Just when things in Kathy’s life seemed to be looking up, a water skiing accident and a heart-wrenching divorce brought her to a place of complete desperation.
Equipped with the hope of Christ, Kathy pressed forward. In a beautiful act of redemption, God used Kathy’s terrible birth experiences and even her abortion to eventually lead her into her current profession of midwifery.
And, in a completely unexpected turn of events, God graciously reunited Kathy with both of the babies she had given up for adoption years before.
This is Part 2 of Kathy Brace’s story. You can listen to Part 1 here.
Win an autographed copy of Kathy’s book “Born to Deliver” by entering the giveaway contest further down this page.
The following is a summary of the podcast interview above with Kathy Brace. Many more details are included in the original podcast episode and we encourage you to listen.
A New Creation
It didn’t happen overnight, but slowly, God began transforming Kathy. It began with her temper.
One day, Kathy became angry. As was her habit, she began yelling, cursing, and throwing things. This behavior was not unusual, but on this particular occasion, something caught Kathy’s attention and stopped her in her tracks. Her girls. All of them were in the corner wearing frightened expressions.
Immediately, Kathy was convicted. Tears streamed down her face as she ran out of the room, got in her car, and drove away. She spent hours praying, then returned and, for the first time in her life, apologized to her girls and to her husband. She promised that, by God’s grace, she would never have an outburst like that again.
Through Christ, she never did. But this was only the first of many changes God was about to make in Kathy’s life.
Victory Over an Addiction
Kathy had always smoked. She recognized that it was an addiction for her, and she wanted to give it up. But she had never been able to break free of it.
Kathy had been praying for God to help her overcome her addiction when an answer turned up through completely unexpected means. Kathy and her husband Mike were asked to be sponsors for a missions trip to Washington with their church’s youth group!
Kathy was excited at the prospect… until she realized she couldn’t smoke on the trip. In the end, she stepped out in faith and agreed to go on the trip. She then began praying earnestly for God to help her quit smoking.
The day before the trip, Kathy smoked one final cigarette. She had no idea how she would make it an entire 2 weeks without smoking! But the trip came and went, and Kathy miraculously never even thought about smoking!
She was worried that she might pick the habit back up after she came home and was back in her own environment. God was faithful though, and Kathy never smoked another cigarette.
A Crumbling Marriage
Kathy was experiencing a lot of personal victories over sin in her life, but her marriage seemed to be falling apart. Kathy had hoped that becoming a Christian would repair her marriage, but it didn’t seem to be working.
Instead, Kathy sensed that Mike was becoming increasingly more detached, although she didn’t know why.
Mike and Kathy both turned to buying material things as a sort of band-aid to cover up a lot of root issues with their marriage. They bought their dream home, purchased nice clothes, and went on lots of vacations.
It was on one of these vacations that Kathy’s life was forever changed.
Water Skiing Accident
It happened one day at the lake when Kathy and her family were water skiing. Water skiing was one of Kathy’s favorite activities, and she was quite good at it. However, what Kathy was expecting to be a relaxing day on the lake turned into one of the worst nightmares of her life.
It wasn’t long after Kathy got in the water that, for no apparent reason, her leg came out from underneath her and was instantly broken at the ball in her hip.
It was the most painful thing Kathy had ever experienced. As Kathy later described in her book, “every muscle, ligament, and tendon in my groin tore.” Kathy was rushed to the hospital and went into surgery immediately but was told that recovery would take months, maybe even years.
In the meantime, Kathy was confined to a hospital bed. It seemed that Kathy’s happy life had taken a turn for the worse, but, unfortunately, the worst was still yet to come.
Not long after Kathy’s accident, Mike asked Kathy if he could take her out for dinner. “I’m in a hospital bed!” Kathy protested. But, when Mike kept persisting, Kathy agreed. Kathy could tell something was wrong, but she had no idea what it could be.
“I want a divorce,” Mike blurted out after picking at his food. Kathy was shocked. She had never seen this coming.
Eventually, the painful truth would come out over time. Mike had become addicted to pornography. At the moment though, Kathy was crushed and felt used more than she ever had in her entire life.
A New Hope
Mike went on to explain that he wanted Kathy to go back to her home in Memphis to visit her friend Nancy. He would buy her a ticket.
Going back home conjured up all of Kathy’s old feelings of hopelessness and rejection. She was reminded of how she had been let down by so many men in her past. And now it appeared to be happening all over again.
But this time something was different. In her suitcase, alongside all of her other luggage, Kathy packed her Bible. It was her lifeline; she knew she had nothing – and no one – else left.
Making Things Right
Once she was in Memphis, Kathy began to sense that there was something she needed to make right. “I want to meet up with Lester,” Kathy told her friend Nancy. She wanted to tell him the truth about her pregnancy and that she had given their child up for adoption. She also wanted to ask his forgiveness.
Once the appointment had been set up, Kathy’s mind began spinning. It had been over 30 years since she had given up her and Lester’s baby for adoption.
Was she doing the right thing by trying to reconnect with him? She had never told him she had even been pregnant. Did Lester know? What would he be like? And then a thought crossed her mind which she immediately knew was wrong. If Mike was going to reject her, maybe Lester would take her back?
The moment that Lester walked in the door, Kathy could tell he hadn’t grown up a bit since she had known him at 17. However, she was able to reveal the truth to him and ask his forgiveness.
Kathy returned home with peace in her heart having been open and honest about her past. She also felt at peace that God would take care of her future, divorce or no divorce.
God’s Better Plan
Shortly after Kathy returned home, she was shocked when her friend Nancy called to let her know that Lester had died of overdose. She was even more shocked when her brother called only a few weeks later and told her that Bobby, her first husband who had beaten her, had also died in a car accident.
It was as though God was confirming for her that His plan for her life was not going to be another man. Though it was painful, the plan God had for Kathy was far better.
Mike didn’t change his mind about the divorce, as Kathy had so earnestly prayed for, but instead continued to move ahead. Although Kathy was crushed, she still had hope.
Confined to a hospital bed, Kathy began reading her Bible up to 5 or 6 hours every day. She began to grow in her faith and love for God.
Kathy didn’t ask for any settlements in the divorce; she only asked that the following addendum be added:
I do not believe my marriage to Mike is irreparable or that we are incompatible. Our marriage does have problems which I believe with God’s help could be worked out. Please consider the following: ‘What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put assunder.’ Mark 10:9 and ‘…thou shalt raise up the foundations of many (Godly) generations; and Thou shalt be called, The restorer of paths to dwell in.’ Isaiah 58:12
Becoming “The Single Mom”
Kathy was now “the single mom.” The single mom she had worked so hard to avoid being. But, with her hope no longer found in a relationship, Kathy found purpose and hope in spite of her circumstances.
She was determined, through God’s power, to stop “the sins of the forefathers.” She prayed that the drinking and promiscuity which had been so prominent in her own family would end with herself and that her girls would walk a different path.
A New Calling
With no husband and father to support them any longer, Kathy began looking for a way to support herself and her girls. She began hearing stories about a midwife in Illinois and remembered that her grandmother had done something similar. Midwifery sounded strange, old-fashioned, and, frankly, scared Kathy because of her own negative birth experiences.
But, God began tugging at Kathy’s heart, leading her to pursue the profession. He began to provide money for the exact needs she had to complete midwifery training and open her practice, down to the penny.
Kathy’s terrible birth experiences, including being abandoned at a hospital with strangers to give birth, giving 2 children up for adoption, and even her abortion, gave her a unique perspective and ability to help other women walk through their pregnancies and deliveries.
But as Kathy began delivering more and more babies, questions still entered her mind. What had happened to her 2 babies she had adopted out over 20 years ago? When she gave up her son for adoption in Texas and then her daughter in Tennessee she knew that she would never see them ever again. But how she longed to meet them one day!
Reunited with Amy
Then, completely out of the blue, Kathy received a call from the Tennessee Department of Vital Statistics. They wanted to know if she had given birth to a child on October 19, 1968. Kathy’s heart skipped a beat. That was the exact day she had given birth to her daughter Amy!
The employee on the other end of the line went on to explain to Kathy that her daughter Amy was trying to find her and asked Kathy if it would be okay for them to give Amy her information. Kathy was overjoyed!
A couple of days later, Kathy received another phone call. “Are you Kathy Brace?” a female voice asked. “Yes,” Kathy answered, trembling. “This is your daughter Amy,” the voice responded.
Kathy broke down sobbing. She and Amy talked for hours, telling each other all about their lives. Kathy and Amy were surprised to discover that Amy had grown up in the same neighborhood where Kathy’s brother lived and had attended the same school as Kathy’s niece and nephew!
Searching for Her Son
After her joyous reunion with Amy, Kathy sat down to write a letter, trying to get in contact with her son who she had adopted out. She had written another letter, years before and had received the response that no contact was desired.
But now, having just reconnected with Amy, Kathy had new hopes that perhaps, this time, a connection could be made with her long lost son. Sadly this time was no different. With a heavy heart, Kathy did her best to accept the fact that she would never meet her son.
25 years went by until, just 2 years ago, Kathy’s friend (or former private investigator) encouraged her to try just one more time. Kathy was hesitant, but, after much urging from her friend, Kathy decided it wouldn’t hurt to try.
Within 30 minutes, Kathy’s friend came back to her with 3 potential names. And it wasn’t long before Kathy was messaging one of the potential candidates’ ex-wife to ask if her ex-husband had been adopted.
Immediately, the response came back. Yes, he had been adopted and had been looking for his birth mom for years!
Within hours, the phone rang. “Hi mom!” Kathy heard the male voice on the other end of the phone exclaim.
Once again, Kathy began sobbing. Plans were quickly made, and Kathy was soon on her way to Texas to meet her son Steven.
A Difficult Ending
Kathy, her daughters Brandi and Holli, and their children piled into a big van and made the long journey to Texas to meet Steven. They had a wonderful reunion.
Kathy had the opportunity to get to know her son for 9 months. She had the opportunity to see her son connected with the rest of his siblings and their families. And, sweetest of all, she had the opportunity to tell her son all that God had done in her life.
Sadly, a couple of months after Steven’s 52nd birthday, he passed away.
Kathy’s story is a reminder that not every story from God’s Kingdom has a fairy tale ending. We live in a broken and sinful world. Suffering and loss is very real. But it’s a reminder that we live not for this world, but for the life yet to come.
A Godly Legacy
Although Kathy never had the picture perfect family she had longed for, God was faithful to be a good Father to her fatherless girls. As Kathy had hoped and prayed, the sin that had been so prevalent in her own family did not carry on to her girls.
Instead, they came to know and love Christ. They were provided with godly husbands and beautiful families. Kathy is now blessed to be the grandma of 16 grandchildren and to walk with the one who saved her and rescued her soul.
Win an autographed copy of Kathy Brace’s book, “Born to Deliver” using the entry form below.
Note: Winner must live within the United States or Canada.
Note: Winner must live within the United States or Canada.
Kathy’s midwifery website: Fruitful Vine Midewives
Kathy’s book website: Born to Deliver
Kathy’s book on Amazon
A free study guide that accompanies Kathy’s book