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New Steven Curtis Chapman November 5, 2009

Posted by markgeil in Music.
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For a limited time (probably until 11/10), you can listen to the new album by Steven Curtis Chapman, in its entirety, for free. Click here.

“Beauty Will Rise” will speak in profound ways to anyone who has suffered loss. As most folks know, the Chapmans lost a daughter in a horrible accident at their home. Chapman is a songwriter, and songwriting remains part of his natural ability to reflect, remember, and grieve. This album is the result, and the fact that he is sharing these remarkably personal songs with the world is a testament to the legacy of his daughter Maria Sue.

The lyrics find Chapman at various stages of grief: sometimes questioning, sometimes longing, sometimes relatively peaceful. “For better or worse, it just had to come straight out of my gut,” Chapman said. “I cannot make it pretty. I cannot try to conform it to anything. It has just got to be whatever comes out. So I sort of put my fingers in my ears in a way that I have never done before as far as anybody speaking into the process.”

The raw honesty is at times gut-wrenching, as in the song Questions:

“Who are You, God? ‘Cause You are turning out to be so much different than I imagined. And where are You, God? ‘Cause I am finding life to be so much harder then I had planned.”

Ultimately, though, the album is about faith. Consider this story, and since I wouldn’t dare try to improve upon it, I quote it directly from Chapman’s site:

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.”

Make sure you listen to SEE, and gain a new appreciation for these words:

“It’s everything you said that it would be, and even better than you would believe. And I’m counting down the days until you’re here with me, And finally you’ll see.”

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