Monday, October 10, 2011

The Incredible Journey of Mary Beth Chapman, Author of “Choosing to SEE”

Recently, I shared the good news that my newest Chicken Soup for the Soul book had been published: Devotional Stories for Tough Times. (Click HERE for the opportunity to win a copy.) I shared some tips with you for getting through tough times, which were inspired by several of the stories in the book. But today I want to share more about the incredible woman who wrote the foreword to the book: Mary Beth Chapman. You may recognize Mary Beth’s last name because she happens to be married to the award-winning Christian recording artist, Steven Curtis Chapman. But Mary Beth is quite an accomplished woman in her own right.

When Steven and Mary Beth married in 1984, she never imagined that she would one day be the mother of six children. After giving birth to a daughter and two sons, Mary Beth’s family was complete … or so she thought. For years, the Chapman family had strongly supported friends and organizations who were involved in adoption, but they had no idea how much their own role would grow. When their daughter Emily waged a two-and-a-half-year campaign to get her parents to adopt a baby from overseas, Mary Beth was the lone dissenter until she finally felt the call to adopt … in a big way!

After adopting Shaohannah from China in 2000, the Chapmans followed suit in 2002 by adopting Stevey Joy, and Maria Sue in 2004. But then tragedy struck. In May 2008, Maria was accidentally killed when she was struck by an SUV in the Chapmans’ driveway. You can imagine the struggle of faith that ensued as Mary Beth and her family battled to accept one of the most devastating events that can happen: the loss of a child.

Mary Beth’s story is extraordinary, and she has chronicled it in her New York Times best-selling book, Choosing to SEE: A Journey of Struggle and Hope(Revell), which she co-authored with Ellen Vaughn, also a New York Times bestselling author and an inspirational speaker. In Choosing to SEE, Mary Beth bares her heart and soul as she shares honestly about her personal journey -- from her childhood, to challenges of married life, to the sudden and tragic loss of little Maria. Choosing to SEE follows her lifelong wrestling match with God, questioning why the life she had planned so carefully doesn’t seem to match the plan that God has mapped out for her. The book also explores Mary Beth Chapman’s relationship with God in the face of the unexpected, and in the pain of such a brutal loss. Throughout the pages, she tackles these questions with grace, grit, insight and, most of all, hope.

Touched and forever transformed by the miracle of adoption, Steven and Mary Beth also began the non-profit ministry, Show Hope, a movement to care for orphans. Originally named Shaohannah’s Hope after their first adopted daughter, Show Hope mobilizes individuals and communities to meet the most pressing needs of orphans by providing homes for waiting children through adoption aid grants, as well as life-saving medical care for orphans with special needs. Additionally, Show Hope empowers families, churches, and communities with adoption and orphan care resources and advocacy efforts. For more information on Show Hope, visit ShowHope.org.

Along with her husband, Mary Beth has also co-authored three books for their Shaoey and Dot children’s series, and she continues to write a compelling blog found on her website, MaryBethChapman.com. She has spoken at numerous Women of Faith conferences. I had the privilege of attending one at which Mary Beth spoke, and I was so moved by her honesty and strength. And her book, Choosing to SEE, is equally as compelling. I truly hope you’ll pick up a copy of this life-changing book, as well as read her stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Devotional Stories for Tough Times.





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