Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Choosing to SEE, by Mary Beth Chapman

This was on my Amazon wishlist. Choosing to SEE's official "due date" is September 1st and I made it very clear to my loving husband that I fully expected to be receiving this book on my upcoming birthday. I e-mailed people about it. I was HYPED to hear of it's upcoming release!

THEN, a few weeks ago, I was tipped off to the fact that CBD was selling and shipping the book. In August. WHAT?! Hastily I placed my order and then promptly left town, knowing that the book would arrive in my absence. (More about my trip out of town on Friday!) I arrived home this past Sunday and ripped open the CBD box which contained this treasure. On Monday I read the book in its entirety.

Not only did I read Choosing to SEE, but I actually hauled myself out of bed at 6 a.m. to guarantee the fact that I would be able to read for at least one solid hour before my children woke up.

It's no secret around these parts that I am a huge Steven Curtis Chapman fan. I remember driving in the car and hearing the radio announcement that the Chapman's youngest daughter, Maria, had been struck by a car their son Will was driving, and had died. It's a tragic story with a great deal of beauty attached to it. So I was quite eager to hear from Mary Beth on the topic. This book is her story.

And I'm extremely biased from the get-go and so it's almost pathetic for me to write up a review. Suffice it to say, that certain aspects of the book kinda grated on my nerves but, on the whole, this is a family that I deeply admire and so I'm not going to say anything bad about this read. I think it's fantastic and remarkable in so many ways. I would have written it a little differently in parts, but it's honest and its Mary Beth and, as far as a reader can tell, gives an accurate picture of who she is.

Mary Beth Chapman is very different in personality from her husband - and totally not afraid to say so. This definitely reads like an honest account of her life. There are moments where I was laughing outloud (and Jonathan would ask me what was so funny) and times when I never left the company of my tissue box. I laughed, I cried, I listened to Beauty Will Rise and grieved all over again. Not just for them - but I grieved the pain of life in general.

Still, I got to the final track on SCC's Beauty Will Rise CD and was reminded with great hope and anticipation that beauty will rise. I believe that to be the point of the message contained in Choosing to SEE: A Journey of Struggle and Hope - that life is hard but God is good. Spring follows winter. We might not get over particular pains, but God can move us through the pain. She used a quote by C.S. Lewis twice in this book that I found particular powerful (as I frequently find Lewis to be!):

"We're not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be." ~ C.S. Lewis

I think that's very true. God is sovereign and He works for our good and for our glory. But in submitting to Him, we also submit ourselves to hard things. It leaves us with hard questions, and sometimes not very many (if any) answers. That's the point of Mary Beth's book here. It's to say that Christians will suffer pain and hardship - but God is still good. All of the time, He is still good. We may not have all the answers and we may not be able to see the big picture of what He is doing - but He is good. And He doesn't make mistakes.

I really liked this book. But then, you can hardly expect me to say anything less than that so I can't really expect you to take this as a blanket statement to rush out and grab yourself a copy. Of course, I would hope that you would do so but at the same time - I have to acknowledge that I value the book because of the connection I have with SCC's music ministry and with the message that the Chapmans have been collectively sharing since May 21, 2008 when their daughter Maria entered Heaven.

It's a powerful book and heartrendingly beautiful. At times, it is hilarious as well. In my case, it's a "must read." (Come on, let's face it. I doubt I'll be rising with the birds at any other time to read a book!) Totally worth it as an honorable and insightful read with a positive message attached. Just keep some Kleenex handy and you'll be fine! I promise!


Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

How did I not know this was being released?

I DEFINITELY want to read this one!

Of course, I didn't expect anything any different from you!

Stephanie Kay said...

I totally want to read this book!

This is the 1st mention I've seen of it on a blog - and you BOUGHT it. I've seen it mentioned by Bethany (Adoptions) on Facebook and I've seen that Focus on the Family is running an interview with the Chapmans about the book. BUT no bloggers reading it and talking about it. Where are all the review copies, I wonder?

Judylynn said...

Carrie, I've been looking forward to reading this book; now I REALLY want to read it! So glad you enjoyed it. I've also been wanting to read Randy Alcorn's book, If God is Good, but no time right now. Have you read it?

Stephanie, several review copies are with bloggers like me who will be reviewing it between Aug. 31 and Sept. 12 for Revell Books. Look for our reviews then!

Carrie said...

You bet I bought it! I told Jonathan I was having to hold myself back. Some books come along with a message you care so much about that it is severely tempting to purchased 10-15 copies of it, just to give it a kick start.

You know...kinda the way I feel about Mysterious Benedict Society... ;)

Janet said...

Just put this one on my wish list! Thanks for the review.

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