What is it about chocolate that keeps us coming back for more?
For me, it’s the creamy texture, the silky richness, especially of dark chocolate, that coats my mouth and lifts my spirits.
I’ve never understood those who claim they don’t like chocolate. Such was the case for my childhood friend. At every birthday party, she refused my favorite—chocolate ice cream. Her disdain for such a classic confection was as foreign to me as the planet Pluto.
Certainly, my love affair with chocolate has firm roots in my childhood. Yes, chocolate ice cream at every birthday party, but even more so, candy at every Christmas. Chocolate was the ambrosia that sweetened the holidays and one of my most treasured memories. Like clockwork, Daddy would tote home a 5-pound white box of Brach’s chocolates. Since the mixed array didn’t come with a label identifying the selections, our family would spend the rest of the season seeing who could be the sneakiest candy detective. It wasn’t long, however, until we guessed whose marks were being left behind. The thumbprint slightly pushed into the bottom revealing the gooey innards was Daddy’s. The pin prick was mine. Of course, everyone knew the caramel by the square shape. They were always the first to go. By the way, my chocolate-loving heritage lives on as I married a man with a keen taste for dark chocolate and Turtles.
I suppose one can spiritualize anything she wants, but I can’t help but believe chocolate is one of those sweet, rich gifts that can point us to God, the One who delights in giving His children sweet surprises.
So it was for me in 2005 and the years immediately following. After 20 years of home schooling, my last daughter graduated and set off for a two month mission trip to Thailand to verify her calling. In the midst of releasing our oldest to fulltime mission work in India, a full writing/speaking schedule, aging parents, a new business venture, and the onset of menopause, my two older daughters married, within three months of each other. Only a short time later, my mother died, leaving a sick and grieving husband, my precious father, in her wake.
I entered 2006 grieving the empty nest, my mom, and the weight of the business. In short, I was totally spent. Wrung out. I thought my greatest contribution was over with the home schooling, and while the Lord had given me a good plan for the future, I was too tired to embrace it.
But God, in His rich mercy and grace, did not leave me to dwell in my grief too long. By the end of 2006, He presented this “Naomi” with two grandbaby girls, my sweet chocolate that I’ve savored, along with five other grandchildren since then. In those precious gifts, God has shown me that we don’t always know—indeed we seldom know—what flavors life’s box of chocolates will hold. But we can trust our Maker to give us His good and sweet gifts to enrich our lives and bring us joy.