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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Choosing to SEE by Mary Beth Chapman (Book Review)

Title: Choosing to SEE
Author: Mary Beth Chapman with Ellen Vaughn
Publisher: Revell

About the book: There is no way that I am going to be able to do this book justice.  Mary Beth tells the story of her life and her family's lives from the time she was a child and struggled with being a perfectionist, up until the present day.  During that life, she shares that she had planned to marry an accountant, have some kids, and just live a low-key life.  But that isn't what God had planned for her.

Three weeks after meeting Steven in college, they were already head over heels for each other.  At 19 and 21 they married and the whirlwind started.  Mary Beth found herself  pregnant much sooner than expected when their puppy ate her birth control pills!  They were struggling to make ends meet and Steven was trying to get his musical career off the ground. 

After having 3 kids under the age of 5, a husband who had begun traveling alot to perform, Mary Beth found herself in the midst of clinical depression.  This wasn't what she had planned at all.  She continued to learn that her plans and God's plans weren't often the same plans.  God worked through Emily, their oldest child, to encourage them to adopt their first daughter from China.  This opened a floodgate of compassion and caring for the orphans in China, as well as other countries.  Over the next few years they adopted 2 more little girls, bringing their number of kids to 6!  They also influenced many of their friends to adopt from China. 

But that wasn't enough.  They had heard so many people say they would adopt if only they could afford it.  So this led them to establish Show Hope, an organization that helps sponsor orphans and will help families desiring to adopt but inhibited for financial reasons a foot up in reaching their dreams. 

Then, in 2008, tragedy struck and their little daughter, Maria, was killed in the driveway of their home.  I remember hearing this on the radio and could not even fathom the depths of their grief.  Through it all, they have continued to cling to the knowledge that they will see Maria again one day, and though they don't understand why God took her so soon, they know He is working miracles through her story.

I spent most of my reading of this book next to a box of Kleenex because the tears wouldn't stop.  They came during the funny times - like when the puppy ate the birth control pills, or when Mary Beth was telling about a rafting trip in Africa - cracked me up!  They came during the joyful times when they felt God leading them to the adoptions and upon meeting their daughters for the first time.  And they came during the sad times, when Maria passed away, and how her family coped and has been coping since then.  Choosing to SEE didn't have a whole lot of meaning when I started this book - but it definitely has meaning for me now.  I never realized that there were so many verses in the Bible telling us to SEE one thing or another.  How many times do we read those words and then just go on in our lives, not really SEEING what they mean? 

Mary Beth Chapman and her family are still healing, and as she put it in the book - this is not something that she will ever get over, but she will get through it.  Knowing that Maria is waiting for them in the arms of Jesus. 

Available September 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. 
I received a copy of this from Baker in exchange for my review.



You can find Mary Beth at her blog - Mary Beth Chapman or on Twitter and Facebook.  You can find Mary Beth talking about her book at these places.  Her family is also on tour - A Night with the Chapmans.  They are going to be in Elgin, Illinois in October.  It is over an hour away from me, but I am definitely going to keep it on my calendar and see if I can somehow work it out!  It will be Mary Beth Chapman speaking, Steven Curtis Chapman performing, and their sons' (Will and Caleb) band Caleb performing.


Choosing to SEE: A Journey of Struggle and Hope
Publisher/Publication Date: Revell, Sept 2010
ISBN: 978-0-8007-1991-3
279 pages

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