Sister Stories - Cornerstone Church Kingston
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Sister Stories

This podcast encourages us to reflect on how the Lord has grown and moulded us into becoming more like Christ.

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S3 - 1. Naomi A.

In this episode, I am interviewing Naomi, who is married to Rich and is a stay-at-home mum. Listen to hear about her journey with the Lord from childhood and how he has used two different churches to grow her in her faith.

Transcript (Auto-generated)

Welcome to the sister stories podcast.

This podcast's aim is to marvel at god's sovereignty over each of our lives as women.

And to encourage each other by sharing our stories.

My name is Sophie, and today I'm joined by Naomi.


Hi, Naomi.


So first of all, can you tell us a little bit about who you are? Sure.


I'm Naomi.

I'm for 3, and I'm a stay at home mom.

I'm married to Rich.

We've been married for 11 years now.

We've got 3 children, Jamima, who's 6, Ezekiel, who's 4 and Kessya, who's 2.


And I've been coming to Cornerstone for about 13 years.


Thank you.

So we're going to start, I guess, from the beginning, and, it would be great for you to tell us a little bit about your family background and how you were brought up.



So I grew up going to church as a child.

I went to, the local, church of England, church in the village that I grew up in near Portsmouth.


So that's sort of my background.

And then when I was 4, sadly, my grandpa died, and that was the first time I really felt confronted with death.

And I remember, I think it's probably 1 of my earliest memories having a chat to my mum about that and asking her why my grandparent had to die.

And then I remember her telling me that we all, at that point, she told me we all die.


And and that absolutely terrified me.

I, yeah, just remember, like, even now, I remember that that feeling of fear of gonna happen to me.

1 day it's gonna happen to everybody.

And, yeah, I was absolutely petrified by that thought.

But then my mom went on to tell me something about Jesus and something about the cross, that's all I remember about that part of the conversation.

And because of Jesus and the cross, that meant we didn't have to die.

And in a way that was quite confusing because in 1 in 1 breast, she told me we would have to die, and then we wouldn't have to die.


And so there's a lot I didn't understand but I just remember thinking in that moment, okay, I need to trust in Jesus.

Otherwise, his fear is going to you know, 4 year old kind of way.



That's that's really interesting.

So did that reassure you, at that time that you could put your trust in him and find that answer.


I think so.

I mean, like I said, there's a lot I didn't understand.


I mean, that's the that's the purity of the face, isn't it? That purity of the faith.

We trust in Jesus.


To save us from death, really.

So Yeah.

Like I said, there was a lot I didn't understand.

But, yeah, we just But in the sense, Jesus calls the little children to come to whom, doesn't he? So you don't need to have I mean, then that develops, obviously, so we can talk about that.

But, you you can come to him in that simplicity of a child's faith, really.


I think so.

And I think looking back, that's exactly what it was and Yeah.

There were times where I did still have the fear, but, it yeah.

Like you say, it was a reassurance that I could come back to Jesus each time and, you know, definitely reassurance.


Can you tell us a little bit about how your face then developed and matured over the years? What helped you, what did you benefit from, for that? Yeah.


So, over over my lifetime, I've I've had struggles as we all have with our faith, with doubts, and things, but I I kept going to that that church, the church of England church I mentioned at the beginning, and that that sort of gave me the foundation of of the faith that I have today, I think.

There were a lot of children at that church.

So, a lot of peers, and that was especially, helpful for me in my teenage years, where I had a lot of struggles, and doubts and things, I think, to have those friends alongside me who were also going through those struggles, but we're also professing faith.

And, yeah, it was that was really I'm really thankful to god for that church and for that friendship group and the youth group that was at that church at the time.


I was going to ask if she were part of the youth or if you if it was just a judge where you would just attend the normal service.

So you had did you have, like, Sunday school kind of lessons and you Yeah.

Growing up, there wasn't Sunday school.

It was I was a a lot in the services.

But there was a midweek group as a child.

And then, I think when I was early teens, the church actually employed a youth worker, so there was someone they employed to sort of encourage me and the other youth in the church, which is also immensely helpful.

And they would put on sort of youth services where we'd run the services and things.

Which shows a lot of fun that, you know, part of sort of enjoying the church as well.

And, yeah, so, that was that was a big encouragement to have that Yeah.


Could you tell us a little bit more about how, what what you came to understand better? As you went to that church.

Is there something in particular that perhaps became clearer to you as you grew up in the faith? Yeah.

I think, having put my faith in Jesus, I there was a lot of questions about is this real? In my head.

I longed for it to be because of that fear that I initially had.

And I think that, especially in my teenage years, there are a lot of people who, probably unknowingly to them, sort of said a word or 2 and there that sort of prompted me, to, realize that it is real to feel that the truth of the truth achieves with the truth Jesus actually existed and needed to actually die.

And, I think that church should have gave me that that foundation.


You mentioned going through some troubles when you were perhaps a teenager.

Could you tell us a little bit about about that and how how the church helped you and these teenagers alongside you, how they contributed to strengthening you and and helping you along the way, really.



I think it's sort of the standard teenage struggles, really, of peer pressure, not not feeling like, I fitted in, particularly well.

I I got an okay at school, but It's it they're especially sort of early secondary school that was they were some tough years in terms of friends and settling into a friendship group.


And I think looking back, like, there was that insecurity at school, and then I was able to go to church.

And, I was very secure with my friends at church.

So, Actually, I think it's I I'm very thankful for the church at that point in my teenage years to to have that security.

In, while it was in my friends at that point, and then, being pointed to Jesus through that at church.



It it's interesting how sometimes we forget that these are the main these are this is our family, essentially.

So it it feels it's obviously normal that you would feel perhaps closer and more encouraged by these people.

But also it reminds us that we belong we don't belong to the world, really.

So there's always going to be that that gap between how we perceive things and other people.


That's quite a good example.

Of it, isn't it? Yeah.





Thank you.

So, I wonder if you can take us forward in time if we just cook chronologically, really.

And just tell us a little bit about what happened later in your life, perhaps through your teenagers or or university or or careers or anything like that.

So, I came to Kent Kingston for university, age 18 and That's when I came across Cornerstone Church.

They initially came across Cornerstone Church as they were doing a midweek meeting for students.

So I went along to that and then, joined the church not long after that.

And, just god has really used condensate chats to deepen my faith.

Really, I'm too thankful to him for that and to, the leaders of church and everyone everyone of the church really to sort of, the I think I think I've got to the point in my life, and I came to uni where there's parts of the Bible.

I thought, well, I'd I trust it, but I don't really understand it, and I'll understand it later.

You know, when we get to heaven, which in a sense is true, but, I think there were certain parts of the bible that were opened up at Cornerstone.

I thought, oh, maybe maybe I could have a go at trying to understand this now.

Revelation, for example, not pretending to understand it at all, but I, understand a lot more than I thought I ever would on her.


So, yeah, It's been a wonderful journey journey of deepening my faith at Cornerstone Church.

So would you say that in a sense, your first church provided where you needed Morrison as a child and teenager to help you grow and then Cornerstone added perhaps more depth to that in in the teaching that we we do sometimes.



I would definitely say that.


I'm very thankful to the church I grew up going to for that foundation.


And then I'm very thankful for the honesty as well for for deepening my faith.

I didn't in a way I didn't expect that, but I'm very thankful to God that he's done that.



So, you obviously met Rich art corner stone.

Is that correct? I did.



He did.



He'd been here a bit before me, but then, yeah.


We met, a Cornestine.

You're not long after I started it.


We're not going to ask all the details of this unless you wanted to share that, obviously.

But, yeah, so It is really great to see how how your fate has grown over the years.

I wonder if if there were some challenges as you went along the way in terms of, learning more about god and, you know, perhaps going to more intellectual questions as well.

And and yeah.

What what would you say challenged you and also encouraged you as you as you carries on.


I think 1 thing that's, well, god just taught me an a plethora of things, not all of which I can recall right now, but Yes.

1 of the key things that stands out for me at the moment is, how he's teaching me to trust in him.

I think a lot of people including myself like to have control or feel like we have control anyway.

I don't think we ever really do.

But, actually, to give that control over to god is something that I'm really being being taught.

So, I think 1 of the key points where I've learned that is through the pandemic.

Where god really shaped me how trustworthy he is through his word.

So 1 of the key verses that I held onto, or god god showed me, and then I held onto it through the pandemic.

It was Philippians 4 versus 6 or 7.

Which says, do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation by prayer and petition with Thanksgiving, present your requests to god.

And the peace of god that transcends understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

And that that verse, is very countercultural, I think, and applying it to the pandemic There were so many unknowns during the pandemic, especially the very beginning, how is our health going to fare, how are the children going to be, you know, job security, that kind of thing.

There was lots that, lots to be anxious about, and and I was very anxious about all of those things.

And then I saw that verse in Philippians that tells us not to be anxious about anything.

No caveat, just like anything, which god in his mercy showed me was that included the pandemic.

So, I, over a period of time, gave my request to god as that passage says, including the fact that I didn't want this anxiety.

I wanted to trust in God.


And then he he gave me his the the piece that that passage then talks about that transcends understanding and it Yes.

It it really struck me 1 day.

Like, wow, I I have peace amid in mid in the midst of all of this.

The the chaos of the pandemic, and, I had to keep going back to god to to have that.

It wasn't sort of plain sailing from then on, but through that god really showed me how trustworthy he is.

Yeah, in that, in his word, and there's been ups and downs since then, but, god is continuing that journey.

I'm really trying to trust him with my time at the moment, and having 3 small children, my time is limited Yes.

So actually realizing that I can give it to him, and he can give me what I need.

When I need it, it I'm I'm not there by any means, but it's something that I'm learning.

And also to learn to trust trust her with my children.

That's, something that I'm really keen to to do, because he loves them more than I do.

I need to keep remembering that.


So, yeah.

Trust Trust god.



I was going to ask you about how that comes, how that wanting to give the control to god comes into play when you raised the chill when you're raising the children actually with Rich, obviously.

And, you know, how, yeah, how bad comes into play really, but you've already you've already mentioned that.

Yeah, I think it is really interesting to see that however much we know about god and all these, you know, all these big questions that were perhaps answered when you came to Cornerstone or just over time.

Actually comes back to something really simple, which is just to trust him.

Trust him.


And that's really interesting that you did that 4 at 4 years old already.

And then that just kept on growing and growing, but it came back to the same thing, and you didn't need necessary.

Not we do need understanding, obviously, but that essential thing of trust just very simply is always at the core of everything, and that's for all of us, all of us, really, as Christians.


That's so true.

It's it's always been about the same things since I was forward to now that is that's really true.

And, I think we can add we can add things for lives and try don't add things, but, yeah, when he's come back to trust.


And praise god that he's shown you that so early in your life that It feels like it's really affected your life throughout that even even through, you know, teenagers, which are never easy and through changes in your life, perhaps.

Having children, getting married, all of that, in not in our order.


You know, all It all comes back to that, really.

Yeah, that that's really precious, isn't it? Yeah.

Praise god for that.



So you've already mentioned very recent things that perhaps you have learned or or you want to grow in.

Is there anything you want to add on that.

Yeah, I think, I think lessons have of patience as well as, something God is, teaching me, you know, as a wife and a mom and sort of until I was married, I could do what I wanted.

I want when I wanted buy what I wanted when I wanted.


Within reason.

But, you know, becoming a wife, you're sharing a life and then becoming a mum, you, test patience is tested beyond beyond what I've even imagined.

But, you know, god is god is using that to to Graemey and, it's it's a form of suffering, I suppose, a personal suffering when you when you're struggling to be patient.

And, we know that god uses our sufferings for Oh, good in his glory.

So sort of learning to trust trust god in that as well.


And I can imagine as the kids started going to school as well recently that other challenges were added to that as well.




There's definitely there's a separation from the children at that point.

But they still have difficulties.

They still got struggles that are not even necessarily there for, so it's very to help them through that, but say that, that distance has another level of difficulty, but then an area to then trust trust god with the children.

Yeah, it's it's definitely an opportunity to pray.


To to we should be praying all the time, but you know, I struggle with that, but it god's give god's given me that as an opportunity to pray more to him to trust trust the children to him in that.



And I think we can probably end with with this question, which is would you If you had to share any advice with someone younger in the faith since you've been going with the lord for such a, well, quite a long time now, I guess.

Woe woe advice would you give to a younger Christian? Yeah.

I think, just keep your focus on Jesus, I think as we were saying, like, Jesus is where I realized I needed what I what I real what I realized I needed when I was 4.

And what I'm realizing I need to trust in now as well.

And, yeah, just to keep keep your focus on Jesus, really.

He's our he's our safety, safety net, and, Yeah.

When I think about raising my children personally, the weeks where I, trust god, go much better than the ones Yeah.

Where I don't.

And seeing that over time is really really helpful as well.

But, so, yeah, I'd pass that on to, yeah, to trust trust each day.

God god says give us today our daily bread.

Like, daily, we've gotta come to him.


And, asking for help.

And I guess practically that looks like praying, through everything and, carving out time to read the Bible.


Ideally daily.


And, Yeah.

I think the other thing would be just get stuck into a local church.

I think as I was saying, like, church was so helpful as a child and then as an adult as well.

And we see in the Bible that it tells us to keep meeting together so that we can encourage 1 another.

And I've definitely seen that to be true in my life.


That's great.

I think in the sense for very young Christians just doing these taking these simple steps towards towards god almost in a sense and, you know, going to him and praying and and reading the word and and committing to a church, which sometimes can be hard because you might think, oh, I need to find the perfect fit.

It needs to be, you know, everything perfect for for me to attend this church.

But actually, we don't need that.

We just need to commit to it and and to actually stick with it.


And often that will develop through time and you've shown with the 2 churches that you've attended throughout your life that they are they were right for different times in your life in a sense.

And you might be that we were very different, but actually Yeah.

They were.

God provided what you needed through them at that time, and it continues to do so.

So we can really trust that, yeah, that it comes for just, yeah, trusting in him, and he will provide what we need and It might be very different things at different times.



So that's really encouraging, and it's really simple in the sense.


It doesn't need to be a massive list of things we need to do really in a sense.


There's no perfect chair.

We're not in a perfect world.

But Yeah.


I think that can be really encouraging for for everyone, really, but perhaps for younger Christians in particular, just that simplicity.


Thank you so much for sharing the story with us, Naomi.

It's been really encouraging.

Yeah, and thank you, everyone, for listening.

That's it for this episode of sister stories, but join us again next time.


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