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The 700 Club

Responding to the Cries of Our Heart

TSUNAMIS OF LIFE
Lauren, then 19, and Matt were married in 1999.  She admits the first 6 years of marriage were rough, but they had come through their early marital storms.  Lauren was struggling with her own desires to be perfect.  “I was addicted to being perfect,” she says.  “Singing was a way I could get glory and be perfect.  I needed to recover from that.”  Matt’s calling was clear: preach the gospel and lead people.  “I was thrilled Matt was enjoying fruitfulness.  Being his wife, I got to appreciate the benefits, but only so far.”  Her cry to God was, What about me?  Lauren stayed faithful in her duties.  In 2007, a friend texted her, “Read Psalm 107.” She knew Lauren was a songwriter and thought she could put it to music.  A song eventually came from that text, but at that time Lauren blogged about it.  “There was something to this passage of scripture,” she says.  It’s about God’s people who were were physically in the desert in chains, in the storms of life and God rescued them.  “Many of us have had our seasons in the desert.  We’ve felt alone, dry and dissatisfied,” says Lauren.  “The storms come for us all.  No one escapes loss this side of heaven.”

Three kids later, Matt and Lauren were in the “groove” of their lives.  In 2009, a tsunami of waves came crashing down on their family.  One day, Matt collapsed in their living room, his body shaking with force.  After numerous tests, doctors found an unidentified mass in his frontal right lob.  Surgery was scheduled for the next week which took 8 hours.  Doctors removed a golf-ball sized tumor.   The diagnosis and prognosis were not good:  Matt had stage 3 brain cancer and given 2 to 3 years to live.  “I had nowhere else to turn but to the Lord,” says Lauren.  Matt underwent 8 weeks of low-dose chemo and radiation and then 18 months of high-dose chemo.  It was difficult for Lauren to watch Matt with barely any energy.  Family life continued to whiz by; she mourned Matt’s absence from the kids’ activities.  Then she came across Psalm 107 again.  “I wept when I read the words in bold:  I was “reeling and staggering” (Ps. 107:27).  Her heart yearned for stability.  “Here I found my comfort,” she says.  “To cry out to Him in the midst of the storm is to find He alone can sustain me.  And He did.”

A SAFE HAVEN
Lauren says Matt’s seizure happened during the week their church was moving to their new building.  Their staff and congregation moved successfully.  “It was a hard but good time,” she says.  “It brought everyone closer together.”  While Matt endured chemotherapy, he also incorporated some holistic alternative medications.  One day he was in the bathroom and all he could do was lie there.  He felt the Lord say, “This is not an illness unto death.”  Matt and Lauren felt the Lord was going to fully heal him.  “We want to believe God’s Word is true and that He can miraculously heal,” she says.  “We are going to believe that’s what He’s done.”

After they had 2 children, Lauren miscarried twice before delivering their 3rd child, Norah.  “Before the miscarriages, I presumed upon the Lord’s grace in blessing me with children.  I believed that His goodness was dependent on his dealings with me,” she says.  “If He blessed me, He was good.  If He withheld, He was not trustworthy.”  Lauren admits this was a conditional trust.  “I didn’t have the eyes to see His grace and goodness in the good and the bad, in blessing and in suffering.”  While pregnant with Norah, Lauren struggled with the fear of losing another baby.  “This was between the Lord and me,” Lauren says. The losses she suffered left her with a spiritual limp, but that limp reminded her of God’s grace.  Soon she began looking in the mirror and thanking God for her growing belly.  Outside of Matt’s cancer, the miscarriages and pregnancy with Norah were Lauren’s most trying times.  “I knew no matter what, God is the God for man – the Lord of steadfast love.”

Today Matt has been cancer-free for 6 years.  He sees his neuro-oncologist twice a year to monitor his progress.  Doctors says he is in remission but that brain tumors are nevery truly cured.  “We believe in a God who can do the impossible,” says Lauren.  “We ask for and believe that, fully knowing God is able.”  In 2012, Lauren released her album, The Narrow Place, and earned a Dove Award nomination.

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Guest Info

Credits

Author, Steadfast Love, B & H, 2016

Serves alongside her husband, Matt and also leads worship, The Village Church, Dallas, TX, one of the fastest growing churches in the US, 10,000 members at 3 campuses

2012 Dove Award nominee

Mother to 3 children: Audrey, Reid and Norah

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