For the Ice Cream Days

For the Ice Cream Days

My phone dinged with a text from a friend with a link to a sermon. “Listen to it now!” she gushed. “It’s a game-changer.”

I don’t usually listen to sermons in the middle of the day, but I had just settled my toddler down for quiet time and was about to tackle the embarrassingly long list of to-do’s scratched on an assortment of post-its on my desk. I had some time, and I considered my options. Listen to the sermon? Get things done? Or drown in a vat of ice cream?

You see, the day had had a pretty awful start.

My oldest had thrown a tantrum because she could not find the matching stockings to go with the dress she just had to wear today. She lay on the stairs screaming. Everyone was late. The preschooler had a field trip scheduled for later in the day, and was so excited about it that he could do nothing else but sulk and suck his thumb because the three hours between now and field trip time were like dog years to him. And the toddler was doing a Houdini impersonation instead of getting dressed. As usual.

On top of this, I managed to somehow break something on my blog. My husband reminded me gently that one of our credit card bills was unpaid. I was running late for Bible study and I threw on a new maxi skirt from Target which I thought was both cute and forgiving. (Forgiving is my new favorite word for clothes. My jeans from last year are, by contrast, decidedly accusatory.) I grouched my way through the morning, and it was only when I found myself stating longingly at a white chocolate chip cookie that I realized that I don’t even like white chocolate, something else is going on here. A quick look at the calendar confirmed there was a reason for it all: a perfectly timed hormonally-induced Oscar-the-Grouch session.

I came home, settled the toddler, and my phone dinged with my friend’s text.

I opted to leave all the post-its abandoned and chose to listen to the sermon while diving into the mint Moose Tracks frozen goodness. I licked the last drops out of my bowl and lay back on my pillow, enthralled by the words of Revelation 5 brought to life by the preacher.

And then, I fell asleep.

My toddler woke me a half hour later, and I swam into consciousness with waves of guilt breaking over my head. Had I really just squandered that quiet time? I could have gotten things done! And instead I took an unplanned nap, didn’t even listen to something spiritually edifying, and I consumed 500 calories on top of it? “You deserve to have to wear forgiving skirts,” I chastised myself. “You are such a sloth.”

But then I was reminded of Jesus, my gentle Shepherd, who noticed that His disciples were exhausted and overwhelmed and said to them, “Come away with me. Let us go alone to a quiet place and rest for a while” (Mark 6:31). And so they withdrew. And they did super-spiritual things like eat. And talk. And nap.

I looked at my ice cream bowl and my rumpled pillow with fresh eyes: as gifts from my Shepherd on a day when I, too, felt harassed and helpless (Matthew 9:36). For the truth is that I am not the indentured slave of a task-master with endless post-its and to-do lists. I am a daughter. Someone beloved. A lamb in the care of a very kind Shepherd who knows that left to my own devices I will wander off and fall into the abyss of self-imposed expectations and accusations. He is a shepherd who knows I need to be led to quiet waters and green pastures.

And sometimes, those quiet waters are a 20-minute nap, and the green pastures comes in the form of mint Moose Tracks ice cream. They are gifts from His hand.

He restoreth my soul.

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Bronwyn Lea is a South-African born mama of three, braving the wild frontier of mothering in California. Once upon a time she trained as a lawyer and worked in vocational ministry, but her specialties now include speed-diapering and minivan-parking. When she gets to hang out with grown-ups, she loves to study and teach the bible. She blogs at Bronwyn's corner. You can also find her on Facebook, contributing over at, and on Twitter.

  • Yes! We have much to learn about the mercy of God. While talking and praying for hours with a friend on the weekend about problems that have caused endless grief for decades, I had an experience in prayer that is very rare for me. I had just uttered a “please God let something special happen for K” when I felt as though I had stumbled into the Divine war room where plans for this individual had been in the works with infinite pains and terrible sacrifices and absolute wisdom for more time than I could imagine. An imposed, profound silence overcame me. I had felt that way when a tornado was approaching our house in Arkansas and a power upon my shoulders pressed me to my knees as I commanded the tornado to rise in the name of Jesus and it did and flew over our house then came down and wiped out a barn three miles away. My tossed-off prayer was not trivial, exactly, but did not take account of the extreme attention that had been given to every prayer for K, to every step of his stumbling way. My friend had not felt the silence; in fact, she had almost fallen asleep. She, who has been at the centre of the whirlwind for 25 years, rested. But she knew what I described to her later because the previous Sunday when, in a type of prayer service unusual for them, her Anglican church members had encircled a man facing quadruple bypass surgery and such a silence had descended on everyone. News came the following day of an unusual encounter for K that may signal the great turn-around prayed and longed for but that has been in the making all his life. “There was silence in heaven for about half an hour” (Rev. 8:1). We can — we must — lie down in that powerful silence.

    • What a powerful story, Laurna: both for your friend K and in the LITERAL eye of the storm. It reminds me of Jesus, asleep on a pillow (what a testimony to eye witness detail!) while killer waves threatened to swamp the boat. Thank you.

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For the Ice Cream Days

by Bronwyn Lea time to read: 3 min