Book Review: Choosing to See


Choosing to See book cover

“Choosing to See” is the most honest look into what it’s truly like to lose and grieve of anything I’ve read on the subject.

I believe the reason Mary Beth Chapman’s book is so authentic is because it was written very soon after the accident that killed her daughter, and it includes those raw and fresh reactions.

The book is not just the story of the accidental death of the daughter of Steven Curtis and Mary Beth Chapman, but it starts with Mary Beth’s early life and walks through how she and Steven met and their early married years.

She writes honestly about depression and the use of medication to treat it. I could relate especially to using medication to level yourself out so you can deal with all that needs to be dealt with. That has been my experience, at least, with anxiety, depression and medication.

“It treated my symptoms. As I started feeling better, I could then work on the root of the problem and begin to heal from things in the past. It helped me clearly think about how God’s grace applied to me.”

Early in the book, Mary Beth talked about the “gift of grace” as a foreign concept to her. I think this is so important to make note of because it feels to me like we live in a time where grace is so hard to come by, especially within the Christian church which is where it should be most.

“When I was growing up in church, no one talked about this (grace). My expectation then was that Christians were strong and victorious all the time. If someone was struggling with something it was because his or her faith was not strong enough. Now, thankfully, you hear a lot more in most Christian circles about brokenness. Most people I know are quite fond of the apostle Paul, not because he was a superachiever who spread the gospel throughout the known world, but because he realized that his pains and limitations were what kept him dependent on Christ. He knew he was a mess.

The Chapmans’ tragedy wasn’t just in the loss of their daughter but that their teenage son was driving the car that killed her. Either of those alone would be tragic but together it had the potential to rip the family and their ministries wide open. Instead of letting that happen, the family recognized God’s sovereignty in allowing this to happen just the way it did. I was touched by Chapman’s compassion toward her son and her tenderness to what she described as a difficult path he’d been given to walk. What wisdom and perspective to see his difficult situation as something God has allowed to happen for some unbeknownst reason rather than heaping onto him blame.

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