Ice Cream, Ice Cream…We All Scream For Ice Cream

As a young child, I grew up in a home with eleven other siblings, and we lived in low-income housing for a number of years.  Mom and dad tried to provide us with most of our needs even though money  was often scarce. But one of my fondest memories from childhood was when my mom would buy ice cream and cake cones as a special treat every two weeks when my father got paid. We always enjoyed whatever flavors she purchased, and we could barely contain our excitement when she returned home from the grocery store. However, we were aware that as long as she continued to purchase the ice cream, along with other household essentials, it meant we would have enough to eat for the next two weeks.

Over the years, I continued to purchase ice cream or frozen yogurt as a special treat even though eating it every night resulted in my gaining a few pounds. There were times when I tried to give up ice cream, but I never lasted for more than a week. As I began asking God to show me why ice cream had such a strong hold on me, He began to reveal past family issues that contributed to this problem. My father was an alcoholic and often used some of the household money to purchase beer and liquor instead of food. The Lord showed me that I associated buying ice cream with always having enough money to buy food, and emotionally I had developed a strong connection to this treat.

Recently, when a friend at church shared that he was fasting and giving up certain foods for lent, I thought I could give up eating ice cream during this time as well. However, it wasn’t until I read Isaiah 58 that I was reminded of what a “true fast” should be and giving up ice cream or any other food with the wrong motives would not be pleasing to God. God wants us to honor Him with pure motives from our hearts. For me, ice cream became an emotional crutch that sabotaged my dieting efforts, but God reminded me that we are to honor Him not with giving up a certain food but by helping those in need. By seeking His purpose and direction in our lives, He promises to help us overcome those unhealthy habits that keep us from becoming the person in Christ that we were meant to be.

God’s word teaches us that “we can do all things through Him who gives us strength.” I am happy and humbled to say that it has been over a week and I have not purchased ice cream for my freezer. Now, my goal and desire is to only have this “special” treat once a week when my husband and I eat out after church. When I go to the grocery store, I will continue to ask for God’s help and strength, and I know He will help me because “with God, all things are possible.”

 If you have an unhealthy habit, seek the Lord’s help. Proverbs 3:5-6 says that we should “trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding, but in all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.” He is ready and willing to help. All you need to do is ask.

Until next time, may God bless you and keep you in His care today and always.

Making Memories

Parents are taught in God’s Word that if they “train up a child in the way they should go, that they will not depart from it.” In this day and age, our children are pulled in so many directions. The technology available to our children in 2012, with its advantages and/or disadvantages, affords our children with a knowledge of computers and social networking that I could never have imagined when I was growing up as a teenager in the 1960’s. Communication with our children after school can be done with a touch of a button on our cell phones and tracking them via texts and emails becomes a necessity.

When I got pregnant with my daughter over 24 years ago, there were no cell phones. Since I was an older mother (first time pregnancy at age 39), I elected to stay at home with my daughter until she was almost 3 years old. I returned to work only on a part-time basis until we moved back to our home state when she was 5. I became involved with the PTO for six years and continued working part time, always making sure I was finished in time to pick her up after school.

I understand that many mothers have to work to provide for their families and I do not discount that. Being a mother, I know how important it is to provide for the needs of our children. However, my choice to work part-time had more to do with my desire to make memories that were an important part of my daughter’s life. Many times we had her friends come home with us after school, and they appreciated the opportunity to play and laugh at our home as many of the mothers worked full time.

Making memories should be an integral part of raising our children, and they don’t always require a great deal of money. My daughter has often told me that she loved the fact that I could be at home with her and her friends after school—that I was always there! Watching her blossom into a wonderful young woman, being there to listen to her concerns about dating the “right person”, sharing her joy when she became engaged and then married after graduating from college have been a blessing in more ways than she will ever realize.

Last week, we went to a Tea House for no special reason but to enjoy each other and good conversation over a “pot”of tea and lunch. As we talked, laughed, and listened to one another, I was reminded that she will never depart from the teaching she received as a young child and the faith lessons she has already learned as a young woman. Today we enjoyed lunch together with her dad. We are still making memories no matter how small or big and that is all that matters as a family.

Go out and make memories with your loved ones today. Until next time, God bless.