It was a little over a year ago that someone introduced me to Tres Dias. Tres Dias is an interfaith (Christian) intense spiritual retreat. And my weekend that I experienced God's love in a way I never have was one year ago exactly. In Arizona, Tres Dias holds retreats every six months, so since my first time experiencing Tres Dias, I have since served on two more retreats after going for the first time. This past weekend, I hopped on a bus up to Prescott to volunteer at the retreat once again. My duty this weekend, was to give one of the lessons. The lesson I had to give was about telling people about Jesus. Seeing as I want to be a missionary long term, what a better person to give the lesson, huh? Although I didn't think that at first, but as time went on, I began to see why God told our leader that I was to give this very lesson. My talk was on Saturday afternoon, it had to be 20 minutes long. Right after lunch, I began to get very sick. My stomach was turning and my hands were cold and clammy. Ah, yes, the sure signs of nervousness. As I went up to my room, I just prayed through many, many tears for God to take away the bad feelings. This lesson I was giving contained private aspects of my life that only the few closest to me knew about. And although I didn't go into details about everything, just skimming the surface of my private life was enough to make me a nervous wreck. Before my lesson, I was prayed over. This also happened during my lesson and after. It helped calm me. After my lesson, a lady came up to me and just hugged me. Through her tears, she simply said, "Thank you for sharing with us." She told me I had such a sweet spirit and said she had no clue as to what my life entailed until now. She said she saw my light, God's light, shine very brightly and said I was an inspiration to her. Really? Me an inspiration? No, not me, Jesus. I skimmed the surface of my mother situation in my lesson. She also told me that she would be honored to have me as her "daughter". She made me cry, and people don't do that too much. It was such a moment in my life.
Thursday night, I can see the hesitation in the women's faces as they stepped on that bus to Prescott. I can see the confusion, they are all wondering what they are doing here. Some are hurt, some are angry or bitter, some haven't felt any love, especially the love of God in a long time. Some of them are "dead" in their faith or questioning God as to why something has happened to them. They are all lonely and scared, secretly wishing someone would just reach out to them in some sort of way.
But as the weekend progresses, the walls these women are holding up, began to slowly break down. They begin to open up their heart and let God in. Have you ever seen God's hand at work? I mean to really see it happening right in front of your face? It's the most amazing thing to see. I am someone who pays attention to details. And as a team member, my senses are acutely aware of my surroundings. I am always looking at the people experiencing the weekend for the first time, watching them, loving on them, giving them plenty of tissue when the tears come. Not saying anything to them, just holding them as they break down. By the end of the weekend, you have somehow managed to form lasting friendships, deepen ones from before, and feel the love of God like you have never felt it before. Experience his grace maybe for the first time. I always come back on fire, my thoughts focused more on God than before. And although I've experienced Tres Dias three times already, I broke down crying a few times as well. It's just amazing to serve God and to know that he loves us no matter what. This is a women's retreat, but we will have a few men with us. These people are the directors of the weekend. They open up to us about their lives, struggles they've had. Without hesitation, they too break down crying in front of many women. Those moments are so precious when a man lets his guard down, and doesn't care who is around, and just cries. In my eyes, these are Godly men. They get God and they let nothing hold them back from his love and grace. It's amazing...you have to experience it to understand. There is nothing that I can say or write to explain 100% about what happens at Tres Dias, how God meets you in a place you never experienced before. All I can say is..I'm hooked and I'm serving again in October. God has put people on my heart as to who I should send on this retreat. One person has agreed to go as long as there isn't a schedule conflict with something. I can't wait for October to get here, I want this person to experience the love I feel every time I go.
God is amazing....
"At the cross you beckon me, draw me gently to my knees, and I'm so lost for words, so in love, I'm sweetly broken, wholly surrendered."