We were at a friend's house and sparklers were passed around to all of the kids. Many of us adults were sitting several yards away on the porch just chatting and enjoying our food.
My mother in law was holding our new baby Caroline, yet amazingly enough, still watching over our older kids with sparklers better than I was hands free. She said, "Alice, you better go and check on Bella. I think something is wrong."
I sauntered over only to discover Bella with one shoe off sitting on the ground holding her big toe apart from the one right next to it. As long as I live, the smell of her burning flesh will never leave me. A remnant of her sparkler had fallen into the hole of her croc. and melted away her flesh. A few days later, when I was worried infection might be spreading, I wasn't surprised when the doctor told me that she had third degree burns.
And for inquiring minds, we were prescribed some good burn ointment and figured out how to wedge gauze between the toes so that the air could get to the wound and she is now as good as new.
Back to the story. Finding Bella suffering from this burn was very disheartening to me. I was so upset that I hadn't noticed her jump around in pain. I was saddened the she didn't cry out for help. I was compassioned that she was sitting in a state of shock and doing a mighty fine job of "being tough". The girl didn't even cry until I told her it was o.k.
The next day, on our way to church, I was expressing my feelings to LG. "Why didn't she scream?", I lamented. I felt horrible that somehow I had taught my child to be too tough and that for some reason I had not given her permission to hurt or to scream out for help when she needed it the most.
A little further down the road to church, it struck me like a ton of bricks. I could not hold back my emotion. I sat silently as tears streamed down my face. I had experienced for my child what God must experience so often for all of his children. I am sure at times he also laments, "Why don't they scream?"
Because of the feelings I experienced while pondering upon Bella, I know that God, our Father, is there to help us. He doesn't want us to suffer alone. He is a perfect God, and unlike this sometimes oblivious mother, he notices every time we get burned. We may not approach him because we think it is hopeless or that we aren't worthy of his love. (Just as Bella never screamed out because maybe she thought she would be in trouble) But, as his children, we are always worthy of his love. He cannot stop loving us no matter how badly we have acted. Sometimes we may even think we did something wrong when really we haven't. Sometimes maybe somebody else handed us a sparkler and we took it without realizing what damage it could do.
We may not seek his help because we think we are tough and that we can handle it, which may very well be true. But, why do we insist on doing it alone when he is watching over us so diligently? He is the ultimate water source. He is like the soothing jacuzzi pictured above. And when we fail to seek him, it's as if we choose the pathetic path of spitting upon our own wounds, when he can pour out the most refreshing waterfall. Need I remind you that his waterfall is naturally flowing all of the time and is there whether we tap into it or not.
Bella was being tough; she didn't think that she needed my help. Without totally realizing the severity of the burns at the time, I grabbed Bella by the hand and walked over to a water source. I kick myself now when I think that I made her limp over and I didn't pick her up and carry her to safety.
God is perfect. He can pick us up. He will let us limp only if it is absolutley necessary for us to learn something. Otherwise he will always carry us to safety. I know this to be true.
I hope that I will never error again by being too tough for God. Because after this experience, I have learned that when I am too tough, he has to sit back and watch me suffer, and that is the last thing he wants to do. I know it. I know it because I would take a million burns over my own body, until my death if necesssary, than to ever smell the burning flesh of my own child ever again. Or if she absolutely has to experience that burn, I at LEAST want to hold her up while she does.
Jeremiah 31:3 "...I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore
with lovingkindness have I drawn thee."