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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S2 - 2. Ann T.

In this episode, I am interviewing Ann, who is a former teacher and headteacher and is now retired. She tells us about her walk with Christ over the years and shares valuable advice on being a single woman serving the Lord.

Transcript (Auto-generated)

Welcome everyone to the sisters stories podcast.

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

And to encourage 1 another by sharing our stories.

My name is Sophie, and today I am joined by Anne.


Hello, Anne.

And, sir Festival, can you tell us a little bit about who you are? Well, I'm my name is Ann, as I've said.

I'm retired and I'm single.

I have a younger brother and lovely sister-in-law who live locally, 2 nieces of the nephew and 2 great nephews, but they all count me as very much part of the family and involved me in all the act their activities.

That's great.

Thank you.

And so we're going to be talking about, your journey to faith and your life, with the lord Jesus.

Can you tell us a little bit about how you came to trust, in the lord Jesus Christ? Yes.

My parents were Christians and very active in the lord's work, and the lord was very much the center of our home life.

My brother and I were told bible stories, and we prayed together as a family, And then for my 5th birthday, I was given a Bible, which I still have.

It was the authorized version The only translation available at that time in English, and as soon as I could read, I was also given a scripture union card which had a suggested Bible reading for each day of the year.

And I was encouraged to have a little quiet time on my own reading the Bible and praying.

I knew all about becoming a Christian, but it was when I was 7 and a half that I actually asked Jesus to forgive me for the naughty things that I'd done and to be my savior.

I'm not sure what triggered that decision, but it might have been the impact the Magic Lantern presentation of Pilgrim's progress that I saw at the local church about that time.

I told my mother of my decision when she came to say good night to me that night.

She was delighted left the room and came back a few minutes later with a little card called a decision card.

We talked about the words on it, and what they meant.

They were believing that I am a sinner and that Jesus died for my sins.

I hear and now him by faith as my savior and lord.

She left me with the card to think about it.

And to sign the next day if I wanted to.

When I showed the car her the card in the morning, she was surprised to see that I'd put 2 dates.

Well, I explained, I gave my heart to Jesus on 17th March, but today's date is 18th.

The Bible passage on my script union card for that day was from John 20 when Jesus appeared to Thomas after the resurrection.

I clearly remember reading these words, blessed are they that have not seen me and yet have believed and thinking, why? That's me.

I haven't seen Jesus, but I've believed And since that time, I've rarely missed a day reading the Bible and seeking to apply it to my life.

That's I'm I'm amazed to hear this and that that's really encouraging to see that at such a young age, you you made that commitment and that you still have the tangible.


I've got the card.




That that's just amazing.


So can you tell us a little bit, obviously at that time you were in school? How did you find, this time? What were some of the challenges? Or, yeah, what was your life like, really? I wasn't able to actually go to school until I was 5 and a half.

It was the war.

Oh, yes.

Of course.

World War 2.

It disrupted disrupted my years at primary school.

And, when I was able to go at 5 and a half, I would go off in the morning with my gas mask over my shoulder and a rug over my arm.

Long air raid, shelters had been dug in the school field, 1 for each class, And whenever the siren sounded, we were marched down to them, and there we stayed until the all clear went.

But air raids weren't the only disruption to education.

At that time, there was no vaccination for for measles, mumps, or rubella.

These were common childhood illnesses and accounted for many absences.

And some of the children were also evacuated during the war years to the country or even to Canada.

But I didn't want to be evaporated as I told my mother.

Looking back, my main recollection was of the fund that we had during those years.

My parents managed to shield us from the horrors of war My father was in the fire service, and any distressing tales he may have recounted to my mother were not within earshot of us children.

On my mother's dressing table was a plaque with the words The eternal god is thy refuge and underneath of the everlasting arms.

This promise enabled her to keep calm and carry on.

Although our house didn't receive a direct hit from a bomb, It was damaged from the blast of 1 fell on the nearby swimming pool.

The swimming pool was used as a reservoir for water, for the fire engines.

The windows of our house were blown out, scattering glass over our beds, and through my bedroom ceiling, I could see the sky, part of the roof had gone.

But amazingly, none of us were caught or hurt in any way.

Truly god had been our refuge.

Although we had an Anderson shelter in the garden, We're selecting it as little as possible, but we certainly needed to for a while after that experience.

Life carried on and seemed normal to us children.

There were other children living in the road, and they were in and out of our house and garden to play.

Always welcome.

My mother started a midweek kennights class for them.

Telling them bible stories, and she also took opportunities to spend time chatting to the neighbors.

And in fact, several of them came to faith in the lord as a result.


I joined the Brownies and enjoyed earning badges.

And I also became a member of the Junior Red Cross, learning first aid and how to bandage wounds.

And at last, ve day came.

Victory in Europe.

The war was over.

Street parties were held and bunching was flying.

Everybody was cheering.

My secondary educations would soon be beginning.

At that time, children had 2 opportunities to sit and entrance exam for the grammar school.

You took 1 when you were 10 and 1 when you were 11.

I didn't pass at the first attempt.

And as you had to leave your primary school at the beginning of the term that you became 11, I had to go to the local secondary school for a term before going to the grammar school in September.

For various reasons, this particular term was not the happiest of my life.

When I started at Tiffins, My mother gave me a book in which she had inscribed Proverbs 3 verse 6.

In all thy ways, acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

I soon had the circle of friends and I tried to witness to them.

In my early teens, I made a public confession of my face by being baptized and I invited my friends and neighbors to come to it.

Soon after that, I accepted responsible for teaching a small group of children in the Sunday school.

In and in order to equip myself for this, I took a correspondence course offered by the scripture union to teachers who wanted to teach in Sunday schools.

But I was concerned that there was no Christian Union at Tiffins at the time.

I think I was probably in the 4th form when I plucked up the courage to ask if I could start 1.

Commission was given, and a group of us met regularly.

A member of staff usually came when I invited an outside speaker, but I think we were left to get on with it when we met for prayer and bible study on our own.

Well, I'm I'm just amazed because I run the current Christian union in Tiffin.


So this is, yeah, this is a very beginning of the Christian union, isn't it? Yes.

That's amazing.

That's amazing.



And so can you tell us a little bit about what you did after school and what choices you made for your career as well? Yes.

The verse that I was given when I went to Tiffin's, in all thy ways, acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy pause, was a verse that became very precious to me.

I knew god had a plan for my life, but I didn't yet know the direction he wanted me to go with regard to a career.

I was very much torn between nursing and teaching.

I'd enjoyed being in the Red Cross I'd also enjoyed teaching in the Sunday school, but was it nursing, or was it teaching that was god's will for me? At that time, the school leading age was 15, but those going to a grammar school were expected to stay on at least until they were 16 to get a certificate of education.

My year was the first year that o levels were introduced.

You had to have had your 16th birthday to sit them, and I was alright.

But it rolled out a number of girls in my year who weren't 16 and they chose to leave rather than repeat the year.

It was intended that o levels would lead to a levels 2 years later.

But at that time, Tiffin's also offered a year, a 1 year pre nursing course in physiology anatomy and hygiene.

I decided to take that course and then I spent a year as a nursery assistant in an infant school And those 2 experiences confirmed to me that teaching and teaching of young children was the direction that the lord wanted me to take.

I was offered a place at Avery Hill Teacher Training College It was the largest women's college at the time, so I purchased the second hand trunk booked Carter Patterson to take my luggage to my newer board and started a 2 year course.

Of necessity, the timetable was very full.

As students, we lived in halls of residence, and had lectures all day and were expected to study in our rooms from 7 to 9 of an evening.

Food was still rationed.

So we had to hand over our ration books, and meals were prepared and cooked for us.

The bedrooms and facilities were Spartan, very different from what students expect today.

There were also restrictions on our comings and goings, probably because we didn't come of age until we were 21.

And therefore, the college had responsibility for us.

I'd met a few of the students the summer before I started at Avery Hill, because a friend who was already at college invited me to join them in London for the queen's coronation.

We spent a cold night sitting on the pavement, but it was worth it to see the courage going by with the queen sitting in it.

At college, I specialized in early years, nursery and infant, and took divinity as my main subject.

It was especially thrilling to be part of an active Christian union and to link up with a local church.

Enjoying the hospitality offered by different members there.

During my second year, I was president at the Christian Union, and it was the year that Billy Graham held his Wembley Crusade We took the opportunity to organize coaches to take students to it.

And in spite of the pouring rain and having to sit back, sorry, having to sit on stone steps.

A number of students went forward to commit their lives to Christ.

And we followed them up back at college with discipleship classes.

My days at college were drawing to a close, but where did what god want me to teach? During the 19 fifties, there was a resurgence of interest in missionary work and the desire to take the gospel to other lands.

Communication with the missionaries was mainly limited to air mail letters.

And when they came home on furlough, they'd be asked to give a report to their local church.

Or perhaps a venue like Central Hall Westminster.

This building could hold about 2 and a half thousand people Some of the meetings I went to, every seat was taken, and people were even sitting on the steps 1 day I was reading my bible portion for the day and praying about my future, and the reading was in Isaiah 6.

And the verse that really challenged me was god's question to Isaiah.

Whom should I send and who will go for us? I couldn't give Isaiah's reply.

Here am I.

Send me.

I was interested in missionary work, but for others, not for me.

And it was ages before I could eventually say, not my will, but thine be done.

I don't know whether it was weeks or months, but it seemed ages.

God graciously accepted my willingness that he be lord and he had the decision.

And then he spoke to me again through my bible reading.

This time, it was in the book of I Ezekiel.

You are not sent to a people of a strange speech and of a hard language, but to the house of Israel.

I took it.

He had work for me to do in this country and in the language I could understand.

I applied to my local education authority and was accepted And my first teaching appointment was in a school in Chestington.



That's it's amazing to hear how the words of god guided you Yes.

Through that sort.


Very definitely.


Oh, that's great.

So It's in my daily reading.

It wasn't I open my bible, kicked out first, is it? No.

Of course.

It's just in my regular daily bible reading.


I think it's quite tempting to tempting to just open the Bible and and find a random verse.

But as you say, that's clearly something that god used to point you in the direction he wanted you to go.

So that's that's really encouraging, actually.


What did you find was, a joy in the teaching, or what was a challenge as well in that in that position? What did you say? Yes.


Well, I love teaching.

I regarded it as a service for the lord, and I was conscientious in carrying out that.

But I also undertook, work with the church.

I took a bible class, and I became a girl covenanter that involved a week night activity and opportunity for competitions with other groups as well as the class on Sundays.

And then during the school summer holidays, I would spend a week helping at a church youth camp before going on holiday with friends.

So there was teaching going on during the day, which I loved and then other activities of an evening.


However, it was not long before I realized why the lord had guided me to come home Both my parents were diagnosed with cancer, and they were in and out of hospital.

So very much appreciated me being available to care for them.

My father died first at the age of 60.

And my mother 2 years later when she was 60.

And for the last 5 months of her life, I needed to to take unpaid leave of absence to care for her.

Well, the lord certainly used my interest in nursing over those years, and he was my strength when I felt utterly exhausted.

He sustained me with his word during the dark periods.

Bringing out various promises to my mind.

And he used my brother and sister-in-law and Christian friends to give practical support and encouragement.

But after my mother's death, I returned to school I went to the school I'd been teaching up for a while, and I thoroughly enjoyed it there, but I was also asking, god, What next? A few years before, before my parents became ill 1 school inspector and the other, a Christian friend who was involved in education, They both indicated that I should consider applying for headships.

This idea had gone on hold while I was caring for my parents But when a post was advertised for head of the infant department in a local primary school, I applied and was offered the post.

I gained valuable experience there.

But after after being there for several years, I started applying for headships.

And although I applied for many, they came to nothing.

And I began to wonder if I was mistaken in thinking that this was the direction the lord wanted me to go.

And then surprise.

I was appointed to their headship at the school I had gone to as a child.

In the intervening years, the infants had been separated from the juniors and housed in a new building at the other end of the playing field.

My first year there was fine.

Education has a way of changing course abruptly, and without warning.

There was a proposal that schools had once been primary and then separated into 2 secondary, sorry, into 2 separate schools, should be amalgamated again and become a primary.

Although as heads, we were given prior warning, the information had to be kept under wraps from staff and parents until it became official.

I was at that school for 3 years before the amalgamation.

And then for a period, I had I was moved into the inspector's office to work until another vacancy was available less than half a term later at another infant school, and I was appointed there ahead.

But again, there's a similar thing happened.

After 3 years, the schools were amalgamated.

I was appointed to a very large infant school that was too large to consider amalgamating, and I remained there for another 6 years.

So that was 12 years of headship.

And at that time, there were still more changes being, mooted I was also finding it very difficult to get about the school because I was needing knee replacements.

So I applied for earlier entirement and this was granted.

I'd like to think that I was appointed to those schools because the lord trusted me to be able to bring calm to 3 difficult situations.

Situations that were worrying for the staff that were of concern for the parents and also to provide stability for the children during those their years years at school that couldn't be repeated.

But it also certainly gave me opportunities to witness to my faith both by by my word and for my attitude.



I'm sure that your Christian influence in these schools must have been quite a comfort to to the people.

I know as a teacher, when there's a change, it feels like a very big thing.


And I can't imagine as the heads to have to take that face on them not be able to tell anyone at first as well, must have been quite challenging.

And then they didn't know who was going to be appointed to the Egypt.



It was it was a very difficult time for them, and you can't couldn't really plan for the future because the future wasn't in in your hands.


So you had to head to take over.


Which is when, I mean, in any circumstance, we need to just trust god.


I think it's even more plain when we see that nothing is certain as as you're saying.

And in education, especially.




Can you tell us briefly about how you found your retirement and where you got onto? Reta was a long time ago now.

It was it was 32 years this year.

Oh, wow.


And I I as I retired, I thought, well, what will retirement hold for me? It held 2 knee replacements.

It was gave me time to resume old hobbies, to take up new ones, and also an opportunity to travel and enjoy wonderful holidays and spectacular scenery.

All that was certainly true, but in Psalm 48, we are told god will be our guide even to the end, and I wasn't at the end yet.

So I realized I needed to look him for his direction at yet another turn in the road.

I was praying about it and thinking of some of the elderly folk I knew.

Over the singles.


The widows, particularly those who had no children those who were with failing health, some who were getting to the point where they needed to go into long term care or hospital or had to sell their homes, And as I was praying about these people, the lord directed my attention to Isaiah 46.

You, whom I have upheld since you were conceived, and have carried since your birth.

Even to your old age and gray hairs, I am he.

I am he who will sustain you.

I have made you and I will carry you.

I will sustain you and I will rescue you.

Although I took this as god's promise to me for the future, I realized it also applied to all these elderly folk that I knew now that I've been thinking about.

Maybe God wanted me to be involved with him in that caring.

He did.

And over the years, I've been able to get alongside a number of elderly ladies Unfortunately, not all of them at 1 time, giving practical help and encouraging them in the lord.

So look back.

Preparing for the podcast has given me the opportunity to look back over the key points in my life.

And to reflect on the lord's faithfulness, the way he's used his word, to guide me in the decisions that had to be made.

The road has wound through many sunny meadows and at times dark valleys, yet the lord has always been there, leading me on, encouraging me to keep going.

I love the living bible paraphrase of Psalm 25 verse 10.

When we obey him, every path he guides us on is fragrant with his loving kindness and truth.

Although I can't see what the future holds, god can.

And as Cori 10 Boom once said, Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known god.


That's that's a beautiful quote.

I wanted to finish, Anne, if she can give, a little bit of advice, maybe to younger single Christians, in the church, I'm sure they would find that really useful.


God has a plan for each of our lives.

I do believe that.

And I think for most people, it does include marriage, but it didn't seem to be for me.

And it that doesn't necessarily be it.

The usual sort of twenty's thirty's age, 1 of the friends I went on holiday with each year after we've been helping as a camp, didn't get married till she was 40.

So don't give up hope, but Although, it's wonderful to see husbands and wives in a happy and fulfilled marriage, children brought up to love the lord, As the teachings are ahead, I've also seen examples of marriages that were not like that.

Gross isn't always greener on the other side of the fence.


Many of my friends married, but there were fewer opportunities to meet men when I was in my teens twenties.

School and college tended to be single sex.

And although the the war was over when I went to college, The young men of 18 were still being grafted in for national service for 2 years.

Then they had to do their training university or whatever when they finish that.

So, the opportunity to meet Christian young men was limited either to people in your own church or on Christian holidays and conferences.

So I would say to singles, take the opportunity to go to Christian conferences, go on Christian holidays, it gives you a wider circle of people to meet.


People who are a a light mind, Get involved with families, even though you're single, I know it's been meant a lot to me had to have a brother and sister in law who really involved me.

I was able to have the children take them out.

They sometimes came to stay.

I was able to join in all their festivals, everything.

It was it was lovely.

It's like having your own family.

So keep in touch with other people.

1 of the blessings I had was to have my own home.

I was able to stay on in the homes I'd lived in.

And I've been able to have people to stay for shorter or longer periods.

People coming to work in the area or convalescing after operations.

So think of what you've got and use it to serve the lord.

Give thanks for the circle of friends that you've got or things that you can do with singles who, aren't limited by being tied to families.

And I would say it's a singles, eat sensibly.

Get enough rest and guard your thoughts Don't dwell on if only.


Thank the lord for the blessings he's given you the things that you can do that your marriage sisters can't, and let god change you into a new person by changing the way you think and then you will know what god wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect.

His will for you really is.


That's Romans 12 in a new living translation.

Thank you so much, Anne.

And this advice I'm sure is, I mean, is something all of us need to hear in various ways, isn't it? Cause we all are discontented with so many different things in our lives.

But we always need to go back to the lord and trust in him, really.

Thank you so much for sharing your story with us today.

I feel very privileged.

It was such a privilege to hear So, that's it for this episode of sister stories, everyone, but join us again next time.


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