Music is defined as “vocal or instrumental sounds (or both) combined in such a way as to produce beauty of form, harmony, and expression of emotion.” Sounds pretty cut and dry, right? Just put some instruments together, make it sound pretty, and then throw in a lead singer with a great voice and a gorgeous head of hair that billows ever so softly in the wind machine. Oh, too much? Sorry, I’ve got Beyonce on the brain. But seriously, music is just something to listen to while you’re cleaning or driving in the car. It really doesn’t have a purpose. I mean it doesn’t have the ability to change you, right?
Music can change a person right down to their core. Music brought me through the darkest time of my life. I have three adorable little boys (I’m not just saying that because I’m their mommy. They are seriously uber cute) and to look at all of them with their white-blonde hair, big blue eyes, and infectious smiles, you’d never know that a couple of years ago we were a family in crisis. It was September 2013 and we were on our way to the hospital for yet another c-section to meet our littlest dude. To this day, I can’t tell you why, but something deep down told me that something was going to happen. That one of us wasn’t going to be ok. I guess it was mommy intuition.
He arrived, we fell in love all over again, his big brothers couldn’t contain themselves, and we were on Cloud 9 ready to be discharged so that we could start this new journey. Life was perfect and our family was complete, until the doctors told us that something wasn’t right. Instead of going home as a family, my older boys went home with Grandma, while Daddy and I followed the ambulance to a more advanced Level IV NICU. After we arrived, all I could do was stand by his isolette and cry. After several hours of just staring at my tiny boy, my husband and the nurses gently lead me out of the NICU and I walked zombie-like to the Ronald McDonald House which would be my home for the next 14 days. There, I cried myself to sleep while my husband ate chili from Wendy's (but that’s a story for another time.)
The next morning we were given a private room, a breast pump, and a diagnosis: Hirschsprung’s Disease. We were told not to Google it, pray for “low," and go back to the RMH to get some rest. Get some rest? Like, away from my baby? Like hell. This momma bear got cozy in that fabulous recliner and all that kept me alive were the frozen Uncrustables in the family-area freezer, delicious smuggled-in snacks from my friends, and music. So much music. All day long I listened to music. All types. When I was angry, Rage Against the Machine was on repeat. When I wanted to cheer myself up, Sir Mix-A-Lot was my go-to (that was the nurse's favorite, although I’m pretty sure they just enjoyed laughing at me). And when I wanted hope and comfort, I always turned back to my favorite Christian station. Most of my time was spent listening to the truths of the bible set to music. That year, Building 429 released their single ‘We Won’t Be Shaken’ and it became my anthem. The lyrics just took my breath away. I had been praying over and over and over again that my boy would be ok, that it was fixable, that our family would come out stronger because of this. Looking back, I was begging God instead of trusting him. After sitting and really listening to all of the lyrics, not just the amazing chorus, I knew that all I could do was surrender my fears and doubts to God. I realized that I could either hold my baby and sob, begging God to fix him, or I could actually trust Him to do so. I had to trust in His plan for Weston, for my other boys, for my family. I just kept singing this verse over and over again:
You know my every longing
You've heard my every prayer
You've held me in my weakness
Cause You were always there
So I'll stand in full surrender
It's Your way and not my own
My mind is set on nothing less
Than You and You alone
I downloaded the song so that I could listen on repeat because that was the song that I needed at that moment. I had to ingrain those lyrics into my brain because they were truth being spoken right to me through beautiful music. During his surgery, which would tell us exactly how bad his Hirschsprung's was, I sat curled up in a ball in the waiting room with my headphones on listening to what I had realized was hope. As long as my music was playing, I was calm, peaceful, and connected to God. God brought me comfort through something as simple as music and much like God Himself, music was always there.
It’s been almost three years since we welcomed Weston into the world. Our prayers were answered and he’s pure perfection. He’ll always have Hirschsprung's Disease, but he’s now considered a “medically normal” child. His start in life has changed our lives. I still listen to the playlist that I created during that scary time. It brings back painful memories and happy ones, too. The boys love to dance around to Avicii’s 'Wake Me Up,' Sir Mix-A-Lot is always good for a girl’s night out, and Rage Against the Machine’s 'Bulls on Parade' is my jam when I pay those astronomical medical bills every month. To this day I still find myself humming 'We Won’t Be Shaken' all of the time. When it comes on the radio, I smile the biggest smile because that song will forever be my anthem for surrender, love, trust, and pain too. It’s incredible that something that started off as just words and notes on a page literally changed my life.
Brooke is warrior mama to three rambunctious boys, wife to an honest, hardworking man, daughter to one of the greatest humans our great God ever created, and friend to anyone who talks to her. She's has been dubbed "the most inappropriate friend." She lives for a good belly laugh and to bring laughter to others - laughter feeds her soul. She loves the outdoors (not like hiking or rock climbing - she's not that cool - more like standing in the sunshine listening to nature!) and she finds God in the simple things.