Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Choosing to See

One of the best books that I've read in the past two years is Love in the Driest Season by Neely Tucker.  It is a memoir about adopting a girl in zimbabwe, the foreign press, racism in America, biracial marriage, and many other things.  It opened my eyes about why we should care about Africa.  Before I read that book, I was very ignorant about why the United States helps Africa to the extent that we do.  I am thankful that God helped open my eyes with that book.

Since reading that book, I've read several more memoirs hoping for a similar eye opening experience.  I enjoy reading about people's lives and what they've learned along the way.  Sadly, I have read several disheartening memoirs since that first one.  But, I've still held out hope that I'd find another enjoyable one to read.

And I did.

Two weeks ago, I sat down with Choosing to See, written by Mary Beth Chapman with Ellen Vaughn.  Two years ago, the Chapmans youngest child Maria died when a car ran over her which was driven by one of their teenage sons.  This memoir is the story of primarily that event and her life (and her family's life) sine Maria's death.  The story begins by sharing Mary Beth's life story before Maria.

The title "Choosing to See" is essentially about how we must choose to "SEE" God amidst our sorrow and pain--amidst the hard things in life.  I began reading this book on a particularly discouraging day.  Her story encouraged me and God used it to help me lift my eyes up.  There is one particular passage that I know I will come back to again and again...

"If we keep our heads down, either out of defeat or loss or shame or tiredness...whatever the reason, we are going to miss the beautiful Sun (and Son!) that is right there in front of us, shining its warmth on our faces and our souls!
We need to understand down to the depths of our souls that whether He is quietly behind a storm cloud or blazing obviously in the bright blue sky right in our faces, Jesus, the Son, is always,--not sometimes--present.  No matter what the circumstance.
As we walk with chins up, faces directed toward the Son, we won't see or have to deal with the pettiness of life, represented by the hundreds of seashells I was so fixated on.  As we focus on Him, the things of life can be stepped over like those shells.  (I know, easier said than done.  Trust me I'm trying to preach to the choir here...ME!)  Is it possible that some of those seashells of life will just go away?  I think so!"   from pg. 224-225 of Choosing to See

The passage goes on.  I appreciate so much Mary Beth's honesty with herself and the reader.  It is clear from the tone of the book that she isn't preaching at anyone--she's speaking as much to herself as anyone else.  I think this is a very good book for anyone who has lost a child or sibling to read.  It is also a very good book to read if you or a loved one lives with depression.  Depression is tiptoed around inside the church and many people don't understand it.  This makes it difficult when people you love live with depression.  My father lives with depression though he doesn't admit it, as does my brother who does.  I have my own battles and post partum depression has been a part of my life.  I did not take medication, but I feel I should have after the birth of my last child.  I understand.  Mary Beth's story is an important one.  What spoke to me about her story was how God has used this struggle in her life.

One of the aspects of depression is a zest for something--for with downs always come the ups.  Mary Beth's passion is for adoption.  It was encouraging to read about how God gave her this passion and has used it in her life, the lives of her family, and in the lives of her friends and in ministry.  What a blessing!  Truly in our weakness we are made strong.  God works in all things.  It is always good to be reminded of this.

This is one of the best books I've read in a long time.  Once you pick it up, it will be hard to put down.

Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from Revell Publishing.

1 comment:

melissa said...

I'm a little over half way through Choosing to SEE and love it. I lover her personality that comes through :)