Monday, November 10, 2008

Joke or No Joke: That is the Question

Many moons ago (OK, more like this past spring), I had the opportunity to spend some time on a fun website that allows you to design and create original ideas using your own personal pictures.

It was one of those rare days where I actually had the time to lounge on this site, not just rush in and rush out of it. So I was able to browse all the shirts, posters, mugs and the like this site promised to turn into masterpieces of personality simply by adding my very own picture images, unique wording and chosen fonts.

Mind you, this was real lounging, as I had no intention of actually purchasing any of my creations, and I certainly didn't need any of them. I was simply creating them for the joy of lounging. Yes, that's correct. The joy of lounging. Because quite frankly, when a person such as myself is in a season of life where giving, giving and more giving is the norm, there is a certain amount of excitement to be found in browsing a website with no goal other than providing a tad bit of "me" time.

It's all good.

Just after deciding I had probably spent enough "me" time doing, well, basically nothing, I spotted an option that allowed me to create my very own bumper a cost close to nothing (remember now, this was many moons ago, so quoting an exact price is a toughie). I chose one of their blank options and quickly downloaded the first picture of me and my husband that appeared from my chosen picture file.

I typed out a pretty generic statement, albeit very true: I love my wife - I love my husband, and took the short cut of opting for the first font the site suggested. Considering I took very little time in producing this sticker, the result was actually really cute, so I splurged and purchased it with the intention of giving it to my husband once it arrived. I was sure he would get a kick out of it just as I had.

As the days passed, naturally the bumper sticker was to eventually be forgotten about. Which made it even more of a surprise when it finally did arrive. I opened the envelope at our kitchen table with my family and passed my masterpiece around. Boy, I had no idea Mom would score so high on the "cool scale" because of it.

Lots of "Whoa!"'s, "That's so cool!"'s and "How'd you do that?"'s later, I proudly announced it was for Dad to keep and do with as he pleased. He was pretty stinkin' thrilled. A big smile grew on his face and he disappeared. Within minutes, I caught him outside washing off the perfect spot on his bumper for his treasured gift.

Once the bumper sticker found its permanent home on the back of his car, it was quite the site to see as he would drive off into the distance. Imagine if you will: One of our favorite pictures of ourselves displayed right there on the tail of his car, coupled with a proclamation of love towards each other, for the whole wide world to see! How cool!

But reality set in a few days later. Apparently, some people don't think it's so cool. In fact, those same people not only think it's 'not so cool', they actually think it's funny. Or worse yet: A joke.

That's right. A joke. Really. A joke? Hhhmmm...well, we didn't get it.

Hubby came home from work that day and proceeded to share his unexpected encounter.

As he was walking out to his car, heading home after a long day at work, he was met by a few men huddled around taking in the site of his bumper. Once within ear shot, they held their bellies and shared with great laughter, "Boy, someone got you GOOD, huh??!!", pointing to the declaration on his car.

Someone got you good??? Huh?

Needless to say, my husband explained in no uncertain terms that it was certainly not a joke. The fact was, it was very true. He was then able to spend some time sharing with these uninformed men the joys of marriage. Especially the joys of a Christ-centered marriage.

You see, sometimes it can't be contained. Sometimes you want to scream it from the rooftops. Sometimes you can't help but want the world to know that with Christ as your center, husband's truly can love their wives, and wives truly can love their husbands.

It's an opportunity to mimic Christ. A reason to desire for Him to take away all your bad in exchange for all His good, and then give it to your spouse. A journey with your one-flesh that can't be bought with any amount of money, or improved upon with any status of fame or reputation. A relationship like non other, designed by God and intended to be used for His glory.

A covenant that, apart from Christ, is only a mere counterfeit of what was established with Adam and Eve. Marriage is no joke indeed.

Since this bumper sticker made its big debut, its brought out many an opportunity to point others to the Lord. It's been met with appreciation and has encouraged other couples to share about their own marriage. Its evoked sparkles in the eyes of spouses as they share an "Awwww!", grabbing each others hands lovingly and walking on their way. Its reminded our own children to take clearer notice of the value of a strong, healthy marriage. One that uses Christ to strengthen and build each other up. One not ashamed to follow after God's standards set forth in the Garden of Eden, to love and submit to the Lord and favor each other.

One that is overflowing with the love of Jesus and a love for Jesus that it may filter into as crazy a thing as a bumper sticker.

Lord, thank You, thank You, thank You for Your gift of marriage! Thank You for Your design, creating man in Your image, to honor and obey, love and follow after You! Thank You for coupling man with Your plan of woman, to be help-meets to their husbands and in glorifying them, we glorify You! Thank You for designing children in such a way that brings joy to us as their earthly parents and joy to You as their heavenly Father. Thank You that there is no monetary value to be put on a husband and wife that love You first, and each other second, and the treasure that order is to the family. It all makes sense and it's all from You and You desire to give it all to us! Lord, my family is so richly covered in Your blood and we know, that because of that, we have the authority to proclaim, even in the form of a bumper sticker, how good You are!! We love You, Lord, because You first loved us. Oh, how undeserving we are, Lord.

The next time I'm given a moment to casually lounge in cyberspace, I'll remember it does not have to be in vain. When even those moments of "me" time are given over to Him, He'll find a way to use them for His glory.

Its all good.