I Wasn’t Planning To Write This Post

A couple of weeks ago I got a copy of a new CD in the mail. Normally getting new music makes me do a little hitchkick in the driveway, but when I saw that Steven Curtis Chapman’s Beauty Will Rise was in the envelope, I sort of pushed it to the side of the kitchen counter and tried to ignore it. If that sounds harsh, I don’t mean it that way – it’s just that I knew that it was his first CD since his daughter Maria’s death about 18 months ago. And as a mama – well, I knew the music would probably be jam-packed with some tough emotions. Honestly, I didn’t want to go to that place. I just didn’t.

Well. This afternoon I got an email about a live chat that SCC is doing on Facebook Tuesday night (here’s the link if you’re interested), and I Twittered (tweeted? oh, technological jargon, I LOATHE YOU) about it because I thought it sounded like something that would be an encouragement to people. And by the way, if that last sentence makes it sound like I’m some Mary Sunshine person who walks around all day looking for ways to encourage people, BE YE NOT FOOLED. It’s just that I think that the Chapmans’ story is one that God is using to minister to a whole bunch of folks, so I thought I’d share the link.

Now. I believe that’s plenty of overexplaining for one day. You’re so welcome. It’s completely free of charge, by the way.

Anyway, tonight after supper David and Alex went in the living room to watch a TV show, and as I walked through the kitchen, the SCC CD caught my eye. It was still on the corner of the kitchen counter. Still scaring me a little bit. But for the first time since it arrived in our mailbox, I knew that I wanted to listen.

Oh, y’all. I am so glad that I did.

The songs on this CD aren’t easy. Just knowing a teeny tiny bit of the pain behind the lyrics makes it almost incomprehensible that someone could write and sing through that level of heartache. But the result of SCC’s vulnerability in the midst of an incredibly difficult season is an absolutely stunning CD – full of questions and declarations and hurts and hopes. The tender heart of God is all over it. It’s honest and raw and real and heartbreaking and encouraging. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything like it.

You should also know that the CD booklet-thingy (yes, that is the technical term) unexpectedly threw me for a little bit of an emotional loop. The third song on the CD is called “SEE,” and SCC shares the story behind the song in the liner notes:

Shortly after Maria had been carried away to Jesus, all of us, and particularly Caleb and I began to talk about how desperate we were just to “SEE” something…a dream or a vision…anything that would help confirm in some tangible way what we were holding onto by faith, that Maria was truly “okay,” and even more than “okay,” that she really was safe in the arms of Jesus. It was a plea that I heard us all say several times in those first hours…”God, please just let us “SEE” something!”

He writes about how he found an unfinished drawing on Maria’s art table the day after her death, and then:

I turned the page over and was completely stunned to find a word written on the back in Maria’s handwriting. To any of our knowledge she knew only 6 words that she could write…but there on the back of the paper she had written in all capital letters the word “SEE.” Even as one who is usually careful not to attach more meaning to something than it deserves, I was and still am completely convinced that this was a precious gift from the broken heart of our Father in Heaven delivered through our daughter’s own hand the very morning before she left us for Heaven…. And it was our Father’s way of saying, “SEE with eternal eyes, SEE that I have your little girl safe and sound with me, and SEE by faith My promise of the day that’s coming very soon when I will make everything new and wipe every last one of these tears from your eyes.”

I’ll pause for a second so that you can go grab a tissue. Really. It’s totally fine.

Here’s the thing. I tend to keep things light and happy around here because I enjoy light and happy. But sometimes life is stinkin’ hard. Sometimes life feels like the complete opposite of light and happy. I know that there are all sorts of trials and issues and doubts represented among the people who read here – and as someone who has wrestled with her faith a time or ninety, I know how hard it can be to see God’s hand in the midst of unexpected or even unthinkable circumstances.

But you know what? God’s there. He really is. He’s faithful. And He loves you so much.

I have no idea why I felt like I needed to write this post. It’s way longer than I ever intended for it to be, and it’s not particularly, you know, CLEAR. I’ve never met Steven Curtis Chapman, and I’m about 261 kinds of positive that he’s never heard of my silly blog. But make no mistake: his transparency and his candor have blessed my heart tonight. Blown me away just a little bit. And I can’t help but think that if you’re struggling right now – with a relationship, with grief, with illness, with unbelief, with whatever – the lyrics from these songs will bless your heart, too.

And I guess that is all.

Have a great Tuesday, everybody.

Edited to add: just found out that you can listen to the whole CD on Rhapsody. For free.

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  1. Something tells me SCC would very much appreciate this post. It’s beautiful and unfortunately, so very needed. A dear friend lost her teenage daughter in a firey car crash just a few months ago and this will be the perfect encouragement to send her..

  2. Ok…I should be getting ready for bed right now, but instead I decided to read some of my favorite blogs before turning to the chores before bed. I wish I could give you a big ol’ hug for writing this. I needed to be reminded that God is still in control…even when we can’t SEE it. HE still knows what we need, even if it’s just a quick reminder from Boomama. I think SCC is an awesome talent for Christ and I’ll be checkin’ out this CD soon! After I find the box of tissues, of course! Thanks for your heartfelt post! I needed it tonight!

  3. I love your heart, Sophie.

  4. This is the reason I’m up past midnight fighting with a jammed printer, trying to print a blog post and last letter my son-in-law will get while in basic training.

    I needed to read this. Though I cannot comprehend the grief this family has been through, I needed to be reminded. I needed to “SEE”.

    Thank you, Sophie.

  5. I know you weren’t planning to write this post, but I’m oh so glad you did.

  6. Beautiful. Thank you.

  7. I listened to just the teasers on amazon and was a soppy mess. Even 18 months later the story grieves me so.

    I got to meet Steven once (thanks to a friend who ‘bought’ me a backstage pass via an auction for Shaohannah’s Hope) and he was just as genuine and kind as you would imagine.

    I dare to say this album might end up on my music-that-brings-out-the-ugly-cry shelf, which right now consists of one album: Watermark’s. *smile*

  8. kelli living in grace says:

    thank you. truly.

  9. I’m still not over Maria’s death, maybe this album will help me. Thank you for this beautiful post.

  10. Thank you for your honest post. What a wonderful reminder that God knows the deepest cries of our heart and that he longs to connect with us. Like you I try to keep things in blog-land light but reading your post has reminded me that the Kre8ive Life is not always all things sweet. Living the Kre8ive Life means we will need to endure some not so pleasant times. Knowing others have endured is the encouragement and inspiration we all need at some point. Growing more like our creator through the HARD stuff is living the most Kre8ive Life of all.

  11. Over the past few weeks I have asked to SEE. I know He is there, I just need to SEE a tiny glimpse of it. It was a wonderfully written post.

  12. Southern Gal says:

    You really should be reading the blogs at SCC’s site. Mary Beth writes heart wrenching posts as she struggles through the grief. Their recent trip to China to dedicate Maria’s Big House is documented there, too. Jim Houser, manager, lets everyone know when something is going on. Thought you might be interested.

    I listened to the CD on Rhapsody for free a couple of days ago. Loved it.

  13. I know what you mean about shielding ourselves from what we know will touch us too deeply…I often do that so I won’t feel the pain behind something but like you, I’m always finding great relief once I do. That is a beautiful story of how God will tend to the smallest, (in their case it was huge,) requests to remind us that He is there. Their story is excruciatingly scary and makes us all ache for our own kids’ safety, doesn’t it? But clearly God is taking care of Maria. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Thank you so much for that moving post! I admit – I needed a tissue. What a lovely message.

  15. Oh, thank you so much for this post! I am sitting here crying my eyes out at the love of my King. I love when God’s testimony goes before Him in such a huge way…He is always so intimately mindful of us. And SCC’s story hit me hard as well. We adopted our oldest child and his family’s hearts for adoption created a kind of kinship to them. To lose a child is devastating but to see God and praise Him through all of it is nothing short of incredible. Thank you so much!

  16. I am glad you wrote this post. Life is stinkin’ hard and I needed this today.


  17. I’ve been known to turn my radio off when one of his new songs come on because I’m afraid my tears will make me an unsafe driver. While there are many heart wrenching moments connected with this tragedy, the one that always slays me and also reminds me of our Heavenly Father’s unconditional love is when SCC was being driven away to the hospital he saw his son in agony over what had just happened and called out, “Will Franklin, your father loves you!”
    Thanks for your words, Sophie. Really.

  18. Seeing is so hard sometimes when we just want to duck our heads under the covers and wallow in grief and anger and hurt.

    And yet our Father paints us pictures and invites to look up and see where He is healing and working and protecting and loving us.

    Thank you for the reminder this morning to “lift up mine eyes unto the hills”…

  19. What an awesome post. I can’t wait to hear the whole album…I’ve only heard one song.

    This post was written by you from God. :)

  20. Thank you.

  21. Wow. Just wow.

  22. Excellent post. I did have to grab a tissue.

  23. Beautiful. Thank you.

  24. Great post! I don’t know why we as fragile human beings hide away from dealing with the harshness and sadness of life, but we do. But this is how we see the victory of Jesus giving us His life and the incredible life that is yet to come in Heaven.

    Thanks for going against your emotions and listening to the CD so you could review it for the rest of us. I’m hoping to get it soon.

    Years ago at a women’s retreat the speaker drilled into our minds a mantra “Life is hard but God is good.” I think this newest offering from SCC is probably a great reinforcement of that very simple yet profound lesson.

  25. Your heart is beautiful. How glad I am to read this post this morning and so grateful to you for writing it.

  26. Thank you, Sophie. I love you.

  27. Thank you…

  28. I wasn’t going to put this comment up – but seeing the term “stinking hard” used in reference to life forced my hand – BTW I do love your heart Miz Sophie – and you bless us all in a big way – from Poochie Won Kenobe to SCC – you are da woman!
    Not the end – yet
    Linda Sue
    “Real courage embraces the twin realities of current difficulty and
    ultimate triumph. Yes, life stinks. But it won’t forever. As one of my
    friends likes to say, ‘Everything will work out in the end. If it’s not
    working out, it’s not the end.’ ”
    Max Lucado

  29. Thanks Sophie. It’s getting close to the 5 year anniversary of my sweet boy’s death and I needed more than a tissue reading that excerpt of Mr. Chapman’s CD cover. Of course I believe with my heart that he is in Jesus’ arms, but it is very uplifting to my spirit to read something so tangible about God’s promise for our little ones. Now to go wipe my face and get ready for the day!

  30. I cannot even see to type right now because of the tears. Such a loss and such a faith building story. I cannot even begin to imagine what SCC family has been through and still goes through. Thank you for this blog…I cannot wait to receive my CD!
    You have a huge heart shown through your words. Thank you!

  31. Psalm 30:5b

  32. To be honest, I think I would have done the same thing you did: opened it, set it aside, and come back to it days later.

    It’s sorta’ parallel to many things in life, isn’t it? When things don’t go well, we sometimes have to set it aside and come back to it to honestly work through it. : )

  33. Thank you for this post today. It was perfectly timed for me.

    I heard about the tragedy of SCC losing his daughter last year and couldn’t comprehend the pain he and his family must be feeling. This morning on the way to work, for the very 1st time, I found a Christian station on the radio and the 1st song they played was “Heaven is the Face” from SCC’s new CD. I have never listed to his music before, but God decided today I needed to hear this. I was in tears my whole drive because I could relate so much to the sentiments of the song. I got to work and had a few extra minutes, so I decided to check your blog only to find more about SCC and his beautiful CD. I can so relate to his story about “SEE.”

    I unexpectdly lost my brother and then my uncle this past month. When my brother passed, I was worried about whether or not he was truly in heaven. I am myself a new Christian and had not yet discussed with my brother his beliefs about God. I was feeling burdened with the guilt that I hadn’t told him about God’s love and didn’t know his heart. It was the first true regret I’ve had in my life and it weighed very heavy on me. I prayed that he was with God and asked God to give me some comfort over my worry. A week later, when cleaning out my brother’s apartment, I came across a piece of paper rolled up into a scroll with a ribbon on it. I unraveled it to find a hand-written statement from my brother declaring his belief in and love of the Lord. God had answered my prayers and lifted such a burden from my heart. I do not need to wonder or worry anymore because I KNOW that he is with God.

    God is truly good, even (or especially) during the difficult times. I know that to be true. Thank you for sharing your heart today.

  34. I know why you wrote the post. You wrote it for me. First of all, I felt the same way about the SCC CD and thought I was the only one. The rest of the post was God’s encouragement for me through your keyboard…thank you.

  35. These are some of my very favorite posts that you write. And it was all clearer than you can imagine! Love your heart, Sophie!

  36. You know that song “What do I know of Holy” by Addison Road? Specifically I mean these lyrics…

    “Then I caught a glimpse of who You might be. The slightest hint of You brought me down to my knees”

    I just got that glimpse.

    Chills….thanks for sharing.

  37. Thank you.

  38. Acts 4:36 (New International Version)

    36Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement),

    thanks for being our “Barnabus” today Boomama

  39. Beautiful! I know this CD was a labor of love with grief mixed in. And out of all his projects I think this by far is going to minister to others more so than any others, such an amazing story behind it!

  40. Lydia in MN says:

    I have been reading your blog for a while but have not commented before. I read your post this morning and felt the need to thank you for your beautiful words, not only in this post, but many others as well. You always seem to say the right thing at the right time, and you have truly touched my heart. Now, its time to go fix my makeup before my co-workers see me. They usually see me as rather “unemotional” so they would probably be slightly concerned!!

  41. I so love that whole family!
    God bless them and all who will be ministered to by this cd!
    God is good!

    Sweet post …BooMama!

  42. I needed that today. Our family is experiencing grief this week and this post was much needed. As a matter of fact I’ve never been over here but I am here today! Thanks!

  43. Thanks for opening, listening, reading, sharing good grief and posting.

    May God richly bless you Sophia!

  44. Amen sister. I too prefer the light and happy and will cross to the other side of the street to avoid the emotions and the heartache, only to find myself blessed beyond belief when I finally do get up enough courage to dive in to whatever it is. Thanks for sharing your experience with this CD and your insights. And thanks for the tissue break – I needed it! Looking forward to listening to the CD. Well, not really – but I know I’ll get a lot out of it! ;) Thanks!

  45. Believing IS seeing.

  46. thank YOU for sharing.
    it’s so nice to hear the reminder that life IS hard. and it’s ok to admit it.
    i look forward to hearing the CD :)

  47. I kind of have a robot heart (emotionless…a barren wasteland…)

    but I have children that I love deeply…and the drawing…OH…the drawing…it can even make a robot cry.

  48. My 28-year-old brother died a few weeks after Maria died. I remember watching the Chapman family on Larry King Live and feeling so blessed by their openness in their grief. So many people kept telling us that my brother was in a better place, but no one told us it was okay to be mad and confused and downright hurt. The Chapman’s showed their emotions with such grace and helped me to see that it’s okay to grieve. I will never forget that. I’m going to buy my mom this cd for Christmas.

  49. Thank you for choosing to share all of yourself in your blog — I appreciate the fun stuff, but really find it meaningful to see more of the picture.

  50. Destiny D says:

    Boo: I think you needed to write this post because WE needed to hear it… Thank you! Destiny D.

  51. great post.

  52. I am so glad you wrote this post, and it was perfectly clear and coherent and full of heart, and I needed it today as a reminder of the faithfulness of God regarding a family situation.
    I’m headed to get that CD too.
    Thanks for your words.

  53. While we ALL love your wit and lightheartedness (if that wasn’t a word before, it is now), we also ALL love this side of you. People ask me how I know that the bloggers I adore are ‘for real’. I may just have to refer them to this post. Thank you.

  54. So eloquent. I haven’t listened to SCC’s new CD for this very reason. So heartbreaking. I’ll have to pick it up and keep your thoughts in mind….

  55. Thank you!

  56. I saw him and his sons in concert at the Biltmore Hotel just 3 months after Marie’s homegoing. It was only their 3rd or 4th concert I believe. It was heartbreaking and encouraging all at the same time. I will definitely be buying this on ITunes. :) Great post. :)

  57. I felt the same way about going to see him at Women of Faith. Yet, I had to…and I came away with an eternal perspective that I could not before grasp. I love that SCC is indeed living in this day in light of that day.

    By the way, I’m looking forward to some goodly amount of time with you in that place. Really, I am.

    You, sweet one, are a treasure and an encourager…and a blessing.

  58. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. What a beautiful and heartfelt post.

  59. Given the choice between laughing at “bump-its” and hair products and this post, I’ll choose this one. Life IS hard, and God IS good. And the two are not mutually exclusive; as a matter of fact, they are quite complimentary. I was listening to 104.7 The Fish this morning, and Kevin and Taylor aired an interview with SCC as they were promoting the Facebook live chat. A man called in who had lost his 4 year old son. Made me cry, but I am SO glad that God gave us each other to hold on to. Thanks, BooMama, for providing both a shoulder and a light for those who need it. I love me a good tip on hair products, but I love this post even more than that..

  60. Your right – life is stinkin hard.
    So happy to know we have other believers who allow us to SEE what we needed to see out of your post.
    Thank you

  61. I got the link to the Rhapsody stream last week off Jim Houser’s blog (Housemix), and like you, I trembled a little before I listened to it.

    But once I did, I sobbed at the glory of God in the brokenness of this sweet family. So raw, so honest, so mature. They REFUSE to stop believing God.

    Beauty will rise. It’s a proclamation of truth as much as a promise.

  62. I had the opportunity to see SCC in concert a couple of weeks ago, and the very cool part was that he brought his sons to be in his band. (They are just adorable, I must add.) It is obvious that their pain is still raw but that they are determined to lift the name of Jesus even through their grief. He played a couple of songs from this new CD–WOW! It was an amazing evening and I was so grateful to be a part of it.

  63. Not sure I’ve ever left a comment on you website before, but I’m a big fan (we have the same dry sense of humor). Thanks for posting that today. You see, my husband and I lost our 11-year-old son in a sudden accident in mid-July. Knowing someone else has been there is a comfort in grieving. I must buy the SCC CD! Thanks for your posts. Keep up the good work!

  64. Went to “Women of Faith” in Oklahoma City this weekend and SCC and his sons played and sang there. The testimony SCC gave was so heartfelt and so powerful. The pain is apparent, but so is the HOPE. I was blessed by them.

  65. By the middle of the post I was tearing up, and by the end, after you shared his comments about the song “SEE” I was gasping for breath and trying not to absolutely bawl (I have a sleeping two-year-old nearby). I have never lost a child. (I accidentally wrote “chile”…the unexpectedness of it made me giggle…is that bad?) I am scared of that particular scenario, yet pray all the time that God will protect me from my own fears even more than He protects my family from harm. I struggle with being a mom right now…but hearing the stories of parents who have lost their children is so heart-breaking and perspective shifting. It is amazing that someone (like SCC and others that I know of) can allow God to use them to continue to minister to others as they grieve. What a God we serve. He is so strong when we are so weak. Which is all the time. Thank you so much for sharing this…

  66. Thank you so much for this post. I happened to read it as the Facebook chat is happening and I am so glad to be able to watch and let it touch my heart tonight.

  67. Thank you for this post, Sophie. I lost my Dad last week, and even though I know I will see him again, my heart is broken. How great to be reminded of how much he loves us.

  68. Tonight (on the FB chat) was the first time I heard the line in “SEE” about “your brother being able to SEE that it’s okay.” My word, I cried so loud I was certain you could hear me.

  69. oh my that did make me sob
    but I am going to be saying to myself all day
    see that God loves me
    see that God never leaves me
    See that God has this situation with connor in the palm of His hand!
    See God ….
    I love that – thank you!!!

  70. I saw him tell this story on Larry King or some morning show and I just bawled like a big ole baby. What a beautiful family.

    Thanks for this post Sophie. I can’t wait to hear the music.

    Love ya!

  71. Sophie, the Lord has given you the gift of words, and being able to put those words together to touch others.

    He has used your words many times to encourage me, remind me that I’m not alone in my crazy thoughts, and laugh. Thank you for using that gift to honor Him, in every way.

    “Life is hard, and as we get older, our losses increase.” They may not seem like comforting words, but a lady at a retreat shared them, and as I was going through loss at the time, they did comfort me. That is the reality of life. Our blessings outweigh that reality when we know the Savior and He walks with us through each one, and carries us so beautifully.


  72. Amy Beward says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this. Yes, it brought tears to my eyes, but it was all good. I really needed to hear this. Again, thank you.

  73. Hi, I am new to your blog, but I am so glad that I found it. I am going to get this CD. I lost my dad in 2008 and in March of this year my older brother took his own life. I am hoping that this will help to deal with some of the grief that still hangs on. Thank you so much for writing about this.

  74. I have hesitated with this album for the very same reasons. Now, I can’t wait. I’m headed to Rhapsody now. Thanks BooMama.

  75. I’m glad you wrote the post girlfriend. Thank you.

    That’s a word worth pondering…


  76. I love your heart Sophie! Beautiful post! Thank you! Life is tough! Going to listen right now… after I grab some tissue!

  77. So I just read Shaun Grove’s post from today. And noticed the little link from the word “seeing.” And here I am reading your blog for the first time. Not too many guys around here, it appears, but that’s okay…I grew up with all sisters :)

    This is a beautiful post. And it’s sincerity and caring reveal a beautiful person behind it. Keep up the great writing!

  78. Oh. My. Word. I’m a few days behind in my reader so I’m just now getting to this. I just wanted to thank you for sharing this. I probably would have never heard the story behind the song and it just gives me so much encouragement!

  79. Thanks so much Sophie… I’m scared of this album, too. Absolutely not ready. But I know I will be eventually… I read this post of yours a couple days ago and that day (or the day after?) heard “Heaven is the Face” on the radio for the first time when I was driving my 3 kids and 3 friends home from school. Glad for the red lights b/c it was hard to contain myself so I could drive safely. It just hit me so hard what PRECIOUS, PRECIOUS cargo I was transporting in my minivan, oblivious as they all were to my tears. It still makes me cry. I write songs too and mine always come out of what God is teaching me, what I’m going through, etc. I so admire his willingness to share all of their pain and hope with the world. So thanks for the encouragement… One of these days I’ll know it’s time to listen. (And I’ll think of you when I do!) : )