Goodbye, SpiderMan.

In years past John Lee has eagerly performed for the camera, fully expecting any picture or video to be uploaded to social media. But these days, as soon as he sees me pull my phone out, he either runs out of the room or puts his hands over his face, as if I were paparazzi. Like any normal parent would do, I have shamelessly begun resorting to bribery. Last week I promised him a trip to Toys R Us if he would let me video him singing “Let It Go,” and it worked. He let me capture one verse of the song, and in return, he got a new video game for his Wii. I guess that might sound a little over the top for such a small favor, but I’ll post a video of him singing on here later and let you be the judge. If you don’t think he’s the cutest thing ever, well…you’re just wrong.

We walked in Toys R Us hand in hand, but after immediately seeing the huge display of Legos and characters from The Lego Movie right as you cross the threshold, John Lee charged ahead to check it all out.

“Do you want some of these Legos, buddy?”

“No-I don’t wanna build anything. I do NOT like to build stuff.”

“Hm. Okay. Well, let’s keep looking, then.”

“And NO SpiderMan stuff, either. I’m just tired of SpiderMan.”

“HUH?! You don’t want SpiderMan stuff anymore?” My heart sank.

“Nope! I’m all done with SpiderMan now!”

“John Lee, when did that happen? You’ve always loved SpiderMan.”

“I don’t know. I just don’t really like him anymore.”

It took me a good 10 minutes to digest that conversation. John Lee has had an obsession with all things SpiderMan since he was 3–maybe even 2 years old. I never understood why he liked that particular superhero so much, but regardless, it made gift buying a cinch. Anything–clothes, blankets, toys–with blue, red, spiders, & webs on it was sure to be a hit with him. To now hear him say that he was basically over SpiderMan was inconprehensible. When did that even happen? I was overcome with a wave of sadness, as if he had just told me not to hold his hand anymore. The “My baby is growing up” reality had just bitten me pretty hard. For him to be over SpiderMan means no more SpiderMans for me to buy. Ever. Or at least until I have grandchildren. What if he never likes any other superhero ever again? Aren’t we gonna give BatMan a shot at being in the spotlight? Are we officially in the video game era already? There we were, treading all over the most overwhelming toy superstore ever, and me looking longingly at the toys he either used to play with or those he was happy to pass up for a video game. I felt like my whole life as a mother was flashing before my eyes. I saw the Thomas The Tank Engine section, where Noah would’ve been hanging out the entire time had I been there with him. I saw the Barney the Dinosaur section, where Ivey would’ve found 10 things she’d want to take home with her. Emma never watched much television, but she loved baby dolls, and seeing that huge display with the countless baby accessories would’ve made her light up like a Christmas tree. All of the Dora the Explorer toys would’ve made it impossible for Abby to pick just one. And now I’ll be looking at the SpiderMan displays, remembering how John Lee could never get enough of him. Ugh. This growing up thing really stinks.

In about a week our family will take it’s 12th annual trip to Disney World for Spring Break. It hit me just the other day that John Lee is now the age Noah was the first time we went there. Noah, an adorable little kindergartener who wore his Heely’s all over the parks at that age, is now a giant 6’1 16-year old. Those years have passed by me so quickly, and I now know that from now until John Lee turns 16 will pass by even more so. And while it is such a joy to see all of my children grow, mature, and become the precious people that they all are, there is a huge part of me that wants time to stand still for just a little while. Just a day. Maybe 2 days. Long enough to let me fully take in every single detail of their lives at this moment. Long enough to absorb the full joy of being their mother right now. Long enough to feel every ounce of love for them my human heart holds. But as God tells us in Hosea 6:3, you can be sure the sun will rise. Tomorrow will come, and I’m powerless to stop it. My kids are going to grow up, and I’m powerless to stop it. SpiderMan is going to get old, and I’m powerless to stop it. It can all be painful to think about. But I take comfort in something else that I am powerless to stop: God’s eternal love for me. And on a lesser, human scale, my love for my children belongs in the same category. Through every single phase of their lives, it is one thing that will never, ever change.

“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Eph. 3:17-19.

 

 

John Lee sings a song off if one of his favorite iPad games. :) from Missi Wimberly on Vimeo.

 

 

 

 

 

Choosing Sides

“He who tells his story first makes people think he is right, until the other comes to test him.” Proverbs 18:17

I love my children more than life itself, but when they fight and argue with each other, I want to stick a giant fork in my eye. I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve shot daggers with my eyes and said, “Don’t. Say. Another. Word,” or threatened them within an inch of their lives if they continued to be ugly to one another. I’ve been confronted with all forms of tattling: “Mom, Abby won’t share!” or  “Emma’s being mean!” or “Ivey won’t leave me alone!” or “Noah just flicked me on the head!” or “John Lee is being annoying!” The girls especially can get pretty feisty, and it’s not at all uncommon for any one of them to shove, swat at, or kick each other. Lee and I both have a no-tolerance policy on hitting, so whenever I become aware of such behavior, it warrants a swift reprimand. The W5 know that if they get called out for that, it’s big trouble, and because of that, they blame each other for their behavior. I prepare myself for all of the tears, explanations, and promises to never do whatever it is again.

I do make real efforts to understand each child and see things from their perspective. It doesn’t excuse bad behavior, but it does help me relate to them a little better. Of course, there are times when my efforts aren’t quite enough, and if emotions are high, I jump to a wrong conclusion. If Abby comes to me in tears to tell me that Emma pushed her, that usually makes me so mad that I immediately take Emma’s phone away and send her to her room. Reactionary moments like that-and there are more than I care to admit-clearly prevent me from hearing the other side of the story. It’s after one kid has been punished that I learn what happened to elicit a push from the other. And not surprisingly, I often end up concluding that I would’ve done the same thing!

These are some of the minor challenges of parenting, but I think they represent a tendency we all have to take sides. We watch these huge murder trials on CNN and decide who’s guilty and who’s innocent just by reading the ticker at the bottom of the screen. We listen to our friends complain about their spouses and conclude that he/she married a total jerk. Our children tell us about their “mean” teacher and we agree, based on their stories, that she must be.  Even among families, the in-law is ALWAYS to blame. Our fellow football fan friends tell us how obnoxious the other team’s fans were, and because we cheer for the same team, we wholeheartedly agree. When we allow our emotions to enter into the picture, it’s dangerously easy to let them sway our thinking and make our decisions. As I have gotten older, I’ve tried harder to remember that there really are two sides to every story. I’ve also decided that if I make a judgement too soon, it can make me look downright foolish. There’s a lot to be said for being open and thoughtful. When our loved ones talk to us about their issues with other people, we can be supportive yet mindful of another point of view. Sometimes, it’s not easy to be objective. But if we keep our minds open to some degree, it’s at least possible. The truth is, the more thought we give to any particular situation, the better.

I’m so thankful for Jesus and for the perfect example he sets for each of us.  He didn’t come to take sides; He only came to draw us to His side. He so loved the world, including His own enemies and the vilest of sinners. I’m so glad that He is for us-not against us! God sent Jesus to show us that He is on our side! So when we see others through the lens of Jesus’ love, we are less prone to judge. He helps us to become better listeners. He increases our capacity to understand the big picture. He enables us to make better decisions. In our humanity, we are hasty to judge and condemn. Let’s make it our sincere prayer to love others as Jesus does. He has offered grace to all of us so freely. We overstep our bounds when we conclude that some are more worthy of it than others. So the next time we’re tempted to choose a side, let’s resolve to first take His.

 

 

 

I’m a Blogger!

For the most part, Facebook was really fun for me. I loved reconnecting with people from my past who I thought I’d never see again. I loved the accessibility of them, too–they’re all right there, friends from my childhood to now, all over the world, compiled into a single website. It’s really awesome, honestly. I think it’s fair to say that Facebook changed my life, and maybe many of our lives, when it came to be.  For the first few years, I felt like I was at my high school reunion every day. Seeing how people had changed, if they were married or not, if they had kids or not, what they were doing for a living–that was so, so much fun for me. Because I was a stay at home mom and had been for the past 11 years, so many of my social needs were being met through that venue. And it was so convenient. As time went on, however, and people became more comfortable with posting status updates, negativity was gradually introduced. Griping, complaining, passive aggression, & vulgarity were becoming more and more common. Then the drama started. Folks were slamming their exes, insulting their friends, fighting with their families–and all of it was on full display for the Facebook world. One time I read (with a dropped jaw) an entire back and forth between a mom and her daughter-in-law. I didn’t know any of those people in the conversation, and yet I was learning all about Lola’s hurt feelings, and her daughter-in-law’s selfish, inconsiderate ways. And finally, there’s the gossip factor. The HUGE gossip factor. I could write many paragraphs about my experiences with this issue, but won’t. I’ll just say that, more than once, I’ve been approached by a person who isn’t on Facebook who had heard about a recent post of mine, and was offended by it. Are.You.Kidding.Me. Y’all, never underestimate people’s capacity and willingness to gossip. They do, and they do it a lot. It’s a very real thing.

Since this past summer, I have felt like maybe the Lord was nudging me to stay off of social media. At one point, I’d made a declaration to only my husband that I was going to deactivate every account I had. I wanted to take myself out of any kind of spotlight and focus my entire attention on my family and on people this side of the computer screen. But not even a day later, I said, “No, that’s too drastic. Half the world is on Facebook these days. You pretty much need to be on it if you want to stay in the loop–whatever the loop may be.” So I decided I would only get on these sites occasionally, and cut way back on my postings. I did for a while, but, as social media does, it sucked me in further and further, and before I knew it, I was back to being on it the majority of the day. The thing is, when you’re on Facebook that much, you begin to notice every little thing, including the people who you no longer hear much from anymore. When those folks would spring to mind, I’d go check their profiles and discover that at some point he/she (mostly she) had unfriended me. And that’s when the downward spiral would begin. I’d rack my brain for hours trying to think of anything I might have said or done that was hurtful enough to be unfriended. Then I would decide that he/she (mostly she) must not like me and never did. Then I would conclude that I’m a terrible person, and agree that he/she (mostly she) was probably justified in unfriending me. And then I would tell Lee about it, only so he could try to comfort me by saying, “Missi, you can’t put that much weight into what happens on social media. You have no idea what their motives are, or even if they meant to unfriend you.”

And that is where the problem is for me. I actually DO put a lot of weight into the goings on in Facebook world. Too much. Waaaay too much. It was clearly wearing me down, stressing me out, and making me feel like a loser. I was also feeling guilty for the amount of time I was spending on it. It was no longer fun, and instead a source of self-condemnation.  So as of last week, I decided that I’m through with it. At least for the time being. At least until God straightens me out a little bit. I felt as if His Spirit were saying to me, “All you have to do is log off. So do it.” And as easy and straightforward as that sounds, it wasn’t. It still feels like I’ve severed an artery or something. But here’s what I think about when I begin to question my decision: “I did not deal with this kind of stuff before Facebook, and I don’t have to deal with it today just because FB exists.” The enemy will use anything and everything he can to accomplish his goal to make us miserable and destroy our lives. I really believe he was using Facebook to do just that. He wants to get us where we’re vulnerable. I’m a pleaser and want people to like me, so Facebook was the perfect place for him to make me feel hated. It sounds kind of dramatic and far-fetched, and yet, I’m all too aware of how many of my days were completely ruined because of social media.

So here I am now, a blogger! I’m so excited about writing here-I just about can’t stand it. I love to express myself through writing and always have, and this is a perfect place to do just that. It fulfills that need without subjecting me to a bunch of other junk. I have very little experience with blogging, so this will definitely be a journey of trial and error for me, and for Lee, too. My sweet and super-smart husband made this website just for me, and is still constructing it. We’re trying to figure out an easier way to post more pictures and videos–in time it will hopefully have a lot more on it. I never in a million years thought I’d hear myself say, “HTML is so complicated!” It thrills and humbles me that anyone would care to read a blog of mine, and so I very much want it to be worth their/your time! I pray it brings smiles, encouragement, laughs, ideas, inspiration, or all of the above. Most importantly, I pray my words point readers to Jesus, and that I’d never post anything that would point away from Him. He has been so gracious to me, and I very much want to represent Him well. Not everything I write will be this long, by the way, so don’t judge by blog #1–this is just the intro!

Thank you so much for checking this out-I hope you’ll stick around! Please feel free to comment or subscribe–I will respond! :)

Love and blessings,

Missi

 

“Am I now trying to gain the approval of people, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ!” Galatians 1:10.

 

from my heart