Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Journey of Struggle and Hope

Last Friday afternoon I had about 30 spare minutes and I used those minutes to start a new book.  I read the first few chapters then had to put the book down for the rest of the afternoon and evening.  By 6:45 the next morning I was in my green chair with a cup of coffee and this book while the rest of my family slept.  I don't think I moved until about 9:45, then I made myself put it down.  Later that night when the kids were in bed, I finished it.

The book was Choosing to See by Mary Beth Chapman, wife of Christian singer and songwriter Steven Curtis Chapman.  The subtitle was A Journey of Struggle and Hope, and that was indeed a good synopsis of what Mary Beth shares about her adult life thus far.  It was one of the most honest books I've read, and I loved it for that.

It was one of those books that takes you all sorts of places emotionally.  Some parts were simply interesting details about their journey from young college newlyweds to a very famous couple in the Christian music world.  A few parts were extremely funny, one part so funny I laughed out loud until I cried!  Other parts were so painful I found myself feeling it physically.  I literally ached through a few chapters.

I don't want to share the details of why she chose the specific wording for the title, but it gives me goosebumps when I think about it.  What she and their family have endured, particularly through the loss of their daughter Maria in an unthinkably tragic accident, is beyond my understanding.  But I was so inspired that even in raw pain and questions, the Chapman family is choosing to see God and choosing to see hope, even in the struggle.

An overall theme of this book is that we can make all the plans we want, but God's plan prevails.  The more I journey into my adult life, the more I see this play out.  Proverbs 19:21 reads "There are many plans in a man's heart, nevertheless the Lord's counsel, that will stand."  Proverbs 16:9 says "A man's heart plans his ways, but the Lord directs his steps."

I am thankful for the gift of this book as Mary Beth shares her story with both honesty about the struggles and hope for the journey.

Lord willing I will have the privilege of hearing her and Steven speak at Women of Faith this weekend, and I can't wait!!

Be blessed, friends.  And choose to see.

Love, Jennifer


  1. Hi Jennifer--this is Beverly Canter from Grace. I've been following your blog and have really enjoyed it! Today when I came to look to see what you wrote I was surprised--only because I'm reading the same book! I know too well the pain Mary Beth had gone through since I've been there after Katrina's death. It doesn't matter how a child dies; a mother's pain is all the same. Take care and tell your parents hello!

  2. I just finished reading this book....AMAZING!!! I love how she kept saying that they needed to be good stewards of their trials, specifically their grief over losing Maria. I still struggle with losing my dad, and her words have encouraged me and helped me to look at my grief differenty. I bet I can guess which part you were laughing at.....the raft on the Nile? I was reading that part outside while the kids were playing and I was laughing so hard they wanted to know what was so funny....LOVED it! :)

  3. Michaela asked for that book for Christmas, and finished it in just a day or two. She has been telling me since then that I really, really need to read it, but I haven't had time. As soon as she wakes up, I'm getting it off of her shelf!! Thanks for the reminder!