Several months ago I received a copy of Steadfast Love by Lauren Chandler, courtesy of B&H Books & The Influence Network. I have been a woefully negligent blogger and am only just posting the review, though I couldn’t put Lauren’s book down as soon as I received it.
The Chandlers are a (now) well-known couple in Christian circles. Matt Chandler is Lead Teaching Pastor of The Village Church. His wife Lauren is a worship leader, musician, and author as of the past year. Seven years ago they were a typical pastor’s family; and in 2009 it was discovered Matt had malignant brain cancer. The experience altered the course of their lives and their ministry.
I have to admit, I expected Steadfast Love to largely be a memoir of that defining moment. It wasn’t, and happily so. Rather than doing what would have been easy and expected, Lauren used her captive audience as a chance to exposit Psalm 107 and testify to God’s jealous love for his people.
Hesed (the Hebrew word for this type of love) is the theme of the book. True to her worship leader roots, Lauren calls us into worship through God’s songbook, the Book of Psalms. Psalm 107 is written as a series of vignettes, picturing the different types of hardships one might face in life: walking through a desert season, captured by chains, suffering under foolish decisions, and weathering storms. Lauren uses a personal experience to illustrate each of these four places, as well as other illustrations from Scripture.
The pages of this book are packed with truth and practical advice. Lauren frequently mentions her involvement in a Celebrate Recovery group and, though I have no direct experience, I imagine reading this book is similar to how that program operates. Meeting folks where they are, sharing rich truths about God, and walking forward with them in repentance. Lauren’s tone is very warm and inviting; I had to keep reminding myself that she’s not my best friend!
I would not do this book justice if I didn’t mention the gorgeous design. The cover is simply lovely; and the text is a bright, navy blue. It pops off the page and is a copy I’ll proudly keep on my bookshelf, as well as readily lend to others.
Overall, what I appreciated about Lauren’s book is how frequently she got herself and her readers out of the way, and cast our gaze to The Lord. Marveling at God’s steadfast love was encouraging and refreshing. I am grateful to have had a chance to read this book, and hope it’s not Lauren’s last!