Sometimes, life is less than sweet; sometimes, it down right bitter. Bad things happen to good people. Bad things happen to bad people. Bad things happen. Sometimes, horrible things happen and we wonder how can this be if we have a Creator who loves us? Have we done something to anger God? How can we possibly have a relationship with Someone who seems absent during the times when we need Him most?
These questions plague us all at one time or another. Perhaps you are questioning God right now because of things going on with your life. I know I am. I have spent the better part of this year questioning Him. I'm not worried that God can't take it; He's much bigger than anything we can throw at Him. Believe me, He can take it. But what do you in the meantime - when you're trying to figure it all out?
Karen Scalf Linamen addresses these questions in her book The Chocolate Diaries: Secrets for a Sweeter Journey on the Rocky Road of Life. Don't let the title fool you - this is anything but spiritual chick-lit filled with regurgitated pablum. Instead, Linamen equates life as a messy recipe with paradoxical ingredients. Her prescription for all that ails is chocolate. Of course, after reading a few pages, one realizes that Linamen is using chocolate as a tongue-in-cheek metaphor for fixing the bigger problems in life. (She does however, offer scientific proof that chocolate is good for us. Good to know since most of partake in it on at least a weekly basis!)
Linamen tackles a list of bitter sweet recipes that plague many women today. She offers solutions without being syrupy sweet or brow-beating. Intermingled between chapters are poignant discussion questions and chocolatey recipes. The chocolate theme used throughout the book is meant to bring common ground to women who are tackling tough situations in their lives.
The book offers up plenty of scripture on which the reader can study on her own time. Linamen does not attempt to regurgitate scripture which is something that most readers can really appreciate. After all, Scripture is meant to be digested on an individual basis, not consumed second-handed.
If you are looking for a small-group Bible study or just a personal Bible study, I would suggest The Chocolate Diaries. Don't let the chocolatey exterior fool you; there are some great nuggets of wisdom in Linamen's book.