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  • Writer's pictureBeth Hildebrand

For You This Thanksgiving

Six years later, almost to the date, on an unseasonably hot, October Sunday afternoon, I was again lost and wandering in a corn maze.

Six years ago, I wandered in a maze with over 100 seven and eight-year olds on a school field trip.  It was a brisk, fall morning, with wet grass as the kids ran to the entrance of the corn maze.  We could hear music coming from a loud speaker mounted high in the tree branch with some country folk songs belting from it.  While keeping up with the kids and trying to solve a puzzle of the maze, at one point a song caught my attention.  I remember hearing to my surprise the hymn, Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, played with a banjo over a loud speaker.  I’m used to hearing my mom play that hymn on the organ, but I really liked this new way of hearing it.  As the sun rays shined down on us, I began thinking how my heart wanders – or is prone to wander as it’s written in the lyrics and asking God enveloped in corn stalks to take my heart and seal it for thy courts above.

So, what was going through my mind this time I was lost in a maze?

It was hotter.

It was bigger.

It was harder.

We kept walking in circles, getting nowhere.

It was more frustrating.

We became weary, and finally gave up never finding the sixth and final clue.

But both times I was wandering.

The past couple of years, I’ve felt like I was wandering – not for enjoyment but feeling lost. Wandering and getting nowhere. But on that bright, sunny Sunday afternoon I again began to feel how wandering is not always in the desert.  Instead, wandering can also be a time of discovery, taking just one step at a time to meander, to stop and see what’s around. For a while, I had been wandering feeling lost and stranded.  Abandoned and doubting I’d ever find my way out.

With the warmth of the sun soaking through my skin, emerged the memory of how wandering can happen in places other than deserts, dark days and corn mazes.  Wandering in prayer, wandering in God’s Word, wandering while waiting for answers or change is a much more enjoyable practice of wandering because it’s wandering beside and WITH Jesus instead of doing it alone.

A few days after I walked through the autumn, corn maze on the mountain, I realized Abba had whispered to me an answer – He wants me to pay attention and listen before He gives answers.  Duh.  How long have I known that?  But the test is that either He chooses to wait to give the answer, or I need to be in the place in my life where I’m truly paying attention and listening more than I am being consumed with my personal, busy schedule, to-do list, worries or even stress.

On that day, maybe because I was quiet and listening (and didn’t realize it), I was looking through pictures that were taken of our family at the maze and I noticed the countless number of dry, light brown corn stalks surrounding us.  I could hear the rippling sound of wind blowing through the rows and rows of corn and smell the unique combination of fall, mud and farm.  I thought of harvest.  How there’s many hot and uncomfortable days before the time to harvest.

Am I close to harvest in this season of my life?

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest… Isaiah 9:2-3

According to a farmer’s definition, harvest means to gather. To gather the crops that have been labored over in the heat of the summer months.  But now is time to gather and enjoy.  This upcoming week is Thanksgiving and I’m ready like many others for a break from routine and to have a special meal with special people in your life.  Looking forward to being part of traditions, storytelling and remembering how God has truly blessed us.  There’s time to go outside and walk off that extra slice of pumpkin pie on a brisk afternoon and time to relax as you wait for Cyber Monday or you’re the type who loves to start shopping when stores open at 10pm on Thanksgiving night.

Or you could feel opposite and are not necessarily excited about this Thanksgiving.  It could be the first one without someone special in your life who has passed since the previous one.  Conflict with someone in the family makes you feel anxious and defensive – anything but relaxed.  Maybe you’re dreading how the speed of your busyness with extra things to do like shop for gifts, make extra food for parties, get Christmas pictures taken and mailed out to friends and loved ones, just to name a few, and you know it’ll wear you out physically and emotionally.

Maybe it can be a little bit of both, but however you feel about Thanksgiving, I hope you and I will make time to intentionally “gather the harvest” from this past year in your life.  I want to gather my thoughts and reflect on what I’ve learned this past year from life situations, myself, Jesus and others and then thank God for them.  Even though this will be one of the busiest times of the year, it’s so important and worth it to make time to be still. And to be silent.  Even if it’s just for three minutes in your day.  During that time, silent stillness can give you what you need to get through the rest of your crazy scheduled day.  During that time of quiet stillness, allow your heart and soul to wander, meander, and pay attention to the gift, or gifts, that HE wants to give you each and every day.

As I type this, how ironic this song comes out of the speakers in my computer…Oh Jesus…thank you.

Oh, to grace how great a debtor Daily I’m constrained to be Let that goodness like a fetter Bind my wandering heart to Thee Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it Prone to leave the God I love Here’s my heart, oh, take and seal it Seal it for Thy courts above

(Come Thou Fount by Jadon Lavik)

May you feel the season of harvest in your heart and soul.  May you spend time wandering in the coolness of the day or night with our Farmer and Father reaping in the gifts He gives you each day.  During this busy time of year, may you make time for silent stillness so you can take a deep breath to inhale God’s goodness and exhale your stress.  May you know how grateful people are for you and how much you bless God.   Happy Thanksgiving!


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