A five-time GRAMMY Award winner and recipient of 58 Dove Awards, Christian singer-songwriter Steven Curtis Chapman recently took time out of his busy schedule to speak to Belmont students about his faith journey and the important lessons that have come from it. His discussion came just four days before a group of students will be traveling to China to serve at Maria’s Big House of Hope, a care center that Chapman started in memory of his adopted daughter Maria that offers medical attention to orphans with acute medical and special needs. The mission trip, held over the University’s spring break, is the 3rd one that has given students the opportunity to serve at Chapman’s organization.
Chapman began his discussion by reminiscing on the year he spent at Belmont as a student before his music career took off 30 years ago. He reflected on the lessons he learned from his experience in Nashville and from the people he met including Chair of Belmont’s Songwriting Department James Elliott, who played a pivotal role in helping Chapman achieve his first record deal.
“Some of the most incredible friendships and relationships that helped me to do the things I wanted to do began here,” Chapman said of Belmont.
The focus of his talk then centered on the idea of finding beauty and faith in broken and unfixable places. He discussed how his parents planned to have him in a last-ditch effort to save their broken marriage and how that shaped him into being a “fixer” for the rest of his life. With that mentality came the frustration of realizing that there were some situations that would prove to be “unfixable.” However, Chapman argued that it is in the midst of those seemingly hopeless situations that he found the strongest connection to his faith.
“It has been the most broken places, the most unfixable places, where I’ve experienced God in the most incredible ways,” said Chapman.
He brought up the fact that the majority of his songs have also come out of broken places, giving the example of a song about two of his adopted daughters, titled “Cinderella,” as a work that would never have existed if his daughters hadn’t been abandoned by their own parents and placed in his life. He also mentioned the song “I Will Be There,” often called his most beautiful, and how it was written about his parents’ temptation to divorce. Chapman argued that instead of asking God why there is brokenness in the world and cursing Him for letting bad things happen, we should be asking ourselves what it means to be alive in a broken world and how we should engage with it. There will always be tragedies in the world, but it is ultimately our choice when deciding how we will respond to them.
Chapman’s visit ended with him praying over the students who are about to embark to his organization overseas and with an acoustic rendition of his song “My Redeemer is Faithful and True,” which he co-wrote with Elliott.