A month or two ago, I finished Choosing to SEE by Mary Beth Chapman. Many of you are familiar with the story of the (Steven Curtis) Chapman family’s young daughter, Maria, who was killed in a fluke accident. (Her brother accidentally hit her when pulling into their driveway.) In this raw account, Mary Beth (Maria’s mom) conveys her long, hard journey of unthinkable grief and inexpiable hope.
Time and again, God’s faithful presence was made known through small things only He could have orchestrated, from a coloring Maria left behind, to a stranger encountered at Disneyland.
I’ll be honest, I hoped for a little more straightforward gospel message in this book. There’s undeniably plenty of emphasis on God and His sovereignty, love, and care. I would have appreciated a more specific look at the cross and the Person of Jesus Christ in the midst of this trial.
That said, Choosing to SEE gave me an excruciating window into grieving the loss of a child. Christian or not, there are no words for a tragedy like this. I could feel the pain and begin to visualize the anguish through Mary Beth’s candid descriptions. It made the challenges I face pale in comparison, and, I trust, better prepared me to be as empathetic as possible with people I encounter who have experienced similar loss. For that reason alone, I’m glad to have read it. It’s a well-written, honest look at the gaping hole left in the wake of a child’s death.
Here’s a taste of the book, via part of a letter that Mary Beth wrote to Steven and included in Choosing to SEE:
I know this is a difficult process for you, but please trust me when I say that the world will SEE and hear and many will put their trust in the Lord. Not because of you or your abilities, but because you have been a willing, broken vessel into which you’ve allowed God to pour Himself. You have set an example for your family on how to allow God to leak out of the broken pieces of our lives.
Again, I don’t like it one bit. I would be just fine with a perfectly unbroken vase, especially one that wasn’t broken over the loss of a child. But I’m trusting that God saw fit to entrust us to steward this catastrophic loss well. May He be honored with all us Chapmans as we do our best to let the world SEE that He alone is the Author of our salvation, the Mender of our hearts, the Healer of souls.