Fred Hammond: “Put Yourself In A Position To Love A Lot”

Fred Hammond 2014

For gospel living legend Fred Hammond, I Will Trust isn’t just the title of his hit CD; it’s a bold declaration in the face of pain, doubt and fear that has helped carry him through “the most physically and emotionally taxing experience” and year of his life.

In January, the army veteran and multiple Stellar, Dove and Grammy Award-winning artist underwent an excruciating double knee replacement surgery – the same surgery that claimed the life of his biological father – and his road to recovery has been a public one. This past fall, Hammond wrapped up a two month, 32-city “Festival of Praise Tour” (with Donnie McClurkin), sharing his real-time journey of learning to walk again with audiences night after night.

Now, more than 60% recovered, the 53-year-old father of two is healing more than just his knees. He’s exercising his faith, growing emotionally as a man and continuing to create soulful music that encourages and empowers others to keep walking even when it’s hard.

He’s focused on the better that is to come and living in gratitude of all that’s been. recently spoke with Fred Hammond to find out what life in the pursuit of health and happiness has been like:

BDO:  Your story – your testimony- is just really, really powerful. Your father had a similar surgery, or actually the same surgery – did you have any fear about having this surgery done?

FH: Totally. I put it off for 15 years. I put it off for 15 years, you know, just figuring that they would just stay or maintain the level of damage that they had 10 or 15 years ago. Gradually, it got worse and worse and worse and worse, ‘til the pain was so excruciating and my legs had bowed out. I was sweating all the time. If I stood for more than five minutes I would profusely sweat. I just thought that that’s the way it was for me. You know, just, you know some people sweat. But, it was from that pain, walking through airports and just regular day-to-day life. So yeah, I was afraid. I really, I didn’t want to to do it – at all.

BDO: So what was the turning point for you where you just said, ‘I have to take care of this right now’? Was there a defining moment?

FH: Yeah, it was just, it was the pain. It was just so much that it was just unbearable. And I was taking cortisone shots and then they stopped working. Where one shot would last me three months it was down to once a week and I knew at that point and time. They told me when it got like that you would have to go in, so I just made the decision to go on in.

BDO: It changed your life dramatically, having to deal with learning to walk again. How did you stay encouraged through your recovery process?

FH:  It was hard; it was real hard. Going to therapy, it was nothing easy. I’m talking, like, tears on the bike – the stationary bike –  and it would be like man, I’m trying to learn how to ride a bike that you can’t even fall off of and it’s hard. You know, when you’re a kid you worry about falling off the bike. When you’re trying to learn how to ride your biggest fear is falling off and scraping your elbow and falling off on the cement. But this bike you couldn’t fall off of and it was like I still was having trouble learning how to peddle…..I would just put my head…