I have some very sad news to report.
Ten days ago, Maria Sue Chapman, the youngest child of Mary Beth and Steven Curtis Chapman, was blowing out five candles on her birthday cake. Last night, Maria died in a tragic auto accident in Franklin, Tennessee. What makes this loss especially difficult is the fact that she was accidentally killed by an older brother driving one of the family vehicles in the Chapman’s driveway.
At the time, the entire family was home celebrating the recent engagement of their oldest daughter Emily as well as the high school graduation of son Caleb. In an instant, the festivities turned grim as Maria, her life hanging in the balance, was LifeFlighted to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. About 6:30 p.m. she died from her injuries.
I cannot fathom the pain this family must be dealing with over their loss. I’ve known Steven and Mary Beth for years. I know they love and cherish their children more than any of the success Steven has enjoyed as a musician. They’re also dear friends of Focus on the Family and special partners in our Hope for Orphans effort.
A number of years ago, Steven and Mary Beth co-founded Shaohannah’s Hope, a ministry designed to provide financial assistance to those who desire to adopt but lack the necessary funds. More than 1,700 families have been helped to date. Maria and sisters Shaohannah and Stevey Joy were adopted by the Chapman’s from China. In lieu of flowers or gifts, the Chapman family has asked for any gifts to be directed to Shaohannah’s Hope. If you’d like to “meet” Maria Sue Chapman and share your condolences with the family, the Chapman’s have arranged a special website in her honor.
Tragic events like this remind us how short and fragile life is. Why not hold your own children a little closer tonight. Savor the moment. Look them in the eye and let them know how much you love them. Pray over them. And, as you do, join me in praying for the peace of Jesus to sustain the Chapman family during this time of great sorrow.
Our children are precious gifts on loan to us from God.