We’re doing things a little bit differently today, and I hope you’ll hang in here with us. I think it will be worth it. Each year, Kim Hyland hosts a beautiful retreat in a beautiful retreat center in Pennsylvania. The retreat is called Winsome, and last year, I was a keynote speaker, along with my friends Holley Gerth and her daughter, Lovelle. This year, I’m returning to speak again. Last year, Kim and I shared a beautiful experience. It linked us with our moms and it deepened our friendship. Today, we’re telling the story together, and now I’ll stop talking about it and just let you read it.
Mom’s bike sat there in the garage, virtually untouched. Every time we’d visit, I glared at it. It taunted me, a reminder of difficult days.
Love is a battlefield.
KIM: Mom and Dad’s marriage had known those battlefields. They fought hard and were victorious in the end. Their love won.
But that bike. It was like a scar. Mom had bought it while she and Dad were separated. It was hard for me to accept the image of her bike riding down the beach boardwalk while all our hearts had sat at home, broken.
They reunited long ago, and God did a ton of healing. But scars have a way of making old wounds ache.
After mom passed away last fall, I didn’t know what to think about the bike. In the weeks after her death, I read that when someone dies you are given the gift of their entire life. Your relationship is no longer confined to what’s right in front of you and a few select memories. Instead, you have their whole life, and the present and the past begin to level out until they have equal ground. Childhood memories merge with those of adulthood into one big box of memories, both good and bad.
Gradually, my perception of Mom’s purple bike began to change, and the image of her riding it took on new meaning. My heart began to smile at the thought.
When I started planning Winsome, the annual retreat I host, I wanted Mom’s bike to be there in her absence. I even bought it a new outfit! Buckling on the wicker basket and filling it with flowers, mom’s purple bike perfectly evoked the message of the retreat: “Come away!”
DEIDRA: When Kim invited me to be a keynote speaker at Winsome, my immediate response was, “YES!” Anyone who knows Kim can attest to her grace and deeply abiding kindness toward others. She is rich in faith and she does what she does with excellence.
Winsome is held in Pennsylvania, just about six hours from where my parents live, in Virginia. So, I invited my mom, my daughter, and my sister to join me for the weekend. All weekend, my mother marveled at the purple bike with the basket of flowers on the handlebars. “Isn’t it the cutest?!?!” my mom exclaimed, over and over again. Finally, at the very end of the weekend, I realized, “I think my mom is dropping hints about that bike!”
Just a few months after Winsome, my mom would be celebrating her 75th birthday. Once I arrived back home in Nebraska, I texted my sister to see if she’d be willing to invest in a bike for our mom, like the one we’d seen at Winsome. My sister enthusiastically agreed, and I decided I’d begin my search by asking Kim where they’d found the bike that had once belonged to Kim’s mom.
KIM: A few weeks after Winsome, Deidra messaged me asking where her mom could get a bike like that, and I immediately knew! I’d have to get my dad’s okay, but it already felt like mom’s bike had found a new home.
Dad liked the idea. Understandably, Mom’s things are very sentimental to him and it brings him joy and comfort when he knows they’ve gone to someone who will appreciate them.
DEIDRA: Kim responded right away, telling us about the bike and I looked up that brand on the Internet. Unfortunately, however, it was much too expensive for my sister and I to purchase. So, I let go of the idea of giving my mom that bike for her birthday. I never imagined we’d be able to give my mom the actual bike she’d admired so much at Winsome.
I had no idea the story was far from finished.
So, when Kim contacted me to say her dad was willing to sell us the bike we’d seen at Winsome, I was thrilled! I contacted my sister and we secretly arranged to purchase the bike and present it to our mom for her birthday. It was the perfect gift, and not only for my mom, but for so many of us involved in the story.
KIM: When Deidra sent me the video of her mom (<—–please click that link!) coming down the street on her new purple bike, the smile that started in my heart found i’s way to my face. I laughed out loud.
It’s just a bike, but it represents so much more. Now I imagine both mom and Sandy (Deidra’s mom) riding their purple bike, breeze blowing their hair, each one with a smile in her heart and wide across her face.
And I know it’s true. Our good God makes all things, even a purple bike, beautiful in its time.
Winsome’s early bird prices have been extended through Valentine’s Day! Join me and some other, fabulous people for a weekend of relaxation, reconnection, and refreshing. The retreat center is stunning. The food is fabulous. The beds are comfy. The lounge areas are cozy. The music is wonderful. The speakers are wise and approachable. The vibe is relaxed and not at all fussy.
Click here to watch the Winsome video and register for your spot at the retreat. I look forward to seeing you there!