For this #PaperbackPic and #EllensPIcks I’m reviewing Mary Beth Chapman’s book, CHOOSING TO SEE; a Journey of Struggle and Hope 

A Journey of Struggle and Hope

AUTHOR: Mary Beth Chapman with Ellen Vaughn
© 2010 by Mary Beth Chapman
PUBLISHER: Revell; a division of Baker Publishing Group Grand Rapids, MI USA

I’ve been inspired by Steven Curtis Chapman’s music for decades and my heart broke for his family in 2008 when they lost their daughter Maria in a horrific accident.  I think the world watched in disbelief as we watched the news.  Mary Beth wrote this book in the aftermath of that woeful day, but this book isn’t just gloom and doom of the heartache they’ve gone through.  Mary Beth opens her life letting you in on the struggles and the success they’ve had.  She tells about the fun they have and the issues that stretch their faith. Sherry reading choosing to see

The book’s kind of an emotional roller coaster 🙂 Thanks for the Kleenex Ellen!  You’re laughing with Mary Beth on one page and then crying with her in the next!  Doesn’t that sound like real life?

I think Mary Beth wrote this book that way because his book is all about choosing to see God in the midst of your everyday life; even your pain.  If you’re like me, that’s not the easiest thing to do.  When we’re hurt we want to cocoon and throw a pity party.  Mary Beth shares about the dangers of reacting like that and wrote this book to help people see the funny way God brought them together, how He was with them throughout their horrible loss and how He is continuing to show up.  I love how she says:

“I have found that even during those times when the path is the darkest, He leaves little bits of evidence all along the way—bread crumbs of grace—that can give me what I need to take the next step.  But I can only find them if I choose to See.”1

Knowing that God was with the Chapman’s in such profound ways helps you to have hope that God will be with you in triumph and tragedy.

The book brings you along on the journey of life with Mary Beth and Steven Curtis Chapman.  You feel like a fly on the wall as Mary Beth shares about her childhood, their dating days, Steven’s career accomplishments, raising children and living life.

Mary Beth’s honesty and openness is so refreshing.

Mary Beth talks about how opposites attract and shares openly about marriage struggles related to their contrasting personalities.  She calls Stephen “Tigger” and herself “Eeyore”. 2

It reminded me of when Todd and I went to hear the Christian Comedian Steve Geyer for a Valentine’s Date Night Out a couple years ago.  Steve helped couples see the different personality types through the characters in Winnie-The-Pooh.  I’d never thought of those books like that before, but you can see the diverse personalities in all the characters.  Steve of course did it with great humor.


Mary Beth makes you laugh too. She seems to be a really fun person who loves to play practical jokes, I think we’d be great friends if she lived on my street!  One of the funniest stories in the book told about how they became parents because the dog ate her birth control pills!  There’s a cute picture in the book with a caption reading, “Pill-eating puppy named Peso, with the result named Emily.”3  I love how she shared so many of their personal family photos in the book.  It helps you to feel like you know them all.


May Beth openly talks about her battle with depression in such a balanced way.  I’m so glad to hear solid Christians share about a topic that has affected my family so much.  I know the more we talk about it the healthier we will all become.

The Chapman’s are a very close knit family that has a lot of fun together.  They value their kids so much that they ended up adopting three girls from China because their daughter Emily wouldn’t stop hounding.

The Chapman’s have very close friends and they all do life together.  They have babies, raise kids, adopt babies from China, grieve, mourn, laugh, pray with and vacation together.  They don’t have ‘fairweather friends’.  It’s clear through Mary Beth’s words that having solid Christian friendships have helped them have more fun and weather the storms of life.

Through people, artwork, lady bugs, little girls with heavenly messages and so much more; God truly was throwing the Chapman’s breadcrumbs of grace to help get them through.  I’m so thankful that Mary Beth took the time to write this book and share her journey of struggle and hope.  I will forever be changed as I consciously choose to see God at work in the events of my life and I know you will too!  If you’ve read it, let me know what you thought in the comments below.

Purchase the book by clicking on the Amazon Image.

between heaven and the real worldGet ready for the next month or two when I share my #PaperbackPick on Steven Curtis Chapman’s book that is soon to be released called, BETWEEN HEAVEN AND THE REAL WORLD.  I’m not sure when our #EllensPicks Linkup date is for that one yet, you’ll have to just keep an eye out 🙂


Mary Beth ChapmanMary Beth Chapman

Is a New York Times bestselling author and the wife of Grammy and Dove Award winning recording artist Steven Curtis Chapman.  Together they began Show Hope, a nonprofit organization that provides financial assistance to families wishing to adopt, increases awareness of the orphan crisis, and funnels resources to orphans around the world. Picture stolen from her twitter account 🙂 Yikes!  Sorry MB.

Website and Blog:
Twitter:  MaryBethChapman
Instagram:  mbchap232

Ellen's Picks

  1. Mary Beth Chapman, Ellen Vaugh. Choosing To See; A Journey of Struggle and Hope. (Grand Rapids, MI: Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, 2010). 26.
  2. Chapman, Choosing To See, 41.
  3. Chapman, Choosing To See, between 96-97.



Sherry Stahl