Vanilla Ice Cream.....Oh, so Sweet!
By Tina Hoffman
He will give you the desires of your heart. It was Halloween and we had recently moved into our newest temporary home. In addition to being a single mother of three daughters and full-time real estate agent, I was also an America’s Home Tender. I was a professional vacant home decorator and dweller.
The problem was, I was pretty good at it, which meant the homes sold, therefore, we’d move a lot. I loved the latest sprawling ranch style with huge rooms and a 50's flair. The updated modern kitchen was fabulous and I was just blocks from HEB’s Central Market. The neighborhood was upscale with manicured lawns and beautiful trees. Nearly everyone had a porch of some kind.
Looking forward to spending the evening with music friends from Corpus, I got the house ready and after they arrived we ran to the market. They’ve got 2 small children and one on the way. I’ve got a 9, 11 and 2 year old, and everyone else in the store that night had kids. We loaded up with toddler and preteen favorites; pizza, chips, dip and soda. However, as I stood in the check out line I thought, “I don’t want pizza. I want a big bowl of vanilla bean ice cream. With real vanilla beans.”
As I estimated the time it would take for the cashier to get to me, the approximate distance from the freezer aisle and the rate at which I’d travel while dodging last minute candy and costume hounds, I realized that my 2 year old was pulling on my sweater, “Can I have gum? Can I have these bubbles? Can I have.....”
Immediately, I found myself in a supermarket melt down. “Let’s just get going. Yes, get the gum.”
There was a tug inside my gut, “Get the ice cream. You’re gonna want it.”
“Mom, can I have some gum too?” squeals my middle daughter.
“I need chips for school tomorrow.”
“Okay that’s it. We’re out of here.”
We left the supermarket as I yearned inwardly for that dairy smooth comfort food.
“Left Behind,” was our Halloween selection for the evening and we were enjoying just catching up and sharing new songs as the kids watched the movie. David’s one of the best songwriters I know and only once, mentally, did I pine for my ice cream.”It sure would be good and tasty right about now.”
The next morning was busy with the hustle and bustle of two families getting ready simultaneously. They were heading home and we were on our way to church. After saying our goodbyes, we parted ways at the intersection.
Driving across town and remembering the weekend, I became very thankful for the great friends I had and how the Lord had brought them into my life. Before they'd arrived, I was concerned because of my low cash flow.
In the real estate world you live from beggar to king, sometimes a few months in between. I had just gotten a commission check, but after paying bills, I realized I had $240.00 left. To top it off my utility bill was $235.00 after all the reconnect charges and a previous balance from our last home. I hadn’t even paid my tithes yet. They were ironically, $240.00.
Thank God they bought the food!
Arriving at church, I sat in my car and contemplated the day’s offering. Honestly, I am always so faithful in this area that I even surprised myself by so eagerly listening to the whispers of darkness. “You always give. You don’t have to give today. You need it for your bills. Use some common sense.”
Bingo. That one got me. As I shoved $40 into my bible, I rationalized, “Just this one time.” I'd been suckered many times with that line.
We were, by now, our typical ten minutes late and took a seat towards the back of the church. Just as I went to sit down, my Pastor yells, “Godrobber!”
It startled me to the point of jumping, as my daughters looked on to see if I’d been struck by the holy spirit or something.
Feeling a little uneasy, I took my seat and began to listen. “But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’”
“In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse - the whole nation of you- because you are robbing me. Bring the WHOLE tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house.”
My eyes widened as he went on, “Test me in this and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.”
That one really got me. I slinked out of my chair and quietly tiptoed out as I tripped over a small child and an old man's cane. I grabbed the other $200 out of my wallet and put it in my trouser pants.
Walking in with a much higher head than when I went out, I took my seat just in time to receive the offering plate.
“Okay Lord. Let’s look at my motivation for this. I’m not giving to get. But I want to be honest and say that I am expecting You to back me up on this one. I believe that Your word is true, and so for the sake of obedience, I give my offering to you, and put you to the test. Thank you.Amen.”
I took a deep breathe and placed it in the basket. Whew!
Okay, now I’m believing for a miracle here!
Some of our other church friends were coming over for the afternoon and I let their three boys ride with us back to the house.
As I pulled off the freeway to the Broadway exit, I noticed a long line forming in front of me. Trying to be patient and pass time, I shared with the kids my godrobbing dilemma. We inched forward for a bit when I noticed the problem. There was a broken down BMW with the hood up and it was blocking traffic.
Signaling to get over in other lane, I rolled down the window and yelled out,”Do you need some help?”
The woman in the fancy car had a long, beautiful coat, short bobbed hair and perfectly painted lips. She looked me up and down, checked out the six kids in my late model vehicle and very curtly replied, “No. Thank you. I’ve used my cell phone to call Mr. Rescue. He will be arriving shortly.”
Having waited endlessly on another occasion for that same motor service, I wished her well.
”Good luck. I’m waiting on my own Mr. Rescue, if you know what I mean,” and I gestured to the sky.
She went back to her car and I proceeded to maneuver into the other lane.
Suddenly, there was a loud rap on the passenger side window.
“Did you need something after all?” I question.
“No. But I have this ice cream sitting in my trunk and it’s going to hell.”
With a tone of I’m not sure what kind, she said, “Do you want it or what?”
I’m still not understanding exactly what’s happening when she returns from the trunk and passes a gallon of Bryers real vanilla bean ice cream through the window to me!
I smiled a huge, knowing grin, looked up to heaven, and said, “You are the man!”
The woman looked at me as if I’d lost my mind. I thanked her and drove off.
Amazed beyond belief that the Lord absolutely heard my mental whining for ice cream the night before, I heard Him say, “I got ya covered, sweetie.”
I mean seriously, can you imagine? Having someone hand you ice cream through the window of your car, on a busy exit off a major interstate highway. It’s insane. Put Him to the test.
Now truth to be told, if I would have gone back and gotten the ice cream myself, I’d have gotten a pint of the cheap store brand.
Not God. When He’s in charge of your grocery list, the almighty God, king of kings, Lord of Lords, creator of heaven and earth, you’re gonna get the best!
You’re gonna get real vanilla beans......and plenty of em!
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Tina, I am not sure whether you have Private Messenger or not, so I figured I would leave a message under here. You are an awesome writer - I love this story - I have been in the same situation you've been in, second-guessing giving my tithe! You mentioned Broadway, you don't happen to live in San Antonio, do you? I would like to contact you about submitting some writing to the FW magazine. You can PM me.
Hey, I LOVE this stuff! Great story!
That is soo good. And God's children so know how He works...loving humor and kindness as always. Great article!
Great story. And God always answers in surprising ways. You did not say, but I know from experience that the needed money also came to pay your bills. Thanks for sharing.
AWESOME BEYOND AWESOME! God is so good. And you're right. He always comes through with so much more than we could think or imagine. Hope you sat alone in your bed with that carton and a big spoon!! Praise Jehovah Jireh, the Lord provides! (And He'll cover the other needs, too!)
Sister here has a teestimony so refreshing the vanilla taste of miracle in the mundane remains long after the spoons are washed and tucked away. Praise The LORD!