I have been looking around the world lately, glimpsing the news, scrolling through social media, running errands in a city where smiles are hidden and fear magnified, and I wonder, how could it get worse? I find myself constantly having to remind myself that the battle is the Lord’s, that he will be victorious, and that he truly is in control, even when it seems chaos is the order of the day.
The other day, while sitting down to a meal with my family, I heard the Holy Spirit say to me, This is the culture that matters, this is the culture that will change the world. The funny thing is, we weren’t talking about anything important. My family wasn’t enduring one of my familiar lectures about how sovereign God is, what a gift our freedom and our country are, how we don’t live with a spirit of fear, but one of hope. They were actually singing a funny jingle my husband made up one day about Sophia (the princess in the middle of a sea of boys). In that moment, it occurred to me that we talk so much about the culture, how lost it is, how pagan it has become, and all of that is true, but here in my home, in the safe light of our little domestic church, my children know a different culture. For now, our family culture is more prominent than the world’s, and within this culture there is so much light, and love, and laughter, so much hope and promise.
One of the great joys of domestic life is watching your family culture emerge. Now that we have a married child, we are even more aware of our little idiosyncrasies and inside jokes that define our culture because my son-in-law is constantly pointing them out to us. You know you are a Muller if you say, “That’s when you were dead” to a younger sibling, explaining a time before they were born. You know I am about to lose my temper if I sing instructions to you. You know that everyone in the house is extremely competitive, and that we even have score sheets from “Clue” games we played seventeen years ago. My teens quote our “isms” to the younger children: Delayed obedience is disobedience; If you don’t do it right the first time, save time to do it again; Is that a kind voice? If you are a Muller, you know that you can always, always bring someone over for dinner without asking; you know that if friends come over, I will set out food, even if it is cheese sticks and pretzels. In our family culture, we always try to laugh, even when we are crying; we know that the best way to heal the world is to love everyone who comes into our path, to always give until it hurts, and to never think we know a person just by looking at them. Above all, my kids hear me constantly reminding them that we are made for heaven, that this world is beautiful, and it was made by God’s loving hands, but it is broken and hurting, and the world beyond this is worth every moment of suffering, every moment of confusion and fear. There is always joy in the morning, and our suffering is never wasted.
I am so grateful for this domestic church, for our little bubble of happiness, our little corner of the world where we get to love and be loved. When I look into the eyes of my children, I forget the noise of the world, and I feel hopeful that God is, in fact, in control, and his joy is new every morning.