Guest Post by Stephanie Crisostomo
“A cemetery?!” she laughed, as we drove through the gates where floral arrangements adorned the headstones that rose from the ground. The weather was beautiful, and it was a wonderful setting for my perfectly planned outing with Amie. What better place than a cemetery, which has remnants of life and death, to paint the most magnificent spiritual analogies! I just KNEW this day would stick with Amie forever. After our meeting today, she would be begging for me to mentor her regularly.
As we sat down next to a stranger’s epitaph, I began to run through the rehearsed devotion I had set out for us. I quickly noticed that my hopes for an organic flow of conversation turned into an awkward mess. I found myself fumbling over my words and forgetting to say my calculated gems of wisdom. She was still so gracious, read obligatory scriptures and even answered each question that I managed to get out.
I had done it again. My pride took control. It’s a familiar feeling, really, and something I often try and act like I possess. As women, we are good at this control thing. We manage our households, calendars, and children very naturally. Then enters pride. Often, we take these gifts God’s given us and twist them just right, so that the credit misses the mark and points back to us. And just like that, our actions communicate that we know better than God does.
The apostle Paul talks about this kind of righteous behavior in the book of Titus. Titus, who served alongside Paul in many places, came to the island of Crete to help restore leadership in the house churches. This island was infamous for its sin and residing there was a lot of corrupt people who thought they knew better than God. Discouragement set in, and Paul reminded Titus of this truth:
“At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.” (v.3-5)
In the middle of my cemetery session with Amie, God gently nudged me and showed me the overuse of my personal pronouns. I realized I was placing myself as the hero, and not Jesus. Yet another familiar conviction. I often catch myself trying to be the hero: dropping everything for a friend in need, taking a phone call during a family dinner, or saying “yes” to something that will pack my calendar too tight. God is always so tender in reminding me that there is nothing I can do to save anyone and that’s His job. He also knew that there would be (many) days where we would get it wrong.
A time later, after our graveside visit, I went back to Amie and confessed my sin while asking for her forgiveness. And yet again, God wrapped his grace around me and gave me a do-over. Amie and I went on to have a year of doing life together and now a lifetime of friendship. God, in His infinite wisdom, knew my pride would be the catalyst to reminding me that one truth remains: Jesus is ALWAYS the hero.
I’m a women just looking to serve God each day with my mind, hands and heart. I get to do that alongside the one my heart longs for and our two sweet girls. My favorite place is at my kitchen table in the quiet hours of the morning with my Bible, some colored pencils and an iced coffee. My next favorite thing is doing life with my girlfriends and encouraging them through the adventure and monotony that each day brings.