Jen's Reviews > Choosing to See: A Journey of Struggle and Hope

Choosing to See by Mary Beth Chapman
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's review
Jan 23, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: christian, non-fiction

Last October, my church had the Chapmans (Steven Curtis and his wife and kids) for an outreach event. I didn't buy tickets because I wasn't sure I would be able to handle the grief of this family not far removed from the death of their 5 year old daughter in a horrific accident in which her brother ran over her with a car. I can't stand the sugary sweet "God is in control" and we were instantly happy that he had taken our daughter to be with him schlock that is so common in Christian books/speaking events.

A co-worker had an extra ticket and I ended up going. The night was a mix of SCC's music, their sons' band and Mary Beth speaking. I could take or leave the music. But I liked her immediately. It was the first time she'd ever spoken in public and of all subjects - about the journey of acceptance following the accident. But she was sarcastic always, angry at times and real. I'm not a terribly emotional person when it comes to this kind of thing. She spoke, I was touched and left moved -- but not to tears.

I got a Kindle for Christmas. I saw this book on the "limited time offers" for like $2 a few weeks ago. After church today, I was especially raw and something made me start this book. I finished it today as well. I took about a four hour break in between the first and second sections. The first section sets up Mary Beth's story of faith and doubt. She tells of her struggle with clinical depression and the difficulties in her marriage with Steven Curtis. Mary Beth doesn't linger over the details but gives enough for me to connect with her in a way that I don't with other women Christian authors. Thankfully, there are no "beloveds" or "dearests" in this book. (You Beth Moore and Kay Arthur fans know what I'm talking about.) I saw a lot of myself in her description of herself. I'm hoping that is what made the second part of the book so terribly painful for me. I cried from the moment I knew what was coming right until I finished the book. Not because I know what she feels from having lost a child but from the raw emotion of her daily struggles questioning God and finding the answers through others and Scripture, then losing it and having to start over the next day.

This isn't the deepest book you'll ever read. And having heard her speak, I can fill in where the narrative is lacking which others won't have the benefit. But I'd recommend this book. It will spur good conversation about what you build a marriage on, when your faith becomes real, how you deal with anger at God, etc.

And I'm not a crier. I have a horrible headache from all this stupid crying.
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Susan I saw her and SCC at a WOF conference so had heard the story from her as well. This book was so heartwrenching to me. I'm not usually a crier either but this just about did me in! And.... I love SCC cd- Beauty will rise which is basically all about Maria and his struggles.

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