Hello. My name is Laura, and I’m a chocoholic.

Pathetic, but true! I have been this way for as long as I can remember, and for the safety of my family and friends, it’s best not to take my chocolate away from me. Ever.

The longest period of time I have gone “cold turkey” and chocolate-free was the week leading up to my wedding. That’s nearly a quarter of a century ago (yikes) but I remember it clearly. Funny how I can’t remember what happened last week, but the feeling of chocolate depravation 24 years ago still cuts like a knife!

I think my reasoning, as a nineteen year-old bride-to-be, was to cover all my bases in preparation for the big day. I recall pre-wedding nightmares where I forgot to put on shoes and didn’t notice until halfway down the aisle, totally overslept the whole day, and worst of all- woke up with a zit. Spot/ blemish/ pimple call it what you might, but it was NOT going to happen. Not on my watch.

Therefore, I implemented a “no chocolate” rule for an entire week before my wedding. The things we do for love! Okay, it was totally for vanity. In hindsight, this probably was not my best plan ever, as the typical pre-wedding jitters, literal thunderstorms, and last-minute stresses really did call for a chocolate fix or two. But I persevered, and was rewarded with a crystal clear complexion for my wedding day. Lovely.

It truly was a perfect day full of love, laughter, friends, family and my brand new handsome husband, I lasted until about midnight at our hotel, and then my resolve disintegrated. Thankfully, I have the BEST and most understanding husband in the world, who made the call downstairs to reception.

“Hello, yes this the bridal suite. Umm, I’m sorry it’s so late, but we need some chocolate up here as soon as possible. Can you help me out here?”

“No problem, sir.”

I can just imagine the fiasco in the kitchen at this swanky hotel. “Emergency situation in the bridal suite- she needs chocolate- STAT!”

I cannot begin to tell you how good that chocolate tasted. Scrumptious Belgian chocolates on a silver platter, accompanied by black grapes and champagne… it was heavenly. Honestly, a Mars Bar would have sufficed, but this was chocolate to remember. Clearly, because it seems to be etched on my feeble memory for all time. This hotel went above and beyond, and I loved them for it!

This is a rather long-winded example of someone going “above and beyond the call of duty” for me. There have been many other occasions when I have  been completely bowled over by someone’s extra measure of kindness and love. You’ve had them, too. The times where you’ve looked back and said, “Wow! We didn’t even ask for that!” Your expectations  were exceeded.

From the opposite perspective, isn’t it the greatest feeling in the world to be able to do something extra special for someone? To see their face light up, utterly speechless when you’ve surprised them by going far beyond what was called for. Like when my husband flew from Canada to the U.K. and arrived on the doorstep of his parents’ house with a bouquet of flowers and a cheeky grin. SURPRISE! A phone call would have pleased them, but an in-person unannounced visit was priceless!

OUR GOD IS THE MASTER OF GOING ABOVE AND BEYOND. He is the lover of the unlovely, the hope to the hopeless, full of grace, and rich in mercy. Look at these verses from Romans chapter 5:

“We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him.” (The Message)

Above and beyond- His love, way beyond logic and comprehension. For us. Enjoy being loved that much, friends. And wherever possible, let’s live out that love for His glory. Let’s attempt to go above and beyond in our duties, relationships, service, and every other aspect of our lives. Imagine what a difference we could make…

And one last tip: if you need a chocolate fix, just go ahead, for goodness sake! Mine was a story with a happy ending, but I cannot guarantee what the outcome would have been “sans chocolate” that night… just saying!