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175 of 177 people found the following review helpful
on July 25, 2010
I pre-ordered this book since I grew up listening to Steven Curtis Chapman's music, and my husband & I have an interest in adoption. Honestly, I am an avid reader, and have read LOTS of Christian books, both fiction & non-fiction, and, honestly, after a while they kind of all seem to sound the same. I found this book to be very refreshing and honest. Humbly and frankly addressing topics that are often 'taboo' in Christian circles, such as depression, not 'having it all together', doubts, anxiety, etc. was a change, for one. While reading the book, I felt like I was meeting someone like me, almost like talking to a friend, instead of someone leading a perfect life trying to tell me how to make mine perfect as well, following their method. I would highly recommend reading this book.
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65 of 65 people found the following review helpful
on August 30, 2010
Choosing to SEE is written with the kind of honesty and transparency that kept me engaged in this chapter of Mary Beth Chapman's life. Mary Beth Chapman (along with Ellen Vaughn) tells a story of the Chapman family behind the stage and beyond the music award shows - a family that exudes and truly lives the faith that they profess.

Throughout the course of the book, the lyrics of some of Steve Curtis Chapman's songs begin each chapter. It's obvious that they were carefully selected and not merely used as space fillers. I must admit that although Chapman's work has never been in my personal music collection, he's gained a new fan simply because of the purity of his lyrics.

Three days after I finished Choosing To SEE, a family friend died suddenly. The unexpected loss left us shocked for days. Many of the things Mary Beth shared in the book came to the forefront of my mind. Our friend's death left behind a talented wife and three young children. I know that when the time is right, I will present his wife with a copy of Choosing To SEE.

Mary Beth Chapman may not be a songstress, but she's shared a story that tucks itself away in your heart like the lyrics of your favorite song.
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53 of 55 people found the following review helpful
Reading this book with a box of tissue near by was a good idea. This book spoke to me not only as a mother but also as a Christian woman that at times has doubts. Mary Beth shares in a very raw way how she is living each day after her daughter's tragic death. Although this book shares her burden of grief she also is so very good at making it perfectly clear that she believes and loves the God who chose to have her walk this path. Thank you Mary Beth for sharing, in doing so God has truly received the glory. May your family continue to heal and may you continue to SEE. Your still in my prayers.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2011
This book is a gift, please watch the video.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon September 1, 2010
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. Two of my family members lived with depression when I was growing up. As for me, I did not take medication, but I feel I should have after the birth of my last child for post partum depression. 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.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on August 8, 2010
I purchased this book and could not put it down until I finished it. Mary Beth's raw honesty is refreshing. Her understanding of God's plan couched between His love and sovereignty is an encouragement to anyone who has experienced emotional pain. The unfolding of her story gives permission to grieve without having all the questions answered. Hope lies in the unseen and sure helps to travel the narrow road with the encouragement of a fellow sojourner. Having experienced my own loss and walking very intimately with a friend who lost a child at a young age, Mary Beth, you gave words to so many things unspoken. This book is an extension of God's grace and I cannot wait to put it in the hands of many I know and love. His timing is perfect, this book helped me to SEE. Reader, you will be blessed as the pages unfold.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on July 27, 2010
I hate ordering books and then never finish reading them because they put you to sleep. This is not one of those books. I couldn't put it down and finished it in 1 1/2 days!
I was deeply affected two years ago by little Maria Sue's accident and my heart broke for the Chapman family. I appreciate very much that they shared her story and their grief with us. Three weeks ago a friend of mine lost his teenage daughter when she was hit by a car while riding a dirt bike. I think I will pass this book along and hope that Mary Beth's words can provide some comfort.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on August 30, 2010
On May 21, 2008, the lives of the Chapman family changed dramatically in one ill-fated moment. Their five year old adopted daughter, Maria, was accidentally hit and killed in the driveway of their Tennessee home. As if the accident weren't horrific enough, the car that hit Maria was being driven by her older brother, Will Franklin.

In Choosing to See, wife of award winning contemporary Christian music artist, Steven Curtis Chapman, Mary Beth Chapman writes from the perspective of a grieving mother and shares personal, private moments of deep loss and hurt.

Mary Beth shares her heart along with the questions and doubts that swirled in her mind when faced with releasing her daughter to the arms of Jesus. She writes very honestly about what her family has endured and how this tragedy has been used by God to draw her family closer. She opens up about her personal struggle with clinical depression, which started long before tragedy struck. This is not an easy book to read - I cried through the foreward by Steven Curtis Chapman and the prologue by Beth Moore. And most of the book for that matter!

This a deeply personal story full of emotion and heartache and at the same time, a story of hope and promise. The Chapman family is a living example of joy that comes in the morning. What Satan meant for harm and destruction - God has turned into something bigger and more powerful than any of the Chapmans' ever imagined. The Chapmans founded Maria's Big House of Hope, an orphanage in China for children with special needs, which officially opened July 2009.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon September 2, 2010
I have seen Mary Beth Chapman on television in the past talking about her life and the loss of her daughter Maria, but hearing her talk about it and actually reading her words and her story are two very different things. Choosing to See is a very touching and honest tribute to little Maria's life and a powerful testimony of God's love for His children. It is hard to imagine going through the loss that Mary Beth went through and I know it took guts for her to write so honestly about her life and how she dealt with life after Maria. I was inspired by this family's ability to go on living and for their ability to use their grief for God's kingdom.

Aside from Choosing to See being an inspiring book, it is also very well written and hard to put down. Mary Beth's story is interesting and you will find yourself wanting to know more about her and how she has dealt with the pain. You will find yourself with a renewed feeling of hope that God will always take care of you and that you are never alone. I really enjoyed reading Choosing to See and again, I appreciate Mary Beth's honesty in sharing her story.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
I liked this book. Mary Beth Chapman is an honest woman. She tells the truth about her marriage, her personality, and her weaknesses. She speaks of her times of depression, her difficulties in marriage, her sorrows in child rearing, etc.

The book is sad, to be sure. It made me shed a tear more than once, and that is a very rare happening for me. Mary Beth reveals and details the pains of losing a daughter in such a tragic way.

Now here's why I recommend the book:
1. Grace. This is a book that shows that God's grace is sufficient for one woman, one family.
2. God's power displayed in weakness: Mary Beth doesn't come off as a perfect Christian woman who has all the answers. Her insecurities and weaknesses show with her strengths. And yet, her weaknesses didn't stop her from doing a great deal of good in the world.
3. Motivation. If this book doesn't motivate you to be an advocate for adoption, nothing will.
4. It is a story of a real marriage. One partner is social, loud, happy, optimistic. the other is loving, steady, serious, quieter. It works.
5. The book is one of survival and victory that comes in Jesus. McQuilken has said, "God has His ways of weaning us from the world." we can forget that this world is a sorrowful place for all leave us to death. But He has overcome the world. This reality is worked out in the life of the Chapmans.
6. A celebrity couple is willing to share their tragedy. They run the risk of many critiques while they make themselves vulnerable. This is a great service to the church as a whole.
7. The value of the local church and the power of the Word taught and preached over a long period of time is shown.

from a reader's perspective, I feel the book stalls a bit in the end. there is a great deal of time given to quoting Mary Beth's journals. This causes me to be less interested as the narrative comes to a halt and the book becomes more commentary on the story of their life. For this I give the book 4 stars and not 5.
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