Chapter 1: Truthfulness

Chapter 1 from Everything I know about God I learned from our sons.

The Fish Stick Story… It’s gotta go first!

If you know me personally, you most likely already know the infamous fish stick story. Just go ahead and chuckle. Oh yeah, it’s a story worth repeating. And if you haven’t heard it before, I hope you giggle, but also appreciate the magnitude of this timeless lesson on truthfulness.

Come, Lord God, and teach us what You want us to know about Your character through the eyes and lips of children. Holy Spirit You are welcome here!

As an apprentice in motherhood, I found many aspects of rearing sons challenging to a number of my previously held notions. Trying to creatively broaden the palate of two extremely picky eaters, was (for a time) my most frustrating venture. From my non-picky perspective, a diet of hamburgers, pizza, hotdogs and chicken nuggets was too little nutritional value on which to grow men. And yet, their father, equally picky in his eating habits, had fully developed into healthy manhood.

Peaceful assurance was not out of reach for me if I had been willing to accept that I was concerned without cause. I could have listened to my husband who insisted these two young lads were quite normal. I could have listened to our family doctor, who was not concerned with our sons’ development. I could have chosen a number of other wise paths, which would have ultimately led me to throw worry out the window.

But, truthfully, I thought I knew better. I wanted more variety in their nutritional menu and so, I sought out the opinions of those who would support my cause. Of course, I sought wisdom from other moms!

Through many phone chats during nap time, and much unscientific polling of mothers in my circle of influence, I determined a plan. I would trick these picky eaters into trying something new. I formulated a brilliant plan. I purchased a box of fish sticks during my next grocery shopping excursion. One evening in preparation for dinner, I placed 6 frozen fish sticks on the chicken nugget baking pan along with the usual handful of frozen french fries, and placed them in the oven.

Shortly before pulling the deliciously deceptive dinner from the oven, I called our two sons to the table. “Dinner! Boys, come and eat!” They came running and settled into their seats with forks raised because they already knew what was headed for their plates. One look at the baking pan as I approached the table and our youngest seed (age 4) halted my progress with these exposing words,

“Those aren’t chicken nuggets!”

I froze mid-kitchen. Baking pan hovering between oven and sons, I began to cry. Again, the exposing words of sons,

“Mom, you lied!”

I sobbed. I confessed. I was humiliated. I was caught in my lying scheme.

Yes, that’s right, the mom who daily drilled truthfulness into her childrens’ consciousness. Yes, me, the Jesus following, lover of truth, chose deception and manipulation as my best tool for expanding the nutritional palate of my own flesh and blood.

Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Proverbs 27:5

I know! I’m not proud of this complete lack of wisdom and just plain loss of common sense. This story (still repeated at most family functions, especially if newcomers are present) details one of my greatest motherhood fails.

Does that sound overly dramatic?

I’m not being overly dramatic. This is a funny story, and I hope you giggled. However, sin is sin. And sin has not-funny consequences.

As much as you might be tempted to give me the benefit of the doubt or think that what I did was really not that bad, my actions were sinful. In our western culture, especially amongst Christ followers, we too easily believe that the good end justifies the means. Let this truthful assessment sink in.

My actions were pre-meditated, planned out and designed specifically to deceive in order that I might get my way.

My big fail includes multiple forks in the road at which point I could have latched onto truth and diverted my path from disastrous results. Unfortunately, I stubbornly careened right into the middle of my own sad and humbling pit of sorrow and remorse. As Billy Graham often quoted, “Be sure your sin will find you out…” {Numbers 32:23}

Here are just a few aspects of my big fail…

  • {pride} I was sure I knew better than everyone who had a different opinion from my own.
  • {manipulation} I wanted my way so I was willing to discount truth.
  • {deception} I was willing to risk the natural trust of our sons in their mother to gain a win.
  • {comparison} I wanted to be considered a successful mom because my children ate a well rounded diet.
  • {fear of man} I sought value in the eyes of other moms rather than finding my value in my Creator

What did these precious seeds teach me about God?

Lessons I have never forgotten.

  • God delights in truth.
  • God receives honest confession.
  • God is forgiving.
  • God allows natural consequences.
  • God is good and kind when I fail.
  • God speaks truth and wisdom through little children

The silver lining of a dark cloud.

The sting of conviction was only soothed by my recognition of God’s goodness exemplified through the words and actions of our two young sons. First, I realized that our young seeds understood what it meant to tell a lie. Second, I recognized that our sons felt comfortable enough in our relationship to confront me with the truth. And finally, my public humbling, my confession of sin, and remorseful apology gave me an opportunity to set an example of what it looks like to repent.

Perhaps by reading my funny story full of big lessons, you are reminded of a big fail. Possibly you have accepted the lie that a good end justifies the means. Maybe the temptation to compare is your biggest enemy. Possibly, you slipped into judgment just now.

May I pray for you?

Lord, Jesus, I thank you that moms, dads and children are Your good idea. And I thank You that You have designed family for community. Help us today as we are reminded that You delight in truth to confess our sin quickly to You and to those against whom we have sinned. Teach us to seek Your wisdom for solutions, and remind us through others that Your ways are not our ways. Lord, teach us to be humble receiving the wise counsel of the family of God even when we are not sure we agree. Rather remind us to take all wise counsel before Your word and allow Your Holy Spirit to sift our thoughts and our words.

Thank You, God, for Your steadfast love and abundant kindness to lead us to repentance. Thank You, for making up for our failures and thank You for restoring our relationships as we come in line with Your character.

We love you, Jesus, and we love our families. Therefore we entrust ourselves into Your hands for growth and service. Be glorified, Lord Jesus.


Eyes on Jesus and Shine,


Scripture references for wisdom and prayer:

Proverbs 11:2 When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
but with the humble is wisdom.

Philippians 2:3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

1 Corinthians 13:4-6 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.

Psalm 51:1-2 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!

Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!

Proverbs 1:8 Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching,

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He (God) is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

James 4:8 Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

Proverbs 27:5-6 Better is open rebuke than hidden love.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.