Monday, September 06, 2010

Choosing to SEE

I am truly laboring this Labor Day: I'm sorting through the family's clothing to get rid of what doesn't fit and what we no longer wear. I can't do Molly's without her here (and she's at a Brewers' game in Milwaukee), but that still leaves me with three wardrobes and a TON to sort through. It's a good feeling at the end of the day when I can look at the amount I've accomplished. I want to get back to work, so I'm jumping right into my review.

Choosing to SEE: A Journey of Struggle and HopeChoosing to SEE by Mary Beth Chapman and Ellen Vaughn is a heart-rending account of a mother's loss and trusting in God. I remember the day I heard about the death of Maria Chapman, the daughter of popular Christian artist Steven Curtis Chapman and wife Mary Beth. She was tragically killed when her elder brother Will's car hit and killed her in the family driveway. I sympathized with their pain because I had a son just Will's age and a daughter Maria's. Our son had recently gotten his license, and I felt there but for the grace of God... I knew that reading Mary Beth's account of the tragedy would break my heart before I started reading the book, but I was so inspired by her courage in writing this book, I knew that it was one I needed to read. Mary Beth tells the story of her growing up and struggling to always be perfect in order to be loved by God and her family. She loves Jesus, but believed in a works kind of faith that left her always feeling like a failure. When she met Steven in college, the two immediately hit if off, and despite her plans to finish school, get a good job and marry an accountant, she found herself married at nineteen and working to support her musician husband's dream. Mary Beth's writing voice is always warm, deeply honest, and incredibly likable. By the time I got to the section about Maria's death, it felt like Mary Beth was someone I knew and deeply cared about. I sobbed my way through the rest of the book, often with sadness, but just as often with joy at the beauty of how the Chapmans allowed themselves to be used by God and refused to let Satan win in his attack on them. Mary Beth's account of the accident is detailed, honest, and completely heart-breaking, but even in the first moments after, you can see the family's love for each other. Mary Beth doesn't pretend that she has healed from her daughter's death, and she openly shares her pain, but she always, always keeps her eye on the glory of God, and she is an inspiration for anyone who has suffered a deep and terrible loss.

Thank you to Revell Books for providing me with a copy of this book for review. It is available in September at your favorite bookseller from Revell Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group.