Lauren Chandler: How God Wrings Out Praise During Tough Times
When I asked Lauren Chandler about the challenges of being known as the wife of Matt Chandler, the lead teaching pastor of The Village Church in Texas and head of the Acts 29 church-planting network, she immediately knew her response.
“They think that because Matt is bold and strong, then I must be quiet,” she said. “They think I’m his opposite, and I get pegged as something I’m not.” Chandler respects her husband, but also matches him in transparency and intensity.
The worship leader at Village Church, one of the fastest-growing congregations in America, Chandler has recorded an album, written a book, and launched a marriage conference with her husband for thousands of couples worldwide, all within the past few years.
The pastor’s wife and mother of three admits her weaknesses, laughs easily at herself, and acknowledges that she’s a big believer in biblical counseling. Whether she’s discussing rocky seasons in her marriage or her time in Celebrate Recovery’s steps program, she comes across as unflinchingly honest.
You don’t have to talk to Chandler for long before you see that she has a tender heart that longs for God, even when life hurts. She has walked through her husband’s brain cancer diagnosis, her own periods of depression, and multiple miscarriages—yet she repeatedly says the theme of her life is: “God, you are all I need.” It’s a message the native Texan shares with her kids while driving them to and from barrel racing—a rodeo event—and also with audiences at Christian events, like the recent IF: Gathering in Austin.
Chandler and I recently chatted by phone about her new book, Steadfast Love, and about worshipping God in all the hard places.
You’ve written a book on Psalm 107. This isn’t a particularly familiar psalm—not one most of us memorized as kids in Sunday School—so why did you choose it?
About eight or nine years ago, a friend asked me to take a look at Psalm 107. She thought maybe we could write a song together based on it. I started reading it, and I was floored that I hadn’t really found that text of Scripture before. It had so much depth. It had so much texture. It has so much of the stuff of life.
In this psalm, four groups of people are in different seasons of distress or suffering, and then, throughout the psalm you have the theme of God’s steadfast love. The refrain is: “Let them give thanks to the Lord for his steadfast love to the children of men.”
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