I had no clue what the term “sectioned” meant. I understand its use when you’re talking about an orange, but not how my son used it. He called me Monday morning and told me he was going to section himself before the courts on Tuesday. After our conversation I went to my computer to find out what he meant. What was he about to do?

Section 35 in the MA General Laws allows a family member or oneself to appear before a judge and ask for ones child, spouse or oneself to be “committed”. Due to alcoholism/drug abuse and conjoined with the fear of the person to be committed harming one’s self or someone else.

Whew… the process scared me, I’m sure it must have scared my son as he submitted to such a thing. Matter of fact as he stood before the judge and admitted to his drug use/abuse and his inability to remain clean I was told he broke out in a sweat, in fear of the unknown. Once the judge heard him, he granted his “section”, the court guards came;

handcuffed him, placed him in shackles and put him in a holding cell until a place could be found in a long term program.

I heard nothing from him after 1:00PM on that day. Just before he entered the court room he called me to say
I love you mom…I know I’m doing the right thing”.

Yes you are baby” is all I could choke out.

He said he’d call me as soon as he could to let me know where he ended up.
Later that afternoon I heard from my niece, she had gotten a message from him through his friend that was with him at the time of the section. He was going to be placed in a program but did not know where. I hung up the phone and the choked back emotions from earlier just poured out of me. I sobbed most of the ride home.

The call came at about 9AM next morning, my son called to let me know where he was and what I could bring him;
5 t-shirts
5 pairs of socks
5 pairs of underwear

No clothes? What are you wearing? I asked.

Just scrubs are all we’re allowed for the first 5 days. I can’t have any real clothes till I’m in the next step. And mom, I can’t have any visitors either.
Ever? I responded.

No, just not until the next step”.

Ok… I said only to myself, I can deal with that. Not that I need to be there every waking minute, because that quite frankly is exhausting in and of itself. But a mom needs to see they’re child’s face every once and again. I’m that way with my two other adult children. If I haven’t seen them in awhile I make every effort to make a date!

After work that day I headed to the location of the program, I knew exactly where it was, yet had no clue that that is what was in those buildings. And they are just 5 miles from my home. (Unlike the other facilities that he has been in that have been a 45 plus minute drive each way) As I pulled up to the building I had no clue where to go, what door would be the one I should go into, they were all the same with no labeling.

White doors no windows…

As I climbed out of my car two women came out of the building, I so didn’t want to ask for help because that would mean telling them my son was in there. But I did, the kindness on their faces helped me as I choked out the short version. I was pointed to the door right in front of my car. No long walk carrying his underwear… good.

I entered into a very sterile environment where doors lock behind you with a thud and a loud buzz. I was asked to take a seat and that someone from his unit would be right with me. Unbeknown to me the very wall that the chair I sat in, my son was on the other side sitting in a chair against the same wall. As I logged in his belongings;

5 t-shirts
5 pairs of socks
5 pairs of underwear
one pack of cigarettes
and 11 dollars in cash

a wave of nausea swept across me and again that choked felling came over me. The woman doing the intake looked up at me and said…

”I did your sons intake yesterday…such a nice young man. You did good momma, you did good.”

I thought I would break down and sob like a little baby right then and there. But instead I let out a slow exhale to keep myself from breaking down. I smiled back at her and said
he is a good boy, he just needs to get through this

Moments later I was heading out the door with an empty suitcase, stumbling back to my car filled with more emotions that I can even get down on paper. I hear someone knocking on a window…

did I forget something…

I look over my left shoulder back at the door I just came through.. no window, I look to my right and there, standing in the window leaning on the very wall I had just been sitting against was my son…. waiting on his side of the locked doors to receive his belongings. I blow him a kiss and mouth “be good”, he blows me one as well and gives me the thumbs up sign.

Just past him I see another face in the window, it’s a face I recognize from somewhere… I look at the older man with what must have been a look of familiarity I look back at my son then again to the older man. I think he too realizes I think he is familiar. Someone inside the room must have called my son to collect his belongings because he steps away from the window… the older man looks at me for one more moment our eyes locked on each other, then he reaches up and slowly pulls the window shade down.

I climb into my car and start the engine… while pictures of recent memories start to fill my head…

I remember him…

I back the car out of the parking spot and begin the climb up the hill to get back out on the street when it hits me…

He was there at the very first detox program my son was in. He was in his early 60’s, he had been in and out of programs most of his adult life battling addiction. I remember my son telling me all about him the day I picked him up. I had to pull the car over I was nearly convulsing with sobs as I prayed in my spirit

Not my son Lord, Not my son” Break the cycle of addiction… break him free from the demons that have ensnared him. Oh God please I beg you heal my son.

These last 10 months have been such a difficult journey. The fear of the unknown can eat away at you if you let it. I have had to hold fast to Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future

. I have prayed that over my son and claimed its truths to quiet my anxious heart. I prayed it over and over again that night. Committing Him to God, lifting Him to the one who Heals.

I don’t know what these next months hold, but I do know the One who holds them. He holds me and He holds my son, and He holds the man in the window.

Standing Firm in Tough Love

This weekend was difficult as I was faced with my son’s homelessness. His addictions and behaviors have burned yet another bridge for him, this time he lost much himself as a few of his things were thrown out on the street, and the rest he hasn’t been able to retrieve.



Two emotions that tug at a mothers heart when her child is in need. Knowing that my child is struggling with these things nearly buckled my resolve. Standing firm in the moment when the call came “mom can I just stay there tonight”. Knowing full well that one night would have turned into two, then a week, maybe a month. And all that we have chosen to guard against would have come crashing down on us once again.

The phone slammed down on us as we said “I’m sorry but you just can’t

Numerous calls came, calls we would not answer. About 30 minutes later, the next call came and he said “I know I can’t stay but can you help me, I’m going to go back to a rehab and I will need a few things”. Relieved that our resolve to hold fast when my heart strings were pulled taunt and ready to break gave my heart a lift.

Yes, I can help you with that, but I couldn’t let you back here, because it wouldn’t have been good for you or for us” I said. “I know mom, I know I need to do this to get my life back on track

Back on track… where did it go off track? How did it go off track? If only I could answer those questions. If I could trace back to the very moment that the first choice was made to delve into the world of drugs, gangs, stealing, and all that has followed after it. I would go back in time and hold him so tight that he couldn’t go where ever it was that he went.

But there is no such thing as a “do over”. We don’t get to go back and rework the mistakes or retake different steps. We have only today, with its current 24 hours of promise. No more, and sometimes less. What he will make of this 24 hours is what is important, and what I contribute to it in the form of tough love applied firmly, or cowardly.

( Yes I must admit that yesterday while the phone calls came one after the other I hid in the basement. It was my only recourse as my mother’s heart was breaking. It was the only way I could keep from answering the phone. ) I am so very thankful to God that in my time of wavering He was there (in the basement) with me, helping me hang tough. Just as He must have the night His son, begging in prayer on his knees…

Please if it’s at all possible, take this cup from me” (Matt 26:39 my paraphrase).

He understands what it is like to have your son ask for what seems like a sensible request…

“really Father do I have to go to the cross, isn’t there some other way”?

Mom why can’t I stay just one night?

Sensible requests, but had God not shown tough love you and I would not be able to have entrance into His presence. And If I don’t show tough love, my son may end up standing before God sooner than I want to think.

Lord Help me to do the hard stuff, to love just as you did that night your son came to you. Help me to see beyond the moment and see what is at stake. Help me to stand firm.

A Deep Well

John 4: 7 – 15
7When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” 8(His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)
9The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.[a])
10Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
11″Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?”
13Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
15The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.

Much like the Samaritan women, I desire to be filled with the living water. A water so satisfying that once you have been filled with it you will no longer thirst for anything else.

I know that I have drank of it, its liquid sweetness has quench my soul so many times. There have been those times of deepest despair over loved ones, or times of loneliness where its depths have kept me afloat. Where that spring inside of me seemed to reproduce itself until I felt full and refreshed.
But here I am in a desert, dry, hot and seemingly unending. I know intellectually that the spring of living water still exists within me, and yet I think it has sunk somewhere in a deep chasm unable to flow up and outward.

A number of years ago we had dug a shallow well for our home. The well was nearly 35 feet deep and we had hit a slow spring. Within no time the well seemed to sustain ten feet of water at all times, even with our family of 5’s constant use of showers, dishes and laundry. But after 6 months of use, the well went dry. No matter how many times we would prime the pump we could barely get enough water to wash the dishes by hand. After a few weeks we realized we had to abandon that well. Its shallow spring had dried up in the awful heat of the summer. Its source not deep enough or plenty enough to be sustained.

We went Five long months between wells. During that time I lugged dishes back and forth to my parents house, we showered there and I did my laundry there, until we could afford to have an Artesian well drilled. We learned a valuable lesson about not drilling the deep well the first time.

I still remember the day we had the Artesian well drilled. I was so excited!!! I couldn’t wait to turn the faucet on or take a shower! The drill went 345 feet into the ground before it found a vein of water and the water it found came up at 60 gallons a minute. A Gold Mine! There was nothing like it in the summer. Coming from those depths it was COLD and refreshing. Never again did we run out of water, and the only time we had to re-prime the pump was when it got hit by lightening. The well drillers came in, replaced the motor and once again fresh cold water came from its depths. The water… it never dried up, it was there. It just needed a new way to get pumped out.

Thank goodness I’m not like the first well, shallow and easily drained completely dry, never to be of any use again. The well of Living Water in me right now has gotten hit by lightening so it seems. My motor burned up, but its refreshing sustaining life giving supply is still there. It’s the gap in time, waiting for the new motor to kick in, so its cool sweetness can once again course through my spirit that has me constantly on my knees pleading with God to let it begin. He lets us go through these dry times so we will know just how deep the well is. That it’s supply never runs out, to maybe remind us that shallow wells (shallow faith, shallow Christianity) can never compare to the deep well of living water he places inside of us.

Come Lord Jesus, replace the motor with a fresh anointing of your Holy Spirit and let the waters flow.