Okay, so here’s a question for you grocery shopping moms (and dads!) out there: Do you prefer grocery shopping withOUT your children? I’m a little ashamed to admit this; but, I DO! Yes, this 46-year-old-grey-haired-hott-mama-of-four would rather do the food shopping all.by.myself! There. I said it. Here is what happened to me on one of the few occasions I was alone at the grocery store.
Although it makes me feel a little guilty leaving the whole Hott crew behind with Daddy Dan to deal with, I just prefer the focus I can accomplish when I shop alone. Without the distractions of “Mommy, can I buy this?” to the occasional “Oh.my.golly! Where is Levi?” this mom can leave the grocery store with exactly those items on my list.
You see, if I am not shopping with my own crew of Hott descendants, I frequently accumulate random other children that happen to be coming home with us. So, when I occasionally have the opportunity to shop alone… well, it’s somewhat like a little vacation! Forty-five minutes of mommy bliss without arguments, purchase negotiations, disbursements of small business loans,… just me; my cart; and music playing over the speakers with an occasional interruption of “Attention Food Lion Shoppers, we have a clean-up in Aisle 7.”
Shwew! Thankfully it’s not me this time dropping a jar of pickles! Believe me, I have made my share of messes in the grocery store. Yes, that was me! There was a time when I was a double cart grocery shopper with a toddler in the basket, a baby in the snugi pouch, and a 4 year old pulling on my jeans. Many times, I had to call for assistance for my messes.
Then, finally last week, I managed to run to town all.by.myself to grab a few items. With a small block of time (after all, everyone was waiting for my return for dinner), I darted into our local Food Lion for the basics — fresh veggies, milk, bread, eggs… you know, the necessities.
While taking a short cut up the baking aisle for brownie mix (Hey! That’s a necessity!),… I heard a small voice say “milk chocolate chips”.
What? Where did that come from? It’s just me in the baking aisle. I continued to walk, almost reaching the section of boxed cake selections when again, a small voice said, “Milk chocolate chips… now, where could they be? Hummmm?”
Chocolate? Someone is looking for chocolate? Being the local expert on all things chocolate, I turned back around in wonder to see what helpless soul needed milk chocolate chips. Where did she come from?
Standing in front of all the baking chip products stood a smallish (yes, much tinnier than I) older woman holding a pretty cool recipe book saying, to herself, “Milk chocolate chips, where could they be?”
Well, ask no more! I did a 180 with my cart and offered my advice! Regularly using chips in pancakes, I knew exactly how to help her locate exactly what she needed.
At first, she seemed a little surprised at my assistance; but, it wasn’t long before I learned of her intent to use the needed “Milk Chocolate Chips”. In fact, I was fortunate enough to see her recipe and discover it’s cake to be taken to her upcoming family reunion the following day. Not only that, this dear little lady proceeded to share with me the cake she made last year, the desert she took to the church supper last weekend, AND her favorite baking secret to remove this other yummy treat from the pan that was the favorite of her old pastor three years ago. (She still likes to make that cake, even though that pastor moved away.)
It wasn’t long before I also knew all about her recent doctor appointments and problems with her thyroid. Why, I never knew that thyroid medication can cause problems with memory! Did you? Perhaps that could explain the trouble locating the milk chocolate chips. After about 20 minutes and three passes down the aisle from her quiet husband (he never said a word… I think that was her husband) I was getting the latest news on her grandchildren. Golly, Dan’s going to wonder where I am. Next, I heard all about her troubles with technology (you see, her granddaughter moved away now she has no one to help her with her ipod), so I shared my nerdiness with my phone (aka “phablet”).
Sensing my desire to skedaddle, this dear little lady then took a step toward me and her eyes began to twinkle. Then, she said to me, “It’s been so nice meeting you and talking about baking. Just let me tell you this, Jesus is my Lord and Savior! I do hope you know Him!”
After our brief encounter and witnessing another twenty minutes with each other, I learned of her vision of heaven and encounter with Jesus. My new friend was no longer a Stranger in the Supermarket as she shared what she saw and then scripturally explained its meaning. As we left Food Lion 40 minutes later, she still didn’t have any milk chocolate chips (must have been her thyroid). But she was telling her story to another person near the check-out stand.
Well okay. I have been in this Food Lion hundreds of times and talked to many strangers. But this doesn’t happen every day. I was grateful to find myself alone so that I could listen to her story without distractions. As I drove home with my groceries, I felt a little sad. Do I not appear outwardly that I know God and that Jesus is also my Lord and Savior? Do I look like I need saved in the grocery store? Can people see by looking at me that I, too, love Jesus? Dear God, please give me the courage to tell Your story and share Your love with the same twinkle as my supermarket stranger.
Can strangers tell by looking at me that I am Christian? What about you?…Sometime, you might be surprised to discover your stranger in the supermarket.
“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.” – Hebrews 13:2
Copyright © Angie Hott, Moms of Faith, All Rights Reserved