mary's book basket ~ "choosing to see" by mary beth chapman

"I’ve told my kids for years that God doesn’t make mistakes,” writes Mary Beth Chapman, wife of Grammy award winning recording artist Steven Curtis Chapman. “Would I believe it now, when my whole world as I knew it came to an end?” Covering her courtship and marriage to Steven Curtis Chapman, struggles for emotional balance, and living with grief, Mary Beth’s story is our story–wondering where God is when the worst happens. In Choosing to SEE, she shows how she wrestles with God even as she has allowed him to write her story–both during times of happiness and those of tragedy. Readers will hear firsthand about the loss of her daughter, the struggle to heal, and the unexpected path God has placed her on. Even as difficult as life can be, Mary Beth Chapman Chooses to SEE."

I have been a fan of Steven Curtis Chapman's music since high school. His "Great Adventure" tour was the first concert I ever attended. I have not missed a tour since. He inspires and encourages me daily to seek God in all I do.

In May of 2008, as the result of a tragic accident he and his wife Mary Beth lost their youngest child, Maria who they had adopted from China five years earlier. When I heard the news I wept as if someone in my own family had been struck down. I have kept them in my daily prayers ever since.

When the opportunity arose for me to review this book for Revell Publishing, I knew that it would be a tough read. What I was unprepared for though was the thread of joy and hope that runs throughout. Mary Beth gives intimate details of her growing up years, meeting her husband Steven, her struggles with depression and being open to adoption after thinking she and Steven were "done" having kids. She holds nothing back.

When speaking of the tragedy that took her daughters life, she writes with pure honesty that just took my breath away. She openly questions God in allowing this accident, she cries out in the unfairness of it all. Yet, there is hope. God leaves breadcrumbs for her family to hold onto throughout their healing journey which continues today.

She writes:
"What I've found is that it's in the most unlikely times and places of hurt and chaos that God gives us a profound sense of His presence and the real light of His hope in the dark places...In the midst of it all, God really is with us and for us. I have found that even during those times when the path is darkest, He leaves little bits of evidence all along the way - bread crumbs of grace - that can give me what i need to take the next step. But if I can only choose to SEE."

The book has had a profound affect on me. I am not really sure I can put it into words. Such honest and raw emotions came to the surface that I could not hold back my tears. I know that at some point because of Courtney's disabilities, God will call my daughter home. I pray it will be peaceful and not filled with drama or trauma. It is something I do not wish for but I know that it will come.

Mary Beth did not get that ending for her daughter. Maria was playing one moment and in the next the Chapman's world was turned upside down and inside out and their precious daughter was gone leaving their family forever scarred.

In the end though it is the HOPE that their faith in Christ assures them of that carries the day. I am in awe of this mother who laid her daughter at the foot of the cross and now must choose each and every moment of each and every day to SEE HIM.

This book inspires, uplifts and encourages us to SEE the one true God who loves us with everything He has.

Now it's time for a little fun. If you want to win a copy of this phenomenal book AND a copy of Steven Curtis Chapman's CD "Beauty Will Rise" which he wrote as a tribute to his Maria, you can do one or all of the following:

1. Become a follower of this blog. If your already a follower, you can get a friend to follow. Sneaky I know ;0)
2. Leave a comment describing how you have chosen to SEE God in your life today.
3. Link this post to your blog, facebook or tweet it.

For each thing you do, I will enter your name into the hat. Please let me know in the comments what steps you have taken. I will draw a winner on Wednesday, September 15 at 8 p.m.

Here is a taste of Steven's music:

Good luck my dear blog readers!!
Happy Reading,