CCM artist Steven Curtis Chapman has opened up about the 2008 death of his 5-year-old daughter, Maria, and shared how God has revealed himself in "profound ways even through the valley of the shadow of death."
"It's what I call the ultimate unfixable - the loss of our daughter," the award-winning, multi-platinum-selling artist told Christian Today. "What I've found in telling my story is the places that I'd want to avoid at all costs, the places I would have scripted very differently in my life - which have actually been the places where I have actually encountered God in profound ways and the deepest ways."
On May 21, 2008, Maria Sue Chapman was accidentally hit by a car driven by Chapman's son, Will Franklin, after she ran into the driveway of their house as he was backing up his SUV. Maria, who was adopted from China, later died at a Nashville hospital.
Nearly a decade later, Chapman told CT that if he scripted out his own life, he would "undo" his daughter's death. However, the singer said God used all the brokenness and pain he's faced to bring him closer to Himself.
"What I would go back and undo in any way if I could was the loss of our daughter," he said. "But I have had to acknowledge and see how God has revealed himself and we've experienced such profound ways even through the valley of the shadow of death."
The "Cinderella" singer said that the "key" to dealing with pain is holding on to the promise that the story's not over yet.
"That's the thing that continues to give us hope to walk through it, not run from it and to keep pushing back at the darkness," he said. "We really believe if God's word is true, the story is very far from over and he is going to make all things new and work all these things together for our good and his glory. That day is coming and that's how we can keep showing up in a world full on unfixable things."
After Maria's accident, the Chapman family spoke publicly about their loss and the role that faith played in their healing, appearing on Good Morning America, Larry King Live, in People magazine, The 700 Club, and Huckabee.
"We have talked a lot," he told ABC News back in 2008. "And you will hear all of us talk about the process of grieving with hope. That's what has kept us breathing, kept us alive is that while we are grieving this process, there is a hope that we have that we're anchored to in the midst of just what sometimes seems unbearable," said Chapman.
Chapman has penned several songs about Maria, and he and his wife started a medical center in China - Maria's Big House of Hope - created in Maria's memory to help Chinese children with special needs.
The Kentucky native, who is the most-awarded artist in Christian music history, recently released his autobiography, titled Between Heaven and the Real World. In it, Chapman shares "intimate details of his personal journey, his family life, and stories behind his most beloved songs in a music career that spans an astonishing 30 years."
"Writing this book I've realized how important remembering is to our faith," he told CT. "I was a profound thing for me to go back and listen to my music, singing those songs from 25 years ago but singing them in light of what I had no clue of at the time I wrote the songs. It's not only still true, it's more true now, having walked through what we've walked through.
I've passed through even deeper valleys than I could have imagined at that time. Music is part of what kept me hopeful."