Today's post was written by Brook Hills member, Whitney Frasier.

I definitely fit the old “I grew up in church” cliché’. I did. My parents divorced when I was a baby, but both of them on their respective Sundays took me to church. I always attended Vacation Bible Schools in the summer as a child and church camps in the summer as a teenager. Needless to say, I thought I was OK. For me, that is what it was always about. Am I okay? Am I going to go to Heaven when I die? The alternative that I had heard about my whole life did not seem nearly as appealing to me.

Under this cloud of fear of going to Hell, I walked an aisle as a 10 year old and “asked Jesus to come into my heart.” I had no clue what I was doing. I can remember sitting in the preacher’s office with my mother and answering his questions. I knew how to respond to him because of all of the church-going I had done those 10 years. I knew then that this was not real, and at that point I was only doing this for my family and out of fear of ending up in a place of torment forever and ever.

I continued going to church, singing in choir, going to Bible schools, etc. But I rarely, if ever, actually thought about having a real relationship with Christ. I was completely okay with Him being my Savior, but I really did not ever go beyond that. When I was a teenager, during a revival (yes, another cliché’) I “rededicated my life” to God. At the time, I 100% thought it was the right thing to do. Over the months prior to this decision I had begun to feel a lot of shame and guilt related to my sinful lifestyle. I thought this was God telling me that I needed to feel bad. But now looking back, I know it was Satan who was putting all of this guilt on me. Satan wanted me to walk that aisle again, be baptized again, and keep on thinking that I was “okay” in my sin. That’s pretty much his idea of a perfect situation! I fell straight into it too.

When I entered college, I was under the assumption that I was “in good standing” with God. I was still going to church. I even got involved with Campus Crusades. But what I did not assume was that I would be faced with so many new ideas that made me question every belief I had ever held. I quickly learned that I was just going through the motions; there was NOTHING real about my Christian life. I did not have a personal relationship with Christ. I merely had a belief in God and a fear of eternal damnation. Through my classes and hearing other opinions I had never heard before, I became curious about God in a way I had never been before. My whole life I had taken everyone’s word but never dug deep myself. So I started doing that. I was a religion major; I have studied all of the major religions in the world, including Christianity. By doing this, I began to put all religions on an equal footing. It seemed wrong and egotistical of me to say that one was right and all the others were wrong. I even began studying atheism and agnosticism. I was reading lots of Dawkins, Hitchens, and Harris. Through all of my searching, I never doubted the existence of God, but I came to care very little for Christ or being a Christian. By the time I graduated university, I was basically an agnostic. I just did not know what was true and was sure that I never would.

God knew better. My senior year of college, I was looking for another roommate. I was having lunch with my current roommate when we ran into a friend we had not seen in years. She asked us how things were going. We told her things were not going so well since we just had one roommate move out. She said that she knew a girl looking for a place to live. I told her that as long as she was relatively normal, we would take her! About a month later, Maggie moved in. Meeting Maggie was a total “God thing!” She is such a great example of a Christian woman. I had never really seen Christ in anyone so fully. Maggie and I spent many nights up talking about my doubts; she was the first person in my life to have REAL biblical answers to anything! I had never seen anyone who lived out his or her faith like Maggie. I came to really desire to believe in the divinity of Christ, but I still wanted proof. Even Maggie couldn’t do that for me.

[caption id="attachment_1185" align="alignleft" width="300"] Whitney and her family[/caption]

Maggie and I both moved to Birmingham, she for divinity school/internship at Brook Hills and me for law school. She tried her hardest to get me to come to Brook Hills with her, but I would not hear it! After Brett (my husband) and I got engaged, we decided that we should probably start going to church, you know, since we grew up in church and all. So we tried several places and nothing felt right to us. But I was still very anti-Brook Hills. I do not know why other than Satan was clearly trying to keep me away. A month before my wedding, I went to the beach with a friend who knew nothing about my struggles with God. She brought up church, something I would not have done. She asked if I had gone to Brook Hills. I thought, "OK, what is it with this place?" She followed up my “nope” with telling me that she and her fiancé had gone and hated it but that she thought I would like it. Odd right? Who says that? So I asked her why she thought that. Her response will forever be etched into my memory: “Because their preacher tells it like it is. He’s right up your ally!” I thought that was possibly the oddest thing I had ever heard. It peaked my interest enough that Brett and I attended Brook Hills the next Sunday.

I had never been a believer in the idea that God takes an active part in our lives until that Sunday. I know now that it WAS Satan trying to keep me out of Brook Hills. God had a plan for me. God brings all of us to Himself in different ways. He wanted, for some reason, to use our pastor and The Church at Brook Hills to bring me to Him. God knows my personality. He knows that I hate things being “sugar-coated” and that I appreciate honesty above all things, so He sent me to hear David Platt. That first Sunday sitting there listening to God's Word so clearly delivered to me, I started to hear Him. I always thought people were crazy when they said that they could hear God, and maybe a few are. But I could hear Him say to me, “Let it go! What are you doing? You know I am here. Not because that is what you learned as a child, but because you can hear me and feel Me. Stop doubting Me; it’s making you miserable! I know you want proof. But who do you think you are that you can demand that from Me? Just LET IT GO!” And right there in that seat, I did. I knew then that He let me go through the doubts and the sufferings in my faith so that I would never doubt Him again, so that my love for Him would grow to a place I could not even imagine.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." -2 Corinthians 5:17