A couple weekends ago, we went for a hike at Butterfly Hill in Cherry Creek State Park. It’s a favorite hike for us – just over a mile with views of the mountains and lots of prairie dogs to spot. At the top of the hill is a large cairn where we stop so Bea can rearrange the stones or add new ones.
I posted a picture of her in action and a friend commented that it reminded her of Ebenezer stones. In Hebrew, Ebenezer means “stone of help.” It’s mentioned in 1 Samuel 7:12, when Samuel places a stone as a remembrance of God’s help against the Philistines.
Today, Ebenezer stones are used to help us remember a time God has been faithful. Some write a word on a stone in remembrance; others place stones in a symbolic pile. Our church sets aside a Sunday each year to listen to life stories and place stones at the front of the church.
I’ve loved preparing for Thanksgiving this year. Doing our nightly thankful tree leaves has helped ground our family and ready our minds for Thursday’s celebration. I love looking at the leaves each day. We’re thankful for friends, for time changing diapers, for community, for paintings by Vincent Van Gogh, family, our table, bathrobes, and hats. We’re thankful for big things and small, for every day things and masterpieces.
In this week before our Thanksgiving meal, I also want to take time to recognize and be thankful for how God has helped us. As we balance exploration with boundaries in our parenting, I need God’s help. As we deal with vacillating expectations at work, I need God’s help. As we learn to love as Jesus has taught – the least first and our enemies as our neighbors, I need God’s help.
And I’m learning that God’s help comes in so many forms. It comes in partnering with Frank on this parenting adventure. It comes with encouraging texts from my mom at my lowest mothering moments. God’s help is in friends asking and listening and advising. It’s in a poem read and a devotion written.
While I’m thankful for so much, I’m mostly thankful for the help I receive on this journey. In big ways and small, in every day moments and masterpieces, I’m learning to stop and place a stone for the moments God has helped me.
How have you experienced God’s help recently? As we approach Thanksgiving, what are you thankful for?
Don’t forget, if you’d like to contribute a prayer for Advent, I need it by November 30 at the latest. Thanks for sharing your voice!