When You Get Burned

Judge me if you must. I made a conscious decision to allow my son to get sun burned.

Some of you are likely as incensed about that as others are that I lathered known cancer causing agents on my other son from head to toe. From a spray bottle no less!

I am tired of fighting with my strong-willed child about every. single. thing.

And lately, he’s been calling my bluff. When I tell him he can’t do one thing or must do another, he simply says, “No, I don’t,” shrugs, and walks off.

And he is right.

Sorry Mamas, but it’s true.

Burned by Free Will

Our kids don’t have to do a single thing. Of course I want him to obey from a sense of love. I want him to be respectful and kind and pleasant. I can model appropriate behavior all day long (though admittedly I don’t always). I can tell him what he ought to do until I’m blue in the face. But I just can’t force him to be or do any of those things.

So rather than ruining a trip to the pool with a knock-down, drag-out fist-to-cuffs, I warned him of the dangers of sunburn and the increased likely hood of skin cancer from excessive unprotected sun exposure.

But I didn’t make him put any on.

I let him exercise his free will.

We went to the pool and had a delightful afternoon with a friend. Who’s children incidentally didn’t argue one bit about glopping on the goopy lotion before diving into the pool.

And he got burned.

Literally and figuratively.

He learned there are consequences for failing to do the right thing. He found out that his mama knows a thing or two. He discovered that exercising his free will could get him burned.

Exercising free will could get you burned. Click To Tweet

But Jesus…

I doctored him up with lots of fluids and slathered his tender skin with soothing aloe. I hope in my tender, caring touch he saw that I had only wanted to protect him from this pain. But, nevertheless, he had to deal with the consequences of his actions. It was perhaps a more powerful lesson than time out or letter writing or push ups or any other manufactured punishment could ever teach.

It broke this Mama’s heart, but the lesson was priceless.

How many times has God’s Word told me what to do and I have stomped my feet and put my hands on my hips and told my Heavenly Father I could do what I wanted. He gave me free will, right? And I’ve insisted repeatedly that I would exercise it. Sometimes I felt like I got away with something, but more often than not my defiance eventually catches up to me and I find myself in a MESS.

God wants us to do what He’s told us to because we love Him, not just because He said so. He wants us to obey because we trust that He really does know what’s best for us. He knows there are always consequences for our stiff-necked willfulness. Even when we don’t get burned, our disobedience creates painful and tender places in our relationship with Him.

But He is always faithful to help ease our pain, if we let Him. He provided us with the healing balm of Gilead.

Jesus is the salve that soothes our scorched souls.

Jesus is the salve that soothes our scorched souls. Click To Tweet

So, whatever you’re facing today – He is the answer. Whether it is the sting of past sin or the temptation to exercise free will or even your righteous judgment of my failed motherhood – Jesus’ love covers our sin and equips us to obey. 

“If you love me, obey my commands.”

John 14:23


For more encouragement please join the discussions on these fabulous blog link ups – Suzanne EllerThought Provoking Thursday, Susan B. Mead, Faith Filled Friday, Grace and TruthFaith and Fellowship FridayGrace and Truth Friday, Good Morning Monday, Soul SurvivalMonday Musings, Rah Rah Link Up, Tell His StoryWoman to Woman Wednesday, Women With Intention Wednesday, Sitting Among Friends, Word of God Speak, Testimony Tuesday.

27 thoughts on “When You Get Burned

  1. Tough lesson but one my kids have learned, too, when going to the beach with someone besides Mom… now they ask for sunscreen. They also recognize more often that momma loves them and is trying to protect them. Yes, they still argue, but when I ask them why I need them to obey, they reply, “Because you want us to have a good life.” Yes!! Nothing wrong with allowing them to suffer consequences and learn the hard way. When it’s hard on your momma-heart, but you allow it anyway, it just shows how much you love them. Great post. <3

    1. I know it… I’m a red head and have been scorched bad too many times to count. I pray he’ll know everything I ask him to do is for his benefit.

  2. Liz, I had a similar experience with one of my sons when he was 13, but his was a movie and not sunscreen. He had the same “I know better attitude”, so I let him choose. There were times when I put my foot down and then there were times for practicing for the real world. This was one of those times. He wanted to watch a PG-13 movie with a friend. I had a serious Holy Spirit check on the movie for him. It may have been fine for others, but I knew for him it wouldn’t be a good choice. He chose to go anyway, and admitted a few days later that it had caused some anguish in his soul. We prayed, we rebuked, and asked God to cover him. Like your situation, it became a great time of bonding and realizing that mom has some wisdom in things. I think it’s so important, especially for boys, to learn to start making good decisions while they are in our care. Great job, Momma Liz! I’m sure he’ll be telling this lesson to his kids one day!!

  3. Hi Liz,
    Some of life ‘s lessons are best learned the hard way. I commend you for your fortitude and your compassion toward your son. We will either learn from our uncomfortable lessons or we grow bitter. You are a blessing to your family.
    Patricia

  4. Liz, I have a strong-willed darling too. Sometimes, the most effective lessons are learned when we let natural consequences take over. Though I am sorry your guy had to deal with the sunburn. As I read your words, I was reminded that God’s commands, His words to us are motivated by His great love for us. As I grow in my relationship with Him, I’m learning to exercise my free will to say no less, and to yes more. But, I’m still a work in progress. 🙂 Great post!

    Thanks for visiting my blog today!

  5. Yup. So not fun to let lessons be learned the hard way. I can’t recall the exact quote, but I’ve heard it wisely said before that if children are shielded from all the consequences of their choices, they will grow up to be suddenly shocked by the consequences life does not withhold. I think Solomon, in writing down all his wisdom, made this point repeatedly, warning others. Thanks for sharing this wisdom, Liz! Hope your son heals and learns this quickly and that you can take comfort in seeing Him grow in the Lord!

  6. Hi Liz! So happy to be your neighbor today at #sittingamongfriends I just finished reading at the end of Deuteronomy this morning how Moses was warning if we obey, we will do well and be blessed… your post falls right in line. I have to say the biggest struggle as parents is learning to pick our battles and let them make bad choices– God sure does the same for us! And I know I haven’t always chosen well. Here’s to a quick recovery for your sweet son and some lavished grace from his mama and heavenly Father. ♥

  7. Sunburned yet what a lesson. Powerful.

    and this?!
    How many times has God’s Word told me what to do and I have stomped my feet and put my hands on my hips and told my Heavenly Father I could do what I wanted.
    Yea, guilty as charged…

    Thank God sunburn is temporary and we aren’t burning in Hades, right?

  8. Hello Liz,

    I have seen your comment at “Faith Spilling Over” blog of Betsy. We all love our father Jesus so we should obey his commands. I have learnt a great lesson through this post. I will pray for you and your family’s good health.

    ~Dr. Diana Hardy

    1. Thanks for visiting, Dr. Diana Hardy! 🙂 My son recovered well and quickly from his painful little lesson. Thank you for your prayers!

  9. I don’t think that will happen again! 🙂

    When looking at our relationship with our Heavenly Father, it’s so easy to see the connection. Even tho we can’t see it, He does know best.

    I enjoyed reading! Much Love and Hugs!

  10. Some kids just have to learn the hard way. I have one of those too!! I hope your son won’t fight you next time. but unfortunately, for a lot of grow-ups we don’t learn so easily… and sometimes it take more than one incident of being burned (not talking about the literal way) to get the message, right?
    I love your analogy of Jesus soothing our pains . wonderful! thanks!

  11. It is hard when our kids have to learn their own lesson, hey? But it is a part of life. So many parents hover and never let anything happen to their kids…this can be dangerous. We aren’t supposed to raise perfect kids. We can’t. We are to teach our kids what to do when they have made a mistake, and that is run to Jesus for forgiveness…and let mommy help out! The fact that you tenderly cared for your son afterward displayed the love of Christ. He doesn’t hold our mistakes over our heads. He takes us in His arms, soothes our brokenness, brings healing and redemption!
    Thanks for sharing on Grace and Truth.

  12. Thanks for sharing this. I’ve learned a major parenting lesson from this, which I hope to put into practice. Also, I’ve learned not to argue with God. He knows best and wants the best for me. But, my free will always gets in the way. Until I learn my lessons the hard way.

    1. Oh, dear! It can be so hard not to argue with God! But He does know best and is able to take even our worst mistakes and turn them around for His good purposes!

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