Every now and then a book comes along that is not only great--It's a gift. An extravagant gift. This is one of those books.
I ordinarily do not review non-fiction on A Writer's Journey, but this book took an exception. When I had to opportunity to receive a preview copy of Choosing to See I grabbed it up because I remembered so well the tragedy that struck the family of Steven Curtis Chapman a couple years ago.
The day I heard that Steven and Mary Beth Chapman's daughter, Maria, was accidentally struck by a car driven by their son, Caleb, and died as a result, my heart wrenched. I felt deep pain for the parents and for Caleb. I couldn't imagine the pain he was feeling over and above the normal grieving for the passing of a sibling. What made it even more poignant was that Maria was one of three girls the Chapmans had adopted from China. Before I retired from my day job and started writing full time, my boss, a single woman, had adopted two Chinese girls, and I felt a sort of kinship to the Chapmans.
I prayed hard for that family over the months following and often wondered how they were coping in the aftermath.
Mary Beth describes herself as not the extrovert in the family. She leaves that to her outgoing famous singer husband whose song lyrics and music have blessed many, leading them to praise and worship of God. Now, in the wake of her daughter's untimely death, she finds herself thrust into a spotlight she never planned on--writing this book and currently speaking at Women of Faith events.
The back of the book says: "In Choosing to SEE, Mary Beth unveils her struggle to allow God to write the story of her life, both the happy chapters and the tragic ones. And as the story unfolds, she's been forced to wrestle with some of life's biggest questions: Where is God when things fall apart? Why does God allow terrible things to happen: How can I survive hard times?"
Even if you have been fortunate enough to not have endured a tragedy close to what Mary Beth has experienced, you will find this book relevant. We all have those moments, those days, when everything goes wrong and nothing seems right. Mary Beth shares what God has taught her through all of this. I'm sure that her testimony of God's faithfulness, even in her deepest, darkest moments, will be an encouragement to her readers.
What I appreciated the most was her transparency. Within the book's covers she reveals her weaknesses, her strengths, her insecurities and a wonderful and sometimes unexpected sense of humor.
I highly recommend this book. I came away from it encouraged in my own relationship with God and I expect you will too!
Available September 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
Note: I received a copy of this book at no charge from Revell, but in no way did that influence my review.