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Brian Hatcher

North Richland Hills , TX

My father died of acute leukemia 9 days before I was born. I have a photocopy of his obituary I recently researched from a library in Ohio. He was 30. He became sick and went to an emergency room on a Monday evening. Saturday morning of the same week he passed away. I came along 9 days later. At around a year old my mom moved us, I have an older brother and older sister, to Texas to be close to her parents. After a rebound marriage and divorce to a guy I don’t even remember she eventually married a guy that turned out to be an alcoholic. She divorced him when I was around 5th grade. Now, my real dad was never, and still isn’t, a topic of discussion in my family. It is exceedingly rare. I grew up having person after person tell me I look just like my dad, but never telling me about him. Allow me an aside here to talk of my spiritual development through this. As an infant I was baptized in the Presbyterian Church where I would later learn my dad was the head of the deacons from the obituary I obtained. As a child, while mom was married to the third guy, I was actually confirmed a Lutheran. We stopped going after the divorce and the way my mom was treated. I didn’t mind, the kids there were just as mean and rude as kids at school. I hated church. I used to pretend to be asleep so I didn’t have to go. In the 6th grade I discovered a rather disturbing truth. I had thought for the longest time for some reason my dad’s name was “Dale.” I found out that I was wrong, my dad’s name is John. Dale was the name of the rebound guy. Although I am sure that I had been told, the lack of talk about my father had never really set me straight. I begin to spiral downward at that point. By 8th grade I was severely depressed, and the summer after was the first time I began to have serious thoughts of suicide. My freshman year was filled with consistent depression and thoughts of suicide. The beginning of my sophomore year in high school found me routinely fighting the urge to commit suicide. I vividly remember sitting in my neighbor’s house while taking care of their animals. I had found their revolver and I sat next to their bed with it pointed at my face. That was it for me. I was done. As I began to slowly pull the trigger a voice came into my head. It simply said, “Hold on, what you’re looking for is coming.” It was the most remarkable thing. It wasn’t my own voice. It was soothing and calming. I put the gun away and left. A couple of months later things weren’t any better. I came home from school and had just a horrible day. That night in my room I decided to end it. I took out my knife and began to cut. On my hand at first, and then my arm, and then finally my wrist. As I moved to my wrist each cut went deeper. As I began to see small amounts of blood that voice came back. This time He told me to call a girl named Julie, my only friend at the time. She immediately knew something was wrong. I told her what was happening, and she talked to me for an hour and a half. Her parents were suicide counselors. During that conversation she invited me to church with her the next Wednesday night. After that fell through I heard some guys talking about this church at the lunch table. I piped up and mentioned that I had been invited there. They promptly invited me to come to the lock-in there on that Friday. At that lock-in a band called Judah performed, they would become Between Thieves. At the end of the concert the youth minister got up and asked everyone to pray. During that time he led a prayer of salvation. I prayed it with him. As he gave the invitation I stood and watched kid after kid walk forward. Suddenly, there was the voice again telling me this was it. This was what I had been looking for. I fought it. In fact, I was white-knuckled on the chair in front of me. All I heard was that this was the time. I knew I needed to go forward. I had just asked Jesus into my heart. I finally took that first step and instantly I felt the weight of my life lifted. It was gone. I literally felt the sweeping chill of being washed as I began to walk forward. I was the second to last to go forward. That Sunday I went to church for the first time in many years. They had said that the youth sat together in middle at the front. I was early, still am early to this day(it drives my wife crazy because apparently you can’t make an entrance when you are 15 minutes early). I walked to the second row in the middle and sat down alone. I stayed alone as all the other youth began to come in until finally the girl who had led our group counseling session recognized me and sat next to me. I went forward at the invitation and was baptized two weeks later. I had to convince my mom to let me get baptized. Remember, I had been baptized as an infant. It was four years before my mom ever came back to church with me. She visited on a Thanksgiving Sunday with me with my girlfriend, who would eventually be my wife, and her parents. The next Sunday she was back, without prompting and sat with my future in-laws. The next Sunday was the same. She became more regular than most of their members. Finally, when she joined the church where I currently serve, she walked through the waters of baptism. She now serves by teaching young women who have been in an abusive relationship develop job skills to take care of themselves. I am incredibly proud of her. I realize now that God was the voice in my head, interceding to make sure I got the chance to know Him. I am a product of a legacy I am yet to know. My dad was a head deacon, leader of the Sr. High youth group, and met my mom at a Christian summer camp. I will see him in heaven, of that I am convinced. I am passionate about people experiencing the life-changing power of the Creator of it all. Hopefully, with this, you know a little more about where God has brought me from and through. God is awesome, don’t ever lose sight of that simple fact. I have been through a ton in life. God has used every bit. He has used the good, bad, and indifferent to make me who I am. So, there you go. That is a small portion of what God has done. There is much more, but that is for a later day. I hope this helps you understand a little bit about where I have come from. God bless.