“Even in this free fall of pain, I’ve landed on a solid foundation and my faith has held…on most days. I have learned that God is good…always. Hope is real. I have found—even in the awful pain of tears and grief so intense you think it will kill you—that my family and I can do hard. We’ll never get over our loss, but we’re getting through it. And so I have prayed that our journey through the shadows of loss might be of some help to those who have experienced similar pain…that our stewardship of this story would comfort many.
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 that I had 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.” (p.24-25)
“I’ve walked through the valley of death’s shadow
So deep and dark that I could barely breathe
I’ve had to let go of more than I could bear
And questioned everything that I believe
But still even here in this great darkness
A comfort and hope come breaking through
As I can say in life or death, God we belong to you.”
("Yours" verse added after Maria’s death. Words and music by Steven Curtis Chapman and Jonas Myrin)
“Endurance is not just the ability to bear a hard thing, but to turn it into glory.” (William Barclay)
“Shattered dreams are never random. They are always a piece in a larger puzzle, a chapter in a larger story. The Holy Spirit uses the pain of shattered dreams to help us discover our desire for God, to help us begin dreaming the highest dream. They are ordained opportunities for the Spirit to awaken, then to satisfy our highest dream.” (Larry Crabb)
“Love of God is pure when joy and suffering inspire an equal degree of gratitude.” (Simone Weil)
“A person who lives in faith must proceed on incomplete evidence, trusting in advance what will only make sense in reverse.” (Philip Yancey)
“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.” (Fredrick Buechner)
“Hope waits but does not sit. It strains with eager anticipation to see what may be coming on the horizon. Hope does not pacify; it does not make us docile and mediocre. Instead it draws us to greater risk and perseverance.” (Dan Allender)