Last Friday night, I finished reading Choosing to SEE by Mary Beth Chapman. Most of the book focuses on the tragic loss of her daughter, Maria, who died after her brother accidentally hit her with a car in the family’s driveway. I remembered when the new broke about the event, and it was such a sad story, but what really drew me to the book was the fact that is was advertised as a book that talks about what happens when life doesn’t go according to our plans. Chapman spends time talking about her whole life and how she would fight for control, only to find out once again that life just doesn’t unroll the way we always want it to. Hm…that’s a theme that I can identify with.
What I loved most about the book was her honesty. Too often as Christians, I think we feel compelled to say that something that happened was ok. It’s almost as if by not appearing to accept the situation with some joy, we’re being rebellious, bucking God’s system and wandering away from his plan. I like that to the very end of the book Chapman maintains that losing a child is not something that she would have ever wanted to have to go through. Not ever. She doesn’t take joy in those circumstances, but she takes joy as she learns to cling to hope one event at a time. She shows what it’s like to walk through pain not skirt around it. She has this wonderful section in the book where she talks about a walk on the beach and asks her questions to God, questions we all ask – why? what now? how? what? Then, she shares what she feels God impressed on her heart in those moments, and eavesdropping on that conversation provides advice that is poignant and applicable to anyone walking through pain.
She brings in this great quote from William Barclay: “Endurance is not just the ability to bear a hard thing, but to turn it into glory,” and I think her book evidences the life of someone trying to do just that.