Part of what was important about this book was I was going to get the chance to share that, even as part of my own healing and as part of the grief process. How you walk through that is with a lot of prayer and tears and my whole family sitting down reading it and saying, “Is that okay? Is that too much? Is that respectful? Does that honor you guys?” But then to just say, “Okay, I’m not going to talk about it anymore. It’s in the book, I shared it, I was able to do that and commit it to paper, so to speak, and now I’m going to really close that chapter publicly.” I will, again, forever [deal with this] privately and it won’t be that I’ll never dialogue about it, but this book is a chance for me to close that chapter publicly in a way.

CCM: So many of your songs you wrote long ago seem to have spoken directly to your family situation surrounding that tragedy. I think of “His Strength Is Perfect,” “My Redeemer Is Faithful And True,” “Not Home Yet,” “God Is God,” “With Hope,” “Sometimes He Comes In The Clouds” and even “Next Five Minutes.” Looking back, do you feel your songwriting was preparing you for what was to come, or was it simply a coincidence of subject matter?
No question. I don’t think there’s any question in my mind that God in His sovereign, great, loving, tender wisdom gave me these songs in many ways to help me survive the darkest moments of my journey. To be able to sing to my own heart, “God is God and I am not. I can only see a part of the picture He’s painting,” or to be able to sing, “My redeemer is faithful and true” [and remember] He’s gonna carry us through this.” To have all of those ones that you mentioned, and almost every song I can see a thread tethered to where I can hold on to this hope. God gave me this before, in some ways, before I even needed it at the depth that I was going to need it. So, no question and no coincidence about that at all. And I’ve many, many times gone, “Thank you that You gave me that before.” I mean, I needed it at the time, I wrote it from a sincere place, but just as only God could do, I had no idea how much I was going to need it.

CCM: How much discussion was there between you and your wife Mary Beth about being so vulnerable surrounding your marriage struggles? Were you ever concerned it would be sharing too much?
I really wanted to be committed to honesty and it came with encouragement from Mary Beth and even my kids. I remember Caleb, my son, particularly saying, “Dad, if you’re going to do this, I know you’re going to do it in a way that’s going to honor mom and our family, but be honest. Share the journey with people so they can really know what it’s been like and where those songs come from. I think it will make it even more impactful for people.”

Steven Curtis Chapman, CCM Magazine - image

photo: Jeremy Cowart

Mary Beth and I are very honest. She wrote a book ahead of me, and in some ways, I couldn’t have written this book, certainly not in the way I did, without her having blazed the trail with her own honesty. Some of the details and some of the things she had already shared from her perspective in her book, Choosing To SEE. And so, I felt like, in some ways, she had set the tone for that… Alongside the honesty, the ultimate goal was to honor. It was those two “H’s.”


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