Grace and Snickers and the Day I Cried at the Grocery Store

Posted on July 3, 2013 | 25 comments

Grace and Snickers and the Day I Cried at the Grocery Store

I almost made it through the check-out line before I started to cry.

It was one of those trips to the grocery store. Actually, it was that trip to the grocery store. There’s never been another one like it.

I’ll spare you (most of) the details, but suffice it to say that by the time we made it to the check-out stand, the baby was crying and the binky was lost somewhere between aisle 9 and aisle who-even-knows(?!), and the groceries were falling between the cart and the conveyor belt and the other young one was quite ready for nap time and I didn’t have enough arms for anything and somehow a Snickers bar ended up in the cart that I promise I never put in there and I should probably have just eaten it right then and there for the sake of the world at large but didn’t and—

Then I had this horrifying thought. Through the tears I blinked back, and beneath that trembling chin of mine, and underneath the arms full of bananas and lettuce and small human beings, I thought… People here know I’m a Christian. What if they see me barely holding it together—or very successfully not holding it together, and think badly of God? Am I mis-representing Jesus? Am I failing them? Him?

Later on, after the wee ones had settled and the groceries were put away at home, I looked back on the incident, grappling with something about it.

Something wasn’t right. I mean, beyond the chaos even, something wasn’t right.

I’d never felt the pressure of God’s love like that before.

You know why?

Because when God’s love stops giving grace and starts giving pressure to keep up appearances, it’s not God’s love. It’s pride.

Bear with me for a moment. I’m not saying that God’s love doesn’t call us to accountability, or to a change in the way we live. It does, absolutely.

But when I begin thinking that it’s up to me to display God right, put on some kind of perfect show, rather than being honest, open, and letting Him work in me to display His grace and love… I’ve got it all wrong. That’s me, thinking of myself more highly than I ought, and suffering for it.

Instead of the faulty thought process above, what if I’d been vulnerable enough to think…

…People here know I’m a Christian. What if they see me barely holding it together—or very successfully not holding it together… and see me clinging to His grace in that moment with everything I am and everything I’m not. See a strength that’s clearly not mine. See His love in action. See His strength made perfect in my weakness. See redemption, living redemption.

My friends, I missed it.

I was so busy trying to cover up the fact that I was at the end of my rope… that I missed the lifeline right in front of me.

I was so busy trying to represent God well, that I got in the way of a thing of beauty: His grace.

Isn’t it amazing, the way He meets us so completely in our very brokenest moments (so broken I had to invent a new word, apparently)? And He takes us in His arms, enfolds us in those nail-scarred hands, and reminds us—He is enough. His grace is sufficient. He gives beauty for ashes. Perfection? Is Him, completing and redeeming us.

That is what I want people to see. That is what I want my children to see in me, and to know in their own dear, cherished hearts…

Him. His love in my heart that’s so in need of Him. Grace poured in, that grace might pour out. Love-hewn Grace.

It’s that beautiful truth of James 4:6:

“But He gives more grace.”

Isn’t it amazing, too, the way He seems to prepare us with the truth we need, at exactly the right time? I have to tell you that I’ve been reading a book dealing with this very thing. And what’s more, it was written by a very dear friend of mine…

(That’s us, the day before her wedding! Isn’t she wonderful? Yes, yes she is. Make sure to check out her blog!)

Katie Tramonte and I grew up together, camping every summer as kids, going to prom in high school, diving into Bible study together in college (she taught, I provided the chips and salsa), trading lessons learned in the classroom when we were both teachers, being in each other’s weddings, and now, as we discovered only a few months back, travelling the writing road side by side.

Katie’s book, Gospel-Centered Womanhood, is a Bible study full to the brim of redeeming, freeing, Biblical truth. She was so gracious to give me a copy for myself, complete with an inscription that I’ll cherish all my life, as well as a copy to give away here.

gospel-centered womanhood

The words she speaks are so full of refuge, truth, and a heart that aches for women to know the freeing grace of living fully in God’s unique identity for each of us, His daughters. Throughout the book, she uses the solid guidance of scripture to bring to light the very truth I forgot this morning in the grocery store (in fact, now that I think of it, she has a quoted passage in there that may as well have been a snapshot of my grocery store moment!).

That freeing truth is: We are not perfect and are not created to live behind a pressure-filled guise of perfection. But He loves us, redeems us, heals the broken places in us, and has amazingly unique purpose for each of us.

It is my joy to facilitate the giveaway Katie is so generously sponsoring. If you’d like to enter for a chance to win a signed copy of Gospel-Centered Womanhood, simply leave a comment below (Be sure to include your e-mail address so I can contact you if you win).

…and I’m going to toss in a Snickers bar for the winner, too. Just because. 😉

On Friday, July 5th, 2013, I’ll announce the winner here at the bottom of this post.

(Must be 18 or older and a resident of the United States or Canada to enter. Winner will be chosen at random using

Update: Giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to Laurie Tomlinson, winner of the giveaway! Laurie, I’ll be in touch via e-mail soon.


  1. Ohhhhh, the grocery store with kids.
    My daughter once screamed so loud in the store, I could hear everyone freeze and I could feel them look at me.
    That 2 word prayer? “Oh, God..”

    I survived.

    • Those desperate 2-word prayers— God never fails to hear those, does he?! And I’m so thankful!

  2. How often we are in the way of his works. Your post summarized so many days in my life…the last few days I’ve been putting out fire after fire…and some of them I turned into an inferno and I’m not quite sure how to break the news to my husband…Do i tell him and be matter of fact about it? Do I tell him and sob like I feel like doing right now so he can see my honest opinion of how I mishandled the situation? Do I just pray? Pray and seek God’s wisdom and comfort? Ugh.

    • Oh, Jackie, you are such an amazing mom and wife. Hang in there!! The work you do with your amazing kids shows so clearly in their beautiful lives. My advice (though honestly I’m the one who should be taking advice from you!) is… just one single step at a time. Those days that are one fire after another– we can’t think about the marathon of fires ahead of or behind us or we get overwhelmed. We *can* think of this very moment, choose to draw on God’s strength in it by crying out in our hearts, clinging to the words of 2 Corinthians 12:9– “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

      And however you tell your husband, (if you’re like me, it’ll be with the every intention of being matter of fact, but those intentions disentigrating into tears halfway through… LOL), I think you are wise to both pray, seek God’s wisdom and comfort, and also invite your husband in to the place you are right now. That’s why He gave us to each other in marriage– to join together when we need it most. And sometimes, at least for me, I’m so knotted up emotionally in the situation that it’s refreshing to get a strong, clear, objective view from my husband, and to have his support and leading in prayer, too. Praying for you, my sweet and wonderful sister in Christ!! <3

  3. Love, love, love your heart here, Amanda. Seriously. We’ve all been there, I think. I remember when my mom was dying and people around me told me how strong I was. And the whole time, I was doubting whether he even existed. But instead of confessing that to anyone, I held it inside, afraid of what they’d think of me. Afraid to let the pedestal crumble.

    But really, it’s only when the pedestal crumbles that people can truly see God. When they look up, all they see is us. But if we are out of the way, their view of the Lord is uninhibited. 🙂

    • Oh, Lindsay, this just made my heart ache. I really can’t say it any better than you did: “It’s only when the pedestal crumbles that people can truly see God.” You are so very, beautifully, wonderfully right. Thank you for this! Hugs to you!

  4. I have been there several times lately. the kids that push and the feeling that I am doing something wrong. I have asked myself often is this how God intended it? I feel like I drown into this moment at least once a week then pick my head up and say thank you for the blessings and the trial is small compared to the love and reward.

    • Becky, you hit the nail on the head when you talked about turning our hearts to pay attention to the blessings. A grateful heart really does put the trials in perspective and condition our hearts to approach them with grace. I read this in my devo’s this morning: “To bring a sacrifice of thanksgiving means to sacrifice our understanding of what is beneficial and thank God for everything because He is benevolent. A sacrifice lays down our perspective and raises hands in praise anyway– always. A sacrifice is, by definition, not an easy thing- but is a sacred thing.” (from One Thousand Gifts Devotional)

  5. Beautifully written. I really needed to read this today!!

    • Shelley, you bring encouragement wherever you go! I’m so glad you enjoyed the post– praise God for the way He really does give beauty for ashes. 🙂

  6. Beautiful! A gift for my youngest young woman daughter ~ I would love to win this copy! Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House

    • WootWoot! Her name is Stephanie. My loving husband loves Snickers! Maybe he’d share a bite with me!

      • Hi Kathleen! Toasting you with an imaginary Snickers bar right now. 😉

  7. Sometimes all you can do is smile 🙂

    • So true. And laugh at myself, too. Plenty of opportunities for that, I can tell you! 🙂

  8. It’s so funny–before you have kids, you watch those OTHER kids at restaurants or grocery stores and SWEAR your children will NEVER turn out that way…hee. Even the best-behaved kiddos have their days, and we’re all bound to have some embarrassing moments as Mommas. It helps to realize someday we’ll look back on those times and laugh. Thank goodness God is there in our weakness!

    • LOL, Heather, well I sure had a moment of my own yesterday!! Yes, thank God He’s there in our weakness, that’s for sure.

  9. Your blog posts always speak to my heart & soul, Amanda! Thanks!

    • Hi, Bonnie!! Thank you for such incredible encouragement; your words are an amazing blessing. God uses you in great ways as an encourager and I’m blessed by you.

  10. Thanks, Amanda for sharing this! I often have moments like this at the grocery store! and leave feeling guilty for the way I corrected them or what others might of thought of me. I am so thankful that God is there in my weakness, pouring out His love and refreshing me in the end. We love our children so much it only makes us think of how very much He loves us!

    • Eva, I love that you highlighted how our hearts for our kids help us understand God’s heart for us. Love that so much, thank you!

  11. Amanda, I praise God for your vulnerability in this blog. I know that I often forget that God can use my vulnerability in those teachable moments (I typically learn more than anyone else)! Indeed when Im weak He’s strong, but I have to remind myself that even that strength is supposed to come from Him. I don’t need to muster up anything. I think God is most glorified when we are truly depending on Him, even when everything falls apart in the grocery store! Blessings! (Btw: I’m a friend of Katie’s, and I would love to get my hands on that book- and the snickers)

    • “I think God is most glorified when we are truly depending on Him.” You are so right, Rondalyn! Thank you for that, and for your words of encouragement. They mean so much!

  12. Thank you for writing this post. I struggle with perfectionism and feeling guilty for being a stay-at-home mom to my almost 1 year old. Still trying to figure out my purpose as a Christian woman/wife/mom. Future post for you to lend perspective on, maybe? I am looking forward to reading Katie’s book.

    • Daphne, what a great idea for a post; I’ll have to pray about and think over that one for sure! One thing I will say right off the bat is I totally understand that feeling of perfectionism and guilt. What’s so comforting to me is to shove aside everything else but what’s next. In the very next moment, how can I serve God and show my kids His love? Don’t get me wrong; I love a schedule and plans as much as the next type-A gal (spreadsheets make me swoon). Maybe it’s because of this I have to be so vigilant about remembering the heart of each moment, the purpose of why I’m here: to show them His love, and let them live in a home rich with it. Even when the dishes pile up higher than they should… if they know God’s love here, then my hope is fulfilled. I’m so glad you stopped by, Daphne! Side note: I had your mom as an English teacher for a semester back in high school. She’s awesome. 🙂