flourless chocolate cake

What if God’s love was like flourless chocolate cake? Delicious, desirable, rich, full-bodied like good wine, and nearly too good to be true — so good that we often can’t finish the slice of cake. You want to keep eating it forever and ever because in those seconds when the chocolate reaches your taste buds, everything is right with the world.

The richness absorbs our taste buds and bodies and souls for the moments we savor it.

And it leaves us in awe. The glory of flourless chocolate cake is that it nearly forces us to slow down — to reflect on how good that one bite was and how enticing another bite will be. The richness causes us to slow and prepare ourselves for a second bite.

What if God’s love was like flourless chocolate cake?

How enticing that would be … what if God’s love is like flourless chocolate cake?

Rich and full-bodied love that absorbs our bodies, minds and souls to the point that we must pause and reflect on its goodness. To the point that we irrevocably desire another portion.  To the point that we desire nothing else. In that moment, the only thing we want is more cake, but we realize we are also filled.

Our desire for more is recognizant of the fact that we are already filled — the love has already absorbed us and will not reach a point in which there will not be enough love.

Here’s the ironic truth in this: the glory in savoring a slice — or even just a bite — of flourless chocolate cake doesn’t compare to the glory of enjoying the richness of God’s love.

Can you enjoy the richness of God’s love like we enjoy a slice of flourless chocolate cake?

Will you allow God to love you to the point in which you cannot desire anything else?

Absorption is the fact or state of being engrossed in something. To be absorbed isn’t simply a verb or an action, but it is a state of being. This is recognizant of how worship doesn’t end at church doors. God’s love doesn’t end at church doors either. Or sin or hurt or grief or joy or happiness.

To absorb is to take in or soak up and/or be captivated by something. Could God’s love be so good that it could engross our attention?

Like the flourless chocolate cake which makes it seem as though everything is right with the world for a moment, could God’s love be so good that it could engross our attention beyond earthly things? Beyond our hopes and dreams and material loves. Beyond our families and wives and husbands. Beyond our careers and lists of “50 things to do before I die.”

For something to be absorbed, it must be absorbable. I think of how porous wood is and its ability to soak in water versus a rock for instance. I think of how we allow ourselves to be absorbed in a slice of flourless chocolate cake allowing the world to melt away in the deliciousness. I think of how often we don’t allow ourselves the goodness of melting away in God’s love.

Are we porous to God’s love?

Do we believe if we open ourselves to God’s love that he will love us? That God will absorb us.

Could we, even just for tonight, sit back and enjoy a slice of rich, full-bodied, unending love? Could we allow ourselves to be absorbed?


sometimes i feel a bit crazy

It’s like running conversations through your head. You know, the ones where you wish you hadn’t said what you had said and now you can’t stop thinking about what you should have said. On the other side, I have friends who are good at not holding on to things. They somehow can think their way out. However, as much as I try, I’m a feeler. I think there should be an Al Anon type group for us.

“Hi, my name is Jenna and I’m a feeler. Sometimes, I feel a bit crazy.”

Perhaps that’s what group therapy is.

But here’s the thing. It’s normal. That’s what I wanted to walk over and tell that girl in the parking lot tonight. The one crying on the phone and asking her friend why she couldn't stop.

You’re not crazy. You’re just feeling your heart navigate life a bit. And that’s not such a bad thing.

At some point in culture, we decided that feelings weren’t good anymore, that they were a representation of being weak or for lack of better terms, a nut case. We even went as far to say that feelings were feminine in the worst kind of way, as if to say women nor feelings are rational.

Somehow we forget that the most courageous and righteous man this world has known was a feeler. Jesus had compassion — he felt the wounds of this world deeply and he loved his people. One of the most demonstrative verses of this is John 11:35. It simply says, “Jesus wept.”

We forget this. We put limits on ourselves. We set the timer to 30 minutes and expect to not feel after we hear the buzz. Little did I know that timers were magical. We should start using them for other things as well. Perhaps, the buzzer will go off and my research paper will have magically written itself in 10 minutes. If that seems ridiculous, perhaps it is ridiculous for us to think our feelings and the deep movements within our soul and hearts would work themselves out in a set time as well.

This isn’t to discount the value of letting go or asking God to release your heart and mind of a situation or specific emotion. However, it is a reminder that the deep things of our soul take time. Sometimes they are needed, necessary and good. Sometimes, we need to weep. Perhaps he could be teaching us something through it — perhaps, he is inviting us to love ourselves, feelings and all, in His presence.

What do you need to feel tonight?



patrick the pony

I couldn't resist.

We pulled over and as soon as Patrick realized we were there to see him, he galloped the distance between the back of his pen and where we stood. If he wasn't a puppy in another life, this pony was definitely a child model.

*Photos taken in Livermore yesterday.



Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea ...

It was off the path, easy to miss. I wasn't supposed to stop. But I must, I thought. I was on an adventure. The windows down, faint clouds and a summer breeze, I slowed off the exit pondering where this round about exit with a fantastical title may take me. 

It was the first time I had driven that far up the coast. The first time my eyes laid on the cold waters near San Luis Obispo and the first time I drove without time. That exit proved to stop time that day allowing space and retreat from the road, a busy world and earthly thoughts. Wonder opened to heaven.

Yesterday, we drove up the coast. The exit, an absolute must. Once again, I pulled off the path. My own place of heaven. This time to share and revel and of course, stop time. Even if for a few minutes in a chilly wind and heavy clouds, it will always be mine.

though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake ... Selah.


*Photos taken off the coast yesterday.


wonder lost is wonder gained

I lost the wonder. The excitement and the joy — it’s been replaced by an imposter, trader and artifice. Slowly seeping in, year after year, it worsened like a disease killing off the shiny glimmer of Christmas ornaments. My hope in Christmas dinner — a ham, potatoes and gravy — diminished as the china platters seemed less important. It was these, I thought, that made Christmas.

These shiny objects and dining room. These glittery presents tied with a bow. Most of all, these loving people who surround me. This so-called family of mine that I’ve been gifted. This is Christmas, a sense of home, a sense of space, a sense of importance and significance.

But like I said, someone’s done me in. The Grinch stole cheer from the one who wins “awards” for things like being a “half-glass full” type person. This is me we’re talking about.

My hope is gone. My anxiety is high. Christmas spirit is at an all-time low. With less than a week away, I find myself in a pit of despair, scared to think of what may come next week. You see, my hope in the glimmer of Christmas ornaments, presents, cheer and family have escaped into the world of reality. That beast — one-eyed, two-faced, monstrous beast — has risen breathing fire. My Christmas went up in flames. Harsh, but true in many ways.

Christmas is no longer perfect. It probably won’t be again.

So it’s hard. It’s stressful. It’s sad.

To think of Christmas day and not have joy immediately come to mind, but to be overwhelmed by anxiety. To think of staying at home and not have it sound peaceful. To not be excited about cooking Christmas dinner when cooking is one of my favorites. Clearly, something is wrong.

And there is. This world is not perfect. This world is sinful and hurtful and downright depressing sometimes. Especially when our own worlds and things of light, like Christmas, are lit up in disastrous fire rather than lovely little lights on a Christmas tree.

This week, my Christmas tree has looked rather Charlie Brownish. As have I. The pity party in my head was leading me to ignore the coming of Christmas day rather than realize how deathly scared I am of Christmas this year. How deathly scared I am of the death of Christmas.

For an optimistic person, pessimism or realistic anger and sadness does not sit well. But I decided to sit for a bit. It seems like I needed to pull up a chair and have a conversation with my Charlie Brown Christmas tree and see what was going on. So, I did.

And I realized it’s not about the family gatherings, nor the ornaments or Christmas sparkle. It’s not about finding hope in a Norman Rockwell family Christmas (although I’m very happy some have that experience) or the Christmases of our childhood. It’s about losing that Christmas wonder we had as a child for a new wonder.

Reality in adulthood is hard. We so badly want to hold onto our childhood nostalgia and wonder. And it’s healthy and good to do that. But sometimes, we can’t anymore. Sometimes, we have to let go. And this year, it’s time to let go.

But it’s bringing me to a new place of excitement.

You see, wonder lost is wonder gained. Wonder gained in Christ. Christmas will no longer rely on the perfect Christmas dinner or family cheer. It won’t rely on everyone getting along or everyone even being there. Because this world isn’t perfect, and realistically, this is the case for a lot of families.

This year, the pure joy of Christmas will come from Christ’s birth — the whole reason we have this whole “Christmas” wonder in the first place. We are going back to the root of joy, the true wonder, the true hope and true joy in Christ. We are going back to the first Christmas day.

And what a miracle it was. I look forward to the next few days resting in Christ, truly experiencing and exploring advent — a season of light!

And I look forward to waking up on Christmas morning, knowing and feeling that there is more than this world, more than what Christmases past have held for me — that I may wake up and know I am loved and have hope in a God that is greater than hope itself. That I live in the grace of a God that would offer his son so I may live. And that no matter what happens this Christmas, I am loved and Jesus is born.

How does this sit with you as you look to Christmas next week?

*Photo taken Christmas 2011.