Character Friday – Mary Beth Chapman

I’m sure all of you know who her husband is. He’s won many Dove and Grammy awards, and his music has been inspiring Christians for over almost two decades. This is of course, Steven Curtis Chapman.

But do you know much about this influential man’s wife?


I didn’t, other than the fact that her maiden name was Chapman, (do you think she changed it when they got married?) and that she and Steven had adopted three little girls from China in addition to their three biological children, and that they had started a foundation to aid with adoptions.

The Chapman family was brought a lot closer to my heart after the tragic death of their youngest child, Maria. I wanted to know more about this incredible family.

So, when her autobiography “Choosing to SEE” came out, we bought it, and I devoured it in about 2 days.

Mary Beth suffered some hurts and rejections in her younger years, which remained with her for many years.
She also wanted to live a very scheduled life. To marry perhaps, an Accountant, who’d work consistent hours and who didn’t do crazy things.

Absolutely none of that came true.

Instead she married a bouncy, everything-will-work-out musician who travels all the time. God has a sense of humor, doesn’t He?

Mary Beth was very supportive of her husband in the early years of his career. Through her support, he is what he is today.
But, his success also stressed her out. After their third child was born, Mary Beth was diagnosed with clinical depression.

But even through her struggle with depression and the craziness of her husband’s job, Mary Beth clung to God and his promises.

When their oldest child Emily started to petition for her parents to adopt a little girl, they were hesitant. Especially Mary Beth.  She was afraid that she wouldn’t be able to handle another child, and that she wouldn’t be able to love her like she did the rest of her children.

But, after seeking the Lord, she submitted to it. Even though she still was ghastly afraid.

She continued to be plagued with fear up until the moment that Shaohannah Hope Chapman was placed in her arms.

In that instant, her fears were completely wiped away.
in that instant, she was healed from the wounds her adolescent years had left her.  In that moment, God spoke to her heart. Proclaiming his love. Here is an excerpt from the book describing what happened.

Steven had stepped back. he could see that something miraculous was unfolding. It was like i had walked out into the hall as one person, and was now holding this baby as a new person altogether. In that moment, it was like time stopped. it was like God was speaking to me directly. “Mary Beth, you thick headed woman, do you not understand now that this is the very way I see you? You are this orphan! I adopted you and you are Mine! I bought you for a price! Do you see how you love this baby? That’s just a faint reflection of how much I love you!”….I saw it, the second she was placed in my arms I would have fought to the death to protect her.  There was nothing about her that had earned my love, but I loved her powerfully, deeply, absolutely. Period.
    I got it.

– From the book “Choosing to SEE” by Mary Beth Chapman

God showed his unconditional love to Mary Beth in a very personal and beautiful way that day. She suddenly understood the Love she’d always known about in her head. She finally felt it in her heart.

So life continued on for the Chapmans. When adopting their second baby, Mary Beth had to snap into action and rush to China at a few hours notice in order to get Stevey Joy before China shut down all adoptions due to an epidemic.  That’s pretty impressive when you think about it.

And then, of course, you know about what happened to this precious family in May of 2008.

I cried harder than I ever have while reading a book as I took in their story.  God has really given them abundant grace as they walk through this all. The strength they’ve  shown has been simply incredible.  Mary Beth and Steven not only have had to make it through the grief of losing their five year-old daughter, but also to some how help their son Will Franklin wade through the pain of his involvement in the accident. And to help little Shaoey, who felt guilty for telling Maria to go get her brother.

It’s been about three and half years now, and they have not just sat at home and moaned about their miseries. Steven has put out two CDs, Mary Beth has written a book, they’ve gone on a family tour, Caleb and Will Franklin’s band has gone on tour, opening for Casting Crowns.  The Orphan Care Ministry they started, Show Hope, opened a HUGE orphanage/hospital in China for special needs orphans. It’s called “Maria’s Big House of Hope.”  Two of their children have gotten married, and their first grandchild is due this month!

Work on the hospital

Visiting orphans

(He loves her. Like, a lot.)

What I admire about Mary Beth is the fact that although she has had some struggles, she has always clung to Jesus.  And how she has always tried to be supportive of her husband.  How she and and her husband have wonderfully obeyed the command on James 1:27, and how, out of obedience, she was willing to face her fear of adoption, and through it a miracle was wrought in her own heart.


Chapman family from l to r:

Julia (Caleb’s wife), Caleb, Will Franklin, Steven, Stevey Joy, Mary Beth, Shaoey, Emily, Tanner (Emily’s husband), in front of Maria’s Big House of Hope.

Check out her blog at

 http://marybethchapman.com

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One thought on “Character Friday – Mary Beth Chapman

  1. When I was reading ‘The Well”, Mark Hall talked a lot about the Chapman’s and how they influenced him and his wife deciding to adopt from China, and caught my interest. I have Mary Beth’s book on my holds list at the library now 🙂

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