What I'm reading...

My to-be-read (TBR) pile has grown bigger this past week as I received five new books in the mail! Okay, one came the week or so before, but still...I love getting books in the mail! Especially when they are unexpected and from my favorite authors. I'll compile a list of some of my recent reads and these upcoming new ones in the next day or so. Choosing to SeeAt the moment, I'm reading: Choosing to See by Mary Beth Chapman with Ellen Vaughn. This is a true-story, a faith journey of Mary Beth's life. For those of you who don't know, Mary Beth is the wife of singer/songwriter Steven Curtis Chapman (one of my favorite singers).

Choosing to See is published by Revell, so when I heard it was coming, I couldn't wait to read it. Perhaps there is something that compels us to know about and try to comprehend the tragedies that other people face, but I knew this story was one I needed to read. What I didn't expect was to discover how much Mary Beth and I have in common. I do not know Mary Beth (though I would love to meet her someday) but I feel like God wired us in similar ways. Perhaps it started with the fact that neither one of us changed our last name when we married. She was a Chapman and married a Chapman. I was a Smith and married a Smith. :) But the truth is, she admits that she struggles with seeing the glass half empty while Steven sees the same glass half full. He is Tigger, she is Eeyore. I see the glass half-empty too, while Randy sees the glass half full. I wouldn't peg Randy as Tigger - he's more like Christopher Robin, but sometimes I feel an awful lot like Eeyore. Substitute chocolate for honey and maybe there is a mix of Pooh in there somewhere too.

I'm in the middle of Choosing to See and have found myself laughing and crying and saying, "Yes! Me too!" One line I read on the way to church this morning gripped my heart with its truth. She said, "In the darkest, loneliest times in the middle of the night, I realized that Christ is truly all I have. I realized that everything else - everything - is fleeting."

I've had that fleeting feeling a lot lately. Memories that are filled with joy also depress me because they are memories now, and I want to go back and have the real thing. Childhood is so fleeting. Youth is fleeting. Health is fleeting. Life is fleeting. Only Jesus is the same, yesterday, today, and forever.

I visit my dad at the nursing home almost every week, and I often see a woman there who sits in a wheelchair holding a baby doll. Has she reverted to her childhood and thinks she is playing with dolls? Or is this a real child to her, perhaps a vain attempt to cling to a time in her mind when her children were still with her? There comes a time we have to let them go. Some women can do that with little effort, but for others...is that poor woman clinging to what has fled?

How many of us as women feel as Mary Beth does, struggling to be positive in a world that is constantly changing, where we have no control? We don't want to admit to the world or to ourselves sometimes that we are lonely or sad or afraid. I think women, especially as we reach middle age, struggle with these feelings more than we ever care to admit. I know I have, and I'm glad Mary Beth opened her heart through this book to give hope to women who share similar struggles. I'm looking forward to finishing Choosing to See, though I know I will shed many tears with her along the way.

If you get a chance, pick up a copy of the book. You will be blessed.


PersonalJill Eileen Smith