Sunday, August 15, 2004

friends who really aren't friends

as i wrote that 'best and worst' for anj i realized that not only was god redeeming a relationship she had in her past life, but he was also doing the same in mine.

lynn was the first person to reach out to me in my pain. she was being as abused and trashed by our former church as we were, so our 'inner ring' of pain caused a fast friendship.

it was her name that god first spoke into my spirit. i had been praying for a mentor for years. and just at the time when i started to allow god to speak (remember my heritage said that the written word of god was the only allowable way for god to 'speak') it happened to criss-cross with my desperate need for a mentor.

i remember being at our broken church's women's retreat. it was the only allowable ministry that i actually enjoyed being a part of, and the team working on this retreat was filled with women starving for something real and tangible from god. so the retreat was filled with touches of this. (most of the 'locals' couldn't be bothered to help us, so when they attended the retreat they were blown away at it's depth and terrified at the same time - it was the beginning of the end).

anyway - lynn's name came into my mind after literally hours of praying 'speak god for your servant is listening'. i wasn't looking for an answer to that specific prayer, i just longed to hear god's voice in my soul. it came while using the facilities. (god's timing for me is always bizarre.)

our friendship was fast and fierce, she had mentored women who had been sexually abused before and it was she that gave me the safety to finally admit that someone had hurt me. i remember sitting in the sand of that great lake, hearing the waves and feeling like god had truly heard my cry for a mentor.

just after that her husband, who had just finished IT training got a job offer stateside and they were relocating. they moved away and i was heartbroken. god had allowed my first real friendship to be snatched away. i was very confused.

it wasn't long after that my husband was called by a church literally 20 minutes away from where they relocated to and asked to apply for their youth pastor's opening. it ended up being the church that god called us to. i was shocked at the 'coincidence'.

it was also at this time that i was preparing my 'step 4' and readying myself to 'give it away' (step 5). i asked lynn to be the person that i gave it to. i knew that god had placed her in my life, i just didn't know that it was only supposed to be for a season.

what followed i still don't understand, but it was filled with me giving, calling and seeking out, and lynn using, taking and bossing me around. she enjoyed the power that 'mentoring' gave her, and liked to do the 'fun' part of mentoring without any of the actual work involved. she backed out of hearing my step 5 and wouldn't give me a reason. (i thank god now, because if she had heard it and abused me afterward it would have been very damaging to my soul).

i also found out that the complaining and moaning that bonded us at our old church got really old. i thought it was a reaction to one event, not that it was her personality. she and her husband became serial church hoppers, each one had 'major' problems that they just couldn't live with. another hand of god thing was that they never came to our church - i don't know why, but i am grateful.

i subconsciously started to put some distance between us because i saw that her 'mentoring' was really an excuse to have someone around she could bitch to, boss around and use when she wanted to. this caused huge amounts of grief in my soul.

remember that my theology about god was pretty screwed up, but i truly felt that god spoke her name into my life, and i was pushing away what god provided. did that invalidate his word? did that mean that i wasn't able to take criticsm or critique? all i knew is that i needed a safe distance between us. so i stopped calling, stopped inviting and stopped feeling resposible for the relationship.

somehow she got the message. it was really a one sided relationship, so i guess the effort was wearing on her too? i don't know, but weeks turned into months and i still was filled with angst and guilt.

there were about 3 other relationship that i had to distance myself from at that time too. they were women i was ministering to, they were very needy and were sucking me dry. i remember sitting at my counselor's office and finally sharing my failure and shame with her. (i bet this was about the time she started to insist i was co-dependent - duh)...

she looked at me after i told her about lynn and said 'wow, she sounds an awful lot like your mom.' GASP! i never put 2 & 2 together, it made so much sense. why i was such a willing victim for lynn's abuse, why i had mountains of guilt, why i was so unable to address this with her face to face. she was the reincarnation of my mother. yuck.

my counsellor talked about my lack of protection from those kind of people and how the distance and 'dropping her' was my way of protecting myself.

i've never written about this before, so when anj and i were processing that 'best and worse' i was able to see how god was redeeming this relationship with lynn (and my mother) by giving me someone in my life who was willing to do the hard work, speaking the truth in love. i knew as soon as i heard back from anj that i needed to untangle this mess of twisted emotions and start to address my relationship with lynn. i know i'm probably avoiding some face to face relationships that could become mentoring roles out of fear. i do realize now though that i am much healthier and have better boundaries to not allow myself to be treated so poorly.

i still long, deep within my soul, for a woman to step up and commit herself to loving me and speaking truth into my life. i always dreamed it would be the 'senior pastor's wife', which i now know was a silly desire. but i always seem to have lots of 'timothy's' and never any 'paul's'.

i also know that 'it's time' to speak truth into lynn's life. to meet with her and tell her about why our relationship imploded. i get vague emails from time to time, i know she wonders what has happened. i know if i don't do this intentionally that soon it will happen unintentionally. circles here are smaller than i like to admit, and there will come a day when i unexpectedly am face to face with her. i think i'd rather be prepared.

now that i've processed this a bit i'm feeling much more prepared. maybe once school starts we could meet over coffee. i'm ready to let this part of my life go and move on to wholeness.

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