Mom, Me, and the Menu


By: Kelly Middleton

“It’s not like Berri-Jean’s.” Hot tears of disappointment rolled down my nine-year-old cheeks.

It was my birthday and my parents let me choose that evening’s dining establishment. Intrigued with the old mansion positioned at the edge of a local shopping center’s parking area, the Mansion House Restaurant was my choice. We were whisked through the expansive doorway and to the table prepared for our dinner party. Perusing the menu, Mom offered suggestions of what she thought my young palate would enjoy. “Perhaps a burger and fries or meatloaf and mashed potatoes?” she gently nudged. But my eyes fixated upon the word shrimp. “I want shrimp,” I declared. She cautioned against the choice. But, ignoring all suggestions, shrimp it would be for the stubborn Miss Birthday.

Why shrimp? Well, George and Berri-Jean Smith were some of my favorite people. Their expansive manicured yard led to a pond where George and my older brother would toss catalpa worms onto the glassy surface. My excited squeals would fill the air when the water began to swirl as fish rose from the depths to gobble up the unexpected snack. We’d then race to the house to enjoy Berri-Jean’s fried shrimp with a special side sauce. What beautiful memories! In my mind, there was only one way to cook shrimp in the world and Berri-Jean had the market on the recipe.

But as the china plate touched white linen, my hazel eyes stared in dismay. What lay in front of me was not Berri-Jean’s shrimp! How could this be? With a lump in my throat and a quivering chin, I sat in painful silence listening to everyone around enjoy their selections. It was my birthday. My choice of restaurant. My choice of dish. Yet what my parents intended as a night of celebration for me became a huge disappointment, simply because of a poor choice.

The Message doesn’t mince words in Proverbs 3:5­–6. “Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He’s the one Who will keep you on track.” So what entrée are you currently demanding on life’s menu? Have you consulted a voice of experience? Or do you assume you know what’s best because of a previous experience? Discuss the menu with an elder or mentor. Heed their words. They’ve tasted a bit more life than you; their input is a valuable resource to keep you on track. And you may realize that at this table in this moment, meatloaf might just be a better option than shrimp.



Kelly Middleton attends The Sanctuary in Hazelwood, Missouri, under the leadership of Pastor Mitchell Bland. She serves at UPCI World Headquarters as Executive Assistant to Robin Johnston, the Editor in Chief and Publisher of the UPCI.




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