I, Ashley Hawkey, Googled. And, in case you were wondering, Google was absolutely no help regarding the topic of the Christian Testimony; not surprisingly, you can’t find God hiding in the search engines at Google. It seems like such an easy story to tell, a story about love. Such a basic concept, to love and be loved in return; in fact, love is such a simple concept it’s been alluding explanation since the beginning of time. They say that when you’re learning new things, you should model someone who does that thing well. You’d think that Google would have stored up a compendium (I learned that word from Giles, on Buffy - smart guy, that Giles) of testimonies for reference. Thanks for nothing, Google.
So, a story.
I’d never put much thought into a belief in God, although I had been to church as a child. I’d been involved in the youth group, summer camp, and Bible study. I’d been to Wednesday dinners and choir and held a position as an Acolyte. I’d done all of these things without ever seeking to find God. It may sound strange to state that God wasn’t important to me; but, He wasn’t. I didn’t feel lost, I didn’t feel alone, and I didn’t feel as if there was a bigger purpose I was missing or needed to understand. I went to college and it was there that the concept of a belief in God took on a metaphysical form. I wanted to understand religion. I wanted to understand the philosophy of God. I didn’t want to believe in any one thing or another, over any other thing or another; I just wanted to understand what others understood. But, like many things, college has its seasons and mine came and went. Without a course, or a book, or a grade looming – I had no need to know more about God. Any god.
Life went on. Love came and went, boyfriends came and went, nights out and bar fights and tears and loss would come and go. Happiness and laughter, memories with friends and bonds stronger than those of family were forged. I never felt a loss, or a separation from God. I never felt guilt, or shame. You can’t lose something that isn’t important to you, and God hadn’t been important.
But, priorities change.
Some months ago, it became important to me to discover God. And, if discovering meant believing than I was fine with that.
Looking at my belief system looked…nonsensical, mashed together, and confusing. It might have been more helpful for my belief system to have been written in ancient Sanskrit, because unraveling the system I did have was undoubtedly more complicated. My thirst for knowledge, for knowing things, for understanding things, for getting to the bottom of things had not dissipated since college, it just didn’t have a place to be directed.
They say that the most important journey a person can take is the journey back to themselves. And, if you look hard enough, I think you'll find that there is a truth to that statement beyond the concept of places, a state of being, or an adjective.
And so it was with that, the question “Do I believe in God?” set out to be answered.
I talked about God with the Boyfriend, with the best friend, with the friend friends. I found a church, and was pleasantly surprised to find that they were not brain eating zombie cultists…even though I still think that the size of the ‘mega church’ is to blame for that. I found that the pastor was funny, clever, witty and honest. I found the topic the church was studying (sex, love, and relationships) was eerily applicable to my life, and that the things they taught made sense. I joined the Boyfriend on a once a week epic voyage to the land of Machias for a class on Ecclesiastics (Google it, dare you). I was blessed enough to meet a great many people full of love and knowledge on this journey, people who were willing to open their hearts and their minds and their arms to teach. Months passed, and I found myself no closer to believing in God…more educated, yes. Closer? Negotiable.
Then, mid study…mid path…mid journey…mid flight…the Boyfriend was called away, to a land far, far away. Boyfriends being transplanted to faraway lands, no matter the just cause or reason, do not make for very happy Girlfriends…but, happy, whole, fulfilled Boyfriends do make for happy Girlfriends. Of course, at the time, it was very easy to be angry with God…because, of course, it was so totally UNFAIR! (lol).
Additionally, for no good or apparent reason, things at work were reaching an unstable tipping point. Apparently when you inform a company that they’re being bought by a bigger company, things start to come apart at the seams.
Things were not pretty. My heart hurt, my head hurt, and I spent a great deal of time crying.
And then there was Ronda.
Ronda has a knack for showing up when things seem really impossible, which I think is her magic superhero power in my life. And, because things were impossible, Ronda showed up! Sure – you can argue it’s because she had a plan to come to Seattle, and tickets to come to Seattle…and, sure, you’d probably be right. We spent a lot of time together during her stay here in Seattle, and she shared with me great insight and wisdom…understanding, and love. The thing I remember the most from Ronda was her suggesting that I take what little faith I do have in God, and put that faith in God. Then, trust that God will teach me from his side…as opposed to trying to answer all my questions BEFORE believing in God. This seemed pretty smart to me, and I was pondering it when…
I opened a Bible I had never read, and I opened it to the exact verse I had discussed at Bible study earlier that week. Just as I was contemplating the concept of God knocking, putting faith in God, ironic Bible verses, faraway Boyfriends, and broken jobs…
To say that I was particularly overwhelmed on that particular Sunday (EF5 Tornado hit Joplin Missouri where said "Boyfriend" had just moved to) is a bit of an understatement. That night, I decided that as long as God was willing to work with me on faith…on belief…on understanding. As long as he was willing to accept that I wasn’t just going to accept everything for the sake of accepting and as long as we could figure out the dinosaurs…I was ready to put my faith in him FIRST, and learn SECOND.
In the short time that’s passed since that night, I’ve come to see God differently. I don’t know where this story goes from here; I just know that it goes. And, I’m excited to follow the road as it’s laid out before me.
"The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is." — C.S. Lewis
|Ashley Hawkey, Mercer Island, WA|
Note from Ronda~
Ashley, you make me laugh, and I am so grateful for your friendship. I know without a doubt that God put you in my life and I have been so blessed by our talks and discussions about God and that you have opened your heart to him. Thank you for sharing your testimony in progress, your first steps in faith...you are a beautiful writer and I loved soaking up your words this morning. Love you Boots!