Everything in you wants to fight
War won’t make this right
Lay down your arms
Kellie Haddock doesn’t write music for its own sake alone. “I want to infuse people with hope,” she says, “hope that’s based on the hard and the real.”
These are not abstract concepts to Kellie. Her son was nearly killed in a devastating car accident more than ten years ago. Recently, she tracked down all the doctors and nurses who saved his life as part of the Thank You Project, which has been seen by more than 100 million people.
On a trip to Iraq two years ago, Kellie faced “the hard and the real” yet again—this time through the eyes of another mom, our refugee friend Sozan. None of us—least of all Kellie—knew should would end up helping save the life of Sozan’s infant son.
You’re lonely but
You want to be alone
You’re tired but
You don’t want to sleep
During Kellie’s visit, we took her to the collection of shipping containers where Sozan and her sisters live—all of them refugees from ISIS. It was the early days of our work with these families, work that since has blossomed into a thriving soapmaking business. But on this day, something was deeply wrong. Sozan’s baby Aram was sick.
We were supposed to take a number of women to the hospital for a checkup. Sozan asked if she and little Aram could come, to. So Kellie, Jess Courtney, Sozan, and several others piled into the car. Ninety minutes later, baby Aram was in intensive care. Doctors weren’t sure what was wrong with him. They said his blood was “toxic” and he might not make it through the night.
Kellie and Jess would not leave Sozan and Aram’s side. “They let us stay,” Kellie recalls, and I realized Aram was having a seizure. It was a very subtle kind of seizure but also more dangerous.” Kellie knew how to recognize it because of the seizures her son experienced after the car accident.
Kellie and Jess urged the doctors to intervene. “I’ve already lost a daughter,” Sozan said through tears. (Her daughter starved to death when they were surrounded by ISIS on a mountain in northern Iraq.) “If I lose Aram, I lose everything.
“There was nothing we could do but cry and pray with her,” Kellie says. But there was one more thing she could do, so Kellie put her face next to Aram and started to sing—infusing his little body with hope. “The Lord has promised good to me,” she sang over and over again.
Kellie and Jess spent the next three days in the hospital with Sozan and Aram. Then, on Kellie’s final day in Iraq, Aram turned the corner. When they walked in the room that morning, Sozan was smiling for the first time, rocking her son. “Look! My baby—he’s awake!”
Today, Aram is a vibrant, healthy little boy—his life filled with the kind of hope and promise that Kellie loves to sing about.
“I wrote a record about love. How original is that?” Kellie laughs. “But I wanted to encourage people that there is always a way forward in love. Love really does have the last word.”
This hope can be heard on every track of Kellie’s newest album, Wild Love, but especially the song “Lay Down Your Arms,” inspired in part by Jeremy Courtney’s book Preemptive Love.
It’s hard for you
To find a common ground
Fighting to defend
Your own bit of ground
“There is a deeper truth here that relates to Iraq and war and politics,” Kellie explains, “but it also relates to marriages and friendships and everyday life. [It] transcends location and political boundaries. It’s truth for humanity.”
The wild love Kellie sings about led her on a journey to thank the doctors and nurses who saved her son’s life. It led her to Iraq, where she played a part in saving Sozan’s son’s life. As she tours in support of her new album, it’s taking her to hospitals to sing hope into the lives of those who can’t come to her concerts because, as she puts it, “Hospitals are where I know there are already people who are hurting.”
We’re so excited to share Kellie’s new album with you, and we hope that it will remind you that love really does have the last word—at home, in a hospital, even in a war zone in Iraq.
Wild Love releases today, April 20. To get the full album, click here.
To download a free copy of “Lay Down Your Arms,” click here.