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The Duffle Bag

He Asked to Come Home

It was the middle of winter – bitter cold and subzero temperatures.  He asked to come home, in fact, he didn’t just ask – he begged.  As our hearts stopped and our chins quivered, it took all the strength we had to say “no, you can’t”.  

He was my precious son, my firstborn, the one who made me a Mama.  He was the boy who loved baseball.  He had a fighting spirit, a drive and will to succeed.  He loved the game.  I remember the first year he made the all-stars!  We never missed a game – and yes I was probably “that mom” – the loud one always rooting for all of the kids (even those on the other team).  He was all boy – spent every minute outside of school playing with other kids, riding his bike, skipping rocks, building snow forts or digging in dirt.  His smile would light up a room – everyone loved him.  He was kind and had such a heart for the less fortunate – would bring everyone home!  

He loved the game!

He Loved the Lord!

And he loved the Lord – he gave his heart to Jesus at a young age, with childlike faith and wonder.  He was “all in”.  We always thought he’d be the one to grow up and be a Pastor – he was destined for greatness and fully believed in God’s promise of hope and a bright future (Jeremiah 29:11).  His favorite verse was Psalm 56:3 – “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you”!  The boy feared nothing – he knew God was bigger than anything he would ever face.

He was Slowly Fading Away!

Somewhere along the way, he started to lose himself It started with alcohol, then soon followed with drugs.  At first, it was just the small stuff – and, over time grew into a full-blown methamphetamine addiction.  He began to hate himself for all that he had done – for lying to everyone (including himself) and stealing from his own family.  Once I found a used syringe in a winter glove in our home.  The addiction chased him down and began to rule his life.  He was slowly fading away.

As any parents would do, we tried everything to help him. We begged him to go to treatment. And we were on our knees crying out to God – “Please take this cup, please heal him”.  As time went on our cry changed to “PLEASE protect him and PLEASE don’t take his life”.  We sought godly counsel, we shared our heartache with our fellowship group, and we had everyone we knew on their knees in prayer for him.  Having two other children and a home we had to protect, my husband and I had to eventually make the gut-wrenching decision not to allow him to live with us or even let him come into our home.  Even our best efforts couldn’t always protect our other children from getting caught in the crossfire.  CAN YOU IMAGINE!

Our Hearts Almost Died Along with His!

While our son had been lost to addiction and we were slowly watching his life fade away to nothing more than a skeleton of a man (literally), our hearts almost died along with his.   We knew that, at any given moment, we could get a call saying he was in jail again or worse yet, dead! It was so much to bear – yet we still had hope. We knew that only God could reach our son, and it had to be in God’s timing, not ours.  We also knew that he may not be healed this side of heaven – tough pill to swallow!

Homeless, alone and addicted

If the Duffle Bag was Gone – He was Alive!

That particular winter – it was so cold and frigid, our son was homeless, living on the streets.  Anything he had of value was either sold for drug money or was stolen by someone else.  Each day, I would place clean clothes, blankets, hats and gloves in that duffle bag, and I would put it outside on the back porch.  Sometimes it took days for it to be picked up. And, then it would return with dirty clothes for me to wash and replace.  It was really my only connection to him.  I knew if the duffle bag was gone, that he had picked it up and that he was alive.  I waited for it to return – sometimes holding my breath and when it came back, I breathed again, knowing he was still alive.  He loved his family and he hated himself for this addiction, but he didn’t know how to get out of that place.  It was a place of despair, a living hell!  

But GOD!!

He was always there.  Two days before my birthday he called me from jail and told me he was done, this was it, he was going to treatment and was giving up drugs for good. It had been seven grueling years. I prayed it was true! It was there that he came back to the God he knew – the God of grace, mercy, forgiveness, love and redemption.  He became clean for the last time (yes, he had tried many times before), fell in love with a beautiful girl, and started his life again – this time, with his identity rooted in Christ.  

That strong spirited boy of mine has been clean and sober for almost 6 years, he married that beautiful girl and they are expecting their first child next month. He has a wonderful job where he can provide for his family, he has a sense of self worth, and he never takes a moment for granted.  There were many dark days – and yet, through it all, God was there; waiting, chasing and loving my son.  It was all God – doing the impossible! 

God Doing the Impossible!!

My son on his wedding day
My son on his wedding day

Friends – no matter where you are at right now, maybe you’re in the midst of a story like mine, or a marriage, financial or health crisis, or you are a homeless, pregnant teenager – NOTHING is out of reach for the Lord.  

As it is with the young Mama’s we will serve, many will come to us broken, tattered and lost, looking for hope, looking for love and looking for their identity in something other than this world.  THERE IS HOPE!  Let’s love them like Jesus! All my love, Heidi Williams, Director of Operations

Matthew 19:26 – “with man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible

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