Monday, May 16, 2011

Encounters With God: Eric Hendrickson

Today's guest post is from Eric Hendrickson.  Please take the time to follow his blog and to follow him on Twitter (links to both follow the post).  And for Eric and all of our guests for the next 2 weeks, please leave comments and let them know how much we appreciate their willingness to share these very personal encounters with God...

When God Showed Up Big and Unexpected
 Almost four years ago, my life was totally flipped upside down in the middle of the night. I received numerous phone calls at 4:45am on December 1, 2007. My parents were trying to get a hold of me. When I finally answered, all I heard was my dad crying and screaming that my little brother was dead. The first thing I screamed was "No...not my best friend!" My brother Michael had been sick over the past couple weeks with a cold and his immune system was down. He somehow got in contact with severe bacterial infection similar to meningitis.

My brother and I were always close. He looked up to me since the day he was born. We grew up in church together. When I started in youth ministry in 1997, my brother helped me on retreats and with my youth with games, making funny videos, making highlight videos, and more. As he grew older, I relied on my brother to be honest with me. He was the one person I could go to and get an honest answer on what game or skit to play. He gave me great ideas for run-on characters and skits. He was my best man in my wedding earlier in 2007. And with one phone call, he was no longer there.

Looking back at the toughest days of my life in that first week of December 2007, I can see God in so many ways. There were over a thousand people who came to his visitation and funeral. It was so hard to believe that my brother touched so many lives.

To be honest, I have not been the same since then. I have been a different person. There were times that I was really mad at God. There have been times where I have just not been myself. And that made me struggle in ministry. In the beginning of 2010, my wife and I felt God was calling us out of Charlotte, NC. We had no clue where we would end up. But we knew that God was in control.

This past fall things finally started to change. In December 2010 our family made a move. I accepted the Director of Student Ministries at Mt. Hebron United Methodist Church in West Columbia, SC. It was more of move than just a position. First, we moved without selling our house. (Our house in Charlotte is still for sale if you know anyone that might be interested in a 3bedroom ranch!) But the awesome part of letting go...God showed up! The church parsonage was not being used, so we are still currently living in it. We worked out a deal for the time being to have it on our 1099, so we wouldn't have to worry about double rent...even though we have double utilities. But that was just the beginning. When we arrived with our U-haul, there were people there to help unload it. When we went back to Charlotte to get another load, we came back to find that people in the congregation had bought us groceries and prepared meals for us.

For the first time since my brother had passed away, we enjoyed December 1st. December 1st was my first official day of work here. It was no longer a mourning day, but for us a day of new beginnings. After three years, I finally let go of the hurt and pain of losing my brother...and God showed up big. I cannot describe to you how lucky we are to be where we are at and surrounded by amazing church family and staff. And all it took was for us to "LET GO and LET GOD" take control last year when we heard Him calling us somewhere else.

"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."-Jeremiah 29:11

God is in control if we allow him to do so. The thing is we have to let go our control and see that through times of pain He is still there. It just took me three years to listen to what I had been preaching and teaching since 1997. And on a side note, it has been awesome to hear and see how much God used my brother in other people's lives and how people continue to know God because of my brother.

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  1. Thank you Eric. I'm saddened to read about the loss of your brother. I can't imagine that kind of pain. One of those nifty little church signs I read once said "Coincidence is when God remains anonymous". This story is testimony to that. Thank you for sharing. Thank you, Carl for doing this series.

  2. I love that quote, Jason. And no thanks are needed for doing the series- it is a huge blessing to me to read these stories of faith.

  3. Anonymous5/16/2011

    Thank you so much for sharing, Eric. What a blessing!

  4. Thanks guys...really means a lot to hear those comments.

    And thanks Carl for allowing me to share this part of my life with your readers!

  5. Eric,

    This touched home for me as many of these posts have. I feel the same way about my little brother. I absolutely cannot imagine the pain you have gone through.


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