The first few meditations I wrote for Feet to Follow, Eyes to See were something of an experiment. Could I, in the space of a brief daily devotion, adequately summarize a biblical story, illustrate it with photos, and draw some meaningful application from it? Could I strike the right balance between giving information and encouraging personal reflection?
Once I had written the first few devotions, I naturally tested them on my most captive audience: my family. My wife and five children are my most encouraging and honest critics. While they usually tell me they enjoy what I write, if they don’t understand something or notice an awkward wording, they won’t hesitate to let me know. The first few devotions received their overwhelming approval, and it was decided that when I had written enough of them, we should use these meditations in our family devotions.
It was the best thing for a writer with too little time and a tendency toward procrastination. Suddenly I had to write consistently enough to be ready for the next family devotion, and rather than skipping around as I had done for my first few experimental devotions, I began writing the days in sequence. That helped me to connect each day’s devotion with the material covered in previous days, and I think it has made for a much better book.
We typically read these devotions at the breakfast table. I’ll print out two copies. David (16) and Caleb (14) will read from one, while Bethany (13) and Alexa (10) will read from the other. My wife, Lisa, and I will read from my laptop. Josiah (2), affectionately known as “Jo Jo,” obviously doesn’t read yet, but I’m sure he’s getting a lot out of it! 😉
We each take turns reading a couple paragraphs, and an interesting pattern has emerged. Alexa (our youngest reader) tends to get the paragraphs with the greatest number of biblical names and twenty-five cent words to pronounce, while Caleb (the family comic) tends to read the personal reflection questions at the end. These he delivers in an exaggerated radio announcer voice: “Are you aware of your state of utter dependence upon God? Are you looking to Him to supply your every need?”
Jo Jo, meanwhile, is doing just enough to quietly disrupt the proceedings: asking for more milk, wanting to crawl into Mommy’s lap, etc. Somehow, he can sit quietly through an entire church service, but we haven’t been able to achieve the same level of decorum at home!
While family devotions with the “Lang Gang” are never entirely smooth, we’ve managed to use these meditations to spark profitable discussion and meaningful reflection. I count that as the first successful consumer test of Feet to Follow, Eyes to See.