I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read this book or not. I’ve been a fan of Steven Curtis Chapman for years, ever since I was a kid and my dad brought home one of his CDs from the local Christian bookstore. I’ve remained a fan ever since, loving all his music from ballads for his precious daughters to praise and worship songs to his CD of love songs, written for his wife. I’ve never met Steven Curtis Chapman or his family, but it still struck close to home when his daughter Maria was killed when her brother struck her with the family SUV one May day several years ago.
I have baby sisters, little girls who were just around Maria’s age at the time. Even before Maria’s death, I had a secret fear of something like that happening to me. Coming home from work in my car, one of the little kids chasing a ball or another toy, and running out in front of the car as I pull up to house…
That fear was there and when I saw the headlines on the news that day in May, I felt my heart rise and then sink in disbelief. No, not one of the Chapman girls. Not the baby. Not little adopted Maria.
My heart hurt for the Chapman family. And they’ve been in my prayers ever since.
And then in 2010, Mary Beth Chapman’s book came out. As I said, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read it. Somehow, the idea of reading all the details of their lives, especially Maria’s death – as morbidly curious I was about it – seemed like an invasion of their privacy. I waffled back and forth for awhile, but when my mom borrowed it from the library, I decided to give it a shot.
It was a good read. I found myself identifying with Mary Beth a lot, even though we’re a generation apart. We’re both introverted, tend to be slightly pessimistic and I often find myself struggling to trust God with anything and everything in my life, much like her. And it was good to see Steven Curtis Chapman in a different light; it’s altogether too easy to look at a favorite music artist through rose-colored lenses and think that they are perfect, are a great Christian, etc… It was nice to see that Steven is human, as silly as that sounds. I also appreciated a glimpse into how both of them had to make adjustments to their lives throughout their married life; as we get closer and closer to our wedding, I keep thinking of how much both my life and Ty is going to change. Mary Beth’s honesty was refreshing; it was hard for her and Steven, but well-worth it as God worked everything out according to His will.
That being said, I still got a bit of an uneasy feeling as I read the details of Maria’s death and how her family struggled to cope with it. It was good to see how God has held them up during this time and how He’s making ‘all things new for them,’ but occasionally I felt almost like a peeping tom, catching a wide-eyed glimpse of the lives of someone I don’t personally know. Still, that was me and obviously the Chapmans are okay with the world knowing these details, otherwise Mary Beth would not have written her book as openly as she did.
I recommend it, but be prepared – reading about the sorrow in their lives made my heart ache more than I thought it would. I had such a hard time blinking back tears and swallowing the lump in my throat. And definitely, do not read it while listening to Steven’s latest CD. The tears won’t stop if you do.