Award-winning Christian artist Steven Curtis Chapman recently gathered with family and friends to remember the daughter he lost eight years ago in a terrible accident.
"We remember the little girl who's eyes disappeared when she smiled and who has changed our lives forever," Chapman posted on Facebook.
Eight years ago, 5-year-old Maria died as a result of a tragic accident. She was accidentally hit in the Chapmans' driveway after she ran into the path of an SUV driven by Chapman's son, Will Franklin.
Maria was one of three daughters Chapman and his wife, Mary Beth, adopted from China.
"We remember the pain and sadness of losing her (not that we ever forget), and most importantly we remember the Hope that we have in the promises of God that the story isn't over yet...the Hope that has kept us breathing and moving forward these past 8 years," Chapman wrote.
Every year, the Chapmans gather in honor of Maria. This year, Chapman shared on Facebook that they read the story of Lazarus in the book of John, chapter 11, and that he finds great comfort in that passage.
"As we read there was a phrase that I hadn't really noticed before," he wrote. "When Jesus saw Lazarus sister Mary weeping, John says he was deeply moved in his spirit and 'greatly troubled.'"
"Then it goes on to paint a picture of Jesus that has been a great comfort and encouragement to me these last several years...the picture of Jesus standing with a grieving family at the grave of a friend with tears running down his cheeks...Jesus is weeping," he continued.
"The thought that Jesus was and is deeply moved and greatly troubled at our sorrow and sadness, even when he knows, in this case, that he is getting ready to raise Lazarus from the dead and turn this funeral into a wild celebration, is something incredibly comforting to me," Chapman wrote.
Chapman continued by writing that the passage also serves as an important reminder about the empathy of Jesus:
"He doesn't leave us alone in our grief and our sadness...he weeps with those who weep. My family and I needed to be reminded of that this past Saturday...maybe you need to be reminded too," he shared.
He then expressed the need to remember the next part of Lazarus' story -- how Jesus raised him from the dead.
"He walked to the grave where Lazarus was buried and proceeded to show that he has the last word over death!" Chapman wrote. "He raised Lazarus from the dead...and turned their mourning into dancing!"
And so this man of God and his family and friends continue on their journey and look forward to the day when they will be reunited with Maria.
"So the Chapmans begin our 9th year of moving forward to that great day when Jesus will wipe every tear from our eyes...and I'll get to dance again with my Cinderella," Chapman shared.