Lessons from the Grocery Store



One of the best homemaking decisions I ever made was to start grocery shopping the same day every week. I wrote a post last year for Money Saving Mom detailing how I do this. I still do it and I still love it.  But, for days like Saturday when I was completely overwhelmed, I didn’t go.  And yes, it’s meant more eating out this week, especially since it’s the kids’ first week of summer.

Lexi finally looked in the pantry last night and said, “You’ve got to go shopping or we’re going to DIE!”

Ok, y’all, it wasn’t that bad.  I mean, I still had edible strawberries in the fridge.  But still, it was time to go.  But I hate grocery shopping.  I remembered, though, how much the girls love doing it—especially the self-checkout line. 

So far, I’ve let them go in the store while I waited at the front once or twice for one or two things.  I decided since they had a friend over, to make the list a little longer and see if they wanted to tackle it together.  They did. Enthusiastically, they did.

So, last night, I sat at the front where Starbucks is to monitor the door, of course, and kept an eye on them as they walked down the aisles while they picked up the essentials.  They even ordered meat and cheese from the deli on their own.

As I was sitting at the front, another mom pushed her daughter in a dinosaur-shaped cart into checkout. The little girl started wailing when her mom told her she couldn’t have one of the helium balloons hanging above the gum.  The mom stayed cool, kept checking out and eventually the girl stopped crying.

My heart went out for her because how many times did my girls have a fit in the grocery store?  Or, my favorite story where Lexi needed a diaper change at checkout and the smell nearly made the young male cashier pass out and he was sure to let me know.  Shoot me dead right now, please.

I was sitting there watching this and thinking of all those times I saw grocery shopping with the kids as a distraction to parenting.  If I could just never have to do these silly errands and get down to real parenting. I need to teach them values and we need to memorize Scripture!

But, it hit me afresh while I watched my girls scoot around the store with a list, while those serious times are important too, teaching them life skills like grocery shopping is a big part of my job.

Grocery shopping, while painful with little ones, teaches them how to drive the cart on the right side of the aisle, and how to say excuse me, and how not run, and where the coffee is located, and how to budget your money, and how to make good food choices, and how to look for sales.  It’s all vital to raising kids.  And unfortunately, it happens one un-bought balloon at a time.

I was more committed than ever to not see these chores as a distraction from parenting, but to include the girls in my chores so I can parent them better.

And of course, God wouldn’t let this moment go without parenting me a bit.

He said that’s what I want you to get too—your spiritual life isn’t built just at devotional times or corporate worship.  I’m trying to teach you as you grocery shop and wash dishes and do the laundry and go to work.

He wants us to learn to seek him out no matter what we’re doing. He wants to teach us to look for the lonely and lost as we go down aisle 6.  He wants us to talk to him while we fold that 3rd load of sheets.  He wants us to work as unto him. He wants us to teach us how to speak in love to our spouses.

All of life, not just the dedicated times, is part of the sanctification process. 

I was reminded of Romans 12:1

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.

and Deuteronomy 6:6-7

These commandments I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children.  Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

All of life, should be interweaved with our faith, not just the set aside times.

And so, all these mundane tasks that I loathed this weekend, now look like opportunities.  Not just to teach my kids life skills, but as spiritual acts of worship and opportunities to work out my salvation.

I don’t know that I’ll ever like grocery shopping, but I’m thankful that God can use even that to show me more of him.


  1. Yay for your girls successfully shopping for you! I had a similar thing happen yesterday too. Abby drove to the store by herself and shopped for me! It was terrifying and amazing all at the same time!!!

  2. Jennifer Miserendino says:

    Amy, thank you for so eloquently writing about your experience at HT! This really hit my heart today. This reminds me that God has equipped us to be the perfect parents to the children He has entrusted us with! I am also reminded that I am at peace with my children and chores when I remember to include Him in our daily plans! Thanks for sharing your heart; I will never look at grocery shopping the same way!