Yes, my miracle/tender mercy is about ice cream... I LOVE ice cream!! It is my very favorite food in the entire world.
My dad trained me this way. Growing up, any time we weren't acting right, my dad would simply say, "OK, NO ICE CREAM!" All of us immediately stopped misbehaving at the thought of not having ice cream. He never even kept track. We didn't even know when the next time would be that he would be buying it! It didn't matter! We were willing to obey for weeks because of the threat of not getting the ice cream!
My love for ice cream continued while serving as a missionary in Bolivia. While in Bolivia for a year and a half, I spent about 6 months of that time in Sucre, and oh... my... goodness!! In Sucre, Bolivia, they had the best home-made ice cream bars on almost every corner. They were so refreshing and creamy!!!! So.... I ate SEVERAL every day. Maybe that's the reason I gained 20 pounds!! Oh well- it was worth it.:)
I remember while at college, I had an extremely heart-breaking experience. I cried and cried alone. My dad called to see how I was doing. I just cried some more. With all the wisdom of a father he said, "Rachel, why don't you go get yourself some ice cream." My first thought was, "He is so insensitive to what is really going on here! Ice cream won't fix this!" Well, I rethought it. I actually felt some healing from my pain while sitting in the mountains, praying to God.... and eating my ice cream.
As much as I love ice cream, I have a real guilt complex now as a mother about spending money on something that isn't truly needful. Every time I drive past a place that sells ice cream, I honestly have a wrestle in my mind weighing out the monetary need to emotional need ratio. Our monetary need usually kicks in stronger than my emotional need for ice cream- only because I usually have all 6 kids with me- so an ice cream trip can get pretty pricey.
It took me almost a year to try Steak-N-Shake, but I really wanted to try it because my boys had gone there on a special "date" with Dad. They raved about the giant shake!
Today, I was feeling especially weighed down and facing some disappointment. I drove past Steak-N-Shake, and I remembered I had an $8.00 gift card to go there. I passed it several times, as I spent a couple hours transporting kids to and from wrestling and play practice. Eight dollars wasn't enough to buy ice cream for all of the kids, I had to push it out of my mind and be sensible.
Nope! The urge to eat ice cream was winning! I decided to wait until I had just the younger four with me; they deserved it for sitting so patiently in the car while their brothers went from activity to activity.
As I sat in the drive-thru, my mouth began to water. I knew I was getting myself a specialty shake, and I decided to get a specialty shake for them too because even though it was more expensive, I wanted them to know they had been true little champions.
When I went to pay for it, it was half the price!! I told her I didn't think that was right. She said, "Oh, I charged you the Happy Hour price by mistake. Oh well, it's too late now! We'll just give you the Happy-Hour price!!" Yay!!! I didn't even know they had a Happy Hour price! I guess I had just missed it by 15 minutes, but they made me happy and gave it to me anyway!!!
My disappointment immediately lifted. Not only did I not overspend our budget, but it also meant I could have another ice cream at Steak-N-Shake soon.:)
Does that mean I'm saying ice cream is the solution to all problems? No, of course not. I'm just grateful for nice people, and I'm especially grateful that God knows me so well that sometimes all it takes to lift my spirits is a great ice cream at a great price.
I believe God had fun leading me there! I believe HE is doing special little tender mercies for us all day to add a little joy to our lives. HE knew to speak the language of ice cream to me to let me know that I was HIS little champion just as I wanted my little ones to know that they were my little champions.