Brooke Martin is "The Firestarter"

christian grief identity loss parents purpose reclaim spirituality transformation Feb 07, 2022
Brooke Martin is The Firestarter

February 15th, 2022
Episode 05: Brooke Martin, The Firestarter

Brooke Martin is a former award-winning TV News Anchor who came to national prominence in 2019 at the birth and immediate death of her daughter, 21 minutes later. In this episode, Brooke goes into great detail about the decision to leave television, the loss of her child and the renewed hope she's found.


This episode is for you if:
-You need a good cry (seriously, grab the tissues)
-You can identify with struggling to find your identity
-You can identify with the overwhelming feeling of loss
-You need Christian-centered inspiration

What's in this episode?
In this episode, Brooke Martin begins with the Best and Worst Times in her life, answering questions from Host Lauren Lowrey about the moment she had clarity in her life and when she found purpose.

You'll also hear from Brooke about what drew her to TV news and how her experience in the bright studio lights went from shining to burning as the years wore on. She details her final years in the industry and what was changing, personally, that pushed her to move on.

Brooke details finding out her daughter had a 0% chance of survival and still choosing to carry her full term. She describes the birth and staying with her daughter's body for three days to grieve.


📝 Show Notes & Mentions 📝

R.C. Sproul (Theologian) “In a culture that is so focused on doing over being, we must value who we're becoming. And it's only in our being, that we find what we should be doing."
Cuddle Cot (The cooling device that slows deterioration of a newborn’s body after death)


Connect with Brooke Martin
Brooke's website, More with Brooke Martin
Brooke's Instagram


0:00 - Intro
1:13 - Best Time/Worst Time
11:20 - Brooke’s television journey
16:48 - Creating a controlled burn
19:54 - Finding your identity
25:36 - Lauren apologizes to Brooke
27:37 - Brooke’s pregnancy with Emma Noelle
34:16 - The delivery day
39:48 - After the loss
44:25 - Creating “More w/ Brooke Martin”
52:29 - Thoughts on purpose


[Episode transcript]
- Brooke Martin is a warrior, plain and simple. When you hear what she's endured, you'll understand why I call her that. She recently left a long and successful career as an award-winning broadcast news anchor. She's now speaking and writing, really encouraging people who need to reconnect with hope. In 2019, Brooke came to national prominence at the birth and immediate death of her second child who had a rare birth defect. The thing that's so wild about it, is that Brooke knew this would happen. She learned very early in her pregnancy the child had zero chance of survival, yet she still carried Emma Noelle full-term. That loss and the coverage that it brought, set her on a path to help others find courage in life's hardest moments. She does it by teaching people how to burn away what doesn't serve them. This is my long time friend, Brooke Martin, "The Fire Starter." Okay, I like to play a little game, Brooke. You ready to play game ready?

- Ready.

- Okay, it's just a series of questions. The only rule is that you just have to be truthful. You think you can do it?

- I think I can do it.

- Okay, when was the best time in your life?

- Best time in my life, this summer. I was sitting on our deck outside. My daughter was napping, I had the monitor playing. The sun was shining, the breeze was blowing. My husband and son were on our little pond in a kayak. And I was hit with this wave of gratitude, and I just thought, this is life. This is it, this is everything that I want. And it was the first time, ironically, that I had chosen to step away from what I had been working my whole life for, and that was my career. And so I stepped away, took some time off. And it was in that moment when I was just hit with happiness. And it doesn't mean it was because the job was not there, but my perspective was shifting. And I just started to understand the simple things, of where it's at.

- When was the worst time in your life?

- March 15th, 2019. And the day that I said, hello and goodbye to my daughter, Emma Noelle.

- We'll get into that. When was a turning point for you in your life that you can say, from that moment everything changed?

- Junior year of college. I went to Temple University, I was studying broadcasting. But I was chasing the wrong things. And I came to a point in my junior year where I just felt empty, and I didn't know where to go. It may have been depression, it wasn't diagnosed, but I just felt something is missing. And totally ironically, at that time, my mom sent me a book in the mail, called "Purpose Driven Life." And it's a 40-day read that you go through, and discover, I think the subtitle is, "Why on Earth Am I Here?" And it changed my life, and I didn't even tell her I was reading it. And after the 40 days, I had so much awareness of God's patience and grace for me that I wanted nothing, but to just give it back. But I had nothing, I was broke.

- You were in college.

- I'm in college. And I remember thinking, "I have spring break coming up." And so I said, "God, I'm gonna go somewhere. "I'm gonna do a mission trip, I'm gonna do this." And so I looked at everything, nothing was lining. About two weeks before I thought, "I'll just go home, work at the homeless shelter, "do something, I'll just do something." And my mom calls again, totally unaware. And she says, "I know this is crazy, "you're never gonna do this. "But there are two spots on a mission's trip to Mexico "from this date to this date." And it was exactly my spring break. And I said, "Say no more, just sign me up." That week I served, and just was with people, and understood that there is so much more depth and beauty in serving than in receiving. And especially as college kids, right? I mean, it's all about me .

- Well, college is supposed to be the exploration of you.

- It is. But what it turns into instead of exploration, is a self-serving and that's different. And I think that self-exploration comes through giving, and it's where we get it wrong a lot. And the last day I was there, I climbed up to the top of this hill, all by myself. And in the most guttural prayer, I said the most simple words. And I just threw my hands up, and I just said, "God use me." And I had no idea what that meant, I had no idea what that would look like, but I don't think I've ever uttered anything that I felt more. And from that point on, that has just driven my life. It's like, it doesn't matter if I'm a mom at home. It doesn't matter if I'm knee deep in my career, God use me. And that was really a clarifying moment for my life that junior year.

- Oh my gosh, I love that. What's something about your nature that you've either overcome or continue to overcome?

- Continuing to overcome, definitely have not overcome it, but people-pleasing. I think it is a combination of just natural upbringing. Just kind of personality, and then a job of being a TV news anchor for 15 years. It all kind of combines to make you care a lot about what other people think. And there are some benefits to it, but when it becomes your sole focus, or it becomes the loudest voice, it's a problem. And you start to make decisions based on things that are not sustainable, and are simply limiting to yourself and to who you are created to be. And I have made any ill-decisions based on fear of how it would be perceived or what it... When in reality it's like, man, this is all we've got. We've got this one shot, we need to say it, we need to do it. And we need to not be scared of what other people think. And that's been crippling for me in certain areas. And so that's what I'm work, it's a process But to shed identities that we've worked so long to build, I think so many of us have worked, worked, worked, worked, worked to get to this place. And then we realize, but that's not me. What is me? And so overcoming the fear of man has been a really big challenge in my life.

- What do you find yourself saying a lot lately? Is there a phrase or certain words that you just find are always coming out of your mouth?

- There is more for us. I talk to people all the time. I love talking to people. I love hearing stories. And I have a really deep sense that people are logging for more. And my personal exploration of that has led to such rich and deep waters. And I feel like I'm just scratching the surface with it, but I'm like, wow. There is so much more here, and let's find it. And I think it seeps into every area of life, rest, work, family, just time management. But there is a depth of God's purpose in our lives that if we dig in, and we start to pursue, He is very quick to meet us in.

- What do you think your purpose is?

- I think that my purpose is to glorify God. And that sounds almost self-righteous. And that's not my intent, but I think of it as, R. C. Sproul is a theologian. And he said something to the effect of, "in a culture that is so focused on doing over being, we must value who we're becoming. And it's only in our being, that we find what we should be doing." And so I think that glorifying God is really just a path of finding out who we were created to be. I think of it, like if a carver made a flute, and the flute goes around and tries to figure out, what am I made for? And it tries to be a pencil, and it doesn't work. And it tries to be a baseball bat, and it doesn't work-

- Or a crutch make of a cane.

- Or a crutch, or a cane, or a cigar.

- It's not what it's meant for.

- And yeah, and it feels frustrated. and it feels unfulfilled. The only way the flute knows what it was made for is to go to the carver and say, "What did you create me to be?" And then when it finds out that it's made to make beautiful music, not only is it fulfilled, but it's glorifying its creator. And the creator's saying, "That's exactly what I created you for." But so often we try and we strive, what is my purpose? What is, I gotta, I gotta figure this out-

- Yeah, yeah, we try to push it, right? Push it when it's not supposed to be pushed.

- And there's so much, God talks about like, "My yoke is easy, my burden is light, "Just come, sit on my lap, I'll talk to you. "I'll whisper of you, what I made you to be." And that's really what my purpose is now, is just finding out, "God, what is it that you created me to be?"

- When did you realize that? That, that as the purpose?

- It's been a journey, I think a journey of faith that I've had to realize a lot on my own, in my adulthood. I've had to shake away a lot of hurt through faith, and through religious institutions. And it came in in waves. But when I took away the striving, and I really went to the scriptures, and I looked at the person of us Jesus, and I said, "What was he like?" And it's so different from so much of what we as American Christianity or whatever, it can be so different from that. And I think we're getting it really wrong in a lot of areas. And I had to disassemble things that I had thought I understood, and really take it from the basics. And so it's been a process, it wasn't an enlightening moment. But the more that I grow to know the person of Jesus, the more I am absolutely overwhelmed by the personal and intimate relationship that is available for all of us. And it is only in that relationship that I have found purpose and fulfillment because I found who I'm supposed to be. So it's a journey, but one that I am so excited to be on.

- Yeah, so let's start there. Let's start there about excitement. Did television news excite you ever?

- Yes.

- Was there a time that it was exciting?

- Absolutely, it's what I always wanted to do. I visited all my schools for interior design, and then a counselor, I remember at one point saying, "Is this your passion?" And I thought, "Well, it's more a hobby." And he said, "What do you love to do?" And I anchored our high school's announcements in the mornings, and I said-

- Yeah, yes. Today is April 8th.

- And the student council today. And I was like, that's it. And it was just like that, never looked back, and I loved it. I loved the industry. I loved the storytelling. I loved the journalism. I loved being on TV, I loved it all. And you kinda walk through an industry and as one in TV news, you know that a lot is out of your control. And so it took twists and turns that I didn't see coming, some good, some bad. And it got to a point where the industry was changing so fast in such a way that did not align with why I got into the industry. But I loved, the 15 years that I was in news, I loved it. I loved being a mouthpiece for a community.

- Was there ever a point where you said, this just isn't fulfilling, or this isn't exciting anymore? Was there like a moment? Or do you feel like there was just kind of this slow dissipation?

- Slow dissipation, I think. With every new ownership that comes, changes are made. More demands are put on the people, less time is given for certain things. And my favorite things were more long in depth. Pieces, like this.

- Like this. Long conversations, telling a story, yeah.

- Yeah, this is really what matters. And because of cuts, and resources, and everything else, those were just slowly eliminated. And I got to a point where I was anchoring four hours of news, just the same news over, and over, and over. And I just thought, "This isn't why I got into the industry. "And it certainly is not feeling fulfilling." And it was about a year ago that I just started to say, I just say it was an uprooting. I just felt like something in my heart was like, there's something coming. And I had achieved what I had set out to achieve, it was my dream job in a city I loved. And I just thought, "Really?" Nothing terrible had happened, things were changing, but what is this?

- Yeah, was it an unsettled feeling? What did you feel?

- It was, yes. It was an unsettled feeling. I don't even know if I can verbalize it. It was just like this isn't, I'm not finding the fulfillment in this like I did. And why, and what is it? And I vowed to just kind of take the next season to do some soul-searching, and to have some conversations with trusted people, and figure out, what is this?

- What is this?

- And that's a scary place to get because I think so many times we get to these places, and you're like, "No, no, no, no, "I've worked too hard for this. "I've moved too many times for this"

- My Poor family.

- My poor family! There's too much on the line. And we don't even allow ourselves to go into those dreaming seasons. And dreaming seasons are so important because we just allow the whisper of our creator to say, "This is where I have you right now. "This is where I wanna bring you." And it became more and more clear with every month that I moved through it, that this chapter was coming to an end.

- At what point did you talk to your husband about that? I mean, because he's been on this journey with you. And at what point did you say, "This is gonna sound crazy, "but here's what I'm feeling?" At what point did you involve him in that emotion?

- I think I involved him right away with just, I feel like this is weird, I just kinda feel this. And then really not much more until I had a conversation with a friend who connected me with somebody whose job it is to take people with messages, and to get the message out and to create a platform to get this message out. And at first I was really, I was like, this is not... Part of me, honestly Lauren, wanted to dig a hole and farm 20 acres, and not see the public anymore.

- Are we the same person? I feel like this is the conversation just one year ago, my husband and I said, "Can we just leave?" "Can I just leave?" Sometimes it gets really stinking hard.

- It does.

- And you just wanna like give up on everything and go live off a farm, off the land, take your kids and just go.

- Yeah, the spotlight turns from shining to burning. And you're just like, "I wanna be done with it." And so when I connected with this woman and we had a conversation. She kind of walked me through and she said, "Just think about it." And I was driving and I just said, "God." I said, "If this is something, I need inspiration." 'Cause I don't want, we walked through something incredibly hard. And I feel like I learned such incredible lessons from it. And I said, "But I don't wanna use this." I know you gave it to us to steward and to use, but I don't wanna use it. And I said, "If this is something "that you have for people, "that you want them to hear, "I need inspiration and I need vision." And in that moment I just saw, just an image in my mind of a burned out forest. I mean, just crisp. And I just heard the term controlled burn. And I was like, "What is this?" And as I'm thinking, and praying, and just talking to God. He's starting to put the pieces together. And He's saying, "We have all been created in my image, beautiful humans, beautiful people with potential. And because of life's upbringing, and trials, and everything else, weeds have grown in our forests, in our Edens. And it is only through pain and suffering, an act of a controlled burn that can burn us to our core. But it also burns away the weeds, and what it leads to is soil, ashy soil that has the nutrients and the richness to afford beautiful regrowth that never could have grown without the fire. And so how do we approach life's fires in a way that has purpose, that has meaning, and mostly that has hope? And so I just thought, oh.

- Oh God, this is big, this is big.

- I didn't I expect this. And so I'm just lik writing, I'm like, "Wow, this is something." And I'm like, "Okay." And I remember going to my husband and I said, "All right, just stick with me for a second. I got this vision.

- I got this vision.

- And I'm gonna quit my job. No, I just said, "I need time." Really was what it came down to. And I mean, anxiety played a role at this point. Part of my process, I just became uncomfortable doing what I was doing on camera. I could have talked for hours on camera a year ago. And then all of a sudden I started dealing with anxiety.

- Was it because it didn't feel true anymore? What do you think that conflict was?

- I don't know exactly. It could be a combination of grief. It could be a combination of it not feeling fulfilling. I think I wasn't believing in certain missions anymore. And I did, I think I felt like I was more of a, our TV news has become so much about me, and I think that I was feeling pressure to make something about me that I never really wanted to be about me. And I think it was a combination, but it certainly led me to this place where I was like, okay, this is becoming very clear that the end of the road is near. And I said, "I need to take some time off "and just think about this." And I took some time off, and it was in that time when I was sitting on my backpack-

- The backpack, yeah. And you had clarity.

- And I was overwhelmed. Overwhelmed, and I was just like, I think it's a lot more simple than we're making it. I think it's a lot more meaningful than we're realizing. And I think that God has a lot more for each of us.

- [Lauren] Yeah, and more becomes the central a piece.

- And it, yeah.

- Yeah, I wanna explore something with you that of all the 13 guests that I've had for this season one, I have known you by far the longest, right? We met in 2011, I was already in Indianapolis just by a few months. I'd only beaten you by a few months there, and then you were there just months after, right? And December, November, December, 2011, right?

- Yip, November.

- And so we started in this city, this particular city at the same time. And saw through ownership changes, and leadership changes, and all the changes that you have to weather, I think as an honor talent. One of the things I always used to describe this job is that you have to pretend like things are okay when they're not okay. So that's emotionally, maybe something happened in your personal life, and you have to just put it away. Or maybe everything's breaking and you can hear it in your earpiece, everything's going wrong, but you can't let people see that something's wrong. And let's talk about, instead of peeling back the layers of the onion, let's talk about those things that we have to encase ourselves with, being in a performance career. I mean, you have to put on clothes that aren't yours. You have to put on things that don't belong to you. Shave off parts of yourself to make yourself the most appealing to the most amount of people, and making decisions based on what other people will like, not based on what you will like. When did you realize that, that was happening to you? And how have you gone about unscrewing that ?

- Man, that's a great question. That's a process because when you build up, I like that onion analogy because when you build up 15 years of layers, it's gonna be a process to start to unpeel those. The first step in that is becoming aware that it even happened,

- Yeah, that you put on other people's stuff, right?

- Yeah, and you become so accustomed to it in TV news, because it's all you've known. And so it gets to a point where you think, "What do I like?" Those words that, that consultant told me 10 years ago that still stick with me. That viewer email that said my arms are weird. You know, I mean.

- I'm with you, no, I get it.

- It's crazy.

- People don't realize how the craziest stuff.

- Crazy, and no matter how strong you are, and no matter how well you can brush it off, parts of it always stick with you. And so it's like how do you start to rip those off? And start to get down to who am I really? And it's a process, but I think pain plays a beautiful role in that because it brings us to the end of ourselves. And I think we're very capable in this business, especially, but humans in general. We're very capable of pushing through. And it takes coming to the end of ourselves, and our abilities, and our competencies to say, oh, I need to surrender. And it is only in surrender when we can truly see who we are meant to be.

- Yeah, yeah, I can't tell you how long it took me to answer the simple question, of what do I want. And it was this 36th year of mine has been incredibly transformative, it's been a transformative year. And there was this realization for me one day of this, of I've always been told what colors to wear, what not to wear, how to do my hair, how to do my makeup. My hair should be cut short, my hair should be long, my hair should have blonde highlights. No, it should have red highlights. Don't say this, do say this, don't laugh like that. I mean, when you shave so many parts of yourself off, you forget where you begin, where you end. What other people's projections are, even sewn onto you almost. Instead of here's a bandaid, Lauren, to fix your wound. Here, I'm actually gonna put another person's expectations into that wound. And you're gonna heal into this other person that's actually more like a Frankenstein, and it's not actually you. So I think for me, that transformative question was, what do I want?

- [Brooke] Yes.

- And it took me two months to answer that question. What color do I actually like to wear? And as a 36-year-old woman to admit that, that simple, simple question that I should have figured out at 22 or 23, I couldn't even answer. I mean, that was the beginning of my controlled burn.

- But exactly, and what was the beginning of it, was probably, if I'm guessing, pain. Some level of discomfort, pain, or suffering. And that is why if everything is perfect and going great, we tend to just push that stuff aside and keep powering forward. And so we have got to look at our pain. We are a society that protects against pain unlike any. I mean, we will do anything to avoid pain and suffering. We will make sure we have everything in place, so that like life is good.

- Nothing to see here.

- Nothing to see here. And it's like I'm finding, we have got to start embracing our pain because there is purpose in it. And it's beautiful purpose, it doesn't mean it's not painful. It doesn't mean it's not heartbreaking and even crushing. But man, if we can start shifting our perspective to look at pain with hope, there is transformation awaiting each of us.

- 2018 was a hard year for me, I knew I was leaving Indianapolis. I was pregnant, I had a high risk pregnancy anyway. I left Indianapolis and moved here to Nashville. And tried to put the pain of what I had left in the past. At the same time you started going through something incredibly painful. And I think has defined so much of your journey. And I do wanna apologize, I wasn't there for you. I'm sorry, this is part of why I wanted you to come because, hold on, I've got a tissue. I knew this would happen, if you need.

- I will.

- Because so often with pain, we want to believe that we're the only one in pain when you were in pain in the fight of your life, in the true fight of your life. And I wasn't there for you, and I'm sorry.

- Lauren.

- So let that be the lead in to the story that you're about to tell, which is the absolute purpose that I believe that you're here to embody, and what you're here to teach because I think it's the biggest, most beautiful lesson for all of us. When we say, I can't do it. I can't do it, I can't make it through. I want everyone to know, Brooke, Brooke made it through. Brooke made it through something so much worse than whatever this ridiculous problem is. So what was happening with you in 2018?

- So first of all, I just wanna say release that, okay.

- Thank you .

- I have never, never thought about that, or held that against you. You have always, I know that you are a friend that is always there. 2018 was a year that we were pregnant with our second child. We had one son, Max, who was two. And we got pregnant, and I about found out 12 weeks, it was right on our timeline. It was exactly what we wanted, and made the announcement, of course, at work to the viewers. Everyone was very excited, and about two weeks after that, I started to develop a really bad case of bronchitis. And so I just went into my OB to get some antibiotics. And while I was there, the nurse practitioner asked if I would like to sneak in and see the baby while I was there. Which of course you want to.

- Yeah, which is so fun, right?

- So fun.

- You want the ultrasound.

- So fun.

- You wanna see the baby.

- We'd always had an ultrasound, it was all good. And so I was alone, and I was in that ultrasound room when the ultrasound tech kept walking in and out, and printing off something, going out and she kept saying that the equipment's broken or something. And I didn't think anything of it, and you would think I would. In our field that I would be a little like-

- This isn't normal.

- [Brooke] This isn't normal. But I was oblivious. I was excited and didn't think a thing of it. And I have no idea how much time passed, but the nurse practitioner came back in, and she just put her hand on my arm. And she just said, "I'm so sorry, "your baby's skull is not developing," and walked out. And I was.

- [Lauren] Did you even know what it meant? What does that even mean?

- I didn't know at all. I didn't know at all. I just knew it wasn't good by the look in her face. And I'm laying there, and I've got the jelly on my belly, and I'm just in shock, kind of and alone. And in the quietness of that room, I just heard Emanuel, Emanuel, Emanuel, over and over. And I honestly brushed it off 'cause I had no idea, why am I hearing this not audibly, but like in my heart. Didn't have any idea what it meant. I honestly, in the moment thought like, why am I hearing like a Christmas name?

- Yeah, yeah.

- This is odd. And my doctor eventually made his way in, and he explained that he thinks that the diagnosis is an anencephaly, and it is when your child's skull just does not close. And it is 0% survival rate.

- [Lauren] 0%?

- 0%.

- There never in history, has been and someone who survived.

- No, and so I'm sitting in the ultrasound room on the chair now. And it's just me in the ultrasound tech, she's kinda cleaning things up. They're letting me have a moment to process. And I remember sitting there, Lauren, and I just said, "Excuse me," and I said, "Could you tell?" That's all I could get out. And she knew what I was saying, and she said, "It's a girl." And it was such a scary ask, because I was like, "Do I start to love this child?"

- [Lauren] Yeah.

- And my husband got there soon after, we were counseled on options, and he just-

- What were your options, briefly?

- Yeah, so most, the vast majority of these cases end in termination because of the 0% survival. But my husband said immediately, and almost shockingly to me, because you never know how people are going to respond in situations like this. And my husband just said we are carrying her. And it was just like, there was just no, I was so thankful for that assertiveness in that moment.

- [Lauren] Yeah, so you didn't have to make the choice, he was strong for you when you couldn't be.

- And I knew what I would've made, but I needed that. I needed his strength in that moment. And so that began a journey for us. And I remember we were sitting on the couch at home, and starting to understand that Emmanuel is God with us, that's what the name means. And it was the prophet, Isaiah, who prophesied and said, "There will be a child "and you will call him Emmanuel." And it is Christ with us, it is God with us. And through this journey of carrying a child that I knew I would not get to keep. What was the message that God was shouting from this little baby girl? And it's like, "I am with you, and I am enough." That's a miracle, and so we walked through what seemed to be, I had to tell the viewers because I'm not gonna go seven months in a lie, as I'm growing. It wasn't out of bravery or anything that I decided to share, I just knew I couldn't fake it. And Cole and I were sitting on the couch and we just said, "What is this for us, what is this?" And we just collectively looked at each other, and just tears in our eyes, and we just prayed, again, the most simple prayer. And it was just, God be glorified. We can't keep her, and she's our daughter, and she's gonna be with you. And so through this, just be glorified. And so I continued to anchor, and I was growing and sharing. And it was in that process that I, going back to the question of shedding, I stopped posting. If I felt like I should have posted an update, and I wasn't feeling it, I didn't. If I recorded something and felt like I'm not being really authentic today, I deleted it. I was like this is my boundaries. And in a controlled burn, when you're talking about it, what makes a controlled burn different from a wildfire? It has purpose, it has boundaries. And then it has beautiful regrowth. And so I had to learn a lot about boundaries, and I had to learn about what I'm willing to share and what I'm not. And so we walked through until her delivery date, March 15th.

- [Lauren] And what was that day like?

- It was a C-section, early morning. She survived for 21 minutes. I got to hold her first. I got to tell her things that I had been waiting to tell her. And then Cole held her. And the nurse said, when I was talking to my anesthesiologist, she turned her head and recognized my voice. And then she passed in Cole's arms, from one father to another after 21 minutes. And thanks to a cooling device called a CuddleCot in our hospital room, we were able to be with her for three days in my recovery. It just keeps the body-

- [Lauren] I didn't know that.

- Yes, I am such a huge advocate of these because they're not hospital mandated, they are through donations. And actually a family friend of ours bought hers that she could stay in for those three days, and it's now at the hospital to use for others. But what it allows is bonding, and we could take pictures with her and it was a hard three days, Lauren. It was just, it was just, there were moments that were easier than others. But I mean, I remember almost sometimes being scared to look at her, and scared of my own emotions, emotions that you've never had to feel. And she was so beautiful, and my biggest regret, we had professional pictures and stuff, but nothing. But the third day she was just so peaceful. Her features had just settled in, but her lips were purple. And so I didn't take a picture of her because I was scared that, that would scare me looking back. Man, I wish I would've taken the picture. But it was the moment when the morning that we were supposed to leave the hospital, it was the day I had been dreading my entire pregnancy.

- 'Cause you knew you there'd be a point, right? That you'd have to let her go.

- How do you leave? How do you leave a hospital without your child? Seems really cruel. And I woke up that morning with tears already streaming down my cheeks, I don't. And I just remember saying to God, "I can't. "This is it, I can't do this part." It's too hard, I literally felt like my body was going to break from the weight of it. And just like that, I just felt this well of strength, like a lion, just, I mean overcome, just peace. And I took a deep breath and I knew I could do it. And so Cole and I rocked her, and said goodbye and handed her to a nurse. And we left and we got into the car. And I will never remember, we just looked at each other and we just smiled. And it was like, this is miracle. This is the stuff that miracles are made of. People say, "Oh, aren't you sad? "Did you pray for a miracle? "Did you pray?" And it's like I believe with everything in me that if it was God's plan, He could have healed her, I believe that. But my focus is not on the miracle, it's on the miracle worker. And when your focus is there, everything is a miracle. I mean, everything that you walk through is a miracle. And it was the most hard, heartbreaking, but beautiful journey because I learned that God is with, that God is enough. I faced death in the eyes and it didn't take me down. I walked through the fire, it didn't burn me. In fact, I would say that I am stronger, I am more resolute. And I believe in a personal and intimate God that has more for us than we can ever fathom. but will we go there? Will we allow ourselves? And for me it took something really, really hard.

- Yeah, that continues to be hard.

- Continues to be hard. But we have a daughter, Marlowe now, who is 18 months, and has been a beautiful redemption story for us, yeah.

- What was that pregnancy like? I mean, because the point that you, I mean, I imagine you knew all along that you wanted to have another child, or was that a process too?

- No, I did. We knew we wanted a sibling for Max. And I just felt in my soul that-

- [Lauren] You needed that too.

- Yeah.

- [Lauren] To know that it was gonna be okay.

- Yeah, and I felt like that, yeah. I didn't want to, I used to ride horse. And as a kid when I would get thrown off, my dad would always say, "Get back on."

- Yeah, right, that's the best lesson .

- Get back on. And so I didn't want fear to have the final say of that. However, the pregnancy, I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. Every checkup, you're just like, "Oh," you're waiting for that news. Because once you're scarred with news like that it's just natural to protect. And I think I honestly did not probably bond with Marlowe as quickly as I did with Max, just because of that, the emotional protection.

- Do you think that you were so scared that she'd be taken?

- I don't think I was scared that she would be taken, but I just wasn't ever confident in anything that I had assumed would happen because that's how I was walking with Emma, I was just absolute, I just assumed everything was gonna be fine. And so I lost that ability to assume, which is probably good and bad.

- Yeah, that's good though.

- But yeah, I mean, I don't think I was scared of it, but was certainly aware of the possibility, yeah, more than I had been, but.

- And so after Marlowe's birth, you have a beautiful, healthy daughter. And then at that point you have two beautiful, healthy children. And at the same time after you've walked through this, I mean, just you've walked through death. And here you are, maybe becoming more and more disillusioned with your employment, right? With the thing that you've wanted to do for so long. I wonder how that was for you? Did what you went through with Emma Noelle, did it make the transition, the choice, that heavy, hard choice that you had to make to leave a career you've worked your entire adult life for? Did that experience make that choice more clear? Or did it make more difficult?

- More clear, I believe seeds were planted in that season that were starting to sprout. When I started feeling that things were shifting inside of me, it was sprouts from things that were planted that gave me just incredible perspective. I say that suffering has a purifying perspective.

- That's a nice spin.

- Yeah, yeah. Because it really burns away the stuff that seems to just kind of keep us going in the rat race that we think life is. And so I got to a point where I was just like, "Yeah, there's more here." And I said to Cole, at one point, I said, "I would be willing to sell our house "and move into an apartment on another side of town, "if it meant that I could stay true "to what I feel like my life needs to be about now." And that was a really freeing thing where I let go of things that I had strived so hard for. And realized that just because, and I don't look back and regret my career or even the striving. I think there's healthy things to working hard and achieving, but you have to be willing to let it go if it's time, or else your dreams become your prisons.

- Pretty cages, huh? They're pretty, pretty.

- Yes, pretty, very pretty.

- [Lauren] But a cage.

- Very pretty, and it's a monster that only has increased appetite. You're never satisfied. And so what is the thing that is satisfying in life?

- And what did you determine that is?

- My purpose of glorifying God.

- Yeah, so let's talk about what you've created. That word more kept coming to you, didn't it?

- More, it did. Yeah, and I just thought, "Hey, I'm on this journey, "I'm not claiming to know it all. I'm not claiming to be an expert, but I know that I have found something here. In that time where I took off from work, I started changing habits. I started changing my routines and what I did with my time. I put technology mostly away. And for a TV news person who was constantly attached to it-

- Well, and people need to understand, it's actually part of our job.

- It is.

- You're required to be on social media, there are post mandates. Post this many times a day, schedule this post. I mean that , I hate that more than anything.

- Same.

- I have just really bucked the trend the last few months. And the same reason, I've got it, and my head is not in the social, it's just not there. And it's not true or authentic, I can't do it.

- And it depletes you,

- It depletes your soul.

- It totally depletes you.

- And so I had to really rework my thoughts and my perspectives on a lot of things including rest. What is rest? Why are we resting and still feeling? I mean, it says that our generation, especially millennials, is the most overwhelmed, unfulfilled generation. And yet they have the most access to leisure activities, and rest avenues, as far as Netflix, and all the things at their fingertips. And they're the most stressed and overwhelmed, why is that?

- We don't know how.

- We're are getting it wrong. We're getting rest wrong. And rest is completely different from leisuring. And what I learned is leisuring is resting at the expense of someone else. If you go to a restaurant, it's someone's working for you. If you're watching a football game. Now, if you're playing a football game in your backyard, you're resting. If you're cooking your own food, you're resting in that, if you enjoy that. If you're just spending time, you're resting, your soul is filled. And so I just started making these changes in my life, in our family's life. And I was like , it was almost like I was being revived.

- Because suddenly you were doing things that you just kinda wanted to do, right? You allowed yourself to, you just allowed that self-reflection, didn't you? That moment to say, well, what is it that I actually enjoy? Not what I've been told to enjoy, or told to do.

- Right, and now I had time, I had time to process. And before, I mean, the work schedule, especially with the young kids is brutal. And so you get to the weekends and you have your to-do list, and then you gotta do this. And we implemented ancient practices of Sabbath, so a full 24 hours of truly doing nothing, putting nothing on our calendar. Being with each other, having technology take a backseat. I mean, things that you go back to, and you're like this isn't weird rules and reg, this is for our thriving, and there's a re reason for it. And so I just started to unearth some of these things that I'm like, yeah, we've kind of like thought we got it, right?

- Yeah, we thought we figured it out and we've messed it up .

- Right, and it's kind of interesting because for us, we come from maybe the first real generation that women can do it all, and we can, and it's a beautiful gift. But what we've done, I think in turn, is almost take it too far, and just say, not only can we, I must do it all. And that's not necessarily true, if that's not where God is calling you into. And so it's a blessing and a curse. And I think we have to start unpacking some of that, and say, "Am I okay not doing it all." And even maybe just for this time period. But am I okay taking a backseat in this? And I have found that I am more than okay in that.

- Well, what's interesting is like, your version of backseat is almost like it's propelled you even further. Do you feel that way?

- In what way?

- I feel like, here's been my experience. When a person decides to connect with purpose, male, female, 25 year old, 55 year old, doesn't matter. When a person decides to connect with purpose, when they say this is about the we, this is not about the me. When they get out of their own way, when they go step aside, and they begin to serve others, or just make it about something bigger, there's something about that, that it's like suddenly you got on the express train to whatever it is that the universe, that God, that destiny has in store for you, you just hopped on the express train. Because in my view, people who hop on that express train to purpose, get to success, get to I mean, having all their needs met, get to whatever it is that they really desired through other means but couldn't get because that wasn't the purpose train. Do you know what I'm saying? So you were in television, a main female anchor in a large market, and you'd done that for years, and years, and years. But there's something that's so much more resonant when you decided to get on that express purpose train. From the seat I'm sitting in, looking at you, do you feel that? Or do you feel it's been a different experience for you?

- I think that's to me determined.

- 'Cause it's only new, right? Only a few months new.

- And what I've had to do, is take my expectations out of it, and that's hard for me. I've had to say, Look, God, you have so clearly been in this from the very beginning to the launch of the website to all of this. And now I kind of got to a point where I was like, well, now what? And I had to say, well, this is where faith starts playing. It's where the road you can't see what's ahead, and you say, but you know what? I've trusted you this far, you're not gonna let me down now.

- You stared down death, why would you second guess now?

- You're bullet proof. And so I can walk into this. I mean, there's so many implications to this. I mean, financial insecurity, just new territories that our family has never had to walk through, and yet we're standing and we're going, yep, bring it. Bring it.

- [Lauren] It's okay.

- It's okay, it's okay. Because we've walked through it and we know that because we are living in the purpose of finding out who we are supposed to be, God is never going to disappoint us in that. And that's freeing, it's not freedom.

- It's not faith if you can see it, right? It has to be unseen.

- Yeah, and it's fun, that's the other thing. I mean, it's fun not knowing. It's scary but it's also fun because He just shows up in ways that you're just like. The same God who whispered Emmanuel in that ultrasound room to me, is the same God who's leading me into this next journey. I can't imagine not having that relationship, it's been the biggest gift in my life. And I think, my eyes were opened to it through a little girl. And I think that, that is her life's message, is that God is with us, and each of us and available. But so many times we have to come to the end of ourselves before we are willing to reach out.

- Right, do you think purpose can exist in a vacuum apart from spirituality? Or do you think they have to be connected?

- It absolutely can exist. My question would be, is it temporal? Is it fleeting? And that's kind of just what I've had to wrestle with, and why I feel like the people least concerned with purpose are the ones knitted closest to God, because it's more like they're too consumed doing the next thing that He has, that purpose becomes a given.

- Yeah, it just is.

- It just is, it's your being. Again, being over doing. And so absolutely, people can have many different purposes, beautiful purposes. But if it is self-driven, self-powered, all of us are human and there will be limits to that. Whereas faith driven purpose, I believe is infinite, eternal and, powerful.

- How do you, Brooke Martin, how do you know when you're doing something in purpose? Does it feel different to you? Versus when Brooke Martin's making a Brooke Martin choice?

- Yes, yes.

- Okay, how does that feel?

- It's being connected, it is the lifeline. And so many days, what I try to do every morning is, spend time, I try and spend an hour of just sitting in the presence of God, and hearing from Him. And just what does it look like? What does today look like? And it is amazing how many times somebody will come to mind. Or that I'm just supposed to reach out to. Or an idea, I love dreaming with God. I get awesome ideas that I love implementing, and using my creativity with. And so that is when I know that I'm going through that, I'm the conduit there, as opposed to self-motivating. And it doesn't mean that it's bad, it just means that I'm missing out on the power. We like to think that we have the ability to do it all. And what happens is we burn out, and it's like we have got to be filled before we can pour into others. And what happens is, if you don't get filled first, you start to feel empty and burnout, even if you're doing a good thing. Even if the purpose is good, you've got to be filled first.

- Thank you, thank you for being here.

- Oh my gosh, thank you.

- Thanks for making the trip, and coming all this way.

- This is such a joy. And I've told you this before, but you're doing something really important with this. And I want you just to walk this out in confidence and assurance, knowing that your giftings are really valuable. So love you friend.

- Thanks sis, appreciate it.

- So what'd you think? Tell me in the comments below, like it, share it with someone who needs to hear it. I'm adding new videos all the time to help you reconnect with self, and then prepare for purpose. And since you're here, I've gone ahead and linked my playlist, the episode "Amplified." It gives shorter clips from each episode. Still though, very much power-packed with encouragement. It's all right here. So thanks for watching, and I'll see you next time.

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