Friday, October 22, 2010

Choosing To SEE

So, my birthday was a few weeks ago and the big 3-1 hit faster than I thought. Before I knew it, it was here and I was no longer just 30, I was officially 31, which puts you into the "thirties category". You're no longer just 30, you're thirty-ONE. Ug. Anyway, my sweet husband bought me a present, a book that I saw in a Christian bookstore one night as we were on a date. It's called Choosing To See and it's by Mary Beth Chapman, wife of Christian singer and songwriter Steven Curtis Chapman. I just finished the book in 2 days and just as Mary Beth Chapman quotes frequently throughout her book, "there are no words".

When I first saw the book in the bookstore, I thought it was quaint. I thought it was more of a bibliography, versus an emotional roller coaster of a ride with God, wrestling with His coarse for the Chapman family's life. I was doing fine with the beginning chapters, but THEN, oh THEN. I got to the middle and as Mary Beth started describing the gruesome and detailed scene of her daughter's death, I lost it. I was actually reading the book in bed, alone, amongst the quiet of our house. No small voices, no pitter-pattering feet and no one needing this mother's attention. Just me and my book.

Well, after using up 1/2 a roll of toilet paper and sobbing like a baby as I continued to read, my sweet husband came back to "check on me" and make sure I was okay. (It's a big deal for me to not to spend time with Rob in the evenings. It's OUR time and we truly cherish it, whether we're folding laundry or just chatting away about our day. Never-the-less, I desperately NEEDED to finish this book. I was hooked.) As he walked into the room, I dabbed my eyes, blew my nose and told him that this book was not meant to be read alone. It should've come with a warning label or something...

"This book, not to be read alone. Especially by mothers!"

So, he gave me a sweet hug and asked if he should stay. I declined and told him that I had to continue reading. Mind you, I was into my fourth hour of consistent reading, but I needed to get to a joyful part. Something positive, please. It was even more difficult reading this book due to the fact that Mary Beth's daughter who was tragically killed was the same age as my own budding five-year-old, Avonlea. I had to draw the line. I had to put up a wall, retelling my brain that this was not my own child and we were not in this situation. It did bring some memories to mind though, if I'm being completely honest. I thought back to the time when we lost our own 7-week-old baby in utero just a few years before. Seeing this precious, little creation flip and flop on the ultrasound monitor, you'd thought everything was fine. He/She was having a party in there, but little did we know. I thought back to when I lost my own brother to Down's Syndrome (I am the oldest of five). It brought back memories from when I've seen others lose children or young babies. It hurt.

I think that sometimes, as Christians, we feel as though we should be "trained" to give certain Christian responses. That we should be strong enough to withstand ANYTHING God might throw our way and it's okay because we're Christians. If anything, I personally see Christians as a magnet for Satan. An invitation, if you will.

"Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."

I Peter 5:8

Spiritual warfare is ALIVE my friends. We see if on the news. We see it in everyday life. This nation we call America has gone from God-fearing, to diverse, to rebellious, to desiring tolerance and co-existence (Don't you just love those COEXIST bumper stickers?) to outright persecution, and it's only going to get worse. It's been prophesied.

Anyhow, this book left me thinking about God's plan for each of our lives. I came away with some conclusions...

1. "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Hebrews 11:1

Do I REALLY live this?

2. I have to continue to give God ALL the glory and not only that, BUT give Him the glory when it's something that wasn't in "my plans". Something that's tragic. Something that seems too much to bare.

3. Living differently. Here's a quote that I'm going to copy and I hope it touches you and gives you a different perspective on time with loved ones, especially your little ones.

"How would I have lived differently if I knew that my time with Maria was going to be this short? Regretfully, I would have lived much differently. I would have purposely hugged and kissed more. I would have tried to memorize and lock away in my heart certain smells and smiles. I would have colored more and worked less. I would have laughed more and fussed less. Bedtime wouldn't have become a chore to check of the list of things to get done. Instead it would have been more of an opportunity to listen about the day and offer whatever words were needed. The swimming pool wouldn't have been too cold to swim in. The flowers in the garden would have all been picked, and definitely more ice cream would have been consumed!" ~Mary Beth Chapman

The book goes on to share the many wonderful memories that graced the Chapman household...weddings, graduations, accomplishments, adoptions, songs, etc. However, Mary Chapman STILL (two and a half years later) still struggles everyday with the loss of her precious daughter Maria Sue. There are some neat family photos in this book too. Get your tissues ready though when you get to them. They're precious.

The biggest thing I walked away with though was LISTENING TO GOD. This is one thing that because of their tragedy, the Chapmans yearned for. They yearned to HEAR God's voice. They yearned for signs that things were going to be okay and that Maria was safe in the arms of Jesus. I know sometimes we, as parents, get so entangled in the everyday activities and we forget to just sit down, BE STILL ("Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth." Psalm 46:10)
and LISTEN. I think that's what the title of this book really represents, Choosing To SEE. The Chapmans chose to SEE all that God was doing in their lives throughout this tragedy and although we call it a tragedy, God sees it as something in His plans. He is there to comfort us and hold us in those times, but He has a specific will and purpose for our losses and trials here on earth.

I could sit here for hours (I'm sure!) and continue sharing, but a small baby needs my mothering and attention, so I'm off. I hope that this entry blessed someone today and that if you get the chance to read Choosing To SEE, your life will be changed forever.

God Bless sweet friends!

1 comment:

Tessa said...

Wow, sounds like a book I should NOT read! (at least not while I'm pregnant and hormonal).
I've been so busy the last couple of weeks with running around and I'm glad that my next few weeks are slowing down and I can take more time just to "be." I've missed reading stories to my son and playing trucks with him. And we haven't taken a walk in over a week and cold weather's coming when we won't be able to get out.
It's time to put my priorites back in order, and I'm very much lookng forward to it!