My name is Brittany Holloway. I am 24 years old and have been married to my amazing husband, Josh, for 3 1/2 years. Together, we have a wonderful, one of a kind, 20 month old son named Jackson.
My husband was raised in the church, however, I was not. I was raised and ‘baptized’ in the
Baptist denomination. I attended the Baptist Church most of my life with my mother and grandmother.
Growing up, I had never heard of the church of Christ. Although I was not always faithful, I still thought I was saved because I had been ‘baptized’.
When Josh and I got married, where we attended church was not an issue to us. Unfortunately, he had fallen away from the church at that time. We would rarely attend church services. Sometimes we would go to the Baptist Church because that was where I wanted to go and sometimes to the church of Christ that my husband used to worship at.
When we found out that I was pregnant with Jackson, we both decided that we needed to get our lives right so that we could be the best example for our child. During my pregnancy, we started going to church every Sunday morning, separately. I would go to the Baptist Church, and Josh would go to ‘his’ church.
Josh’s grandfather had recently passed away around this time and Josh realized that he knew the Truth and never taught him. My husband realized the state of his salvation, repented of his sins, made a public confession of his public sins and was restored. Every other Sunday I would go to church with Josh, but he would never come with me to the Baptist Church. I was so upset and thought that it was so unfair that I was going to his church with him, but he wasn’t going with me. I told him that it didn’t matter where we went to church, just as long as we went. I wanted us to be together as a family in church, but I also didn’t want to stop going to the church that I had grown up in. So when Jackson was born we started a routine. One Sunday, Jackson and I would attend the Baptist Church while Josh went to ‘his’ church. The next Sunday, we would all three visit ‘Josh’s’ church.
This continued for a few months and I began to feel that I was the only one trying to be fair in the situation. This caused many problems and a major wedge in our marriage. I eventually came to the conclusion that in order to keep my family together, I needed to just give in and make Josh happy, so I quit going to the Baptist Church and started going to church with him every Sunday morning. I would sometimes go with him on Sunday nights and Wednesday nights, thinking that as long as I went on Sunday mornings with him it would be okay.
I had an open mind in learning what the ‘differences’ were between our beliefs. That was until one day, one of Josh’s family members was talking with me about our church situation and said, “I just don’t care for the church of Christ because they think everyone but themselves are going to hell.” Talk about a major discouragement. My walls went straight up to learning what was being taught in the church of Christ and that’s where they stayed for way too long.
Josh tried for so long to help me see the Truth. I heard what was being taught to me, but I just didn’t care. I felt like I was a Christian because I was in church, had been ‘baptized’, and was living my life right (or so I thought). I really started to enjoy the church that we were worshiping at. I made new friends and loved all the people there. Josh continued studying with me and teaching me the Truth.
After many, many studies with him, I knew that I had been taught wrong growing up. But I was still holding on to something and couldn’t figure out what. During this time, Josh realized that he wanted to not only teach me the Truth, but teach everyone. He decided he wanted to be a preacher. After months of discussing it, we decided to pack up and move 7 ½ hours away from home so Josh could attend Memphis School of Preaching.
Josh had given me Michael Shank’s book Muscle and a Shovel months before moving, but it wasn’t until being in Memphis that I began to actually read it and TRY to understand. Josh and I would sit down at night after putting Jackson to bed. As I read the book, he was there to answer any questions that I had using scripture. I enjoyed reading the book so much. I felt as if I were Michael Shank. His story reminded me so much of myself. Every question that I could ever have about what I had been taught in the Baptist Church and why it was wrong, Michael Shank answered for me in the book and showed me where to turn to in the Bible.
As I kept reading, I realized that I too had been holding onto my pride. I also felt like I needed to know everything before I could be baptized. I knew that what Josh had been trying to show me was the Truth, but Michael Shank’s book made me feel as if I weren’t alone and that I am not the only person that had been taught wrong my whole life. I realized that it wasn’t ‘Josh’s church’ that we were attending, it was the church. And I also realized it wasn’t ‘differences’ being taught, it was the Truth being taught.
With only a few chapters left in the book, I knew what I needed to do. Around 12:30am on September 23rd, I realized the necessity of being baptized for the forgiveness of my sins. So in the middle of the night, several of the students and wives at the Memphis School of Preaching came to witness and support me as my husband baptized me into the Lord’s church.
I am so thankful for my amazing husband who never gave up on me and who loved me so much to give me this book to help me see the Truth.
I am also thankful for Michael Shank and his experiences written in Muscle and a Shovel because they were so similar to mine. The study of this book, along with scripture, helped me to realize that my excuses were going to keep me from Heaven.