia Becker
S4 E3 | How Brokenness Brings Healing with Katherine Wolf
Show Notes Transcript
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Can God truly heal, redeem, and transform brokenness? Katherine Wolf, coauthor of Suffer Strong and cofounder of Hope Heals, talks with Amy Julia about the reality of disability and pain, redefining brokenness and healing, and the game-changing nature of community. (Keep scrolling for book giveaway!)

“Katherine Wolf miraculously survived a catastrophic stroke caused by a congenital brain defect she never knew she had. After a sixteen-hour brain surgery, forty days in the ICU, a year in neuro rehab, and eleven operations, she continues her recovery to this day.” Katherine and her husband, Jay, are the authors of Suffer Strong and Hope Heals and the founders of Hope Heals and Hope Heals Camp.

Connect with Katherine online:

On the Podcast:

“The Lord has really used what was terrible, tragic brokenness and transformed that into something really beautiful. We love our story of redemption.”

“It’s not a rejection of the body that we’re in. It’s a deeper understanding of the body we’re in and how it can enable us to see truths about God differently than if it were ‘normal.’”

“Community is a game-changer for healing.”

“True community isn’t trying to be outcome changers. They’re not trying to pray away your pain. They’re just with you in it… True community isn’t trying to stamp a Jesus sticker on your pain because it’s so much bigger than something a sticker could do…I need the truth of Jesus but not yet. In this moment, I need you to cry with me and feel the loss with me and let it be shocking to you.”

“God has equipped me in these years of suffering.”

“The communal, almost instant, embracing of each other [at camp] has everything to do with the fact that living the ‘American dream’ is no longer available to these families, so they’re not concerned with it anymore. They’re on the other end of the spectrum where they actually are wanting to disrupt the lie that joy only comes in a pain-free life. They are banding together to proclaim that we’re not going to worship the idol of a pain-free life. It’s not available. That’s not our story. But there’s still joy in this story."


BOOK GIVEAWAY

To enter for your chance to win a copy of Suffer Strong, simply share this podcast episode on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, and be sure to tag me when you share it!
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Thank you to Breaking Ground, the co-host for this podcast.

Head, Heart, Hands, Season 4 of the Love Is Stronger Than Fear podcast, is based on my e-book Head, Heart, Hands, which accompanies White Picket Fences. Check out free RESOURCES that are designed to help you respond to the harm of privilege and join in the work of healing. Learn more about my writing and speaking at amyjuliabecker.com.

Note: This transcript is autogenerated using speech recognition software and does contain errors. Please check the corresponding audio before quoting in print.

1 (3s):
Hi friends. I'm Amy Julia Becker and this is love is stronger than Fear a podcast about pursuing hope and healing in the midst of social division. In this season, we're talking about how we can respond to the Brokenness in our own lives and in our society with our whole selves head, heart and hands today, I get to talk to Katherine Wolf about Healing and Brokenness and how she in her husband Jay came to start a camp for people with disabilities and their families that gives them all a little taste of heaven. At the end of this interview, I'll let you know how you can win a copy of Katherine and Jay's beautiful new book. Suffer Strong one quick announcement. Before we get to this interview, for those of you who aren't on my newsletter list, I have a new devotional guide for the season of lent.

1 (49s):
There's a short reading and reflection for every day from Ash Wednesday through Eastern, you have to put it together to be used by individuals or by a group. So if you want to find out more of an order of copy or order some for your small group, just visit Amy Julia Becker dot com. I now my conversation with Katherine Wolf My guests today is Katherine Wolf end. If you don't already know who Katherine is, all I'm going to say right now is that she is the co author with her husband Jay of two beautiful books. Hope Heals and Suffer Strong and also the co founder of the Hope Heals Camp, which were also going to get to talk about more in this episode.

1 (1m 29s):
But for right now, I just want to say, Katherine welcome.

2 (1m 32s):
Thank you. I'm so glad to be here.

1 (1m 34s):
So I just finished reading Suffer Strong I am feeling we're talking on zoom, so I want to hold up the cover of Suffer Strong as if listeners can see it, which they can, but it's really a beautiful, I just love it. So if you are listening to this, I'm just going to encourage you to take a look at the cover of this BOOK its just a picture of Catherine and Jay, but it is a really, it's just a really lovely book cover. So I want to hold it up right now for everybody to see. And I will say, Oh, I so appreciated this BOOK and before I dive in to all of my questions about what you wrote about and asking you to say more, I feel like it's important for listeners to get some of the backstory about who you are in your story.

1 (2m 20s):
So you went from being a young, married 20 something model living in Los Angeles to who you are now. And I'd love for you to just narrate that story a bit for people.

2 (2m 33s):
Absolutely. I'm married. I'm in Georgia at 22 years old and my husband and I set out of an adventure to California. We didn't really know why, but we just had the gun to a spirits and said, lets do this. And I think we went to Pepperdine law school and I was doing a lot of the funny things to make ends meet. And we had a

3 (3m 0s):
M about three years into our marriage and then six months after he was born, I had a massive brainstem stroke out of nowhere with no mourning, no medical history, nothing. Just one moment. It was called an arterial venous malformation or AVM. And its kind of like a really severe brain aneurysm that ruptures anywhere in the body, but mine was in the brainstem and it caused a massive stroke and yeah, I I'm very, nearly died from it, but I did now obviously after two years of a basic recovery, I began to regain a number of functions and I went a year without eating in 18 months without walking it at all.

3 (3m 58s):
And yeah, life has been absolutely incredible post-stroke but an entirely different because my body is still very physically disabled and I could not drive a car. I can not walk on my own without the assistance. I'm definitely near a blind in one eye. My face is paralyzed on one side, my hate one hand doesn't work. I don't have fine motor control and many, many other issues. And yet life has been just amazing for me. I had gone on to have an aseptic child, John, who is now five years old and my husband and I get to share and speak and write about art journey.

3 (4m 44s):
And what do you have a camp for families with disabilities? And we just feel like the Lord has really M U is what was, you know, terrible tragic Brokenness from a young age and just transform that into something really beautiful. Then we get to the champion for a whole lives. I mean, we love that. I We love our story of redemption.

1 (5m 8s):
Well, I love your story of redemption too. And I felt myself getting teary, just hearing you recount what happened because I can remember we had a mutual friend, which is how I first met you. And I remember when you first had your stroke, I'm praying for you and that's long before we ever met in person. But I know that was True that just, you know, there were so many people who are really struck even at that time because you were so young and it was so unexpected and so massive. And again, to think of the ways in which those prayers kind of seeded so much unexpected, beauty and growth, like it didn't all happen in the way anyone would of expected.

1 (5m 48s):
And yet here you are. And how many years ago, how many years ago was that

3 (5m 52s):
You talking about 12 and a half. So it was April of 2008. So it's I guess a little over 12 and a half years now since the stroke. I'm 38 and it was swimming sips and a half of the store.

1 (6m 5s):
Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Well, so I'd love to hear you talk a lot about Healing in Suffer Strong and I'm sure you talk about it in a simple way, but also a complicated way because what you were saying in Suffer Strong is I am healed. I have been healed. And yet you also write about how Healing has been different than what you or others might've ever expected and anticipated. So I'm just wondering if you can talk a little bit about what has been different than expected, what you mean when you say you've been healed, what that experience has been like.

3 (6m 41s):
Yeah, absolutely. So traditionally, when you think of Healing, what comes to mind for most of this physical Healing of course the, the body is healed with that in my case, in and of itself is complicated because if you look at where I was after the stroke, to where I am today, you would consider that a pretty dramatic Healing has happened. However, if you are going to look at me today on the street and you didn't know my story at all, and you were to have a thousand percent say, I am not healed after the massive stroke. My first thought on that there was always really important to communicate is that I always thought that he delaying meant the body is a restored to where it, it was pre-incident however, on the journey that I really feel like God has taken me on through these years is to recognize that true, true Healing has nothing to do with the body.

3 (7m 52s):
The body is wasting away for all of us. At various times in life, mine is happening super early. However, the Sol is what matters. That is what was most, most broken was not my body after the stroke, it was in my heart. It was just in a million pieces. How could this happen? To me? My feelings were just so hurt. I felt like God really hurt my feelings. God really messed up here. Yeah. And years and years of processing and reckoning or reasoning with God led me to recognize that my feelings aren't hurt anymore by God and in the way that only God can transform the mind.

3 (8m 42s):
I think that this transformation happened when I wear, I was able to see that I have been healed and the most broken place of All, which was the heart, the soul is that it had nothing to do with the physicality ever. That it's all about the condition of posture I live with. Oh. And are looking to my savior. So it's actually a paradigm shift. This has nothing to do with the physical world at all. I, I wish I didn't think of this because I bought it yet, but I love this quote, CS Lewis says, you,

4 (9m 21s):
You don't have a soul. If you are a sole, you have a body.

3 (9m 29s):
Hmm. I am not my body. I am my soul. I am my memories. I had my faith. I had my personality to some of who I am is not how capable my body is or isn't, which is so beautifully translated has, God really opened my eyes to this, get into all of our work in advocacy advocacy for the disabled community, because of course their capability in the world is by and large figure really low. And yet I believe that has zero impact on whether or not they experience a credit card Healing because the way we see it is so, so wrong.

1 (10m 12s):
I have so many thoughts based on what you just said. Katherine and one of them is one of them was actually going back to do, you know, John Swinton at all. He's a, so I'm super familiar. Okay. He's a theologian who has worked a lot with people with disabilities and especially with dementia, actually So intellectual disability. But he wrote to me once, this is just in like an email exchange when I was asking him about Healing and he said, do you know, the biblical understanding of health is not the absence of disease or injury. It's the presence of God. And what I'm struck by is the sense that, and this is from reading your books and getting to know you guys a bit, but like the That in.

1 (10m 57s):
So on the one hand, what you're saying is like the body is just, it doesn't matter. That's not what we needed to be really thinking about it. But on the other hand, it's the experience of physical disability that is actually enabled your soul to heal and your heart. Do you know,

3 (11m 16s):
It's not our objection of the body that we are in? No, it's a deeper understanding of the body we're in and how it can enable us to see Theresa Mount God differently than if it were quote unquote normally than having to me is like everything in life, having to go a harder way. I can truly enable a different level of understanding.

1 (11m 42s):
I'm thinking about it. There's this one place in Suffer Strong where you write, we are all disabled and I just would love from your own experience for you. Because I think probably I know, I feel way in terms of just having a child with an intellectual disability, I can see my own disabled ness. It diff far differently than I could before. But in some ways, I mean, I think I would say this, like I was disabled. I was more disabled when I had no understanding of disability than I am now. Like, and so I would love for you to talk a little bit about that from your own experience.

3 (12m 16s):
Of course, I would completely agree actually that long before I was struggling with many physical disabilities, I did not know it probably, but I was dealing with many internal disabilities. I called them and visible wheelchairs. So we all have so much Brokenness inside of us. So many things that are messed up, you know, Fear is and various shame. And in securities haunting memories so much for going on in us, all eyes of mental illness and sufferings.

3 (12m 60s):
And there's just so much in our heads and in our hearts that we need a wheelchair for it. Doesn't it. It's not one that you would see at the grocery store, but no doubt who would not want a big sign that says, treat me with care. I'm fragile. I've been through a lot. And I mean, we all want it. So in a way that the outer a realtor does that give me this strange freedom. It's so interesting that being seeded in a wheelchair is actually this freeing agent for me because people treat me with more care. It's very clear. I'm going to do a lot.

3 (13m 41s):
And there is this, there's this beautiful compassion when there is an outer wheelchair. Sometimes, hopefully that is not present for people who have been with the internal wheelchairs. And I'm very aware of that. That may be in some very bizarre twists, a plot twist here that because of the wheelchair, people are more gentle with me and we would often not that so deeply. And I I'm, I'm blessed that because now I do have a significant limitations with that. That is a reality. And I, I would say also in this conversation about Healing I find it so beautiful that in my story, so many of the elements of things that were not to put unquote Heals that have not been restored post-stroke are from the surgeon, like people think, Oh, well she's a stroke survivor, so that why she has all these issues, but that's actually not exactly right.

3 (14m 55s):
Yeah. I have all of these issues because the wise and careful surgeon made the decision to Broome to me very greatly in order for my own healing to come. And that is a very, very powerful takeaway and all of our stories that I'm kind of this word picture of wounding to Healing, as it says, in the book of job, that there is tremendous wounding, but for hops, it is so key in Lincoln com. And I, I love the thought that in our woundings, there is also a tremendous Healing

1 (15m 34s):
Well, and also just that sense that like that is the work that God is always doing like that there's always a movement towards healing, but, and I, again, as you just described yourself as a word picture, and that's such a great sense of like, we, if we can imagine, yeah. That Healing, doesn't always look like what we expect. One of the things that when Penney was first born, I was really struck by was My what I recognized had always been my image of an ideal human being and that when I thought hard about it, Peter and I talked about this a lot that we really saw an ideal human being.

1 (16m 14s):
If we push the image, I was like a superhero, like very incredibly physically capable, but also really isolated, like truly what we saw as an ideal human being with someone who didn't need anyone else. And as we thought about that, we were like, Oh my gosh, first of all, that's really sad. And second of all, that's so not what we've ever said. We believed about who God created us to be as people in community with each other. Right. Yeah. I'm curious if you can talk also about community, like the role of community in your healing, because obviously there's been this individual experience of Healing, but I think there is both a communal aspect in terms of how com and you write about some really beautiful communities in Suffer Strong like How of different communities helped you heal, but also how has your Healing helped communities as well?

3 (17m 9s):
Oh, my goodness. Community is a game changer for healing. I believe that there is a, a big, big link between someone's ability to, I mean, science has proven this. There's a lot of research that suggests people heal better in communities. It's very critical to healing for me. And I have been in my life. I have been the beneficiary of many, many deep communities that are believing for me when I could not believe for myself. And that is that the true value of a, that is likeminded in your face is that they can tell you the things, you know, to be true, but you can't believe for yourself in that moment.

3 (17m 59s):
They're there reinforcing the truth so that you desperately need to hear. And, and very practically, especially in the more cute seasons of suffering community has rallied around my family to provide what we need to cope and to make it more okay to suffer. There are not True community ISN trying to be outcome changers. So I'm not trying to pray away your pain, their just with you in it. So I think in the, you know, drug and I talk a lot about half of the most helpful, a meaningful Community people in our lives, and we're not the ones saying like, you know, God is going on all the time or, or something.

3 (18m 51s):
They're the one saying, I can not believe this happened to you and living that, just sit and not pushing a button on it, but just saying, this is horrible. And that was so he had like, just having someone say, I'm in shocked how much you're going through and you're, you're going, yes, you are. I want that from you because I care what you think. And I, I love knowing that this is a nightmare to you. Yes, I am. In the PIP of health. Thank you. And the True community, is it trying to stay up a Jesus sticker on your pain? Because it's so much bigger than something a sticker could do.

3 (19m 32s):
I mean, I got a bullet wound and over a year, I didn't need a little like piece of Jesus. And this moment I knew that I need a lot of tooth of Jesus, but not yet. In this moment, I need you to cry with me and feel the loss with me and let it be shocking to you and horrible and not instantly tell me how all the things we're working together for the good of those who love them because of Romans eight 20. I just True, but this is not needed just yet. So now I need to cry and say, this is not okay. It's not okay.

1 (20m 10s):
And maybe this speaks to this question, but I'm thinking about people who have not ever had a physical or emotional experience of pain or trauma that is this like life changing and transformative. Right. And yet he's still really neat. Healing. And so I'm curious if you are like, are there spiritual practices that open up opportunities for that type of healing for people who are just in there, like pretty typical lives, where they're able bodies and they're, you know, PR privilege and all of those things, like how can they become, how can we become more aware of our need for healing and actually get it like participate in it?

3 (20m 57s):
Absolutely. You know what? It is so interesting even in about our Camp community of volunteers, his no one is coming to serve a population of people are struggling with disability, unless they've got a story of their own. I mean, almost every volunteer is there who have like lost a child or you know, how to have something bigger. But then also a plenty of people who are seemingly, like, maybe don't have such clear story of suffering, but as you were recognizing, I need to get into the mess. I need to cultivate some deep empathy. I want to stretch the muscles of what I can tolerate.

3 (21m 42s):
And that grows me. That will tremendously grow who I am is a person. And there is nothing more valuable. I think of so many people who are engaging are friends with an intellectual, physical, also a lot of emotional disabilities who think differently about their life and their story because of it and has made their life richer, fuller in some ways, healed there souls to be around. And the population of hurting the people that things like a tremendous privilege and capability, I do have this bizarre isolating effect and don't allow for perspective.

3 (22m 25s):
So when life does get awful, which it does for everybody in some Season, they have no coping ability because they have cultivated with zero empathy or understanding for the other. Yeah.

1 (22m 40s):
And I think there is. So there is that sense of just M when we begin to recognize for those of us, again, who are in a more typical way of American life, when we begin to recognize that it's like being in community or relationship with people who have had that experience. And again, not as a patronizing, let me see how much I have to offer you, but as I am giving to you, I am all the more recognizing what I need, like what I need from you, but also just my own neediness. More, more broadly.

3 (23m 21s):
Yes. For sure. There is such a connect, the two in the two

1 (23m 26s):
<inaudible>. Yeah. I've been thinking recently about the practice of fasting, like the spiritual practice of fasting and how I am not any sort of professional faster, but I I've been in learning about fasting recently. And this idea of like denying yourself from food, which seems kind of basic, like, I'm really clear that I have plenty of body fat. Like I'm not going to Suffer for not eating at me, but like, my body is going to say, you need this, you need this, you need this. And it kind of like brings up my neediness in a way that I don't experience consciously a lot of the time.

1 (24m 9s):
And so there's this question of, okay, I can give in to that and just get myself the food, or I can actually go a little bit deeper and say, yeah, you know what, like without God's word, like without God's strength, I am weak and I do need these things, but I also can turn to him and ask for that. And I just wonder whether that experience of physical suffering, which you have endured in ways that most people have not also leads to that place of, yeah. I mean, you said this at one point, you're like, God does give us more than we can handle. Like you wrote that. I was like, Oh, for sure.

1 (24m 51s):
You know, but just that sense of like, God gives us more than we can handle so that we turn to the one who can handle it with care.

2 (25m 1s):
You know, what it is so interesting as even right now is that I have a, I took a bad fall and have a knee injury and I'm going to have to have surgery. And I just, okay, did the knee and tore the ACL and MC viscous and all of those things. And they had just been quiet, painful even with the pain meds, quite painful. And I find myself being fascinated by kind of a fresh page, because I haven't had a lot of real pain in recently, like physical pain. And I am really tuned into how long are you feeling about hurting actually?

2 (25m 42s):
Cause I, of course I could just take 10 minutes making it go away as quickly as possible instead of possibly soothing with it, recognize it, like this hurts. What does that do to me? And kind of enjoying would not be the right word because I'm not enjoying. Yes. But just recognizing it and sitting in it and wanting to learn a bit from like, what does it feel like to actually experienced fresh pain with everything I'd been through in the last 12 years and thanking, what is God doing in that? Like how did the larger, our physical response to any, and every situation is a fight or flight got to get out of this as quickly as possible, but to actually be in something is a gift.

2 (26m 31s):
And I don't want to miss, what does it feel like for something to really hurt like this? Okay. Did ne and I haven't arrived at the answers. I don't know much, but I, that there is something, something for me there I've tried to really be present to pain and the way than ever before, and see if maybe God is really stretched of my muscles in that line. My capability and threshold are first year or different now fleas all of these years later. And, and what it is that, and, and does, God also potentially gave us what we need now in, we can handle it, but what we need to cope with our pain.

2 (27m 15s):
And I think that's a very beautiful thing is may be 12 years ago, I had this dedicated knee, the pain would of been absolutely unmanageable. I could not have coped with this knee perhaps. Now I totally Can because God has equipped me super well. And these years of suffering, so Handel this knee, I can handle it myself, but maybe by our I've been through this, let me tell a pleasure. I can handle it in a way that is M you know, right. Like I'm, I'm not in terrible pain and I should be. And what is that? Well, when you've been through far worse and know like significant pain may be a dislocated knee, isn't at the end of the world.

2 (28m 2s):
And that's a beautiful thing that suffering does that allow us. And it's so hard is memory is the ability to have perspective with what we're going to say when, and I think that that is that's crucial to coping in a Heart stories.

1 (28m 20s):
Well, and you, I mean, it really Suffer Strong is all about reframing, right? Like re and redefining. Absolutely. And yet not, I mean, not in a Pollyanna way, not in a denial whey, you know, I think it's, but really that sense of let's dig deeper and let's ask those questions, but that's also not, as you said, like put a sticker on the sticker is not the answer, but I'm sure there are. Yeah. And it might be a long time before we get an answer and yet asking the question and living in to that trust that that God is doing something and all of these things.

2 (28m 57s):
Right. And for some reason, this is what God has for me, you know, really owning that rather than just saying, yeah, we're really bad things happen. And I don't know, but really recognize that God chose me for this specific journey I'm on. I think very much change is how we view our circumstances. It's like, this is what God has for my life. This is my journey. Really owning it changes how you feel about it. I think. Yeah, absolutely.

1 (29m 31s):
I do want to pivot a little bit just because I want to make sure to ask you about Camp because yeah. I just want to know the story. I want to know how you all, I mean, you give to the taste of this in Suffer Strong, but I don't feel like I get it. I get the whole picture. And I would like to know, like how you decided to start this. Camp obviously tell us about the camp itself, like a typical day who comes, what happens there and yeah, I would just love for you to talk about camp a little bit after that.

2 (30m 1s):
Absolutely. Oh yeah. So So, we didn't just magically you think of this idea. Oh, and it was the first year or something that, you know, talk about probably, I mean, 10 years or not that long, no, eight years or so to marinate in our heads and hearts that essentially, as you would know all too well, there is such a deep need for a family system where someone is disabled within that family system to have experiences that are not always possible in the setting, unlike a vacation Camp atmosphere and done in community with other families, going through the same thing, has the possibility to be a game changer for how all these families do their lives in conjunction with.

2 (31m 9s):
That the idea that allowing a, and this is the research. This is a proven to be True that restart has shown time and time again, that if you can equip families or a disability, as part of the story with Russ RESOURCES and relationships, you can change the outcome of the story. And ultimately you could change how they feel about their lives. Of course, for us, as Christians, we believe the most important resourcing we could ever give the family is the perspective of Jesus being in the story with them and the hope of what it is to come and happen.

2 (31m 49s):
We know of that. They need a deep rust from their busy lives, and we know that they need deep connection in relationship to other families. So la-la CAF was more because Camp really is the melting of all of their things. This is a deep, so a rust reset. It's also if a family system together, we were not taking away the disabled child or the disabled mother or the FUD father and bringing everyone to camp together. So there's this holistic togetherness of the family and community with other families going through the same thing.

2 (32m 29s):
So what happens is even though everybody's got different stuff going on with all sorts of various, I mean, so at 33 last different types of disabilities happening, young, old children, parents, all sorts of stories of disability. There is this bizarre commonality. It's really crazy. There's this comradery in, everybody's got something everybody's got something different, but rather than everybody going to a camp for what you know, kids with CP, everybody who goes to camp there, well, that can be wonderful in many ways, but as kids with CP, you can see I dad or a mom like me who was living with the aftermath, have a stroke that really changes the brain because they're seeing very different stories of disabilities loved out when done in Community like this, there was this bizarre freedom.

2 (33m 33s):
They had this really crazy. Actually the, somehow all of this various outer Brokenness that you're seeing, if any of your eyes are like instantly gives way to this strange or deep bonding, because nobody is trying to fix each other. Nobody's trying to heal. Nobody is trying to correct things. Its just being together. And my theory is that the Bazaar communal like almost instant, like embracing of each other, has everything to do with the fact that living the American dream is no longer available to these families.

2 (34m 19s):
So they are not concerned with it anymore. They're on the other end of the spectrum where they're actually are wanting to disrupt the lie that joint normally comes in a pain free life. There are like bad in instantly together to have her crying that were not going to worship the idle of pain-free free life. It's not available. That's not our story, but there's so much joy in this story and we can celebrate life and God being in the midst together with us to where if you're going to write now. And I think that's really like the magic of chaos is this bizarre instead of a bonding because they found there are people that are no longer pretending that life can only be good.

2 (35m 8s):
If there's no bad stuff, there is no hard, there's no suffering. There's, there's only a good bucket and a bad bucket. And that America, but instead there are so much gray and there never going to be truly good without hard and truly hard without good. And that at this, you can go get that and are living that way. And so there's this very visceral, like this was my tribe thing that happens among strangers, 36 different States around the country coming to Alabama

1 (35m 41s):
In the summertime.

2 (35m 45s):
It's beautiful.

1 (35m 46s):
That is beautiful. And how many years has this been going on now?

2 (35m 50s):
Yeah, so we just had her fourth year it's I mean, we thought this would be some tiny little offering of sweet friends in Alabama my husband's home state and we're still in others. It would Love the deep dogs and thought it would be just a sweet little regional thing. And then very quickly we recognize, Oh my God. And that was the first summer. There was people there from 29, different States driven are flown in and we realized, Oh my word, this is so much bigger than we could have ever imagined as a disability or all over the map.

2 (36m 30s):
There is young. And all of that, we had our first summer, we had a six month old babies and an 86 year old woman for the day. And it's just having the nurse. And you gather that generational diversity, the, the range of disability is the stories. I mean, in the regions of the country, I mean, that's just, it's a picture of having and you just have to come, maybe Julia

1 (36m 57s):
I plan to, I really do. And I'm so thrilled to just be, yeah, I think just, I think of what you just said in terms of heaven on earth and that sense of like, yeah. The banquet table, right? Like who is this for? And it is for that as an array of diverse people. And that's again where I feel like there's this unusual and unexpected healing that happens when you also bring people together across what are typically these boundary lines and say we can connect and we can connect in these places of Brokenness in such a deep way.

1 (37m 38s):
That that is actually part of the Healing

2 (37m 40s):
Absolutely. You know, that, that is truly this unexpected. Just either we have word for it. This bonding of Camp families that lasts all year long. I mean, these people that were just seeing each other, he up there daily, texting each other and they're sending out Christmas cards and in each other's lives flying to be with these jobs that are driving across the country. If they have to meet, this is like a guy like a different deal. Then we could have ever seen coming that these people are so desperately needed each other.

1 (38m 16s):
I also think it's this like beautiful irony that you are the family that you're also saying needs the rest in restaurants. You shouldn't be that you're providing a so it's like, I don't know. There's something very beautiful about that.

2 (38m 30s):
Is there, there is no, we're very aware of that. And w we love that. So, you know, one of the, the first moments of recognizing this is what God has for us. It was years ago when we spoke at a camp of the John. And if you know, John The in France and Johnny in France had a family retreats and we smoke, or are they family with treat and as deaf, because initially we started to really just speaking and writing and telling our story through a blog. And as we were sharing that night, we realized we could have been the campers.

2 (39m 10s):
You just as easily as we were the speakers. And that is when the shift to begin of, Oh wait, like we are who we want to be talking to, who are the very highest among us and to our such a row Can down group of people so much just deep, so weariness and not sadly was just not even a thought. I mean, it's really embarrassing to say after my stroke, I never wanted to be the girl on the wheelchair. It just, wasn't going to be my life.

2 (39m 52s):
Like I'd get back to walking and running marathons and give God's blessing from that posture. That was always my thing I thought. And now I, I mean, if I ever just started walking normally again, I just do not know how I'd feel about it. Like I, I've so embraced to my wheelchair. I can't see my life for that yet. I mean, I'm sure God has given me the grace to walk again and to be cool, whatever, but I was just so a part of my story now, and I feel such a deep camaraderie. It was my brothers and sisters in the wheelchair.

1 (40m 26s):
I have a friend with cerebral palsy who uses canes most of the time and after Penney was born. And when I was thinking about that sense of like, but what is she going to be in heaven? And will she had down syndrome in heaven? And what's the, again, kind of that ideal physical and emotional person, whatever. I remember asking my friend who uses canes, I was like, so do you just assume you won't have your canes when you're in heaven? And she said to me, she was like, Oh, I've never thought about that before. Like, I've thought about, I'm going to get to see Jesus. I've thought about being in the presence of God, but like you're not using my cane. And that would just be weird, you know? So it was like, no, she's not going through her life thinking, Oh, the burden of my cane, she's thinking I get to walk around, like, this is my body that I'd been given.

1 (41m 13s):
And it was just a very different perspective, right?

2 (41m 16s):
That's it? Oh, my, my wheelchair, or, you know, you're in the world would say many would say that your wheelchair bound, you know, you hear that a lot like that confined are limited by whatever is in your life. That is a limitation, actually not just in a wheelchair on my case, in a wheelchair. Actually I think the very opposite is true that the wheelchair is an agent of my free doubt. The realtor is how I get out in the world is not limiting you is not binding me. Its quite the opposite it and enables me to go to where I want to go to do what I want to do.

2 (41m 58s):
It's literally the Avenue to freedom in every way. It's the way I get where I'm going to go. And you know, I say a lot that I do have a seat at the table as do all of our brothers and sisters with disabilities. You may just have to open the door so they can get it in the room. That's the truth that there is so much to be learned for holding the door open and we see some of us need that, that I'm good. I got a seat at the table and deliberate, you get out to help me get in the door. And that is such a picture of what we are all called to as believers is helping each other through the door to get to the table.

2 (42m 39s):
And I think that's this ability re other rights that deep need of community to, to get through this life, to live and to be, and to thrive, to flourish in our stories.

1 (42m 56s):
I think that sense of you going from seeing the wheelchair as something that binds you to something that frees you as seeing your story, not a ton of overcoming all of the odds and running a marathon again, but actually living within Brokenness lobbying within limitation. All of those things is really again, or I think that the invitation that we all have to Healing to being in Community to being connecting, do to connect with other people across these divides. Yeah. And I'm so grateful that you all have chosen you and Jay together to tell your story in so many different ways and then to live it out.

1 (43m 36s):
I think it's really cool. I mean, to have the Camp aspect like that, you're not just speaking and writing, not to say that that's not a big job, but then there's also the sense that like here's how this looks, what this looks like in and out in a more embodied way. It's not just words, it's actually how we live and invite other people to come in.

2 (43m 58s):
Absolutely. Yes, no, it's, it's, it's crazy to think that I so rejected disability is being a part of my story, our family story post-stroke because that was ludicrous and probably a very typical response. If you have not lived with disability, right. As I got to get it out of the story, it's kind of that final, what would the word he wouldn't be like as a Western world? We were just like, what is not fully health and well for that matter, but to erase a broken Bobbie would be some of the opposite of how I understood the world.

2 (44m 45s):
Is it, it requires you to really have to live it, to get there. Or were you around that? I would say what it does just a little long advertisement that everybody needs to come into camp and get that perspective.

1 (44m 59s):
Okay. I will, I will underline that because I do feel like the underdog, if we can encounter people who embody more visibly re-usability then we actually, we all can understand our humanities so much more deeply. And again, like the potential for that deeper healing work to happen as well.

2 (45m 24s):
Absolutely. Yes. I deeply love the links and I think you've made a good many that have made memories of my mind. I have the links between just a racial conversation and the other is the unknown of all of our stories and where disability comes into that. And just the whole notion of how privilege can isolate us from so many of the ways and you see each other and now I'm just all about those links and how you are so beautifully marrying that. And in humans,

1 (46m 5s):
What Catherine, thank you so much. And I am grateful for their work that you do for sure. And really grateful that our listeners are going to get a chance to know your story, to hear about Camp be invited to it. And honestly, again, to be invited personally in to that journey of healing that God wants for all of us. So thank you for being here to

2 (46m 27s):
Fine. Yeah. Thank you for having me.

1 (46m 30s):
My pleasure. Thanks so much for listening to love is stronger than fear. We are excited to give away a copy of Katherine and Jay's latest book Suffer Strong to enter for your chance to win. Simply share this podcast on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, and be sure to tag me when you share it. All the details for the giveaway will be in the show notes. I also encourage you to check out the Hope Heals website to learn more about Catherine and Jay in their work. I actually ordered a lot of Christmas gifts in 2020 from their gift store. There are some great stuff over there. I do always want to thank our cohost breaking ground. I want to thank Jake Hansen for editing and Amber Barry for doing all the coordination that it takes to get this podcast out into the world.

1 (47m 15s):
And I wanna thank you for listening as you go into your day to day, I hope you will carry with you. The piece that comes from believing that love is stronger than fear.