hope heals

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“The bride,

though now unable to walk down any aisle or clearly speak her wedding vows

or eat her beloved wedding cake,

was somehow, impossibly more radiant than she was then.

Now she glowed with the light of life restored.”

~jay wolf

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(above image borrowed from web)

i finished the soon to be released ‘hope heals’ last night. i’m fairly certain that as i laid the book in my lap i made an outloud sigh, tears streaming down my face. i read the epilogue three times and couldn’t remember the last time a book wrecked me as this one just did. i wanted to text katherine & jay and tell them how much their story touched my heart…and then just as quickly i realized i don’t have their number! haha-well of course i don’t have their number but that’s how their story reads. it’s as if you’ve been snuggled up in a comfy chair, well actually on the edge of your seat, with real life friends katherine & jay sitting across from you while they share. jay’s gentle & loyal demeanor and katherine’s wit and candor despite living through tragedy makes these saint-worthy souls just so real. 

last month i listened to katherine share at IF gathering. her story blew me away. i came home from austin & immediately pulled up her website. hours passed as i read snippets of their story & watched their documentary & then laughed and cried again as i watched her you tube videos referred to as chocolatekatchats.


this beautiful young couple, full of personality, hopes & dreams for the future, became husband & wife on november 6 in a large celebration with hundreds of friends. 8 years prior, on that same day, november 6, my life as a young couple ended in a small hospital room with a small handful of friends. i remember leaving the oncology floor and thinking to myself that my world had just stopped yet it was truly only ‘my world & my crisis’. babies would be born that day, weddings would be attended that weekend. celebrations seem to call for large gatherings don’t they, yet tragedy can feel so isolating. jay spoke to that very feeling on one of the first pages of their story. just three years into life as newlyweds, katherine was admitted to the ER at UCLA just three years later, having just suffered a massive brain stem stroke. she should have died that day.

last night in my comfy chair, as i closed the book i reflected on the power of a transparent heart & the power of sharing stories not only our own healing, but in the healing of others. transparency has long been one of my favorite character traits. jay and katherine nail the transparency issue. they knock it out of the park actually. i thought about how i was really unable to write when gregg battled cancer…or perhaps the reality of seeing our story unfold on paper was just more than i could bare. i did feel isolated in our crisis. yet i think that’s one of the things that really touched my heart with jay & katherine. they share over & over about how they’ve let others into their pain, and honestly in doing so hope has grown within that sacred place.

we will all go through suffering at some point in our lives. our loved ones will go through suffering at some point in their lives. to see a glimpse into how this beautiful young couple walked through the valley of the shadow of death has left a lasting impression on me. ever since my own family’s crisis i’ve struggled with fear and while i’ve never experienced physical crippling, the spiritual and mental crippling fear can unleash has been overwhelming at times.

“i don’t hang out at that place of fear & questioning what might happen. i think there’s something profound about hope. there’s something so meaningful when you cling to something beyond what you know & understand. and when that’s in there, deep within your head and within your heart and you believe it with every ounce of your body, something happens… hope heals, where it hurts the most, which is your soul.” you hear katherine so eloquently say this in their documentary yet in reading their story you watch as this unfolds.

i wanna hold jay & katherine’s faces & say…you two kids are gonna change the world with your love story. you are! thank you jay for showing us a picture of unconditional love in the flesh. i think each groom should read this handbook on radical love. i really do. ( that’s a little mother of the bride nod to your dad & his annoying wedding ceremony directive-wink!). katherine, i think if i’d have had your number last night, i would have called & been a weeping mess. girl, your ability to make the largest mountains seem climbable and the deepest valleys a place where god’s hand can be trusted even if seemingly unseen has left me wrecked in the sweetest sense. you said that maybe it takes life being undeniably terrible before we can truly recognize its undeniable splendor. i think that the sharing of your story of terrible has painted a beautiful canvas of undeniable splendor & those of us who’ve been blessed to witness this beauty will be changed forever. remember how you mentioned your love of a beautiful art museum & how “true beauty viscerally connects us to God and reminds us, in ways platitudes cannot, that we are beautiful to Him”? it’s funny you spoke of the transcendent beauty found in art. in my minds eye i see your story as if it were a painting of the ocean during a storm and despite the stormy seas, the art leaves me with a sense of peace. oh girl, you are effervescent beauty to Him indeed!

the book releases on april 26th but you can preorder it now, here & here.  in my humble, honest opinion, i think this story has the power to change your heart, to make you stronger if you need strength…or softer if your heart battles bitterness…maybe both. there’s a place in each of us that needs to hold fast to an anchor when storms rage around us. hope in something beyond our strength, hope in something beyond our comprehension will indeed heal.

hebrews 6.19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil

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(letterpress art print & much more available in the Hope Heals shop)

& local friends, jay & katherine will be in athens in april~

4.16 (Saturday) Hope Heals Book Signing!, Athens Academy, 10:00 am (Athens, GA)

4.17 (Sunday) Hope Heals Book Launch! Athens Church 9:30am and 11am (Athens, GA)

March 17, 2016 - 4:40 pm

Lydia - Wow, Paige! This is an awesome review of the book. I especially love the glimpse into your parallel experience its suffering! Thanks for heading up this launch team and being vulnerable yourself!

March 17, 2016 - 4:47 pm

Emily - Katherine & I worked together at Camp DeSoto. She and Jay are the real deal. I can’t wait to read the book (I have it pre-ordered already!) Thank you for sharing your story of November 6 – wow!

March 17, 2016 - 7:00 pm

Lisa Mothersead - Hope. What a wonderful story. It’s amazing how we can push and challenge ourselves to find the courageous strength that saves us.

March 18, 2016 - 12:19 pm

chrissi - i have followed these two for a while. their story inspires me each time i read it. their love is beyond what we often think of today. for hearts so young they have lived so much. i can’t wait to read this book and have already put it on my gift list this year. i can’t think of anyone who could read it and not be changed. thank you paige for sharing their story. the world needs to know about these two♥

March 22, 2016 - 4:34 pm

Jennifer - I will preorder just reading this review. Sounds like something my soul needs to read! 🙂
THank you for sharing.

April 5, 2016 - 9:45 am

Kitty - This is amazing! Thank you for the review. May I ask, are there spiritual overtones? I help with a Christian book club and wondered if it’d be a good read for us…we love creative non-fiction that has a good storyline…wondered if it were Christ-centered, inspirational, or what. Thank you in advance!

tender easter thoughts

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i remember the first couple years of being a single mom in an effort to simply the easter story for my little ones i made the easter story cookies… you know the ones? each step signifies a portion of jesus death & resurrection in a tender yet powerful word picture sorta way.

while i probably felt an inner raise the roof worthy mommy victory, especially since i raised my girls in a pre-pinterest day, contemplating the cross honestly overwhelms me more & more the older i get.

you see, for those of us who believe that jesus is who he says he is~ emmanuel God with us~who gave his life as a payment for sin so that we could be right with God & have eternal life, easter is way more than just beautiful flowers, spiral sliced ham & meringue cookies.

this past sunday evening in church we sang the words, “i’ll never know how much it cost to see my sin upon that cross” & i couldn’t even get the words out of my mouth. my filth & my bad decisions, my sinful things i did because i thought it was cool or didn’t matter, as well as sinful things i did unaware & sins i will do in the future…all that jesus put on his very back, was tortured & died a humiliating death on the cross to pay a price i never could. i price i can’t even fathom. and scripture says he came for the lost & that he leaves the 100 to go find the 1. the 1 prodigal who made dumb decisions & bad choices as well as the 1 who has done sins that the world & all the ‘good folks’ would never…all of us are just the same…broken & in need of a savior. and i believe he became broken for us & defeated death because three days later he rose from the grave. and that same jesus is the same jesus who loves me. and loves you…  and to try to grasp that overwhelms me & brings me to tears.

in bible times, the blood of a spotless, innocent sacrificed lamb was atonement for sin. i remember i used to read over that like okay, yes a lamb was sacrificed, clearly wanting to brush over any thought of what that horrific time that must have been to live through. i can barely stand to see a squirrel run over by a car. do you understand what i’m saying? i can not fathom what that scene in the temple must have been. much less that scene at the cross when the lamb of god became the final, once & for all, sacrifice. while trying to contemplate friday & the pain that seems too great to bear, we know that sunday was coming & that he rose again!

i’ve spent a couple hours this morning just trying to contemplate much of what seems overwhelmingly painful as well as overwhelmingly beautiful, jesus death on the cross & the new life he gave us. so much tenderness in the imagery of the lamb, just like the tender imagery i tried to share with my girls so many years ago. the image of the lamb, so beautiful & so profound.

my friends at Ever Thine Home have created some beautiful pieces for Easter & i wanted to share them with you! these are beautiful ways to incorporate the easter story in your own home. use code Easter30 for 30% off your purchase!

1.a beautiful two sided burlap/linen banner! $40 on sale for $28 with code Easter30


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2. oh, taste & see cards  $12 on sale for $8 with code Easter30

8 cards intended to read over your Easter brunch/dinner. each card talks about a different aspect of Jesus’s journey to the cross. simple but profound and have questions on the back of each card to help encourage deeper conversation.

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3. behold the lamb cards~ beautiful cards sharing the I AM of jesus!

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March 10, 2016 - 3:46 pm

Linda Stoll - You’ve made Easter’s reality soar this afternoon, Paige. No wonder so many observe Lent. The magnitude of it all is almost to much to bear.

Thank God.

March 14, 2016 - 10:34 am

jackie - Last year you had these on your blog and I immediately ordered the cards and absolutely love them. I have the metal I AM on my table now for Easter! Thanks for sharing this with us.

March 16, 2016 - 2:42 am

giosmama26 - My goodness gracious this is beautiful. You do Easter and observe lent so beautifully, friend.

April 8, 2016 - 4:41 pm

Douche Bag - Tender or Tinder?

May 9, 2016 - 2:04 pm

Maria - I’m 2 months late to the party but catching up on blog reading and was so struck by your words (as usual 😉 The “holiday” comes around once a year but the Lamb’s sacrifice covers us every single day, every single breath….maybe I was meant to read this two months later because my tardy reading has been a reminder that it’s not about the the “one time of year”…it’s about all the time and all He’s done for us! Amen! Thank you