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Don’t Waste Your Pain



Katherine & Jay Wolf join us to discuss hardship, pain, and suffering and how to use it for a greater purpose. As they recount their experience with Katherine having a serious brain stem stroke in her 20s, we are reminded that we can suffer well when faced with adversity and give God all the glory.

Key Takeaway

God has amazing things for you to do, not in spite of your suffering but through it. You have the gift of Jesus in your life. You have been trusted with a unique calling, live your life worthy of it.

Jay and Katherine Wolf shared their story about how she had a massive stroke at the age of 26, just 6 months after giving birth to their first child. They opened up about the things that God has taught them and how they can have the perspective that they do.

God wants to do things in our suffering. Katherine said that she and Jay share the hope of Jesus in their lives. In her words, she is pretty messed up still, and that's part of what's so powerful in all of our stories. It's that "not OK" thing that transforms lives. It's our brokenness that moves people.

Katherine was in the ICU for 40 days, which is important that it was 40. God was leading them through their own wilderness. Just because God is silent doesn't mean that He has abandoned us. They used their darkest moments to share the love of Jesus with everyone they came in contact with, including other patients in brain rehab.

Jay shared that when they found another aneurysm, they concluded that they didn't get to check off the "suffering box". Jesus asked them, "Do you really want me or just want you to think I can give you? Do you want the gifts or the giver?"

While going through the emergency, recovery, and rehab, Jay and Katherine were surrounded by their church. The burden is light with the community because we are shouldering each other's pain. As we release what is precious to us, God gives hope back to us. Your suffering will not be wasted.

In brain rehab, Katherine said that she couldn't unsee the hurt around her, but she was wired to go to them, set apart so she could share His hope and joy. She is fueled by something that's not of this world.

How do Jesus and suffering fit in the same place?

It's recognizing that there is not anything wrong with her life, this is a new life that she has been given, and it's beautiful. Passion means suffering. We can't turn away from it, just like Jesus didn't turn from His passion. Hebrews 6:19 says that hope is an anchor for our souls. We won't be taken down by our circumstances. John 16:30 says there will be trouble, but remember the end. He is going to do something in your life, not in spite of your suffering, but through it. Suffering is a beautiful clarifying agent.

Katherine encouraged us to not waste our pain. We all have a wheelchair. Use it. The pain and brokenness is part of the story. Get over it if it wasn't what you wanted. No one has the perfect life; it doesn't exist. So take everything, everything that He has given and taken away, and use it for His glory. Steward it well. Suffer well. Why? Because it matters to Jesus.

In Katherine's lowest moment, the Scripture she had known her entire life came alive. The Scripture lifted her head and transformed her thinking.

Psalm 139 - she was fearfully and wonderfully made in her mother's womb, where the AVM that caused the stroke was formed. She wasn't a mistake, she was set apart. There was a unique and special calling placed on her life. She was "deemed something awesome."

Romans 8:28 - all things work together for good for those who love Him.

Exodus 14:14 - Be still and know that He is God.

Ephesians 4:1 - God called her to this, live a life worthy of the calling she's received.

America has bought into the lie that for it to be good, it cannot be hard. They can't coexist. That's not true. Good and hard often coexist. Good and hard is what makes life bittersweet and makes it beautiful.

For Katherine, getting to have a second baby is like the Lord giving back what the locust had eaten. And through his name, he will be able to proclaim the goodness of God.

Jay shared that he is able to stand alongside, care for, and suffer with Katherine because that is what Jesus does with him. It's not up to his strength or will, but it's what he promised to do and Christ in him. We are all called to walk in this manner.


I love my life! I'm in a wheelchair. I have a broken story. I LOVE MY LIFE! It's wonderful!... If you know Jesus, why are you potentially in such a bad mood all the time? Like, you have Jesus in your heart. The joy of the Lord is instilled in you, so go act like it!"

Katherine Wolf

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Scripture References

  • Psalm 139
  • Romans 8:28
  • Ephesians 4:1
  • Exodus 14:14
  • John 9:3
  • Hebrews 6:19
Katherine & Jay Wolf Katherine & Jay Wolf are best-selling authors and founders of the Hope Heals Camp for families affected by disability. They live in Atlanta with their two boys.