Saturday, May 24, 2008

Something about Maria...

There must have been something about Maria...the way God spoke to her earthly father the first time he looked in her eyes. I'm guessing that he knew she was meant to be his daughter. There was something about her sweet, impish character that made her the crowning jewel on a family full of joy, hope and love. All you have to do is look at a few family photos to know that this is a family that loves deeply. And now there's something about Maria that draws us in and cuts our hearts deeply. Her death has captured our thoughts and consumed our emotions. I know that I have thought of little else since my phone rang with the news early Thursday morning.

Why is it that so many of us feel the pain of the Chapman family so deeply? I believe one reason must be that, despite celebrity, they are real...identifiable...accessible. They share so much of their lives with the world...mostly for the purpose of furthering the Kingdom. And then there's the connection many of us feel to this man, his music, his family and his ministry. If you know anything about me, you most likely know that God used this man's music to change my define so many things. And I'm not alone. Thousands of people have been touched by his words and his actions. He has spoken about the miracle of adoption...and when you have experienced that miracle, you are profoundly changed...and connected to those who have experienced the same.

It has taken me a few days to be able to write about wouldn't have been news to any who read my blog. I didn't really have the words to express my emotions. I just felt crushed...then numb...and deeply sad. I am human enough to admit that I did ask God why. We will not fully know in this life. But He has been speaking gently...He does not allow any pain on this earth that does not have purpose for His kingdom. Maria's life had purpose, and her death will have purpose, too. Maria's death was no surprise to our Father. Quite possibly, He allowed this because of the strong faith of this family.

Here are some things you might not know about Maria. I heard SCC on the radio a few years ago...a story I haven't actually heard more than a couple of times. You always hear about how their oldest daughter prayed that they would adopt an orphan from China. You don't usually hear their story about Maria. SCC met her and her foster family on a solo trip to China. He was caught off guard when they told him that her name was Maria. As he traveled back home, he felt God's reminder of the lyrics to a song by the same name that he wrote many years before. The chorus says it all...

"Who's gonna love Maria?
Who's gonna touch her with the tenderness she longs for?
Like a desert longs for rain..
She's got a hunger deep inside
And with every tear she cries,
She wonders if there's someone out there somewhere
Who's gonna love Maria."

Although the Chapmans already had five children, by the time he got home, as the story goes, MaryBeth was already receptive to bringing Maria into their family. Here's the greatest part of this story. In adopting from China, the only way you are able to request a specific child is if that child is a "special needs" child. Maria had a heart defect that needed corrective surgery. Because of that defect, the Chapmans were able to request to adopt Maria. And when they got her home and took her to a heart specialist, the doctor could not detect any defect. To my knowledge, she never had surgery.

Maria was just a bit younger than her adopted sister, Stevey Joy. They were more often than not dressed alike and slept in the same room. They were inseparable. These two little girls were the story behind SCC's recent release, "Cinderella". He wrote it in one night, after the escapades of these two girls at bath time. "I was trying to give my little girls a bath and rushing and hurrying through it. And I got convicted over how much I rush through moments trying to get to the next one, and God telling me to stop and take the moments as he gives then, and see what he's trying to teach me."

The video is followed by his story behind the song...

be sure to pause the player at the bottom of this page...

I have listened to SCC's albums until I have literally worn a couple out. Over the years, I have realized that, on different days and at different times, God speaks to me through various lyrics. I like lots of other Christian artists and have been moved by their music, but there's something that speaks directly to me in SCC's music. The lyrics from so many of his songs have been ringing in my head for days. I believe that God was preparing hearts for this long before now. God has put on my heart that when we say with true abandon that we are prepared to follow Him, no matter where it leads us, we must be prepared for both the joy and the sorrow.

I ask and know that you will be praying for their family. But I also want to share that this has reminded me that God allows what He can use for His good purpose, and He will, even with this. And it reminds me further that I have no guarantees of even another day with my family. It brings new meaning to the title of this blog...

If God hadn't planted the seed of ministry in my heart all those years ago, I might never have turned my radio to a Christian station. I might never have enjoyed those moments in my car, belting out the words to "The Great Adventure". I might never have gone to a concert to enjoy some music I really liked. I might never have heard God speak to my soul that night. I might not understand the world and its aching needs in the ways I do, although I still have much to learn. I might not be compelled to look for ways to live my life in a larger, more purposeful way, although I still have much to do. I might not have been blessed with the privilege of traveling halfway around the world and becoming family with perfect strangers in a hot crowded room on "Gotcha Day". I might not know the joy and blessing in receiving love from a child borne of another woman. I might not have experienced the greatest adventure my heart has ever known.

And I might not have had the privilege and blessing

of knowing and mourning Maria Sue Chunxi Chapman.

The majority of these photos are posted on the blogs of
I am grateful to both of them for sharing Maria with us.


Glenna said...

Thanks for posting the blog about Maria....she was a blessed little child and I'm sure she has taken her place in Heaven now. I love you, Cindy......Glenna

C.C. said...

Thanks for sharing the story of how Maria came home.

I, like you, have been so deeply affected by this precious little girl's death. Tears flow as I write. I truly can't imagine how the Chapmans are getting through this.

Kristi said...

Yes, there was something about Maria, something about the Christian China adoptive community, something about the Chapman family. Though I've never met them, I too feel that we have lost "one of our own."

You expressed your thoughts so beautifully! What you may not have realized is that you put words to what many, many more of us are feeling!

Wish I could give you, your kids, and your China princess a hug today!


Allison said...

Beautiful post, Cindy.

cristie said...

Thank you for stopping in our blog recently. I was prompted to go check out both your travel blog and this family blog. First, your daughter is just beautiful as is the rest of your bustling family! Are we not blessed to be chosen to parent some of the most precious jewels of his Kingdom!? WOW!
Secondly, I loved your journaling about Maria. I did not know how she came home. What a beautiful story! Like many, the Lord used the Chapman family intimately in showing us that we too had a daughter half way around the world. It was through Shoahannah's eyes that I began dreaming and seeing visions of our Maliah. And like you, at the news of Maria's tragic death, my head could not process the grief and the reason why the Lord could take such a jewel! I have come to see over the past few weeks how the Lord is using his angel to speak to many.... to save the lives of many! Recently, a family called AWAA after the news of Maria. Having struggled with the worries of adopting before, the legacy of Maria prompted them to move forward. One more beautiful child coming HOME!
As for associate stuff with AWAA. I'd love to visit with you some time about that! I LOVE what I get to do and am so passionate about it! I noticed on your travel blog that you have a quote from Tom Davis. LOVE HIM! You will be excited to know then that I have booked him for an Orphans Ticket Home Gala that I am organizing and putting together to benefit AWAA and their four initiatives here in San Antonio. He is my keynote speaker of the night .. November 21st! It is going to be so awesome! Anyways, if you ever get the opportunity and feel called .. it is so fun and the blessings are ten fold in getting to share the spirit of adoption with families and encourage and meet with families on the road of adoption. It is just one way I can continue to be an ambassador for Orphans! O.K. so I am taking lots of your room! Will chat again soon.
Better Run!
Cristie Martine