Sunday, October 21, 2012

You have My permission

3:33 p.m. Today's project was to run a number of errands after visiting Steve at Raincross this afternoon. We talked, walked around, and swung in the patio swing, and I made sure he had a couple of good drinks of water. He actually said "Dana!" as we were swinging, but his sentence sputtered and cut out almost instantly. When I left, however, he was attempting to pick up his cup for himself and use a straw. Almost as quickly, he withdrew his hand. Whether he feared spilling it, or lost focus, there is no way of knowing.

I'd been in need of computer printer cartridges, but between visiting Steve, Bible study time, business appointments and keeping up the house and yards, this errand has been put on a back burner. The same with banking, getting gas, and grocery shopping, which I enjoy. This was a big afternoon, then, because the dogs were safely crated. They'd had a morning of freedom in the back yard and then kept out of trouble on their tie-outs (other than the puppy getting a little tangled as usual) during my time at church. All of my errands were in Central Riverside, as is Raincross, which made for less hassle.

The bank was my first stop, with a healthy deposit of business checks. A guilty realization came upon me that I was enjoying myself as I walked through Staples, perusing the $1.00 cart before selecting my printer cartridges. At my favorite grocery store, Vons, a polite man gave me a shopping cart before getting his and his wife's cart, and I had pleasant interactions with other customers and the staff. Found sales on the things I eat regularly--seasoned almonds, cuts of pork and beef, tortilla chips, low-carb Lean Cuisine meals--and I found icing for a cake I plan to bake and donate to church on sale at half price. The Lord gave me 3 bags worth of bargains today.

In the last month, it's with a start that I enter any grocery store, because I no longer have to turn my cart to the bread aisle, and don't have to buy milk, two universal staples. That's because I don't consume either of them! A strong and somewhat disconcerting inner voice says, "There's no one else you need to buy food for!" Strange thought for a mother of five, once responsible for feeding seven people. I feel to a tiny degree what Naomi felt, in the Book of Ruth. She stated, after losing her husband, both sons, and one daughter-in-law, upon her arrival back in Israel from Moab (Ruth 1:21, NLT):

I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi [pleasant] when the LORD has caused me to suffer and the Almighty has sent such tragedy upon me?

Actual tragedy in the form of Steve's dementia has indeed struck our family, but my children, children-in-law, and grandsons are all alive. They just don't live with me, which is natural, since four out of five are married and the youngest is in the city where God has called him to ministry, work and school. I just find myself in an odd position: since I can in no way care for Steve, God provided a very nice, safe, and healthful place for him to reside. So I actually have almost complete freedom to do as I please--answering to the Lord only, in that what I please to do needs to please Him! As a business owner, I don't even have a boss. In ministry, I am grateful to be accountable to the pastors and women's ministry leadership, but none of them direct my daily comings and goings.

It's just weird. Even though I've been a self-starter, initiator and leader since I could formulate ideas and plans independently, it's still weird, not to have to consider anyone else's needs at home. Whether it's when to get up, exercise, go to bed, take my supplements, serve dinner--to myself, that is--put gas in the car, make doctor appointments, work, you name it, my schedule is between me and God. There's also no one else to blame if I have candy and ice cream in the house, stay up late visiting online or watching sentimental Hallmark movies. On the other hand, no one else will be tired or have a headache the next day if I make less-than-stellar choices.

People have asked me how I feel about being in my house alone, and for the first month I honestly told them, "I don't know how I feel. It's too new. I'll get back to you!" There was a two-week stay of a foreign student that went okay, but he chose to live elsewhere, in a home with kids his own age (22), quite understandable. It would be nice to have a roommate, a lady my age, perferably, for company and a little income, or another student, perferably female, for conversation and a small amount of income. The Lord hasn't provided the person yet, and may not choose to do so. No sense in violating II Timothy 2:24,

The servant of the Lord must not strive...

Yesterday, I spent the entire day relaxing and enjoying myself on the Riverside Alumnae Panhellenic Home Tour, with my daughter Heather's mother-in-law Kathleen and her sister Mary. We strolled through all four homes, admiring every last detail, then viewed one award-winning garden over a 4-hour time frame. Such fun! It was as if the Lord was saying to me, "You have My permission to enjoy yourself." He even caused my two o'clock Mary Kay party in Menifee, about 30 minutes away, to cancel, so I'd have the entire day free! [It'd been a very good selling week, so I didn't mind. And He even gave me an additional order by phone!]

We women love to feel guilty if we aren't doing the absolute best we can for everyone concerned, but only Jesus ever did that!  We don't even know what is best for everyone in our lives, even ourselves. And I found myself heading toward the trap of "How can you enjoy yourself when your husband is suffering from a fatal disease?" I guess as a believer, I have to trust that God means it when He tells us in I Timothy 6:17 that our trust should be in Him,

...who gives us richly all things to enjoy.

Aren't you glad He loves us that much?


  1. When I was a widow, I had a lovely woman live with me. Then there were others and all of those others didn't turn out so well.

    Yes, this is an unusual season for you. Steve is enjoying each moment and you can enjoy yourself also.

    Maybe you can have your grandsons spend the weekend sometimes, that is, if they don't mind a Mary Kay event.


    1. Thank you, Carol! Your experience is very encouraging and it's great that we are praying friends!