Book Review: ‘Choosing to SEE’

   Posted by: Faith   in Tasty Tomes

Yes, yes… two more books to go on the September Blog Tour which is actually happening in October, which I am well aware of, and no I don’t particularly care, and yes that means you’ll be getting two book tours this month. But until then, let’s get on with this one!


Choosing to SEE

by Mary-Beth Chapman (with Ellen Vaughn)


Release Date: September 2010

Promo Synopsis:

"Every now and then a book comes along that is not only great–it’s a gift. An extravagant gift. This is one of those books."–Beth Moore

choosingtoseeFrom the beginning, Mary Beth Chapman’s life was not how she planned. All she wanted was a calm, peaceful life of stability and control. Instead, God gave her an award-winning singer/songwriter husband, crazy schedules, and a houseful of creatively rambunctious children. Most difficult of all, God’s plans for her also included tragedy.

In Choosing to SEE, Mary Beth unveils her struggle to allow God to write the story of her life, both the happy chapters and the tragic ones. And as the story unfolds, she’s been forced to wrestle with some of life’s biggest questions: Where is God when things fall apart? Why does God allow terrible things to happen? How can I survive hard times?

No matter where you find yourself in your own life story, you will treasure the way Mary Beth shows that even in the hard times, there is hope if you choose to SEE.


*** Here’s the book trailer for this book… there are some spoilers in it, but only if you come to the book not knowing who the Chapmans are and what happened that inspired the writing of this book. I guess you could call “Spoiler Alert” on everything in this review from here on out, but everything I’ll mention was in the news at some point, so decide for yourself whether you want to keep reading or not :) ***



If you’re a parent, this is going to be a really difficult book to read. I’ll warn you that right up front. Even if you’re not a parent, it’s going to be tough going in places.

For those of you who don’t know, or who may have forgotten, Mary Beth Chapman is the wife of Award-Winning Gospel singer/songwriter Stephen Curtis Chapman. Several years ago, tragedy struck their family when one of their young daughters was struck and killed in the driveway by a truck, driven by their son. The event made headline news, and Stephen Curtis didn’t release any new music for awhile afterward.

This book is Mary Beth’s story of a life she never asked for and never wanted. She married a man who would become a superstar, their family grew and grew, and they had times of blessing and times of disaster (she mentions some of that in the book trailer above).

What I found most intriguing was Mary Beth’s honesty about her struggles with anxiety and depression. Here was this woman who seemed to have it all – a beautiful home, children, and a husband whose success provided for their needs and more – and yet she felt like she was dying inside. She took medications, visited doctors, and learned how to cope…

And then, the worst tragedy of all… the death of a child. I’m so glad the book didn’t dwell on that, but instead focused on her life, her faith in God, her personal struggles, and how the family put themselves back together after being shattered into a million pieces.

Mary Beth’s book is a blatant testimony of faith; an incredible display of God’s power to bring light into the darkest places.

This book won’t be for everyone. For others, it may be too difficult to read. Still, I’m glad that Mary Beth told her story, because it affirmed for me that no one is perfect. Everyone is human. No matter how put-together someone appears on the outside, we all struggle with doubt, anxiety, and fear (some of us more than others). And that in the end, God is so much bigger than all that.

About the Author(s):

Mary Beth Chapman is the wife of Grammy and Dove Award winning recording artist Steven Curtis Chapman. Together they began Show Hope, a nonprofit organization dedicated to caring for the world’s most vulnerable children by providing financial assistance to families wishing to adopt, as well as increasing awareness of the orphan crisis and funneling resources to orphans domestically and internationally. Mary Beth serves as president of Show Hope and is a speaker for Women of Faith 2010 with her husband. She is also coauthor with Steven of the Shaoey and Dot series of children’s picture books. Mary Beth and Steven have six children: Emily, Caleb, Will Franklin, and adopted daughters Shaohannah Hope, Stevey Joy, and Maria Sue, who is now with Jesus. The Chapmans live in Tennessee. (www.MaryBethChapman.com)

ellen Ellen Vaughn is a bestselling author and inspirational speaker. Her recent books include It’s All About Him with Denise Jackson (wife of Alan Jackson), which debuted at #1 on the New York Timesnonfiction list. She is also coauthor with Chuck Colson of Being the Body. In addition to her nonfiction work, Vaughn is an award-winning novelist. She lives in the Washington, D.C., area with her husband, Lee.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

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4 comments so far


Definitely not a book I will be able to read. I don’t like reading books about bad things happening to people. Call me weird!

October 15th, 2010 at 5:41 am

It takes a lot of courage to share her life with others. Kudos to her! and thanks for posting about her book.

October 15th, 2010 at 1:38 pm

Wow, this sounds like a really powerful story. I’m always interested to hear how others stand up strong in their faith when bad things happen. Thanks so much for the thorough review!

October 15th, 2010 at 8:53 pm

Rayna — I don’t blame you one bit! There are certain memoirs / nature books I just can’t read because I know how emotional the experience will be. Makes sense!

Lydia — I was honestly quite surprised when I learned she’d written a book about what happened. But you’re right — kudos to her! Maybe her story will help others or encourage others who’ve gone through a similar loss.

Holly — It definitely is. I was amazed by her strength and courage in the midst of such awful tragedy. Definitely something we can all learn from!

October 16th, 2010 at 8:38 pm

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