I just finished reading Steven Curtis Chapman’s autobiography, BETWEEN HEAVEN AND THE REAL WORLD: MY STORY and I have to say that all I read about his life is totally consistent with what I’ve known of him as a musician from the first time I fell in love with the song, “The Great Adventure,” as a teen. Chapman is a man of God who has led his family through the highest of highs and the lowest of lows with a loyal and inspiring faithfulness to God’s call on his life. Consequently thousands of orphaned children in need in China, Haiti, and elsewhere have been rescued. On top of that, his words have inspired and encouraged listeners for years in mighty ways that cannot be forgotten.
I’ve highlighted a few of his songs that continue to play a huge role in my life below:
I believe it was 1998 when I was washing dishes one afternoon. Angela, my girlfriend, at the time was working. I had been on leave from college while receiving radiation treatments and recovering from multiple surgeries related to a ruptured pineal gland at the top of my brain stem, VP shunt installation, and brain surgery to remove the tumor. My chosen soundtrack that afternoon was a greatest hits collection of Steven Curtis Chapman songs. “I Will Be Here” played and, in that moment and context, it broke me down because, while I could recognize how special Angela was to me, I really didn’t know how much longer I would be there for her. Thank God, I’ve been blessed, so far, to still be with her twenty years later. “I Will Be Here,” served as our first dance at our wedding reception and continues to serve as a reminder of God’s faithfulness and grace in our lives.
Our daughter, Julia Grace, named so because she is an undeserved gift from God, for sure, has long been a source of inspiration toward something better and more true in my life. It was my new role as her father that prompted me to look back to God after years of running away from him in college early post-college years. She remains one of the dearest people in my life. When I heard Chapman’s song “Cinderella,” for the first time it instantly became our daddy-daughter song and I know I’ll be dancing to it with her at her wedding reception someday.
In the wake of the passing of my Dad, after serving as his caretaker over the final sixteen months of his decline from brain cancer, Chapman’s album THE GLORIOUS UNFOLDING became the single most powerful album in my life. With so many songs articulating so well the grief, struggle, and hope I was experiencing after my Dad, my best man and best friend, died, the album quickly grew deep roots into my soul that I don’t think will ever loosen. Knowing of the tragedies that the Chapman family has walked through, it is no wonder, to me, that THE GLORIOUS UNFOLDING features the substance, significance, and integrity that it does, now, several years after it was released. I’ve given away several copies of this album to friends experiencing heavy life challenges and it remains in high rotation in my daily mix.
Chapman’s latest single, “Remember To Remember,” is a strong testament to his family’s struggles and victories. Their journey through the valleys and on the mountain tops, and everywhere in between. Consequently, it is currently digging its own roots through my ears and into my heart. Remembering who we are in God — what he’s brought us through — is so important. We can use our experience witnessing God’s grace in our lives already lived to extend confidence in faith of what is yet to come.