Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Between Heaven & the Real World by Steven Curtis Chapman

When reading Between Heaven & the Real World by Steven Curtis Chapman a few  things become abundantly clear.
1.  He loves deeply whether it is his God, his family, or his music.
2. Chapman has a tendency to ramble when he isn't reined.
3. He believes he has been given a message to share and the gifts and space to convey that message.
I firmly believe all three of those points.

While Between Heaven & the Real World can ramble at times, this book overflows with the open, honest testimony of a man in his highest moments and most broken hours and the God who was faithfully walking with him every step of the way. The result, even in an advanced reader copy, was captivating.
The book itself has an easy, natural flow throughout its pages, hearkening to Chapman's gift at storytelling which comes out in full force. Despite being easy to read, this is by no means an easy read. Chapman openly talks about everything from childhood hurts and career uncertainties to challenges in adoption, health (mental and physical),and the death of a child. While some of these stories may not be unfamiliar to those familiar with Chapman as a musician or advocate, the frankness and faith with which he discusses his life and family opens up conversations that are often overlooked within the church.

For fans of Chapman's music there is plenty of background information shared throughout. Everything from his introduction to music, to the beginning of his career, to inspiration for some well known songs. Although I've been listening to Chapman since high school I was surprised to see what an up-and-down road he's traveled in his career and find his music more meaningful and accessible (to my surprise) seeing the story behind the song.

For those familiar with his work in advocacy and orphan care, a solid portion of the book covers his family life including the journey to bring home the three youngest Chapman girls and the process of grief and healing the Chapman's underwent as a family with  the sudden, tragic loss of Maria. I  don't cry often in books but this is definitely one to have the kleenex nearby as you read through Maria's incredible journey to becoming a Chapman, her sudden loss, and the honest grief, confusion, and eventually hope that came out of the family's vulnerability and faith centered grieving. 

This is not an easy book to classify. It runs the gambit of emotions, highs and lows, victories and successes, but always clearly and boldly points back to the faith and God that has carried Steven Curtis Chapman through it all.

5 out of 5 stars

To get your own copy check out http://stevencurtischapman.com/ or Amazon.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc."