CCM artist Steven Curtis Chapman and his wife, Mary Beth, endured the unthinkable 15 years ago. Their daughter, Maria Sue Chapman, then just 5 years old, died in a tragic accident. The couple has been open about their journey of grief since the accident, and Chapman has said that life without Jesus “leads to hopelessness and utter darkness.”
“There’s humility in just knowing: God, you are God, and I am not,” Chapman said to Christian Headlines. “But even having walked through our own personal loss of our daughter and 15 years into that journey—that doesn’t go away, that doesn’t get easier. What do you do with that?”
Grieving With Hope: Steven Curtis Chapman Reflects on Daughter Maria, Gone Too Soon
On May 21, 2008, Maria Sue Chapman was playing outside and lost her life in a tragic accident. Mary Beth Chapman, in her book “Choosing to SEE,” tells more of the details of that awful day. The family had just celebrated the engagement of one of their older daughters, and they were planning for the graduation of one of their sons.
A family member was slowly driving on the family’s long driveway and didn’t see Maria rushing out to greet him. Maria was struck by the vehicle and died from her injuries.
Mary Beth’s raw, unfiltered account of that day (and the years before and after) depicted an imperfect, Christ-centered family that regularly practiced love and grace.
Chapman told Christian Headlines that he’s been able to say,
God, you are faithful. And you’re good. I don’t understand all of this. But I know the fact that we are on our own personal journey, 15 years into this journey, and we can see you working and redeeming and restoring us, even this side of heaven, believing and knowing that, ultimately, that healing is going to come when you do wipe every tear from our eyes, and all of these things that are so broken, are made whole again. But in the meantime, I’m gonna trust you, I’m gonna keep singing about your goodness and your faithfulness.
“Because I’ve experienced it, I’ve seen it, tasted [it],” Chapman said, “and [I’ve] seen that you are good, even with the hard and sadness and the ache and the longing that we live with. And I think that’s a simple message, but it’s just where I feel like God has put me.”
On X (formerly Twitter), Chapman shared old family photos, including of Maria Sue. He said, “God is with us…God is for us…God is faithful…God is good…still!”
The artist then quoted the now-late Pastor Tim Keller about grief: “Grieve with hope; wake up and be at peace; laugh in the face of death, and sing for joy at what’s coming. If Jesus Christ has you by the hand, you can sing.”
A day of “remembering” for our family…
God is with is…God is for us…God is faithful…God is good…STILL!
“Grieve with hope; wake up and be at peace; laugh in the face of death, and sing for joy at what’s coming. If Jesus Christ has you by the hand, you can sing.”
Tim Keller… pic.twitter.com/g9OMSBHZjG
— Steven Curtis Chapman (@StevenCurtis) May 22, 2023
Nearly 200,000 friends, family members, and fans interacted with the post, many remembering that terrible day. “We are forever changed by her beautiful life and the way in which your family has been honest about the grief and hope journey. She holds a piece of our hearts even as outsiders and I can’t wait to meet her when ‘everything sad comes untrue,'” one comment read.