Excerpt: 'Choosing to SEE' By Mary Beth Chapman

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But I need to be clear. This book isn't just about the spring day when Steven and I lost our precious Maria Sue in a terrible accident. It's about a story . . . a story God is writing. All along the way, He has changed my story in ways I didn't like. I've had whole chapters added and deleted and strange plot twists that I never saw coming.

The truth is, I was born with a plan. I wanted life to be safe and predictable. My plan was to marry someone with a nice nine-to-five schedule and have a tidy, organized life -- everything under control.

Absolutely none of that came true!

And if it had -- if I had lived the life I thought I wanted -- I know I wouldn't have experienced the grace or the miracles of God in the ways that I have. What I've found is that it's in the most unlikely times and places of hurt and chaos that God gives us a profound sense of His presence and the real light of His hope in the dark places.

So this book isn't so much about me and Steven, as broken and crazy as we are. It's about God . . . and how He can comfort, carry, and change us on our journey, no matter how hard it is.

My husband has always been considered the creative, public side of our marriage. Everyone loves him and people assume that I'm a lot like him.

I'm not.

Steven is an extrovert who gets his energy from being around people. He loves to speak -- and speak -- and speak -- in front of large groups. I am an introvert who loves to nest at home with my kids. If I'm invited to speak in front of a gathering of people, I get so nervous I feel like I'm going to pass out.

Steven is an optimist; I tend to be more melancholy. To him the glass is half-full; to me the same glass is half-empty. He is overflowing with great expectations; I'm sure that if things can possibly go wrong, they probably will.

Steven would never think of pulling a practical joke; it's not nice. I laugh and get all excited just thinking about playing jokes on my friends. It's like a love language to me! The other night I took Shaoey and Stevey Joy, and we headed over to my daughter-in-law's house. My son Caleb was out of town, playing a show, and I knew Julia had a friend over to spend the night.

We parked our van, snuck around the back of the house, and proceeded to scratch on the window screens and knock on the walls. I could hear Julia and her friend running around in panic, and then it got real quiet. I decided we should go around to the front and knock on the door so they would know it was us.

When my sweet Julia opened the door, she had tears on her face and the phone in her hand. I heard her tell the 911 dispatcher through her tears, "Oh, never mind . . . it's just my mother-in-law!"

I promised I'd never do it again, and I think she still loves me!

Anyway, it's obvious that Steven and I are very different, kind of like Tarzan and Jane, but we'll get to that a little later.

As long as I can remember, and throughout my twenty-five-year marriage to Steven, I've held on to certain expectations about life. But Jesus has always loved me enough to show me that even when I push my own ideas and expectations, He is there to guide me back to green pastures. He has shepherded me through the mountainous terrain of my stubbornness, shame, depression, and inadequacy and brought me gently back to the lushness of His love. He loves us enough to never let us go . . . even when it feels like He has.

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