At first, Choosing to SEE, by Mary Beth Chapman with Ellen Vaughn, appears as a mother's tale about her life, the wife of a famous singer and songwriter, Steven Curtis Chapman. Upon opening the first pages, you soon learn that the chapters hold so much more. This memoir to me is really little Maria's story. Four-year-old Maria's words and life rang throughout the book and filled them as did the poignant line she often said: "Just SEE the glory of God today."
As a mother who has also buried a child, my heart goes out to Mary Beth and her family. It has been stated by many that the worst loss is when a child dies. My son Daniel was also four when he died from cancer treatments. I know of the screams, the tears, the agony, and yes, the anger at God that consumes you after losing a child. I also know that the longing to be with your child never ends. When a class of young children wrote notes on balloons and lifted them up to Maria in Heaven, Mary Beth writes: "Part of me couldn't help but want to go right along with the balloons . . . to be gathered up by the wind and swept to heaven to be with Maria." I completely understood.
Like so many bereaved parents, the Chapmans chose to create a foundation in memory of their daughter. Maria's Big House of Hope is located in one of the poorest provinces in China and provides orphans with the care they need. Maria's legacy lives on as these children are given medical attention, food, clothing, love and hope.
While the Chapmans have celebrity fame and status, Choosing to SEE shows that no matter who we are or what we have accomplished, when we lose a child to death, our hearts break. To experience that deep anguish and sorrow is the nature of being a parent. If the book had denied the reader of that truth, and tied to sugar-coat the tragedy with spiritual platitudes, it would have been a shame. I appreciated the honesty of this memoir and am sure others will as well.
~ Alice J. Wisler
Author of Rain Song, How Sweet It Is, and Hatteras Girl
[A copy of the book was provided for me by Revell upon request to write this review.]