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‘In Darkness, I Did Feel God’s Light’: Ex-Sanctus Real Lead Singer Clings to Jesus Amid Son’s Health Battle, Inspires Others


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Ex-Sanctus Real singer Matt Hammitt has always been an open book when it comes to his Christian faith, but now the performer is sharing about another personal matter: his son’s harrowing health journey.

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In the new documentary, “Bowen’s Heart,” Hammitt and his family take viewers through the serious issues his son, Bowen, has faced throughout his battle with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a birth defect impacting blood flow through the heart.

The decision to make the film, he said, was rooted in questions from fans and others who have faced similar circumstances and health issues.

“Ever since 2010, when Bo was first born, we’ve had other families calling us who’ve heard the story and [some of] the big questions that we’ve gotten over the years [are], ‘What do we expect in the hospital? How is this going to affect our marriage? How’s this going to affect other kids?'” he said. “And so we got a lot of those practical life questions.”

Hammitt and his family decided to show people what their experience was like, rather than simply telling them, as the former would provide a more effective and compelling lens into their struggles.

“Our motivation for making the film was, ‘Hey, we’ve been telling people what it’s like as much as we can. Why don’t we take them with us and show them and … be honest about these struggles in hopes that people would feel that they’re not alone and then that they would see a picture of hope,'” Hammitt said.

The singer also shared the impact of hypoplastic left heart syndrome, explaining Bowen doesn’t have half of his heart, as the left side of the organ didn’t develop properly. The young boy has had numerous open heart surgeries and has less blood flow and oxygen than he should.

Hammitt spoke about the helplessness and uncertainty he faced upon learning about Bowen’s condition while his son was still in the womb.

“I didn’t know how to respond right away,” he said. “It felt very helpless because we couldn’t really do anything at the time … my wife [was] still pregnant with Bowen.”

Hammitt, who at the time was already feeling the tensions of work-life balance, wasn’t sure what would happen and how it would impact their lives and career.

After leaving Sanctus Real, he was able to “step back and slow down a little bit to be able to be available” — a move that allowed him to be more present for his family.

“That was the beginning of me making choices to put more margin in my life to be able to be a more healed person, spend more time with God, allow Him to work inside of me, hear what He was saying to me,” Hammitt said. “And as a result of that, we’ve been able to help other people in a much more powerful way find healing.”

Watch the trailer for “Bowen’s Heart,” which is available to watch here:

Hammitt said he hasn’t been immune to the big theological questions along the way, pondering evil, sin, brokenness, and God’s nature.

But his faith has only grown stronger.

“In that darkness, I really did feel God’s light in such a tangible way,” Hammitt said. “Sometimes that darkness actually allows you to see the light so much more clearly and where it’s coming from. … My faith was illuminated, God was illuminated, God’s love was illuminated as much as I struggled.”

It wasn’t easy, as some kids with Bowen’s condition don’t make it past their fifth birthday, adding stress and fear to the uncertainty. When asked how he held on to hope, Hammitt said he focused on God’s nature and plan, read scriptures, and prayed.

“For me, really embracing God’s story over my story,” he said. “If you tie yourself to the outcome that you desire, then you can’t really be molded in the process, right?”

Today, Bowen is doing well, though he’s not totally “out of the woods with his health,” Hammitt said.

While he might eventually need a new heart, he is doing very well considering all he has been through.

“We don’t take that for granted for one second,” he said. “He’s doing very well in this season and we have a ton of hope for the future.”

Find out more about “Bowen’s Heart.”

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