Karen shares her story about forming a friendship with a woman she calls Amy she met during a Tres Dias weekend:
I met my dear friend, whom I'll call Amy, in 2006 when she attended a Tres Dias weekend. I've been involved in Tres Dias for ten years now and after her weekend, Amy became very active in the community and on weekends as well. I knew that I liked her and enjoyed her sense of humor and gentleness. She has said I had touched her heart on her original weekend and she knew I was special. As we served together we got to know each other a little bit more with each weekend.
In the Fall of 2009 I was asked to lead a Tres Dias weekend. Each person who leads a weekend chooses someone from the community as a partner to help her/him facilitate the weekend. A few people came to mind but God just kept putting Amy on my heart. Following His lead I asked her to join me in this grand adventure and she accepted. It was during this time of preparation for the weekend and the weekend itself that we really started to become very close. She saw all of my vulnerabilities and weaknesses. She affirmed me, loved me, prayed for me. In turn I learned more about her story and discovered that we shared many of the same wounds. We both have an intuitive read on people and so we quickly learned when one of us wasn't quite "right". We both struggle with, as Amy would put it, people being nice to us because of all that wounded garbage from the past. The weekend in 2010 brought about a significant healing for me and me asking Amy to come on board as my right arm affirmed her and God's calling in her life. This experience cemented our friendship.
Both Amy and I freely tell each other, "I love you". This was new territory for me as to be close with a woman brought up pain and fear for me. Mother wounds as I call it. This woundedness, as well as the deceiver relentlessly chasing me, brought about a deeper level of intimacy with Amy this weekend. She shared with me that she had been called to lead the weekend in the Fall. She very much wanted me to be her assistant but felt that she couldn't do that to her daughter-in-law (who is also a part of that community). She was brokenhearted and questioning if she did the right thing all the while telling me how much she loved me. I assured her it was okay and that I very much loved her as well and that she was absolved from any guilt she may be feeling. I was going to be on her team regardless to support and love her. I meant what I said when I said it. It wasn't until the Devil started whispering in my ear that I started to doubt. Maybe you know how it goes: "See? She loves her daughter-in-law more. She's just going to hurt you. She probably doesn't even mean it when she tells you how special you are - she just knows you're needy" and so on and so forth. So I did what I always do when I'm in pain - I run away, I avoid. I tried to dodge her at every turn thereafter because I was starting to realize my deep, deep love for her.
I left the weekend determined never to serve again because it was too hard, too painful. Thank God Amy knows my M.O. She wasn't going to let it go and promptly called the next morning. We finally got to talk in the afternoon and she called me on my avoidance tactics. She is a very wise woman as she told me that it's Satan himself that doesn't want this friendship to flourish and my avoiding her hurts her. For the first time I realized how my own insecurities can cause another pain. She would be as devastated to not have me in her life as I would be to not have her in mine. She shared the places in her heart that are tender and I shared mine. Out of the trial comes the blessing. I thank God for Amy and I love her very, very much. I know she would say the same. I look forward to heaven when we all can be together as God intended without all the fallen worldly stuff. It will be amazing!
I am writing this part several days after finishing my original story. I feel compelled to mention just a couple of things. The first is that through this experience I have gotten a better understanding of Spiritual warfare. That subject has always been a little foggy for me - either hearing from those who barely believe the Devil is alive and well to those who think the Devil is behind every door. As the spear punctures the serpents head I am seeing how he is actively trying to tear me (us) down to prevent me (us) from using our God given gifts to further His kingdom and distance ourselves from Christ. I know for some, if not all, who are reading, this is a no brainer but for me this is a deeper lesson of a Spiritual truth I didn't quite "get". I am actively strengthening my Armor by building up true friendships that help me (us) to deflect the enemy's arrows. Second, probably most important, my Spiritual Director told me that I also had to come before the Lord in deep, deep repentance over my sinful reactions. Again, my sinful reactions is something I've heard before and am familiar with but never quite understood. I see it very clearly now. So I suppose all of this to say that through these friendships God has been refining me and skimming off the dross. I wouldn't have leaned these things alone. And I stand by what I said earlier - it WILL be amazing in heaven to be with one another as we truly are without all the excess garbage!