I have a love / hate relationship with those Cadbury Crème Eggs. Like… I hate how much I love them. It is a really good thing that they only come out once a year because I cannot check out at the grocery store without getting one.  Not even one time.

So, it might just surprise you to know that I have not had one yet this year. All the weeks that they have been out and all of the grocery store trips I have made and I have not tasted one of those delicious creamy chocolate goodness treats.

And it all kind of happened by accident.

I had been thinking about Lent this year – of giving up something for those 40 days in observance of the sacrifice Christ made for us. I haven’t always practiced Lent but there were several years where I gave up the great luxuries of coffee and chips & salsa. Why is food the hardest thing for me to sacrifice?! This year I hadn’t really decided if I would do anything but I couldn’t stop thinking about Lent and the purpose in it. Still, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to or what I would even give up for those days. On my regular grocery shopping trip the day before Lent I was thrilled to see that my favourite kind of eggs were back in business for Easter. You can be sure one found its way into my cart. And then, lo and behold, I forgot to eat it. [gasp!] I don’t really know how it happened – I usually rip the wrapper off and have those Cadbury guys eaten before I even make it home. The next day – February 14th, the day of love and chocolate and decadence – I discovered my uneaten Cadbury Crème Egg! You can imagine my delight in this discovery until I also realized it was the first day of Lent. I held that little egg in my hand, looked longingly at it and probably even drooled a little bit…and decided to not eat it. And then I decided I would not it eat or any other Crème Egg for the next 40 days.

Now, listen – I know it sounds lame. How can a little chocolate egg make any difference during Lent? Right?! I know, I know. It really didn’t at first. But let me tell you about that egg – I took it everywhere. It was in my purse and in my makeup bag and in my luggage and wherever I went – it went with me. There were many days where I thought to myself, “you are being so silly – this is just stupid!” And there were many days when I just wanted to forget the whole Lent thing and crack that baby open.

But, then there was that one day. I was putting on my makeup in the bathroom and that egg was right there in my makeup bag. I pulled it out and took a good look. That poor egg sure didn’t look as shiny as it used to. It was all warped, its perfect oval shape was no longer there. The foil wrapper was ripped in places. It was misshapen and worn and no longer looked like what it once was.

And that is when I realized just how much I am like that Cadbury Crème Egg.  I felt it all in that moment. The past 44 years have brought with it some pain and hard days and failures and a whole lot of stuff. I feel misshapen and worn and torn and ripped in places and, most certainly, not very ‘shiny’. Do you ever feel that way, too? I do – more often than I should. But here is what else I realized that morning – I still love that chocolate egg. And through a few tears at the bathroom sink that morning – I knew again that God still loves me – in all of my warped, misshapen mess. I know that when I remove that Cadbury wrapper from the not-so-perfect egg – there is still some creamy deliciousness inside. God knows that beneath the scars and outside ‘wrapper’ I sometimes put on – that there is still a girl with a heart that He created and loves.

I don’t think that comparing God’s love for us to that of a Cadbury Crème Egg has probably been done before. I know it seems a little odd, but God let that crazy egg remind me of something that day:  that His love is greater than my mess. That, just like I carried that egg around day after day, God is carrying me – everywhere, everyday. That life may bruise and bend us a little, but we still have worth and purpose. That no matter what we look like on the outside – We. Are. Still. Loved.

Lent has ended, but the real giving up is just beginning and it has nothing to do with chocolate. Listen – it’s okay to be a mess sometimes. It’s okay to give up your bare broken heart to Jesus. That’s what the Cross was for. Give Him the mess, the warped pieces, the pain, the shattered places and let Him remind you of the beauty He has created inside of YOU. He has never left you in the hard and He will not leave you now. All that matters today is staying close to Jesus. It is His grace and forgiveness and love that gets straight to the heart and lets His light shine.

After all, it’s what’s on the inside that matters most, right? I know that’s what God thinks: “…People judge by the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” {I Samuel 16:7, NLT}  

And, I bet the guy that created the Cadbury Crème Egg would agree, too.