I’ve just finished reading “Choosing to SEE” by Mary Beth Chapman. Mary Beth is the wife of singer Steven Curtis Chapman, and the mother of six, including three adopted daughters from China. One of them, five-year-old Maria, died in May of 2008 after being hit by a car driven by her 17-year-old brother. As you might expect, the book is a powerful testimony, not only of how God met the Chapman family in their grief, but how Mary Beth has struggled throughout her life to allow God to write her story, both the happy chapters and the sad ones. It is a powerful and honest book that I highly recommend.
But that’s not the main thing I wanted to share. What hit me the most powerfully was not in the book itself, but on the dedication page. This is what Mary Beth wrote to her son Will Franklin, who was driving the car that hit his sister.
“You have been entrusted with an incredible pain! I’m so sorry. I wish as your mom I could take it away, but I know God has a plan for you to steward this story well and to minister to others through your suffering. You are my hero, as well as Maria’s…she loved you so much, as do I!”
Wow. That is profound, and I want each of us to hear those words as if they were spoken to us.
You have been entrusted with an incredible pain. There is no pain like losing a child, and many of us have circumstances that make that pain even more difficult to bear. Consider, though, that this pain was entrusted to us. What will we do with it? Will it destroy us? Or will we master it and use it?
I know God has a plan for you to steward this story well and to minister to others through your suffering. God has a plan. He is sovereign. He also loves you more than you can possibly imagine. And He alone can help you use your story to minister to others, to “comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Cor. 1:4). If you are just beginning this journey, you may find that hard to believe. But please hang in there…and wait to see how God moves in your life.
I’m so sorry. I wish…I could take it away. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t wish that my body hadn’t failed both me and Naomi…that Kyria had lived…that Jordan were still growing within me. There are plenty of days when I just don’t care how many people God blesses through this ministry or how perfect heaven is, I just want my babies back. And it’s okay to feel that way. I feel that for each mama and daddy I meet with a baby in heaven. I’m so sorry…I wish I could change things…but I am absolutely convinced of two things. God is loving. And God is sovereign. And tragic losses do not change who and what He is.
So…my prayer for all of us is that we would trust the One writing our story, even when it is painful, and SEE how He wants us to steward our stories well to minister to others – and in the process, to heal and know His joy and peace again.
P.S. If you would like to share how God has used your story to minister to others, please e-mail me or share it in a comment here. You are my hero, as well as your child's! God bless you!
Naomi's Circle News
Here you will find articles intended to help you in your journey. Some will be reviews of websites and books. Some will be devotionals, some general articles, and some will be guest bloggers. Feel free to comment and let us know if there is something you would like to see addressed here.
Week 1: Devotional
Week 2: General article about loss
Week 3: Testimony/guest blogger
Week 4: Website/book Review