Room In My Distress
Anyone entering the ladies’ bathroom of the small Chicago church that day would have wondered at the sniffling sounds coming from under the counter next to the sink. Curled up in the corner, I was having some private time with Jesus in the only place I could find an escape.
This was supposed to be a time of celebration – my cousin’s wedding. The Father had brought a wonderful godly man into her life, and I was genuinely happy for both of them. But it was a bittersweet time as I was still grieving the death of my maternal grandmother, who had passed away a year earlier. My heart ached as I imagined how excited she would have been to see her oldest granddaughter walk down the aisle.
In all the commotion of gathering relatives, I struggled to mask my inner turmoil of emotions. Not long after my grandmother’s funeral, I had ended a serious relationship, and I was still dealing with the effects of that difficult decision. As I set up tables and decorated for the reception, feelings of jealousy and self-pity threatened to smother me. “What about me? When is it MY turn, Lord?”
The noisy chatter and hectic rushing around of aunts, uncles, and cousins during the church rehearsal was starting to make me feel claustrophobic. Finally I took refuge in the only quiet place I could find – the ladies’ restroom. Seeing that it was empty, I crawled into the tiny space under the counter, hugged my knees to my chest, and cried.
He Will Not Forget Me
Flipping my Bible open, my eyes fell on Psalm 4:1, “You gave me room when I was in my distress.” I knew the Lord was speaking directly to me. I poured out my grief, loss, and pain to Jesus, and waited for His peace. And He met me there. He reminded me that He had not forgotten me. He gave me the strength to dry my eyes, take a deep breath, and go out to join the festivities with a smile.
In the years since then, the Lord has provided room when I’ve needed it most – a tiny bedroom in Asia that I didn’t have to share with anyone, a guest room in my friends’ house in Hong Kong where I could rest, a corner in a bookstore, or a bench in a park. They were places I could escape from the world for a few minutes and be refreshed in the Father’s presence.
There’s a note in my Bible next to Psalm 4:1 that always makes me smile. It reminds me of that day at my cousin’s wedding when the Lord gave me an unusual “room in my distress”:
2002, Chicago – You understand when I need some space!