“No Camping” at Wal-Mart!

“No Camping” read the sign in the Wal-Mart parking lot.

I almost kept walking – it took a moment for the absurdity of this to register – but then I stopped and read it and started to laugh. There was more than one sign with the same warning. In a Wal-Mart parking lot in the middle of a suburb in San Diego.

My daughter was the one who finally asked, “Mom, why would it say that? Why here?”

“I have no idea!” I blurted out in amusement.

As we kept walking together, I couldn’t help but think how that relates to parenting my kids. So many times I can get stuck on a certain of my daughters’ behaviors and start to obsess on it. I lose perspective and wildly toss out restrictions to put a lid on the behavior – rules that have just about as much usefulness as the “No Camping” sign in the Wal-Mart parking lot – just to regain my own sense of peace and control.

It also reminded me that it’s not just my kids that push every limit. Someone, sometime tried to camp in that Wal-Mart parking lot. Maybe out of desperation, or convenience, or even defiance against norms. We all push the limits sometimes. I’m glad that the friends and family in my life give me space and don’t try to micro-manage my behavior when I make mistakes by posting “no camping” type boundaries in our relationships. It’s that kind of grace from others that has allowed God space over the years to step in and work on my heart and life. Ultimately, as a mom, don’t I want to allow God’s work in my children as well?

Seeing that sign was a good laugh. Stopping to read it reminded me not to go overboard on discipline and rules with my girls – to give my kids (and others in my life) the grace that allows God to do all he desires in them in his intentional and releasing way!

10/6/09 Note: Well, shows how much I know! After writing this some people responded to the post off line and shared with me how it’s actually quite common to park campers at Wal-Mart because they have large lots, are located in most cities in the U.S. and have all the supplies and groceries that travelers need. Thankfully, even in my ignorance God was able to speak a word of wisdom to me in a time I needed to hear it! 🙂

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