My blogging has, unfortunately, slipped to bi-weekly at best. I am going to work to improve that! But I have been wanting to share for a couple of weeks now about the Steven Curtis Chapman concert we attended here in Nashville at the end of February.
We got the tickets to the concert as a Christmas gift from Dave’s brother Matt and his wife Alisha. I have to be honest, when I first saw it was Steven Curtis Chapman at the Ryman, I had a flashback to my youth group days. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen him in concert once or twice before… all before I was 14 years old. Let’s just be honest—this guy has been making music for a while! And lots of his classics are from my middle-school years of rocking out to almost exclusively cheesy Christian music.
So even though I thought this concert was going to be fun, I honestly had somewhat low expectations. I thought… “Gosh, I haven’t really listened to this guy in like 10-15 years… I wonder if I’ll even know much of what he plays?” Ha! The show kicked off with “The Great Adventure,” which is reminiscent for me in so many ways. But the lyrics struck me again as we listened and I thought about our great adventure over the past two and a half years:
Come on, get ready, for the ride of your life
Gonna leave long-faced religion in a cloud of dust behind
And discover all the new horizons, just waiting to be explored
This is what we were created for
Saddle up your horses, we’ve got a trail to blaze
Through the wild blue yonder of God’s amazing grace
Let’s follow our Leader into the glorious unknown
This is a life like no other, whoa, this is the great adventure
We’ll travel on, over mountains so high
We’ll go through valleys below
Still through it all we’ll find that
This is the greatest journey
That the human heart will ever see
The love of God will take us far
Beyond our wildest dreams
Basically, this concert far exceeded my expectations for the evening. And it was more than just the music, although that was fun, particularly since we’re in Nashville, which is the hometown of so many of these fantastic musicians. But the best part was how Steven was so willing to share the Chapman family experiences with the crowd, which he seemed to consider his extended family for the evening.
This family has been on a rough ride themselves over the past six years. If you’re not familiar with their story, let me give a very brief overview. In 2000, the Chapman family began an adoption journey, and as a part of that, founded an organization now called Show Hope. This organization provides assistance and support for families who want to adopt but struggle with the tremendous financial burden of it. The Chapman family themselves adopted three girls from China in the years following.
But in 2008, tragedy struck when Maria, the youngest of their adopted children, was killed in an accident in their own driveway. (Read story here.) So even though he didn’t go into great detail at the concert, Steven did share a lot about how the past six years have been a difficult season for their family. He talked about how it was a struggle to even be moved to the point of being ready to adopt, and now they’ve had to wrestle through the loss and darkness that wouldn’t have been a part of their lives had they not adopted in the first place.
But he said he knows that even though the loss was great, the joy of adoption is greater. I can only imagine how he had to hash that out in such a deep way. So much of his life’s work now is empowering and enabling other people to adopt… something which had essentially become a source of pain for him. They had to make the intentional decision to keep Show Hope alive and going after Maria’s death. And ultimately, that decision has led to explosive growth for the organization, which has provided sizeable grants for more than 4,000 families to bring their children home for good.
Also cool… after Maria’s death, there was a tremendous outpouring of love and support from the Christian community—much of which was financial. So the Chapman family used that money to start “Maria’s Big House of Hope,” an orphanage which cares specifically for special needs children in China.
I was so encouraged by this event. I cannot fairly compare our struggle (of Dave looking for a job and the many unknowns of our future) to the loss of a child. But I know the principle is the same: we wouldn’t be in this difficult season if we hadn’t stepped out in faith and experienced the joy of our great adventure. And I am reminded again that this is part of the cost, part of the risk we took. So even though this season is difficult and seems dark at times, we’re going to “follow our Leader into the glorious unknown.”