Ready to enjoy the beauty of Macedonia and some reflections on how change can still be good, even though we feel loss and don’t like “different”? Here is an encouragement for us as we wrestle with all the changes and loss caused by COVID, written by my dear friend, Lisa Walkendorf:
We traveled to Macedonia on a trip to visit friends to help with a summer camp on beautiful Lake Ohrid.
Our family enjoyed the people and the beauty of the country.
One day, we spent some free time in the shops of Ohrid and stopped in a handmade jewelry store.
We were attracted by the bright colors in the window.
We learned that Susan Sju made this stunning jewelry from polymer clay.
She had pendants,
an assortment of earrings in vibrant colors . . .
and matching sets, each handmade and unique!
We were enthralled with the beauty of her designs!
As a birthday gift, my husband bought me a pair of earrings. They weren’t overly expensive and served as a lovely and meaningful memory from our trip. I wore them frequently after we returned home until . . . I lost one!
The sentimental value drove me to research on Facebook to find the store owner and, with the help of Google Translate, I asked, “Do you have this same earring? I lost one and would like to buy another pair.” She answered in English, “Similar, not same.” Also I discovered that she does not ship internationally.
So I also reached out to our friends to ask for help since they lived in the country, although in Skopje, not in Ohrid. I explained the situation and sent the picture of the earring. She responded, “Let me see what I can do.”
She gave money to some teenaged girls who were going to that shop, and shared my request. When she came back to the US for furlough, she handed me a box. I opened it to see a new pair of earrings – and at first felt thankful that my face was turned down toward them, because, for that brief moment, I felt very disappointed. Why? The earrings were different . . . and I longed for the same.
Why that response over a seemingly small thing? At that time, I had experienced a major job change which drastically affected my lifestyle, and I felt like everything was changing. The earring represented for me what “was” that was lost.
However, within that quick moment, I was able to look up with sincere gratitude and thank her for all the effort, and repaid the monetary cost. As I reflected later in prayer, God reminded me that the new earrings were really beautiful, just different. And although my life looked a lot different, He could still make it beautiful.
I kept the single earring and put it on a chain to wear as a necklace often with the new earrings to remind me “different . . . but beautiful.” Now, each time I put them on, I am encouraged to trust God anew for grace in my daily journey and to look for beauty while seeking new rhythms as I walk with Him.
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men, yet they cannot fathom the work that God has done from beginning to end” ( Ecclesiastes 3:11; BSB).
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10; ESV).
“Since we live by the Spirit, let us walk in step with the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25; BSB).