Remember last year when the daughter of Steven Curtis Chapman, Maria, was killed in a horrible accident on their family farm, when she was run over by a car driven by her older brother, Will? It’s been a year today. Mary Beth Chapman writes a poignant, transparent reflection that will be a help to any one in pain:
Never in a million years would I think I would be sitting here on May 21, 2009 writing to you, my faithful blog friends about this. Most of my words will seem empty today because I’m kind of in a surreal place in my heart as I try and express this Journey that the Chapman family has been on this past year! Here is what I FEEL as this day starts out. Sad beyond sad that she isn’t here, angry and mad that this had to happen, confused and bewildered that it had to involve Maria’s big brother that absolutely adored her, paralyzing fear that I won’t be able to pull through the pain and be able to completely let her go…because she wasn’t mine to begin with, and speechless to know how to grieve my baby girl who gave me soooo much laughter and joy and then turn around and hold tightly to the young man who is walking through this tragedy at 18 years old…Maria’s buddy, Will, (the bravest young man I know!), and at my darkest place, I wonder…..God, where are you and why in the world would you choose us to walk this out….It isn’t fair! And then, all of a sudden, I hear this other voice in my head that reminds me over and over again of not what I FEEL, but what I KNOW….It might on certain days be buried deep down in my heart and have a hard time computing to my brain, but here is what I know and what I choose to believe, over and over again….even when it is really just a bad day! I know God loves me and my family, I know God is sovereign and He knows what is best for us, I know He has our days numbered and makes NO mistakes, I know that He will bring beauty from ashes….He has too….that is what I cling to in order to make it through another 24 hours. Isaiah 53:3 kept going through my head the day of the accident…”that He was a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering” I said it over and over and over again. He is a Savior who took on the suffering for ALL of us. He knows what it is like to suffer! I love how the Message version of the bible states Psalms 30:5 “The nights of crying your eyes out give way to days of laughter.” I have to CHOOSE to believe this right now. I have cried so many tears mixed with sadness of missing Marian, to the joy of remembering her! I think when those tears get all mixed up together and fall, it has to water the dry places of our hearts and begin to slowly start healing us. If not, I would just wither up and die. I believe that God has not wasted a single bucket of tears that have been cried for this brave little girl who so wanted her brother to put her on the monkey bars that day, and the brave young man that has chosen to allow God to begin to heal him and use him for His glory! I can only begin to imagine the story and testimony that Will Franklin will have. But please, don’t stop praying for Him…As with any tragic situation, there are good days and not so good days. While we prayed for two miracles one year ago today….that Maria’s life would be spared and that Will’s life would be spared… God obviously knew He needed a spunky little stinker named Maria with Him, while He needed a very brave heroic young man to begin to tell the testimony of how Christ is ministering mercy and peace to him. There is no doubt in my mind that God will change lives through Will Franklin’s walk with Christ…so please, please, pray God’s protection over him that he would continue to allow God’s healing power to pour over him! I told someone yesterday that I feel as though I’m not just walking through a desert right now….I’m actually wondering through it with no clear path in front of me….It is a very desperate place to be, and on lots of days, I’m strong on the outside but a mess on the inside….but I must hold on to the very real fact that Jesus has gone to prepare a place for me….that where He is I will also be! That is very, very good news…because my Maria is there….in that BIG BIG House….with lots and lots of rooms and food! I will see her again, and I will be with her then,far longer than I have to be without her now! It stinks on this side of the vale and at times I’ve tied my knot on the end of my rope and I am just barley hanging on….but I’m hanging!
“Even the saddest things can become, once we have made peace with them, a source of wisdom and strength for the journey that still lies ahead.” Frederick Buechner
I’m pretty certain that I am still on the journey of making peace with the fact that this tragedy happened to our family…none the less I’m journeying on…Once I get that far I am trusting that the giver and taker of life will bestow the wisdom and strength needed to journey faithfully to the end of my time here on Earth, where I’ll hear and SEE Christ say….”Well done my good and faithful servant”…..and then I will run straight into the arms of that little curious george who I’m sure will be standing there in her monkey underwear and nothing else….but a big grin that makes it all OK!