In a world where people in the spotlight often act as though everything is together and there are no problems, it’s refreshing to read a book where honesty fills the pages. And for someone like Mary Beth Chapman, whose been through some much (including the most recent tragic loss of their daughter Maria), Chapman doesn’t hold back. When she talks about her struggles, she doesn’t sugar coat it and just say “I used to do bad things,” but shares openly and how that affected her life. Plus, you’ll laugh too. The chapter titles alone are examples of this: “When the Puppy Eats Your Birth Control or “My Friend Prozac.”
Maybe it’s the Christian culture, the people (bad or good examples of faith) or what’s been said in the past, but it seems too many people have a skewed view of Christians and think we’re always happy, never get upset or anything gets to us. But how opposite it really is! Not that we’re really all emo to the 4th power, but there are real life struggles that don’t make sense, that I know I (along with many I know) don’t understand, where we cry out to God for answers, but only hear silence. Yet we hold on to the hope we believe in, in a God that is true and faithful even when we don’t get it.
All that to say, Chapman’s writing is a refreshing example of that balance. Does she have all the answers? Nope, but she shares her journey freely and openly. And I’m so glad I caught a glimpse of it. Did I cry? Yep. Was I encouraged? 100 + 12%. Even if you don’t share her faith, it’s a journey worth reading about. I can’t imagine some of the pain they’ve been through, but am beyond encouraged by her thoughts she choose to share.
I was already a fan of the Chapman’s, but this tripled that 🙂
Since there were plenty of quotes worth sharing, here’s a few highlights:
- I still have awfully dark days. I still take medication. I still see a counselor. I wish God would take my depression away. But so far he hasn’t , and perhaps that is because He’s using this as a way to keep me dependant on Him. I have to get my worth from Christ and Christ alone. Mary Beth Chapman
- “Don’t you get it now?” God was saying to me. Under the blanket , this baby was wrapped in rags. She was poor. She didn’t smell good. She was hungry. There was nothing about her that had “earned” my love. But I loved her powerfully, deeply, absolutely. Period. Mary Beth Chapman upon meeting their first adoptive girl.
- If we keep our heads down, either out of defeat or loss or shame or tiredness…whatever the reason, we are going to miss the beautiful sun (and Son) that is right there in front of us, shining its warmth on our faces and our souls. Mary Beth Chapman
- Christianity doesn’t deny the reality of suffering and evil. Our hope is not based on the idea that we are going to be free of pain and suffering. Rather it is based on the conviction that we will triumph over that suffering. Brennan Manning
- Endurance is not just the ability to bear a hard thing, but to turn it into glory. William Barclay
- Even in the saddest things we can become, once we have made peace with that, a source of wisdom and strength for the journey that still lies ahead. Frederick Buechne
- “Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:25-26
I highly recommend grabbing a copy of Choosing to SEE: A Journey of Struggle and Hope!