Editor’s Note: Today’s post is from guest author, Heidi Stout, who is finding creative ways to incorporate spiritual practices into extended time at home with four teenagers. Heidi and her husband Kurt were members of Journey Generation 26, Faculty Training 2, and Spiritual Direction. They live in North Manchester, Indiana where they are raising Isaac, Caleb, Beletu and Hanna, (four amazing Jesus-loving teens/adults born in three different countries…India, homegrown, and Ethiopia).
Our family is using this time to play together, learn some new spiritual practices, serve, and as crazy as it seems…be more hospitable. When I first found out that our kids would be home for at least 4 weeks, I was selfishly concerned about losing my quiet space and the availability to meet with and disciple people (a normal day for me). You prepare for that for summer, but it’s far from summer, unless the random snow and sleet are just deceiving
Then I thought about the massive amount of food I would need to have on hand for 4 hungry teens…
Then I thought about all the kids who wouldn’t have childcare or meals all over the U.S…
Sadly I thought of ourselves before others, but at least it came quickly. It took a few minutes of processing aloud and then Kurt and I decided to joyfully enter into this unique opportunity. It’s a time that God is going to shine!
We came up with a schedule for each day that includes personal devotions, educational studies, learning and practicing a new spiritual discipline, service to others, fun time, and hospitality for dinner (as long as that seems a fairly safe thing to do…we aren’t under lock down). We have TIME now! Maybe more time than we would like. But God can use all this chaos for good and that’s exactly what we are watching for and being obedient to participate in.
The new spiritual practice of today was from the app Ceaseless Prayer (where the app will bring up three people from your phone contact list for you to pray for each day). The kids are learning how to pray for people as well as encourage them with their prayers. I added the challenge to send their prayer or at least a text to let the person know they were prayed for.
The service for today was to type a letter of encouragement (we are doing a lot so we decided typing was more practical) and decorate it to make it more personal so we can make copies and send to the elderly in the community, reminding them they are loved and remembered!
Today we also began a prayer line (resembling a twinkling clothes line) on our door where we are putting prayer requests and God sightings…gratitude and adoration. So today I posted a prayer request…praying against crime in the midst of desperate times (as a friend’s work truck was recently broken into and work tools stolen).
And our God sighting for the day was eggs. We were unable to find eggs yesterday and needed them. Today when the kids went to the school to get their provided drive-up lunch, a dozen eggs was given to each kid. Ahhhh, beautiful! That’s what inspired me to do the prayer line! When my kids walked through the door with 3 dozen eggs I was absolutely filled with excitement…excitement to watch God do his thing! And a desire to write it down so we don’t forget it!
Seize the day! Who knows what tomorrow will look like for us. Illness or the needs of others could change our posted schedule at any point. But I am grateful for the TIME and open hearts we have experienced today to watch and participate with God!