I heard this saying from a dear friend just the other day. “You can’t buy puppies at Kroger.” She was upset about yet another negative encounter with her mother and we were talking about how those mother/daughter relationships can be so tricky. She was upset more with herself than with her mother’s behavior. She kept saying, “I know that Kroger doesn’t sell puppies, but I keep going there anyway.” It took me a minute to realize what she was saying…but then it hit and sunk in. She knows how dysfunctional her relationship is with her mother, yet she expects a different outcome each time they interact. She expects that her mother will be loving and supportive and caring…but guess what – she’s not. It’s like expecting to walk into Kroger and buy a puppy, when you know that they don’t sell them. The more I kicked around this phrase, the more I began to think about other ways that this relates to real life and to other situations. I have been blessed to minister to many people over the course of the last year and a half. I have met some amazingly faithful, strong people who have had experiences that I can’t even fathom. I have also met people who I know needed the Lord so badly in their lives, but remained lost. There are a lot of lost people out there trying to buy puppies at Kroger. They are seeking peace and comfort from people and things, but sadly, they will never find true happiness and contentment in those people and things. True peace and true life comes from a relationship with Jesus. Not from a man or woman, not from a drink, not from a pill, not from shopping, or food, or wealth or fame. Its so sad to see people hurting and lost, looking for fulfillment from the wrong sources. I know this all too well. For many years I sought acceptance and love from so many negative places. I was lost and wondering around trying to find what only God can give. Thankfully we serve a God who is merciful and pours His grace out on us daily. I have found such happiness in living my life for God…and I want everyone else to have what I have. God’s love and acceptance are more than enough to mend any hurt, heal any wound, and calm any storm. I went back to my friend yesterday and shared these thoughts with her. I thanked her for sharing her insight with me and for allowing me to listen to her. God is so good at putting people in our lives from whom we can learn so many valuable lessons about life, and about ourselves. I am thankful for the lessons I continue to learn from those around me. I am thankful to God for fulfilling all of my needs as He sees them.