Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Life-changing Music and a Giveaway

I'm actually not one of those people who just LOVES listening to music all the time. I tend to prefer quiet when I'm writing or working or reading. However, when Caden was first in the hospital, we met a sweet couple whose son (Elijah) had a similar story to Caden's. They encouraged us immensely, and the day after we met them, they even dropped off a cd for us with songs that had encouraged them while Elijah was in the hospital for his first surgery.

We were tired and scared as we left the hospital each night, especially those first few days. Torn between a desperate need for sleep and a deep fear of leaving our son. Not sure how to process everything, how to love our son fully, trust God completely, and prepare ourselves for what the future might hold for Caden. We pulled out of the parking garage, and popped in the cd that Elijah's parents made us. And the first two songs both immediately reduced us to tears. It was like they had been written just for us. Like someone had climbed inside our heads and hearts and put our emotions to music.

It turns out that those songs were by Matt Hammitt (the lead singer of Sanctus Real), and the reason it seemed like they were written just for our situation is that Matt's son (Bowen) was also born with a congenital heart defect. I read Bowen's story, and listened to those songs again and again, encouraged and strengthened by the knowledge that we weren't alone in what we were going through.

I truly feel like the song "All of Me" opened my eyes to the fact that I was holding Caden at a distance for the first day or two of his life. It was easier for me to try and protect myself and to prepare myself for the worst, if I didn't give myself fully to loving Caden. And we couldn't hold him, making it even easier to do so. But when I heard the song (and wrote this post through my tears) I realized that my son, my beautiful son, was worth all the pain and fear. I realized just how much I loved him. Just how much I needed to surrender to the situation, to surrender him to the Lord.

We put both of these songs on a special cd we made for Caden, and we played it for him while he was in the CICU. The first song on the cd was "Holding You." We were grateful for the reminder every time we heard it that even when we couldn't hold our son, God was holding him safely in His loving arms. And we needed something to hold onto in the midst of the craziness and fear, and the Truth that Matt proclaimed in that song helped to sustain us.

We still listen to that cd in the car sometimes. And from the very first chord, I am transported back to the CICU. To the many nights spent sitting at Caden's bedside, hoping and praying and crying. I can hear the bubbling of his chest tubes and the beeping of the machines. I can see his open chest and his heart beating. And I am reminded anew of the grace we have been shown. Of the miracle we've witnessed. And while my own heart aches a little at all we've been through and all we still have ahead, I am also flooded with gratitude and joy.

Today, Matt Hammitt's complete CD, Every Falling Tear, is released. Every song is inspired by Bowen and everything their family has been through. And a portion of the proceeds from every sale will benefit the Whole Hearts Foundation, "a movement toward hope for families with children suffering from congenital heart defects." I would encourage every single one of you to listen and download his CD. Seriously, it's beautiful music with life-changing lyrics and you wont regret it.
I also wanted to give away a copy of Every Falling Tear to one of y'all. I just want you to know how grateful I am to each and every one of you for walking alongside us on this journey and for all your prayers and encouragement. You have blessed us immensely and we would love to bless one of you with this cd. All you have to do in order to be entered is leave a comment on this post. I'll pick a winner on Friday.

*PS -Matt Hammitt has no idea who I am and no one has asked me to write this, I just believe in it and like sharing things that make me happy.

50 comments:

  1. Well,if Matt Hammitt had ANY idea of who you guys are, he would be bringing you (or at least a video of you!) on tour with him. imho. In the meantime, I'm amazed at a God who makes SURE that you have specific music as your soundtrack during such hard times. Does that not just blow your mind? Does mine, for sure! xoxox and hugs to little man... God's got an amazing plan for him, for sure!

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  2. It's been crazy encouraging to read your updates over the last however long. I kinda get excited when I see a "Stanley Clan" unread update in my google reader. I've had some of my students at Salem praying for you guys for some time now.

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  3. I was going to say exactly what Pam said. Except not as eloquently.

    I am going to go find him and be a fan on facebook right this second.

    I am a fan of you on facebook and in REAL life every single day. Praying always.

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  4. your life screams Gods grace, love and compassionate care for His people. Thank for pointing thousands to CHRIST. Your transparency is very encouraging!

    Nicole

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  5. Hi again Stanley family! As always, Carla and I have you in our prayers. My sister gave me a CD years ago when I was having a hard time "letting go" of my kids by Karen Taylor Good. I actually had to pull over because I was crying so hard. "Where did you go".. about kids growing up especially touched me. Glad this gift that was given to you was such a help. Love seeing all the beautiful pictures of Caden. A miracle baby!

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  6. Love you and thankful for the big and small ways God encourages your hearts!

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  7. becca, i have always loved reading your blog, and i think y'all are so encouraging. i love how you see God's hand even in the tough times...y'all are such a blessing to so many people! i'm praying for you!

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  8. well honey count me in, and thanks for the opportunity.

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  9. Agreed with lifebythecreek. I like to lurk, but finally followed about 1 week ago. Matt would so have given you a CD. You are amazing and an inspiration to all.

    I can't wait to get the CD. Maybe I will win :)

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  10. Becca, thanks for your honesty and transparency in your posts. Your heart is so full of love for our God, and you inspire me daily with your devotion to His calling for your life, both in your family and community. I am so glad that things are going so well for Caden. I'd love to meet you someday, in a non-creeper kinda way. :)

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  11. It is wonderful to have music that means so much to you! I love being transported back to where the song was first heard! God is so good!

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  12. My precious daughter is a nurse at Children's Hospital in Nashville, TN and she works in the PICU/Cardiac Unit. I would love to win this and be able to share it with her. We would both enjoy it so much. lisamcgriff@hotmail.com

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  13. i LOVE that you are doing this ... you are an inspiration, becca. xxo

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  14. It's amazing how God knows exactly the music we need for the storm, celebration or time we are in. Becca you and Adam are such a great example and inspiration to all of us!

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  15. I follow both your blog and Bowen's Heart and was just wondering the other day if you had connected with them. Ya'll really should connect somehow and share stories.

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  16. Thank you for sharing! I cannot wait to hear the songs. Still praying for your little man!

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  17. this is awesome. have a blessed week!

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  18. Keep holding on! God, I pray for this family.....bless them exceedingly!

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  19. How encouraging to see how you have been blessed by Matt's music. Isn't God good to give us just what we need when we need it??

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  20. So thankful for people like Matt & Sarah Hammitt!

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  21. Awesome. Put me in the drawing! God bless.

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  22. So thankful for people like Matt & Sarah Hammitt!

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  23. Matt Hammitt tweeted the link to this blog post, so he knows who you are now. :)

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  24. I believe that Matt might not know you peraonally but God perpared his heart to help him through thier journey and to help you though yours, his music has been doing that to my life for over 10at years. God is amazing and zends us the people we need at just the right time! Pray forward!

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  25. Thank God for his peace. Looking forward to hearing Matt's songs.

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  26. I have been a sanctus real fan for a few years now and the heart (no pun intended) that these guys have that are put to music is life changing. I cannot begin to imagine what it feels like to be in your shoes, but i will pray for your family. I know their music has touched my marriage in ways i wouldnt have ever thought. Thank you for sharing a glimpse of your life with me. It makes the population of my "little world" grow. Thank you again for sharing.

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  27. I have just stumbled into your blog and feel very blessed by your sharing your Journey.

    I went through a life altering journey as we found ourselves having to call 911 over 60 times as my daughter went through medical distress in an 8 month period of time. God brought the right scriptures & songs at the right time to help carry me through that journey with him holding me tight.

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  28. It's so great to hear such a story like Matt and Sarah's and then see how it has helped someone else's life in return. May God continue to be with you and your family.

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  29. I remember when I first heard about Bowen, it was a few days after I found out my grandson was going to be born with rhabdomyomas on his heart(tumors in his heart)which then actually turned out to be a symptom of Tuberous(it is genetic no cure causes small tumors in different parts of the body, eyes, brain, heart, kidneys and causes infantile spasms and seizures from as early as 3-4 months of age) Sclerosis(http://tsalliance.org). I felt a link with Matt and his wife and began praying for them & Bowen then as well as Jayden(my grandson). I was listening to Sanctus Real a lot then in 2010. Jayden did have the infantile spasms, however the rhabdomyomas have shrunk over the past 14 months, & his seizures which began at 4 months of age have tapered off after 2 anti-convulsants are given(one can cause loss of peripheral vision) but he hasn't had a seizure/spasm since January so God is answering prayer and Jayden is growing, he is a little behind in his growth & development but he doesn't know it! We prayed for Bowen, and his family through the birth, surgeries and recovery & he is doing so well!! God is faithful. Sanctus Real's CD and Hold my heart, the song by Tenth Avenue North really helped as well as so many praying for these babies. I told my son when he asked why God allowed Jayden to have TS, I told him it was a great honor for God to trust you enough to allow you to have this baby & to raise him, I think this rings true for so many parents of special needs children. Thanks and God bless!

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  31. I'm friends with Matt Hammitt on facebook, and it was his link that took me here. Thank you so much for sharing your story with everyone. It's changing lives as we speak. :) Stay strong.

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  32. I guess Matt Hammitt knows about this giveaway now because I found out about this giveaway from his Facebook page. Yes,I'm only 22 year old and I don't know how it feels to have a child or have a child in the hospital fighting for his/her life but I do know it feel to be in pain.Every time I feel like I'm nothing or ugly,fat and that no one cares about me or loves me Matt Hammitt music helps me realize that I'm something,that I'm not ugly or fat, and that there is someone who cares about me and love me Jesus Christ.. That's why i will love to win his life changing music giveaway so I can listen to it at home,in the car, anyway when I'm feeling down about myself.

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  33. Love Matt and his family! God has truly used his talent to help so many people through hard/difficult times. God bless your family! Thanks!

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  34. That was a really touching story! I really enjoyed reading it! :) I look orward to reading more of these! I am a huge supporter of organizations like these and the Healthy Heart Club!

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  35. I'm so thankful for things that help us know we're not alone on our journey. Matt Redman's songs meant a lot to me (still do) during Samuel's life. Though I don't know for sure, I think he too had a heart baby. People have told me that along the way. And Dr. Kim from Egleston told us that he knew the Redmans through his work and saw something different in them (God!). Anyway, I'm thanking God for Sanctus Real and how their songs offer hope and comfort to people in the scariest of times.

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  36. Sweet Becca! I feel like I know you, becuase Gini has talked about you and your precious family so much for the year that she and I were togetehr EVERY DAY!!! I just want you to know that your story, even BEFORE Caden, was so inspiring. I am praying fervently for you, your family and your ministry! I love you, sister!
    Sara Whitten

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  37. Becca,
    Thank you for sharing your story and we are very happy to see that Caden is doing well!
    I can assure you that Matt & Sarah know about you guys now, because someone emailed a link to this site to them.
    Thank you for your families dedication and for sharing God's word!
    I can also tell you that if you click the contact link on Bowen's website, Matt & Sarah will get your message.
    God Bless!
    Trent Hamilton
    father of Tucker, HLHS, 2 yrs.

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  38. I didn't know that's what that CD was about/based on. I didn't know any of that. That is so inspirational and different. Dear Matt Hammitt, you are amazing. Love, me :D.

    YOU, writer of this awesome blog post, are also amazing. Thank you for sharing this.

    -Sarah

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  39. I think that you are both helping others in so many ways. It helps others to know they are not facing these things alone. My prayers go out to you all!

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  40. i will definitely be checking out this CD! our baby has HLHS and will be born in November in Atlanta. Thanks for all of your encouraging words on your blog! I'm so thankful Caden is doing so well!

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  41. what an amazing song -- thx for sharing!

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  42. I have been with Matt & Sarah on there journey with Bowen since day one. As well as Nicky, Aaron & Sarah Shust son. I can relate to there fear and pain as well as yours. My daughter should have been dead, but by the grace of God, and prayers going through our church, he brought her back to us. Caden is a beautiful creation & reflection of God. Don't loose heart God says "Be still and know that I am God", because he wants us to keep our faith in him, and know that he will do what is in our best interest. Know that your family is in my prayers, and I will continue. God Bless

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  43. Have been keeping up with your blog and praying for your family. My daughter died from a heart defect and so the story that goes behind the music particularly touched my heart. Enjoy your blog and am inspired by your family!

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  44. Music is such a powerful encouragement in so many situations! This sounds like a beautiful CD and I would love to hear it. :)

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  45. I know exactly what you mean about Matt's music and how it says exactly what we needed to hear during those rough times!!! I follow Bowen's blog also, and just saw that the music was just realeased. I would love to be entered in the give away. I just looked at it yest. and wished I had the money to buy the album and put it on my ipod. I bought just one song, as I did not have the money to buy the whole thing. Our journey has been a long one and we are so grateful for what God has given us. I would not trade this life for anything!!! Heart hugs from Jilly (HLHS/ 2X STROKE SURVIVOR) and from her mommy, Joy

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  46. I don't think there is anything harder then to have to watch your child and feel so helpless at times. I know I have been there. However in those times when we feel so helpless it is so amazing to know that God is there holding us up. I will pray for your precious baby boy. He is beautiful.

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  47. Becca, you guys are amazing! I'm so glad Caden is off the feeding tube! Im praying that he'll gain weight this weekend (and that I'll lose weight!) :-)

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  48. I just love Matt Hammitt! I started following the Bowen's Heart blog since before the Hammitt's found out
    about Bowen's condition.
    The pictures of your children are wonderful!

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