Look At Me! Or Don't.

I hate it when I can't sleep.

There are some nights that sleep doesn't come because I've napped too long the day before or I drank too much coffee, but then there are other nights that sleep evades me because I'm being thinky.

And if I'm being thinky about something, the something is probably not good.

So goes last night.

I was being thinky.  And praying a lot. 

Because I'm realizing that vanity has not only taken root, but is sprouting buds of flowers that are not pretty. Not pretty at all.

Here's where the saying "Confession is good for the soul," might come into play.  I don't know if it will be good or not, but I'm feeling compelled to continue.  So continue we shall.....

I'm a very vain person.

Not vain in the Must.Be.Put.Together.Every.Second.Of.The.Day. kinda way, because goodness knows I have no trouble tromping through Walmart's rush-hour traffic sporting greasy hair, yesterday's clothes, and a freshly popped pimple on my chin. 

BUT.  I am vain in the Look.At.Me./Look.At.My.Family./We.Have.It.All.Together. kinda way. 

Odd for one who will quickly point out to you that my house is never clean and that my children only eat processed, highly over-antibioticated, very un-organic food?  Um...yes.  I'm the first to see the irony.

But what I want you to believe, and where the root of all my vanity stems, is that I'm so comfortable in my own skin and the way our family rolls, I really want people to want to be like us.  Weird?  Yes.  Twisted?  Absolutely.  Should I seek therapy?  Sign me up.

Because you know what?  It sucks.

Because I've noticed myself having more and more thoughts about what people think, and I can see that if I don't let the Father check me (and fast!), I could begin to spiral headfirst into a place I'm pretty surely positive I don't want to go.

Here are two things that have been creeping around and rearing their ugly heads:

1)  Most of you are aware of Sawyer's neck injury that took place about a month or so ago.  (If not, you can you read briefly about it here.)  You may also recall that the orders from the doctor state "No Sports. Ever." but that he did go on to leave that to the discretion of Kirk and I as his parents. 

Well, we made the decision to go on and allow him to play baseball and other low-impact/contact sports right now, and just monitor as the years progress.  Because we felt/still feel like living in fear or anticipation of bad things to come is no way to live.  That a kid should be allowed to be a kid.  Doesn't mean that we're going to be knowingly foolish in our choices for him and sign him up for motocross racing or tackle football, but we are not going to chain him to the couch for the rest of his life either. 

Sounds very wise on our part, doesn't it?
We're very brave, aren't we?
You wish you could be that trusting of Jesus to protect your baby?

What if I told you that a huge part of me fought for Sawyer to be able to play sports because I like being a sports' mom?  That I love being the mother of the kid that people brag about at the baseball field?  That part of my thoughts in the doctor's office that day drifted to Oh no. But Sawyer is good. We HAVE to play baseball.  That I adore hearing new people sitting behind me in the bleachers say, "Whoa, who's that red-headed kid?!" 

Vanity can take your mind to ugly places.  Places that aren't so much about coiffed hair and tan legs, but places that stroke the ego.  And it ain't pretty.

2)  Summer's fast approaching, and we've busted out the shorts at our house.  And as much as I adore summer and bare legs and flip flops, I also despise seeing fall and winter fall by the wayside. 

Because it means that Keaton starts wearing shorts again.

(Keaton has a skin-disorder that you can read about here.)

And people are already starting to stare.  And look.  And wonder.  And it makes Keaton squirm.  And it makes me squirm, too.

Yes, because he's squirming, but also because I don't want my kid to have an imperfection.  I don't want people to think that something is wrong with US. 

I hate that I debate now about whether he should wear jeans or shorts somewhere, and that most of the time it depends on who will be there to see us.  I hate that I'm happy that his baseball uniform covers his legs so that it's not an issue, but that I despised soccer and basketball season because his legs were showing.

I mean, really?  This is the kind of mom that I am?  That I spend more time worrying about who's looking at his legs during a family outing than just enjoying the family?


But it's how it's going with me right now.  And I'm taking it to our Precious Jesus and asking Him to deliver me.  But I know it won't be overnight.  It'll be a process that could potentially last my entire life.  A process that will require constant plucking and pruning, and that will probably hurt.  A lot.

So I just ask that you pray for me if I come to your mind.  Because in all of my The.Same.Load.of.Laundry.Is.Going.On.Four.Days.In.The.Washer.But.I.Don't.Care.To.Tell.You.All.About.It. glory, my heart is really a tangle of emotions and thoughts that I constantly have to battle.

Vanity isn't pretty.
No matter how you look at it.

***I understand that this post probably has offended many of you.  It is inconceivable for some of you to ever understand how a mother's heart could feel this way towards her children.  Please let me assure you that my babies are my passion.  I love them UNCONDITIONALLY.  I love Sawyer whether he ever lifts a baseball bat again, and I love Keaton regardless of those spots.  This post is just an expression of my heart's journey. 

Because being human sucks.  And I'm very good at being human.


Emily said...

I'm not offended at all, friend. When you told us about how Sawyer might not be able to play sports, one of my first thoughts was, "Oh, that will be so hard for a family that loves sports so much! Especially with two brothers that will still be able to."

I think this whole bloggy thing makes it easy to get wrapped up in how other people view us and our families. We can edit what people see and skew it in our favor.

I think most of us can identify with what you're talking about Amber!

Mich said...

Don't be too hard on yourself...

Taking Sawyer out of all sports would be like a death sentence. He loves to play and couldn't sit still if his life depended on it.

As for Keaton, I have noticed that it is a more common problem then we ever thought. I see others with it all the time. I think you and he worry about it more than others do. Of course I have been there, where my imperfections caused people to stare. Not fun at all, but it certainly built character and strength.

I love you. I know how much you love your kiddos. Give yourself a break and rest tonight.

Helen said...

I wasn't offended. I think most parents will admit to those thoughts to themselves but are not brave enough to admit it out loud to others.

You have made me be "thinky" today about this--thank you.

Helen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lisa@littlesliceoflife said...

Oh honey, if anyone was offended by this post then they probably need to examine their heart.

I love you and your family, spots and all!

mer@lifeat7000feet said...

No offense taken here...none at all.

I love and appreciate your honesty. And your courage in sharing hard things.

Angie said...

You're a wonderful mom. We'll pray for each other!! Shelby also has the 'spots'. And Madison is in speech therapy. Why is it so easy for our sense of self-worth to be contingent upon how perfect our kids are?
Haven't met a loving mother yet who didn't do this to some degree and it says a lot about you're character that it bothers you at all!
You've laid it at His feet! He will work His will in you!
Sweet dreams tonight, Cuz.
Love you!

Alison said...

Amber, you're a great mom! Everyone has imperfections, and anyone who was offended and verbalized it needs to look at the verse (I think it's in Matthew) about taking the log out of their own eye before judging someone else.

I don't think it's a pretty sight inside any of our minds. It's jealous, greedy, judgemental, sinful stuff in there, and that's exactly why we need Jesus...and exactly why He came to save us...to save you. :) Cheer up!

Melissa said...

I can see why Tiff loves you so much. I love a girl who's real and why not tell everyone else what you're thinking when the one who really matters already knows it all. Ok, that was very wordy and maybe didn't make that much sense. Just wanted to say, to some degree we all want to look like we have it together. No one enjoys the judgement of others. I, also am very good at being human(in fact I almost deleted this comment because I thought, "oh she'll think this is stupid") and am so thankful that the Father sent His Son, God in HUMAN form to save us from the sin of humanity. Hang in there:)

Jim said...

This is your Dad saying, "come here, my girl, and put your head on my shoulder, and be at rest."

I can't tell you in words how really proud of you - and your sis, too - I am, for the way you are so transparent and real in a world that IS NOT!

I hope my latest blog on "the anchor" helps a bit. The Lord really blessed me in my sharing of it in a message this week in Little Rock to a whole bunch of retired Christian workers.

Give your family an extra hug from me today.

Love you,
Your Jim-Dad

theelizabethhighsmith said...

i've officially been jim-dad-ed. what sweet words he had. and i too am 150% human, i love your honesty.

Mandy said...

Praying for peace for your Momma's heart.

Marla Taviano said...

Totally get this, friend. Thanks for being honest. I'll pray for your heart if you'll pray for mine. Love you!

Gretchen said...

Sweet Friend, thank you for being so honest and transparent. You put to words the emotions and feelings that most of have, but are unwilling to {too proud to} admit.

Praying for you. And thanking Jesus for you!!!

Nina Diane said...

oh Amber...I'm not offended at all. And really I know where you are coming from on both fronts. First, my middle daughter did competitive cheering...and she was good. Good like in other all star gyms wanted her! She was a flyer, you know, the one they throw up in the air. And over time because of a condition in her ankles, she basically ruined her ankles. but half way through the years of cheering she was warned by a dr. to give it up. And she flat out said NO...and we stood by her. And partly I felt the same way you did. And it didn't end pretty BUT...she did what she loved doing and even though she still has problems now and many surgeries, she says she would never have changed a thing.
and on the 2nd item....I hate it that people stare at my precious Maddox...for he is delayed and he doesn't talk. And at 4 yrs old, he still struggles with balance and walks very straight legged. So I know how your heart feels.
On a good note.....I FINALLY mailed your package!! and the lady @ Fed Ex commented that she had never heard of your home town...she actually commented twice about it...haha
hugs and love....

Kay @ Off the Beaten Path said...

Oh Amber, I am not offended. I am encouraged and convicted. I have had many of those same feelings. My daughter has a little bump on her neck that she was born with. It's right where everyone can see it and it will always be there. It's also in such a place, that I'm not sure I'd ever trust a plastic surgeon or anyone else to remove it. My absolutely gorgeous 16-year-old daughter has had to learn to live with this and does so splendidly. I, on the other hand, still have days when I look at her and think, "If only she didn't have that thing on her neck..." What a wretched thought. I guess we all want our children to be perfect, and yes, sometimes we even long for them to be perfect reflections of us. But God longs for them to be perfect reflections of Him and the two can't co-exist.

I identify, sweet mama. You hang in there and I'll pray for both of us today.

Becca said...

Thank you for being vulnerable and honest and real! :-) I loved this post, even if it was hard for you to write!

Ali said...

Brilliant post. God is absolutely using your words to say to me, "you, too, need to consider your motivations the next time you post those pictures of your kids being perfect on your blog," or "you, too, need to consider your motivations the next time you dress your son one way to be with his grandparents who live on a farm and a different way to be with his grandparents who live in the suburbs."

Thank you so much for your transparency. You are a brave soul.

Jennifer Hanson said...

Thank you so much for your candidness. As a everything-has-to-be-perfect kinda of person myself, this was very encouraging/convicting for me to hear.

Jen said...


I found your blog through Marla's and...oh.my.word.

I adore you. I thought *I* was the only one that felt the way I do sometimes. I sat at baseball tryouts with my boys and was a nervous wreck because I wanted them to be good. No, I wanted them to bet better. And I have felt guilty about it for weeks.

But I could go on. And on. There is so much to say.

Right now all I can say is "thank you" -- for your honesty and your transparency. Honestly, I think God sent me to read this because He's been trying to work on this issue with me and I've been too freaking guilty to even talk about it.

Kellie said...

The only offense I have is that I resemble that post! And its hard to look at!

Girl, I had to ask for forgiveness when I off-handedly told my daughter to go brush her hair "Cuz it looked like a homeschooler did it."


Carrie said...

We all feel this way at times - I am a real people-pleaser, too, always thinking things like, "Ooh, I wish someone would hear how patiently I'm responding to my tantrum-ing toddler right now", etc. You're right - we're all human!

Cathy said...

We would all be lying if we said we didn't struggle with these feelings in our own lives, in our own situations within our families.

I know your heart. Appreciate it's honesty. And understand it's journey. Jesus does too. And He's the faithful Tender of it.

whimzie said...

Oh how I love the real deal. I'm offended by fake and pretense, not people being honest.

whimzie said...

Oh how I love the real deal. I'm offended by fake and pretense, not people being honest.

Mary @ Simple Things said...

Thank you so much for being real and honest. I've had to give up reading some blogs because the women literally make me feel so bad about myself. They are so perfect and I am so inferior. It takes a lot to admit things about yourself that you don't like. This post has also convicted like nothing I've read for a long while. I'm so guilty of wanting others to look at my son like he is something special. I want them to look at his as the best scout, best drummer, best student, etc. I want them to think that I'm some kind of super mom because I can work all day and also be involved in all his activities. They don't need to know that my laundry is piled up, there are dirty dishes on the counters or the bills haven't been paid. Just as long as they are using my boy as an example for theirs, I'm happy. Vanity has definitely taken root and I think its vines are choking me. Thanks for sharing your heart.