Every year, when I start planning our cottage-inspired spring porch tour, I almost always lean toward pinks and greens.
They just feel like spring to me.
But this year as I was searching for inspiration, I decided to have an open mind and allow myself to do something completely different.
I wasn’t sure what form or color it would take until I saw my bestie S pull through the yard and lift the hatch of her car one Sunday afternoon.
“Look at the hydrangeas I found today,” she said excitedly, “They look like Granny’s, don’t they?”
My heart immediately melted as I stopped sweeping the front porch and admired the French Blue petals.
“She would love these,” I said proudly.
As I continued cleaning off the porch, I thought about all the unexpected blessings that have taken place in our lives recently, the things that are still up in the air, and the prayers that have been answered but not fully realized yet.
Sometimes hearing, “No…not now…or not yet,” can be incredibly difficult.
But I know there’s pure magic in the transformation that happens during “the wait.”
A sentiment that has never meant so much lately.
Especially, where big dreams are concerned.
As 2019 rolled into 2020, my parents were excited about the year to come. It was January and they were getting their travel plans finalized and arranged.
My Dad was set to have a milestone birthday and they were celebrating 50 years of marriage as well.
The original plan was to travel to my Mom’s childhood home in Germany, to Paris, and Normandy so my Dad could set foot on the hallowed ground his Dad had set foot on in World War II.
It’s been his dream for as long as I can remember.
But once the pandemic hit and the world shut down, 2020, came and went.
And so did their milestone birthday and anniversary without much fanfare honestly.
We tried to make it special for them.
But there’s no way to compete with Europe.
In 2021, we had high hopes the world would reopen.
But travel, vaccine delays, and illnesses were abundant.
And again, their plans were canceled.
While they tried to make do painting Bliss Barracks, working on other small projects, and settling into a “new normal” you could tell they were starting to lose hope they’d be traveling back to Europe any time soon.
At the beginning of 2022, we started making plans for my Mom’s milestone birthday.
My aunt (her sister) was still recovering from breast cancer and even though my Dad said we could go anywhere my Mom chose, she wanted to be close by “just in case.”
Honoring her wishes, we settled on a long weekend in Savannah.
We had an amazing time and my Mom said she was finally able to put the disappointment of the canceled Europe trips behind her.
After all, “Being with you three girls beats being in Europe any day of the week,” she said.
I’ll freely admit, I didn’t really believe her though.
When we returned home from Savannah, my parents embraced their packed calendars and social schedules. They traveled locally, stayed busy with our big farm family, and were unexpectedly forced to grieve the loss of loved ones.
One day, my Mom and her brothers and sisters were going through old family photos at my aunt’s farm.
To her complete surprise, my Mom discovered a black and white photo from Germany she had not seen in years.
And that longing to see her childhood home one last time, quietly crept back into her heart.
As 2023 rolled around, they decided to give it one last shot.
And again, that trip was canceled.
When my Mom called to share the news, you could tell she was devastated.
“I don’t know why I got my hopes up,” she said her voice giving her away, “I guess it’s because we’re getting older, and I don’t know when we’re going to have the chance to go back.”
“I have a great life, I don’t know why I’m so upset,” she continued. “I’m sorry. I should have waited to call. I’m just so disappointed it didn’t work out. I guess it’s just not meant to be.”
I let her words hang in the air for a bit, not knowing quite what to say.
I can’t explain it but I had perfect peace that things were going to be different this time.
I didn’t want my Mom to think I was being woo-woo though because she’s a devout Southern Baptist.
With nothing to lose, I finally said, “Mom, I don’t how to explain it. You might not even be able to understand it. But I know this is not the end of the story. I have perfect peace you’re going to Europe this year. Something better is on the way. I can feel it in my bones,” I said with full confidence.
While I’ve long given up trying to explain His perfect timing and mysterious ways, it gives me goosebumps to tell you what happened next.
Less than two weeks later, my parents were fully booked on a trip to Europe where they will not only be going to 2 countries but will have the opportunity to visit 7.
My aunt who has recovered from breast cancer and my uncle are also going.
In addition, my great uncle and his niece (my Mom and aunt’s first cousin) will also be in attendance.
Originally set to stay for 10 days, they will now have the chance to stay for more than three weeks.
Truly, my Mom sounds like a schoolgirl as we work to plan her outfits and make a master list of everything she needs from medication to maps.
I don’t share this story with you to brag about their trip, but rather to gently remind you that “No” is not necessarily a closed door.
It just might be a “Not now,” or a “Not yet.”
While 3 years is a long time to wait, I know they’re more prepared to travel now than they’ve ever been.
For in those 3 years, they’ve celebrated many, many milestones, held each other through deep grief, and supported each other through cancer treatments, hospitalizations, and hurricanes.
Waiting is never easy, but they’ve proven it’s possible with courage and grace.
I used to be the type of person that was so uncomfortable in the “messy middle,” I did everything I could possibly do to avoid it.
The weight of waiting was just too much to bear sometimes.
But after watching my parents go through all the ups and downs, the stops and starts and the many cancellations in between, I have no doubt, His timing is always perfect.
If you find yourself at the crossroads of waiting today, I encourage you to see this time of transformation as a true gift.
Because you never know what things are coming together on your behalf or the divine appointments you’ll encounter along the way.
And as we fully embrace the spring season, I pray you’ll have an open mind as you search for inspiration and allow yourself to find the blessings all around you.
Even if it looks completely different than what you had originally imagined.