Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Book Review: Choosing to SEE by Mary Beth Chapman and Ellen Vaughn

About the book:

From the beginning, Mary Beth Chapman's life was not how she planned. All she wanted was a calm, peaceful life of stability and control. Instead, God gave her an award-winning singer/songwriter husband, crazy schedules, and a houseful of creatively rambunctious children. Most difficult of all, God's plans for her also included tragedy.

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?

No matter where you find yourself in your own life story, you will treasure the way Mary Beth shows that even in the hard times, there is hope if you choose to SEE.

My thoughts:

When I first heard about this book, I knew it was going to be a must-read for me.  I have been a fan of Steven Curtis Chapman practically my entire life, thanks to my brother.  Steven was just becoming popular in the CCM scene when I was about 5, and my brother was addicted to his music.  I remember riding in the car with him and my dad, and my brother would be pleading with the radio station to play "The Great Adventure."  :o)  Once my bro left the nest, the addiction to SCC's music was passed on to me.  I have always appreciated that he writes his songs strictly based on Scripture, and as a side note, if you've never checked out his music before, you won't be disappointed. 

Another reason I wanted to read this book was because of sheer curiousity.  I admit that sounds terrible because this is a story of grief, but it's true.  I think it's natural that we gravitate a bit toward celebrity in any form, and for that reason, I was curious to hear Mary Beth's side of the story.  This book started with her sharing brief parts of her early childhood, and how certain things contributed to how she handled problems in her adult life.  No lie, it was tough to read her struggle....but she never let go of God.  She shared what her life plans were, and how God turned them upside down over and over again.  She shared the stories from each one of their Chinese adoptions, and how God made each and every one come together in His perfect time.

It was so encouraging to read how their entire family trusted God for everything, and unfortunately, not surprising that the Enemy has attacked them on every side.  But what Satan intended for evil, God intended for good!  Sweet Maria had such a short life on this earth, but through little things she left behind, the Chapman family knew where she was, and that she had only left them for a little while.  All they had to do was SEE! 

This book would be ideal for those currently dealing with grief, or those who have had a death in their family.  It offers so much encouragement, even for those not going through a tough time.  For Steven Curtis Chapman fans, there are several snippets of song lyrics that he's written through the years that go with the timeline of their lives (think "I Will Be Here," "Go There With You," and "Fingerprints of God").  My rating for this book is 4 Stars.

Available September 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

**Thanks to Donna Hausler with Baker Publishing Group for providing a copy for review. 

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