A couple of Saturdays ago I went to the bathroom. While that’s not usually an experience worthy of sharing, don’t worry; this won’t be “TMI.” I was at the Beth Moore “Living Proof Live” conference just outside of Seattle, with four other women from NFC, in a mega-church called Overlake Christian. This place was huge, with attendance at the conference around 5,500 people. Along with several “aha” moments over the weekend was a realization of what it really looks like when we talk about Jesus feeding the 5,000 (not including women and children)…that is a lot of people. A lot. And at some point 5,500 people need to use the restroom. The lines were abnormally long because this was a conference predominately attended by women.
During our morning session we were given a 25-minute break. I left Lisa, Tabitha, Brittany, and Anne and hurried to the restroom nearest our seats. The line was already monstrous. I made my way around the auditorium, hoping to find a shorter line. No luck. The line was way too long at the second restroom to make it through in the remaining 20 minutes. I took a chance and went downstairs to a third restroom and although the line was huge, I decided I was going to have to stay put. And there I met Christine, a lively, friendly woman I estimated was just a few years my senior, but found out later in our conversation was old enough to be my mother. Christine worked the line, and soon we had introduced ourselves to the woman standing behind us and the three ladies ahead of us. One of the women, named Wendy, quickly disclosed she was happy to be at the conference after recently losing her job of 13 years. Anger and hurt oozed from her story and tears often welled up in her eyes as she explained feeling betrayed and tossed aside simply due to her boss’s erratic and irrational behavior. For years Wendy had been his confidant, but his recent behavior and current circumstances were not something for which she could offer him empathy. Soon after, she was “no longer needed.”
So these sisters loved by God stood there in line for the bathroom praying, praising, crying, and sharing. We laughed and ministered to one another. Wendy and I bonded over the fact that we had both been to a recent concert and speaking event featuring Natalie Grant and Charlotte Gambill called “Dare to Be – Live Love Out.” She went to the Bellingham venue, and my daughter Brynn and I attended the one in Vancouver, WA. A key theme of that night was forgiveness. But Wendy also felt “set-up” by God at that “Dare to Be” experience because it came just two days after losing her job, and at that time she was in no mood for forgiveness. I showed her the chain-style earrings I’ve worn often since that night when Natalie Grant sang the song “Break Every Chain.” Wendy and I rejoiced over the fact we’d heard that powerful song again during the morning session with Beth Moore’s praise team.
And then some chains were broken. There was general consensus among our group that forgiveness was needed for Wendy’s old boss, especially for Wendy’s well being. Christine mentioned that an uncle had sexually abused her when she was 11 and 12 years old. In Christine’s younger years, she had held on to unforgiveness for decades, holding her back, keeping her trapped. I felt a wave of God’s presence in that restroom line. The group of us looked around and laughed…Did anyone else catch what was happening here? Yep, the conversation wasn’t your ordinary chitchat. Wendy announced she was willing to forgive her boss since she knew it was the “right thing to do”…but not until she could spend some time figuring out why she was fired and why he would do such a hurtful thing after years and years of friendship. My head and heart were bursting, and I let the Holy Spirit guide my words. “I don’t think so, Wendy,” I said, “I don’t think you get to know. Maybe someday down the line it will be revealed, the reasoning behind it all. But there is no need for you to hold on to the anger and hurt, delaying the process of forgiveness until you know why your boss did what he did. You might never get to know.” Her eyes brightened and glistened with tears as she stood there taking it in. Wendy hugged me and said, “You know, I think you’re right. I’m still mad, I’m still hurt, but I don’t get to know this stuff.” You could almost see the shackles fall off as our little group entered the restroom. I’ve never had a better bathroom break in my life.