When Kathy Garrison got married, her dream for her life was pretty simple. Her husband would get a good job. They would buy a house and have some kids, and that would make her happy, fulfilled, and safe. A few years into their marriage, they welcomed Hailey, their first baby.
“We called her our fairy tale baby. She would sit in a bouncy seat and coo at us. She was on a schedule right away. She was a dream baby, so we wanted to have another right away.”
Hailey was 5 months old when they found out Kathy was pregnant with twins. The boys, Hayden and Nathaniel, were born at 30 weeks. Kathy and her husband have the privilege of parenting Hayden here on earth, but Nathaniel passed away at birth.
They found themselves with an 11 month old at home, a premature baby in the NICU, and grief.
“I just remember feeling like my heart didn’t know what to feel. Hailey was a baby and I longed to be home with her. I was worried sick for Hayden who was in the hospital. And I was grieving the loss of Nathaniel.”
Kathy says she and her husband grieved very differently in those first few months. He dove into his grief and it was very real and palpable. Kathy tried to pull herself up by the bootstraps and tackle all the tasks – advocating for Hayden in the hospital, spending time with Hailey, and simply trying to keep it all together.
Kathy says it was a pivotal point in her faith. She had been a strong believer before, but this was different; God became so real to her.
“When loss and grief come, God meets you there. And the blessing of that time is that I learned what it is to truly be carried by God, and that He will show up. It built the foundation of my faith and I began to trust Him differently. I knew He was faithful and that he healed and redeemed and it was personal.”
The loss of Nathaniel, and that season of hardship changed Kathy’s perspective on life. With a child in heaven, she was much more aware of our limited time here on earth. She always had a longing for purpose in her life. Now, more than ever, she felt a passion to be purposeful with the days that God has given her.
As she wrestled with what her purpose was, God began to show her that His purpose was way beyond the safe and simple life she had imagined. His purpose included taking some giant leaps of faith that would add to their family, and lead them to an orphanage in Africa.
Here Kathy’s inspiring journey of faith in Chapter 9 of Epic.Kathy Garrison - Finding God’s purpose