Singer-songwriter Lauren Daigle now has the world at her feet, but a few years ago she was ill and housebound.
Talented Lauren Daigle has seemingly come out of nowhere in the last few years to rock the music industry with a new spin on contemporary Christian music.
The beautiful 26 year old has won two Billboard Music awards, an American Music award and five Dove Awards for her powerful vocals and inspiring lyrics, even performing on American Idol.
But just a few months after being nominated for a Grammy Award, Lauren reveals the challenging path that led to her rise to stardom.
"I grew up in Lafayette, Louisiana, emersed in an environment of zydeco, blues, and Cajun music," Lauren says. "As far back as I can remember, I was constantly singing. My brother used to cry to my Mom, 'Please make her stop. I cannot hear Celine Dion anymore!'"
Lauren shares that her parents were very supportive of her gift, being big fans of Christian music. They taught their daughter to seek God in all of her endeavours.
Lauren was convinced that the Lord wanted her to sing, but at only 15 years old, tragedy struck.
"I was diagnosed with a debilitating virus," Lauren explains. "I was placed on homebound rest for two years with an immune deficiency. It's funny how God sets things up, as I was super-busy. I was in high school running all over the place and God stopped me – He stopped me in my tracks."
Those last two years of high school were painfully isolating for the joyful, bubbly, outgoing teenager, forcing her to let go of her dream of getting involved with Christian mission work.
"It was during that season when I truly began to know God and His character," Lauren shares. "He gave me hope the entire time; that I wasn't going through this for any reason. God was setting me up for something and I needed to stay focused.
"So every morning I would get up and read the Bible, doing the same every night before bed," she continues. "The Word was filling me up so much during a time when I was completely alone. God affirmed me and who I was in Him!
"I was baptized [immersed in water as an outward sign of commitment to Christ] as a little girl, raised in the church, and a part of a Christian family ... but it changed from that to God being MY source, MY Saviour."
Ultimately, the Lord would turn everything around – like only He can do – and use a torturous season for His glory and for Lauren's good.
Lauren found herself turning to worship and began singing at her local church, knowing that one day she would become a singer.
Lauren was convinced by her parents to try out for American Idol in 2010, but she was cut before the final 24 contestants. She made it to the Hollywood round in 2012 but was cut in the first Las Vegas round.
The competition's exhausting audition process was the catalyst God used to bring clarity to Lauren's life. Surrounded by people fighting to climb the ladder of success, Lauren found herself at a turning point, where she decided to surrender her dreams to the Lord.
After her American Idol stint, Lauren enrolled at Louisiana State Univeristy (LSU) to pursue a degree in Child and Family Studies. But her dream of pointing others to hope through music remained on her heart, so she continued to sing throughout college, even leading the student choir.
While still a student at LSU, a local band asked Lauren to sing background vocals on an EP they were recording. When Centricity Music heard the track, they reached out to Lauren, inviting her to an "artist retreat" in Washington as a solo artist. When another band's lead singer was suddenly called away with an emergency, Lauren was asked to fill in his place.
"I had fully entrusted my dreams to the Lord, and now I found myself on centre stage," she says happily. "God took care of the rest."
In 2013, God's plans for Lauren finally came into fruition, and the young singer signed with Centricity Music.
But upon moving to Nashville, her album's project came to a halt when her beloved grandfather fell terminally ill. Devastated, Lauren immediately went home. Her grandfather passed away five days later.
Laurens explains that her song, Trust in You was written during that time of tremendous loss and grief.
"My grandfather was one of the most influential men in my life," Lauren recalls. "He was the first person really close to me that I had lost. [The song] is about trusting that the Lord is going to be there for you."
Lauren eventually returned to Nashville and her career continued to take off. Her full-length album, How can it Be was released in April 14, 2015, debuting at number one on the Billboard Christian Albums Chart.
Lauren's life is a beautiful picture of what happens when you entrust your plans to the Lord.
"Proverbs 16:9 says, 'The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.'
"I'm standing in amazement of God," Lauren concludes. "I have held dearly to this verse ever since I was a little girl. I am so humbled, so honoured, so thankful that He has directed my steps along this journey. He alone has brought me to places I could only dream of."•