A Really Long Story…
I have wrestled with how much of this to share. I have edited it repeatedly for 2 weeks. I am leaving a great number of details out of this. In the end this is where I landed and I pray this is both informative and helpful to someone else who might be wrestling with such an experience. Sometimes we have to walk away and trust God to do the rest.
I recently took 50 days away from social media. It was going to be 50 days of quiet Lent reflection and reading and then things kind of went off the rails. It’s a good thing I fully understand who controls things when chaos hits. God used that time to shake things up a bit and teach me some very important things.
The lady I worked for made two week long trips to the hospital over that six week period. I was the lone ranger when it came to keeping things going. She has a housekeeper that continued to come twice a week and one lady (who is a retired nurse) would come do medical procedures for her daughter because I am not licensed to do that. The retired nurse also spent the night each night so I could actually go home and rest. I was grateful for that. The rest was on me… grocery lists and orders, feeding and keeping her daughter safe and comfortable (which includes constant monitoring of body temperature and room temperature), cleaning between days the maid came (that included taking all the medical and diaper trash out and doing no less than 3 loads of bedding and towel laundry a day most days), paying the other ladies when they came, and so forth. It meant 12 hour days… very long tedious 12 hour days. It was completely exhausting.
The thing is that it was also completely preventable. I have worked for this woman for 6 years and in that time I have repeatedly encouraged her to have more people on the list to help her. Other friends of hers have encouraged this as well. She made a million excuses why she could not do that and they were all just that… excuses.
When I started 6 years ago I worked once a week for 2-3 hours tops. As the years have passed more work has been added to my responsibilities taking up to 5 and sometimes 6 hours when I worked and it moved from 1 day a week to 2 days a week and then 2 days plus being on call for errands or placing orders online for her. She began to cancel her appointments that I came to help for and instead I was expected to run her errands for her, do housekeeping chores in between maid visits, cook meals, drive her car to get gas, do her banking by cashing checks at my bank (which they eventually banned), run out and get her burgers and junk food, pick up medications for both her and her daughter and whatever else she just didn’t want to do anymore.
She recently got a new phone because her old one was shutting apps down. When it arrived she handed it to me and told me I had to set it up for her because it was my idea to get a new one. She is quite bossy and demanding. So, the reason I recommended she get a new phone was because she had me placing all her Walmart grocery orders on my phone, paying for the groceries with my money, and then she reimbursed me later. Of course I encouraged her to get a new phone so SHE could do that for herself.
When I was setting up her phone I had to reset all her passwords because she would just look at me with a ridiculous smirk (as if I was suppose to read her mind) when I asked if she knew them. All of this was done without a single thank you from her. She has been very ungrateful for the majority of the time I have worked there.
The the hospital stays started in January 2020. She would go in with issues with her foot and then wind up staying a week at a time for treatment. She fully expected me to leave my family for 12 hours a day and just take care of her daughter. She sought no help for me in between stays. She also had no plans to pay me more than if I were coming 2-3 hours a day. At one point she even asked if I would take a pay cut so she could pay the nurse move that was coming at night. I told her I could not do that. I put up with it the first time but then I had to address it further. I asked for more money on the days I was staying 12 hours. I researched and asked around about caregiver pay to make sure I wasn’t asking for too much. Even with my request I was still getting paid less than what most caregivers do these days but I was willing to do that. It was not as if she did not have the money either… I was not being insensitive about her finances. She was angry to say the least.
I told her she needed more people to help so we could break the days down into shifts to lighten the load on the two of us taking it all on. I told her after this last hospital stay that I would no longer be available to do a week’s worth of 12 hour shifts anymore because I have my own family that needs me. She has continued to just be angry with me rather than understanding. The request for more pay was when she started looking for reasons to let me go. What is crazy is that God had already put it on my heart that it was time to walk away but I just hadn’t been brave enough to do it, yet because she still had not hired more help..
She, along with the other ladies I mentioned above began to accuse me of saying things I never said in regards to her daughter’s care. One of the women actually said the things I was being accused of but won’t admit it because she was very verbal about wanting my job… which she now has. I have not been called back to work since. I took her keys to her, addressed the issues above and that I have been an excellent employee for six years and walked away with a completely clear conscience.
She is in the same predicament she was before with limited help after hiring one person to take my place. This woman is also a caregiver for her mother so this will eventually be a problem again…. but not my problem. The saddest part of all of this is that this woman does not know Jesus. The entire time I worked for her she refused to hear anything I said on the matter. I have prayed for her, been kind to her, encouraged her and put up with a lot of verbal and time abuses. She was often crude, ugly, and outright blasphemous about God and the church and I stayed because I knew God had me there for a time to be His hands and feet for her. I am still friends with another Christian woman who used to work for her before me and she was treated the same.
I do not regret one thing I did while I worked for her except that I should have walked away a lot sooner. Everyone of my family and friends were telling me to leave. I even had three job offers the very next Sunday that church members told me about. I have opted to take time off for now and take care of things close to home. God has already provided for the missing income in a big way and I have time to make a few trips to see my parents and kids now. I see God’s care and guidance in all of this. I still pray she will someday surrender to Christ… most of this is her rebellion and bitterness toward Him so I do not take it personally. I planted a seed and someone else will have to water but we are promised that God will be the one to bring the increase when it happens. I will trust Him.
A Few Takeaways…
- In a situation like this I should have set better boundaries when I realized she was beginning to take advantage of me. I am sure that would have gotten me “fired” sooner but there are things I should have said no to along the way. I took my queues from her housekeeper who just puts up with it but that just encouraged her to run over us and abuse our time.
2. When God tells me to do something I should stop being a big chicken about it and just obey.
3. In the midst of all of this some needed income was taken away but God IMMEDIATELY provided for that loss for us! He can be trusted to meet our needs and oftentimes in very unexpected ways and, in this case, before we even knew we needed it.
4. I made the mistake of letting her into my personal life and when I was pushed away it hurt more than it should. She often used me as someone to talk to. I know she is lonely but I was hired for a job and I should have stayed in that role. I didn’t embrace her beliefs but I let her draw me into a deeper friendship than I should have. People who don’t know Christ… and in this case REFUSE Christ… are not family and cannot be close friends. I can love them… I can minister to them… I can pray for them… and I certainly told her about Christ as often as allowed but those without Christ are NOT to be part of our inner circle of trusted family and/or friends. The worldviews are too disparate, goals are not the same, and personal convictions do not line up. We can never be on the same page until we have the same Father and Savior. Non-Christians don’t understand this but it is important. Guard your inner circles, friends.
So, that’s my story… We live and learn and God uses everything to teach and grow us in some way. I look forward to the new chapter in my life which will include spending time with people I love (including my church family), taking care of my family, working on more crochet projects and reading more books. Not one of those things sounds unappealing. LOL