As a fellow sugarholic, I appreciated the concept behind Lisa Velthouse’s memoir Craving Grace: A Story of Faith, Failure, and My Search for Sweetness.
Velthouse first made a name for herself with her book Saving My First Kiss, in which she advocates saving her first kiss for the man she’s going to marry.
But several years later, Velthouse remains ironically single–and unhappily so. For her whole life, she’s been a good girl Christian who’s followed all the rules, but instead of feeling fulfilled in her faith, she’s feeling pretty dry.
Velthouse “can’t shake the idea that what I lack most in life is real sweetness.” So when a trusted mentor asks, “How do you think your life would change if God became the sweetness in it?” Velthouse decides to find out. Sweets are her favorite food, but she embarks on a 6-month fast from sugar, hoping to find a deeper source of sweetness in her life.
The narrative is loose, and the story stumbles in places. But Velthouse’s tales of the glimpses of grace she experiences during her fast shine. Her anecdotes are surprising and poignant, and dripping with genuine grace. Velthouse is real and relatable: her tales of her farm community had me pining for people in my own life like that, and I shook my head in empathy at her KFC incident.
I’m a sugarholic myself, and I’ve found that the only way to curb my out-of-control cravings is to avoid the fake sweets entirely (even Diet Coke). These fake sweets fuel my cravings but never leave me satisfied, and Velthouse reaches similar conclusions about the imposter sweets in her own life.
Velthouse speaks disdainfully of the “cheap-sweet-counterfeit” she’d fed her body for too long–how she’d unwittingly trained her body to want “what it didn’t need and shouldn’t have.” Her sense of taste was off–her taste for sugar, and her taste for God.
By ditching the counterfeit sweets in her life, Velthouse was able to teach her body to crave the good stuff again.
She’s finally learned to crave–and be satisfied with–real sweetness.