24 CCM 24 CCM t CCM, we don’t often tell stories from a first person point of view. Objectivity and a broad perspective are things that can be valuable when discussing music, art and even ministry. But sometimes, things happen that go way beyond objectivity. They strike at the very core of our hearts as people… as parents… and as children. Two years ago, I held my breath with a kind of ragged disbelief as I watched Steven Curtis Chapman and his wife, Mary Beth do the unthinkable. They said goodbye to their daughter, Maria Chapman who went to heaven on May 21, 2008. She had turned five just eight days earlier. Having lost my own father in an accident in 2006, I knew the kind of pain that comes with unexpected tragedy… that gaping emptiness that had no right to ever show up; much less consume someone you love. But now, as a parent myself, I realize that I had only begun to glimpse what they must have felt having said goodbye to a child. And looking back over the past two years, I am continually amazed and in awe at the Chapmans’ grace, authenticity and total surrender of this tragedy to their heavenly father. When I got to sit down with Steven just a few days before a major production that they organized to honor the life of Maria and raise awareness to the plight of orphans around the world, I realized that my perception of their love for their daughter and for their God only scratched the surface. The Chapmans are as real as they come. Their joys and their pain are palpable. There is no pretense… no show that they’ve put on—now or ever. As Steven put it, “For a while… we were just trying to survive.” And they have. Today, the Chapmans are not only survivors; they are living examples of a God who holds his children together when we’ve forgotten where all of our parts are. On May 14, ShowHOPE, the organization that the Chapmans founded ten years ago to bring awareness and financial support for adoptions and the plight of orphans presented Cinderella… as only they could. The all-star cast and unparalleled performance grew out of an idea that began several years ago and, since Maria’s passing, grew into a magical plan of celebration and awareness. According to Steven, they wanted to “do something Left: Heather Headley (Fairy Godmother) and Alli Mauzey (Cinderella). “For a while… we were just trying to survive.” A