Stephen Curtis Chapman's new album "Beauty Will Rise" will be released today. This album is composed of songs written in the aftermath of his precious daughter's death in the driveway of their home. Two months ago, Janet and I sat with our friends Marty and Jennifer Goetz and listened to amazing stories of the grace of God in the aftermath of that tragedy. Their daughter was a classmate of the Chapman's son. We wept as we listened. As I think back on that night, I realize I'll probably weep again as I listen to this album.
Here is the story of one song from Stephen himself:
One of the most affecting, affirming songs on the record is "SEE." In the hours after Maria left to be with Jesus, Steven fervently prayed for a sign that she was okay, pleading with God just to let him see. "I remember just saying, "We know it is true. We know she is with Jesus. She is safe in the arms of the God who made her. We know she is okay. We know it, but could we just see something?"" Steven recalls asking. "The next morning we went back to our house to get some clothes for the memorial service. We were not going to stay there and it was really hard to even go in the house because of the memories. We were walking through with friends who were holding on to us and we were going from room to room.
I walked into the kitchen and there is this little art table that Maria and Stevey Joy would sit at for hours. She loved crafts. She would cut out pictures. Scissors and glue were her favorite things. She would just cut and paste and draw for hours, and she often created cards for us. She would write the words she knew, "I love mom" and "I love dad" and then she would sign her name "Maria."
Everything was cleaned up at the table but there was one little piece of notebook paper lying on her side of the art table. It was a flower, a six-petal flower that was kind of her signature flower that she would draw all the time. Only one petal was colored in blue, and the rest of it was just the outline of the petals. It had a little stem and it had a little orange center of the flower and it had little leaves at the bottom of the stem. I had noticed something else kind of bleeding through the back of the paper where she had written something and I turned it over and it was a little butterfly and then she had written the letters S-E-E. She had never written that word before. All that she had ever written as far as we knew was "I love Mom," "I love Dad" and her name. Out of all the words that she could have written that day before the accident, she had written the word "see." I was already weeping uncontrollably and at that moment I just really, really believed that God gave us that sign and that was the gift that Maria left us to say "I know you are wanting to see something, but see I am okay and I am where you said. It is okay." That flower became so precious to us. It was my wife that looked at it and realized what we thought was an unfinished flower, was finished. Only one flower petal of the six was colored in. Then we realized we have six children there is only one that is colored in; there is one that is whole and the rest of us are still waiting for our color. It just became such a gift to us."