Inside I seethed. "How could she do this," I thought, "after all I had done for her!"
Next day, I was still mulling over the situation, my attitude at a low boil.
I had offered her a place to live if she would help me care for my children while I worked. I had paid Joyce a small salary for her help. She had seemed perfect for the job, in that she had a special needs adult of her own whom she had reared, for one of my children has special needs.
Because she had been mistreated as a child, Joyce was a little raw around the edges, but I believed I could soften her with care and concern and perhaps minister to her needs with the love of Christ. It was not to be an easy task.
At the recommendation of her brother, a personal friend at the time, I had hired Joyce as a live-in nanny. She had seemed, as I said earlier, a good fit for the job.
But as time progressed, it became apparent I had bitten off more than I could chew. When I attempted to correct anything
that Joyce did, she bristled up in anger. If she thought I were ABOUT to discuss a matter with her, she would say,
"It's not my fault." I would, then, remind her that she was the adult and was responsible for her actions and the actions of the children.
On the other hand, Joyce felt comfortable discussing the difficulties of her life with me. I would try to give her a spiritual perspective and would often pray with her about the challenging situations she encountered. I included her occasionally in family devotionals. I felt I was contributing to her life in a positive way.
Because Joyce did not drive, I would transport her to and from work myself. I would deliver her to a relative's home on Friday evening for her days off and retrieve her on Sunday evening or, occasionally, early Monday morning, to be in my home for her work on Monday.
About 6 months into our relationship, I picked her up for work one Sunday evening to find her speech slurred. Her explanation was that she had taken pain pills for a childhood injury which she had previously discussed with me. Not being well acquainted with the state of alcohol inebriation, I accepted, even believed, her explanation the first time.
Later, it became obvious there was a problem. I challenged Joyce to be sober when I brought her to work, explaining to her that my teenage sons had never seen my spouse or me in a drunken state. As I reflect, now, on those times that I confronted her, I realize that she never really said she would cease her actions. Most of the time, when I chided her, if she did not deny having been drunk, she would say nothing at all.
On one occasion, when I attempted to retrieve Joyce for work, I realized after a few minutes of riding with her in my car that she was intoxicated. I returned her to her relative's home, informing her that she should come to work when she was sober. As I was driving back to her relative's home and discussing the matter with her, in her mentally-altered state, Joyce exclaimed, "I am not going to give up my pleasure for you!"
Later in the week when I brought her to work, I reminded her of what she had said. She had no memory of it.
Then, one night, several months later, I called Joyce to arrange to bring her to work. I had obtained tickets to a professional basketball game to be held that evening, but one of my children had become ill. I was hoping to still attend the game with my two healthy children and to have Joyce care for the ill child. When she answered the phone, "H-e-l-l-o-o-o-o," her speech again was slurred... I never brought her to my home again!
I challenged Joyce, in later conversations to obtain counseling for her problem. I told her that the children and I loved her and that, if she could prove to me that she was receiving the counseling she needed, I would rehire her. It never happened. In fact, she on one occasion called me demanding that I give her a referral for employment elsewhere.
While she worked for me, Joyce had talked of being homeless and how we were her family. She had told me that she boasted of us to her children. She had telephoned me while inebriated to tell me how much she loved our family.
About a year after she was no longer in my employ, I was chatting with my, then 15 year-old son about Joyce. He very casually mentioned that Joyce used to brag to him about how she was going to enjoy herself by getting drunk on the weekend.
"How could she?"
After my anger subsided, I found more compassion than disdain for Joyce's situation.
We are much like Joyce in our relationship with the Lord. He prods us to let Him remove obstacles from our lives and often we cling to them, afraid we will fall without the crutch. It may not be alcohol. It may be an inordinate love of money, a compromising personal relationship or our continually prioritizing our family or career ahead of Him. Each of us has his own crutch.
Just as I had many blessings I wanted to bestow on Joyce, but could not because of her disobedience. God has the same for us. We must submit to His Sovereign Will in order to have fulfilled lives.
Read more articles by Gloria Crouther or search for articles on the same topic or others.
Wow, what a great testimony. I'm sorry this happened to you, but it is so great that you are using the experience to give others wisdom. I love the way you compared it to our relationship with God at the end. How many blessings have I missed?
May the Lord use this for His glory!