In the Christian community the name Steven Curtis Chapman is a familiar one. A popular musician in the contemporary genre, Steven is particularly known for his songwriting skills. His songs speak from the heart and resonate with his audience in powerful ways. If you’ve ever heard his song, Cinderella, you’ll know what I mean. If not, see it on YouTube before proceeding!
A staple on the concert circuit for many years, Chapman, along with his wife, Mary Beth, have become strong advocates for adoption. Initially urged to consider embracing a non-biological child by their then adolescent daughter Emily, they went on to adopt three girls from China and developed a passion for encouraging others to do the same, even creating an organization called Show Hope to provide financial support.
In the book Between Heaven and the Real World: My Story, Steven shares more of his personal journey. From his humble upbringing in Paducah, Kentucky, to his decision to pursue music as a career, to meeting Mary Beth and beginning a family, to the challenges they have faced as a couple, he holds nothing back. The reader walks with him through his mountaintop experiences, as well as through some of life’s deepest valleys. He admits a tendency to want to “fix” things; describes the challenges of married life; and pours out the anguish of losing a child.
Even if you weren’t a Steven Curtis Chapman fan in 2008, your heart couldn’t help but bleed for the family as news of the accident that killed his adopted daughter came to light. Nine years later, the hole left by five-year-old Maria Sue is still profound, and the family has found healing through their faith and purpose through charitable activities undertaken in her name.
I highly recommend Between Heaven and the Real World for fans of Steven Curtis, as well as for anyone interested in Christian memoir or autobiography. Though he would be the first to acknowledge he is far from perfect, the author’s story is incredibly inspiring and, ultimately, hopeful.
Other autobiographies I have enjoyed from our collection include:
Choosing to See: a Journey of Struggle and Hope by Mary Beth Chapman (e-book)
Grace Will Lead Me Home by Robin Givens
It’s All About Him: Finding the Love of My Life by Denise Jackson (wife of country musician Alan Jackson)
Against All Odds: My Story by Chuck Norris