Ahaa Milestones and Noise.

I’ve decided that the level of noise in one’s house is directly related to the presence (or non-presence) of one or more family members. Duhhhh! Makes sense right? However, I have also decided that the noise level is the measure of happiness in one’s home, and if a voice is missing then a measure of happiness is missing too.

With the return of my missionary daughter home is almost back to its happiest…

It’s never really the way you think it will be.

After all the discussion I have had on here about what it could be like for a missionary to arrive home, I feared the worst. I envisioned my daughter scratching to get on the next flight back to her mission and rejecting her new life. But my fears were allayed when she tells me within minutes of stepping off the plane that it’s like she’s never been away. She slipped back into her place as if she had never left.

I found she and her sister lying on the bed yesterday talking and giggling about anything and everything – just like they used to. By that afternoon she was asking me about the books I had on my shelf, and was keen to get stuck into the ‘Great and Terrible’ series by Chris Stewart. As we sat as a family last night to Skype her sister and brother-in-law in another city, it was clear that she was comfortable quipping with all her siblings in such a way that you would never have believed she’d been away for 18 months. The only real indication of this absence was when I had to open the front door for her because she couldn’t remember the door code.

Ahaa Milestones

Noise levels aside, most notable in difference for me is the spirit that entered our home on Saturday morning. In walked the daughter I knew, but with her was a new sense of confidence and conviction. With friends and family around for breakfast, I sat silently watching and listening as this missionary daughter expressed her love for the work she had been involved in. Then later, as we sat in the Stake Presidents office, I witnessed the depth of her testimony. I have determined that our home is now inhabited by someone who might very well be wiser than both my husband and I combined…

I remember on many occasions, as a mother, I have noted milestones in my children’s lives. I’m not talking about the birthday milestones, or the baptism, ordination, or school milestones, but more what I term the ‘Ahaa Milestones’. You know, like the first time your child gives a talk at church, which they have prepared themselves, where they are able to teach you something you didn’t know. Or the times when they come out with some amazing truth in a conversation with you, and you wonder where they learnt that because you don’t remember ever teaching it to them. For me, these Ahaa Milestones are a marker in the spiritual lives of my children. They are indicators that the gospel principles we have taught in the home have become internalised in their lives.

Well, that’s exactly what I am feeling at the moment. Right now we are experiencing a major Ahaa Milestone. I see in my missionary daughter that sense of conviction as she has internalised the principles she has been teaching for the last 18 months. But what is most amazing to me is that it is not something that has changed her from who she fundamentally is, but it is something that has enhanced the core of who she is. She is still the daughter I know, but the light of the gospel has expanded her soul.

I know that there is a long way to go, but I feel confident that my missionary daughter is well prepared and equipped with the tools she needs to move forward with her life. Through small and simple steps she will be able to find the path she needs to be on.

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Sorting Feelings

As most of you know, my missionary daughter will be arriving home TOMORROW……….

The leap

She’s flying as I type…

Sorry, just had to take a moment to digest that statement…again.

I got up this morning and found an email message from the mission office with a farewell photo of her and a message on my FB page telling me she was on her way to the airport.

Of course I am soooo…excited. I have missed her absentmindedness (I’m sure she won’t mind me saying that), and I have missed the sound of her around the house (mostly not much sound as she was usually buried in a book somewhere). I miss her amazing smile, and all the times she said to me, “Oh, mum, don’t worry so much about it”. She is such a laid back kind of person…I miss her calming influence. I miss watching her with her sisters and brother, and how she almost always refused to enter into a quarrel or a fight (yes we have some of those in our house sometimes, don’ you?). I miss that she would often call me ‘mummy’, right up to the day she left on her mission. I miss her incredible dedication and commitment to any task she is given (most evident in her missionary service), but mostly I just miss having her around as part of the family….

So, I am really excited to have the old daughter back in just one day…with maybe some new parts to her as well. I know her mission has polished her, and I know she will come home so much more prepared for life, and have so much more to offer our family and her own down the track.

BUT….

There is a but…

There’s a lot about her being on her mission that I will miss too. As much as I want her here in our home again, there was just such a wonderful feeling when we received her emails each week. To read about all her investigators and the work she is involved in; actions not seen by us, but felt through her words. Sometimes we would receive photos from her and, altho’ we hadn’t been there, we were always able to make connections with them as she talked about the people she met, the miracles that occurred, and lessons learnt. I will also miss the blessings that came to us through her service; too personal to share here, but I will be eternally grateful for the sacrifice she has made that has affected our lives almost as much as hers.

So it is with mixed feelings that I approach her homecoming. Grateful to have her return with honor, but sad to know that this part of her life will soon be over.

Will I ever be able to sleep tonight?