Tonight our family gathered around the living room.
There was a different mood.
We can all feel it, and we know it's happening, Claire is leaving.
This afternoon the Nies (except Ollie, who was at work) drove with me to
Apex where we hit Walmart, Target, Compare Foods
(for Claire's Brazilian drink for her farewell dinner), and Trader Joe's.
I LOVE having them with me because we talk and laugh in the car
together and I always promise them Chick-Fil-La waffle fries and shakes.
I love hearing Lottie chat to Claire and Jane in the back.
She talks and talks and talks and they laugh and patiently listen.
Claire graciously let Gigs sit up front with me when we ALL know she should
be on shotgun because she'd the oldest.
It's just that I don't think Claire even cares.
Anyone else would, but Claire doesn't.
That's my Claire. Steady and level-headed.
She's amazing and my heart hurts thinking of her leaving.
Often tonight I'd catch myself looking at her legs, her hands, her short
hair (that she trimmed herself this morning!!), and her big brown eyes.
It's not like she's dying, but I feel like she's cutting the apron strings.
I'll see her in 16 short months. But it seems like eternity tonight.
I'll be able to talk to her on the phone and even video-chat!
What a blessing!
Tonight, after we returned from errand running, Christian and I took
Claire out to dinner at one of her favorites; Chopt.
We sat in the car and talked about her mission and what she could
plan and expect. We asked her what her fears and hopes are,
and we talked about the hard questions she will answer and explain
as a representative of Christ.
I hope God blesses her. It can't be easy to be a missionary these days.
They are confusing and hard. Evil is perceived as good and good is bad.
I have so many emotions I'm not sure what to do with them all.
So I just cry.
I go into my bedroom and cry, then go back into the dining room
and put on a brave face and back to business.
Life right now is hard, and to make it worse the owners
put up a For Sale sign on the front lawn of The White House.
I panicked and Christian comforted me with words of wisdom and strengthen.
Where are we going to go? Where will we leave?
I really DONT want to move again!!!
His words were very hopeful and I believe him when he says
we are going to be OK.
Before bed, our family decided we were going to read The Book of Mormon again.
We've just been following the D&C study plan but we feel
we need protection from The Book of Mormon,
so we plan to read it on Wednesday night, the night Claire leaves,
and finish it on her one-year mark next March. It's a good pattern for us.
Lottie asked us a question after we finished our scripture reading.
"How do I know if I'm hearing the spirit speak to me,
or if it's just a good feeling?"
Like a true missionary, Claire spoke up and answered
her question by sharing the scripture in
"...behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually;
wherefore, every thing which inviteth and entices to do good,
and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God."
Claire's advice to Lottie is when she has good feelings,
or anything that makes her happy, it's from the spirit.
Oliver shared his feelings with his motorcycle helmet on, which is so typical.
That just opened up the living room to all the
Nies who shared how they hear Him.
It was a perfect impromptu FHE lesson
that strengthened and enriched our family.
It's moments like that that bind us as a family.
My heart burst! I LOVE my family!!
I am so proud of them!
Lottie finished by saying,
"I think of you all like colors on my art palette. I'm going to
take some of each of your colors and mix them together to get the
best color because I love what you all said."
I was shocked at that wise 8-year-old analogy and wisdom.
We only have a few nights of saying goodnight to everyone
upstairs all TOGETHER.
My life is changing and I feel like I have no control of it.
I know it's good and I know God will bless Claire while
she is gone, and I hope He will bless us, too. We need it.
I need it.