Sister Stories - Cornerstone Church Kingston
Plan your visit


Sister Stories

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

Spotify logo Apple logo Google logo

S1 - 12. Jackie

In this episode, I am interviewing Jackie, who is married to Paul, and works for the Good Book Company. Listen in to hear about her walk with Christ and about her reflections on the last couple of years.

Transcript (Auto-generated)

Welcome everyone to the sister stories podcast.

This podcast is aimed at marbling at God's sovereignty in of our lives as women, and that encouraging 1 another via our stories.

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

Hi, Sophie.

Hi, Jacquie.


Thank you.

And so first of all, can you tell us, who you are? Sure.

I am Jackie.

I am married to Paul.

Like Anne, I am heading towards the big 60 next year.

We have 3 grown up children, Ben, who's in Nottingham, Jess who's here at Cornerstone, and then Steph who got married last month and is now living in Wimbledon, which is lovely.

We've been at Cornerstone since the very beginning, actually, we were part of the team that planted the church, which has been a a massive joy and a privilege to watch how it's grown over the years.

And I work part time with a good book company, which is a local publishing company.

I am publishing coordinator, which involves a lot of post it notes based clear.

We all love we all love is Yes.

That's great.

So we're going to be talking about, obviously, your journey to faith and, to knowing the lord Jesus Christ, but can you tell us, about your family background, how you were brought up, what that was like? Sure.

So it's brought up in a Christian home, which is fabulous.

I my parents are both converted through Billy Graham, actually, at 1 of the Billy Graham missions, I think, in the in London in the fifties.

And we lived in a pretty little village in Essex and attended the local church there.

And it was a fairly lively church community.

It was a standard Anglican village church.

So church was very much a part growing up, went to Sunday school.

So I knew a lot about the Bible, I guess.

But, It was about 11, really, when I signed up for confirmation classes that I first realized that I I didn't really feel any of it.

I it confirmation was something that you just did, so I did the classes, but I was very much aware that god was real, and I believed it all wholeheartedly, but there was kind of a sense that I didn't really understand it properly.

And I remember walking up the aisle at my confirmation thinking this really should mean more to me than it does.

So there was an awareness, I think, that I hadn't really personally connected with god at that point.

And then when I was about 13, there was a holiday club at church, and, 1 of the leaders was a delightful woman called Gwyneth, and she was 1 of those lovely people who just kind of glowed in her knowledge of garden.

And she really loved Jesus.

And I, that really challenged me because I suddenly realized that this wasn't just a belief system that she signed up to.

But it was a personal relationship.

And and I became very aware that that that wasn't what I was enjoying that as I looked at her, there was a tangible sense that she was enjoying her relationship with God.

She was gloriously sort of un self conscious.

1 of the weird things I remember is that on 1 of the days, she had a huge ladder in her tights.

And and as a self conscious 13 year old, I was thinking, how can she how could she not be worried about this? How can this not be an issue for her? But she just was so follow the love of Christ that she just carried on regardless.

And it that was just 1 of those small things that made me think, what I have is not really real.

And I remember going home 1 evening and just praying to the lord that a a sort of I want what she's got kind of prayer.

You know? Just wanna hand it all over.

And so I think that was the beginning of my journey.

But then I think it took many years after that of of reading and praying and hanging out with questions.

And the teaching at the church wasn't great at that stage, but, there was quite a lot of going on around the youth group that involved going to events where there was really teaching.

So, so that so I think my faith was growing gradually over the years.

And so by the time I got to university, which is where Paul and I met, I was kind of all in then and joined the Christian Union straight away, joined a really good bible teaching church met lots of people who were really walking the walk, who'd been Christians for many years.

And and so that was a hugely fruitful time.


So that is my journey.


That's that's amazing.

And it's really nice to that the the witness of that lady, Gwyneth, was, like, a good example in your life.

And then Yes.


I think it's a huge encouragement to our evangelism and our just the way we live our lives can be a a real testimony to to our faith.

Even if even if we're not managing to put that into words with people, it can still, play a part in somebody's journey towards knowing who Jesus is.

So yeah.

So, yeah, you've talked about how her example pushed you towards towards Christ religion towards wanting to really know him and commit to him personally.

Is there maybe a specific time or specific event that really sealed that in your heart or or not specifically? No.

I don't think there was a specific time, actually.

I think it was a general growing.

I think reading had a lot to do with it.

I think I was quite a voracious reader I remember reading Rebecca Manley Pippets, out of the Salt Shaker, which is a Seminal text.

I I, proofread the translation of that book.

Oh, did you? Yes.

Completely out of the blue.




So and I remember reading something she said in that book about that she used to say to non Christians, just open up the Bible and start reading, put it into practice, to us and see what god does.


You know, just watch what god does.

And I remember even as it just as a baby Christian, I remember thinking, Wow.

That's fantastic.

It's so simple.

I can do that.

I can just take the Bible, seriously and believe that it's true and put it into practice.

And so, and there have been lots of books like that over the years that have been really important.

And then I think people were important in the journey as well.

Lots of lots of, wonderful questions that I met at university, as I said, and then yeah, I did an apprenticeship later on in at Dundonald actually working with women there and did a lot of, studying and had a mentor.

And and she was wonderful.

It's funny.


People play a big part, don't they? I watched how she conducted herself in family life.

I watched how her Bible was always open.

How she was a wonderful prayer, how she loved people, sacrificially.

And, yes, I think it's people like that who have had a real impact as well.

So it's a combination, I guess, of the truth lived out.



And that's that's the beauty of the church, isn't it? Yes.

Coming together and and actually sharing life, not just seeing each other you know, a little bit, but actually sharing our lives together and seeing how people live out their lives is making a huge difference.

Isn't it? Yeah.

And seeing god's faithfulness to them through difficult times, you know, when you watch somebody who's going through squisitely difficult situations watching them cling onto the lord and hold fast the truth that they know to be true even if they're struggling to to grasp them in real life.

That's that's a massive win.

You know, and it gives you so much confidence in who god is.

And it does, yeah, helps you to cling on yourself.



So you mentioned that you met Paul at university.


What's happened there? Horizon, across a cloud, crowded, crowded, crowded CU, basically.


So I met him on the 1st night that I went to the Christian Union, actually, he and his flatmate, Paul invited a bunch of us newbies first years because I was a year behind him, invited us to their flat so me and my, friend Kate, who I'd gone to see you with that 1st night, we went over to, to Paul and Paul's.

There were 2 Paul's.


So that was the first time that was the first time I met him.


And we didn't we started going out together a while after that, actually.


So And as we said to you, and the rest is his The rest is his his industry.


So where did you go to university actually? Exeter.

Oh, I see.



It was a fabulous place to go.

Loved it so much.

It's got the malls.

It's got the sea.

It's a beautiful city.

It's a lovely campus university.


It was great.

Had a wonderful time there.



And so what what brought City King in in the end because we've moved around a little bit.


So, Paul moved back.

When he finished he finished a year ahead of me, he moved back to London with his parents in south, in South fields, I then moved back to my parents, did a bit studying the following year because I wanted to join the BBC.

And in order to do that, I'd worked out that I needed a secretary of qualification.

So I I went from a, weirdly, from a law degree to a secretarial course.

And, and the and ended up I did end up working at the BBC amazingly through.

That's a whole another story, which you may or may not be interested in.

And, yeah, then so we needed to live either near where Paul worked in Wimbledon or where I worked in Shepherd's Bush.

Television center.

And so we ended up in Wimbledon because it was a much nicer place to live basically than than shepherd's bush.

That's what brought us to London.

And then we started going to manual church and then planted into Donald and then planted from Donald into Kingston.


So yeah.


So from Ches Yeah.

Lots of church planting, which is fantastic, actually.

I think, being involved in a church plant is massively encouraging because You're so dependent on the lord in those times when you're planting a church.

There's just a few of you.

You feel really vulnerable.

You've left behind a lot of your friends and your sort of church security blanket.

And, you're waiting to see what the lord will do and you're building really strong friendships in in that context.

So it's an exciting thing to do.

So if anybody has the opportunity, go for it.




Anyone listening.


And now telling people to leave the church.

That's not good, is it? Judge planting is a good thing.


It's necessary at times.



So it's I mean, from you, your your years as a Christian, I'm sure you've learned many lessons and everything.

But, obviously, we've had probably, well, quite quite, challenging a quite a quite challenging couple of years.

Can you tell us a little bit about what you've learned in that time? And I think you've had quite a few I have learned so much, and it's been super helpful, to sit down and think about it actually before doing this because I don't think I had really thought through, but as I did, I couldn't stop scribbling things down, actually.

So it was great.

So I've, yeah, had to narrow it down a bit, really.

So, yeah, so I I think, first of all, I should say that I should put it into context in that Paul and I were at the stage where, our children weren't at home.

So 2 of them were married.

Steph was at university.

So we didn't have the whole small children homeschooling, you know, that awful challenge that was ahead of all parents as more children.

So, and after the initial 6 weeks, Paul went back to school.

So he was working normally.

I was working out of the kitchen at home, but working normal working hours.

And so you know, so we didn't have a lot of the challenges that other people did.

But that said, there were there were many challenges.

And, I learned so much.

So the first thing I would say I learned was that Jesus is utterly, consistent and unchanging and faithful and and that he is enough.

When everything, that we felt was normal was thrown up in the air and, you know, our plans were scuppered and the things that we normally rely on are, you know, stripped away from us.

That even in amongst all that god does not change.

He is the same yesterday today and forever.

He is sufficient.

And and even he's working wonderfully in the middle of all that to change us and to grow us and and for our good.

And so I found a real comfort in god's character.

And so I found that opening up the Bible in the mornings became a really steadying time so that whenever those kind of we're in the middle of a global pandemic, you know, people are dying, and it's all gone pear shaped when all when those kind of feelings would bubble up inside.

Looking to the words, opening up the Bible and reminding myself of, god's character lifting my eyes away from all that stress and strain and anxiety.

Became became a glorious thing.

So So, you know, reminding myself of god's character, that was that was something that I learned.

I learned a lot about prayer, I got into the habit after a while of an early morning walk, and I used that time to pray.

I had in the course of work, actually, because it was for a book that is about to be published actually.

I listened to a series of talks by a American pastor called JD Greer.

About prayer, the series was just called Ask, actually, And I found it really, really helpful.

He taught me how to kind of a riff on the lord's prayer, really.

To to use that structure and to pray around it.

And so I would do that every morning.

And I found it wonderful to be able to to cast all my cares on the lord and to to pray about all those people who are in really difficult situations around me who I couldn't do anything to help, you know.

I couldn't go around there.

I couldn't give him a hug.

I couldn't you know, I mean, there was a certain amount of, you could sort of cook for people and stuff, but if people are a long way away, you just couldn't get at them.

And that was It was really frustrating and but I found great comfort in praying for them.

And there was something really conducive, I think, about going out into nature.

Not that New Malden is particularly beautiful, but, you know, just being out there in the in the early morning in the quiet with the birds and the golf course.

And, there was something conducive about connecting to god, I think.

In that sort of context.

So that was that was a wonderful lesson to learn.

And, just in case it sounds like I'm a bit of a spiritual saint, that that has completely gone off the boil in the last month or so because of Paul having COVID and various other things.

So, you know, these patterns that you develop, sometimes 4 by the wayside, but I'm determined and you can all hold me to account.

I'm determined to get back into my early morning walking.


And also I think I became very much aware of the lord's kindness.

To us in so many different ways, in big ways and in and in really little ways.

Which which is great.

I think often when life is really busy, you're sort of so busy moving from 1 thing to the next that you don't stop to appreciate how kind the lord is being to you.

And, so my dad had Alzheimer's, and he interiorated quite rapidly in lockdown.

It wasn't good for him.

And it was really hard to watch that.

It was hard to to watch my mum, struggling on, you know, but we are so thankful to the nod that, they had wonderful carers who were such a blessing.

You know, I don't know that any of them were Christians, but they were a massive encouragement.

People in the village used to drop in and just stand on the doorstep and chapter mum and, you know, that was that was so comforting for me at a distance, not able to visit them very often.

And again, when dad died, there were so many ways that we saw the lord's kindness in in how that happened in the fact that it happened on a day when Stefan and I'd been able to visit.

And he died very peacefully in his sleep, and there were just lots of things around the way that at that happened that that demonstrated that the lord was watching over us and walking with us through the through the pain and the suffering.

It's really I always find it amazing.

This as you say, these little things that maybe day by day we we might not even see clearly sometimes, but then, I don't know, sometimes in the morning, you pray for something just really small, like, I pray just students to turn up to the CU in school.


And just seeing, like, just 1 new student coming.


Something really small like that.

I don't know.

It's just really precious, isn't it? Yeah.


He's in the small things and in the big things that he does.



And sort of outside of the as well the way he used.

So 1 of the other really encouraging things was we were that we were having an extension built, as you know, designed by your wonderful husband, and and the lord gave us these lovely builders who were such an encouragement.

You know, they became they're not Christians.

They're lovely family guys.

But, the lord used them to bring so much comfort to me, because whenever I came back from visiting my dad, and those visits were always really painful and driving away from there was really painful.

I used to cry most of the way from the 12 to the M25.

But I I knew that when I got back, I could make a cup of tea, go around the back, and the builders with down tools and have a chat and just cheer me up, you know, and that was such a kindness of the lord.

And they were like brothers, really.

And that was just 1 of those funny things where I thought, well, the lord just knew that I was, that at a time when I couldn't spend time with family and friends and, church members, that I actually, these builders could be an encouragement, and they were.

So, you know, it's amazing.

And I was so thankful of a church family.

I've got to say, I know other people have commented about this.

And, I it it was wonderful how the leadership organized all kinds of stuff to keep us connected with, you know, all kinds of craziness, and as well in the home group challenges, didn't you? We had so much fun in the home group challenges.

I will never forget the lovely Marsha standing in our in our garden, directing shaving foamer, Anna Lane, you know, and chucking jugs of water over her and all this kind of madness.

It was it was just wonderful.

And I think, actually, in fact, that was quite a witness to the builders because I think they could not believe that the nonsense that we got up to, but also the support network that was there for us.

You know, I don't I think it really challenged their perceptions of what church is.

So, yeah, so lots of ways in which the lord's kindness was just evident day by day.

And I think we noticed it more because the situation was so tricky.

And then I guess, the last thing is that I was really freshly reminded of the hope that we have because all of a sudden, the, you know, the hope of an eternity with Jesus, because all of a sudden death was all around us.

In a way that it had never been before.

It was so big in our world, you know, the new I couldn't I couldn't listen to the news because the numbers were so terrible.

And, but I realized afresh.

I mean, I knew it, but I think I realized afresh that I don't need to fear death ever.

Because of Jesus because of what he did.

And, and I didn't need to be upset when normal life was scuppered in my plans weren't working out because it's this life isn't everything.

You know, the for the Christian, the best is yet to come, and so it doesn't matter.

If stuff goes pear shaped in this life, you know, and that that hope, I don't know how people manage without that hope.

And I think that hopelessness that you you saw in people, is a, you know, that's a wonderful point to come to them with the hope of Jesus, isn't it? Or, you know, that that whatever happens in this life, and you you won't get people back and you won't get the time back.

But, you know, there is an eternity.

There is a hope.

There is life beyond the grave.

It just changes your perception of death completely.


Which is a glorious thing.

It is.

Isn't it? And it's so overwhelmingly big, almost, but so beautiful at the same time.

It's such a precious thing for all of us.

It's just a glorious truth that you can rest in.

It changes how you look at life.


That is wonderful.

So many things.


Many things.

I'm sure from that that and from your journey in general that you have advice that you could give to to young Christians or or maybe to people in a specific circumstance.

I I don't know what you would like.



So there were 2 things really.

And mostly mostly around the prayer thing, actually, I think I would say make prayer an absolute priority in your life.

And by that, I don't mean necessarily the formal quiet time sort of prayer, although that obviously is a great thing.

It's a wonderful thing.

But I think aiming to learn to talk to our fa our father throughout the day, you know, to to build up that, communication with him, talk can think about anything and everything is I think that's that's a glorious thing and I'm absolutely preaching to myself because it's not something that I've cracked, but I've I've thought about it a lot.

And I just think it's life changing.

Those days when I do that, feel completely different to the days when I don't.

And I remember J.


Greer saying something about a friend who he had said he never priced for more than 20 minutes which I found quite encouraging because, you know, sitting down and praying for any length of time is difficult.

But he then said, he said I never go for 20 minutes without praying.

And I thought crikey.

Going for 20 minutes, you know, I can go for hours without praying.

And I think that's a real challenge, and I think connecting with the lord throughout the day would be will be absolutely life changing.

So that's 1 of my goals.

And then I think the other thing is prayer triplets.

I have been in a prayer triplet for getting on for 30 years now, which is crazy.

And it's been such a blessing to me.

I have walked through all kinds of joys and sorrows with my 2 sisters in Christ.

They are so special to me.

They know me so well.

They they hold me to account.

They asked me really difficult questions that I'd really they didn't rather they didn't ask me, to be honest.

They laugh with me.

They cry with me.

We always have to have a box of tissues handy.

And they just encourage me so much.

The those friendships, are are very, very precious.

And I I just think if you can do that, if you can find a couple of people, who you can pray with and be really honest with.

I think it's, it can be it can really help your growth and it can stop you from wandering away from the lord because those those people will will draw you back.

You know, they'll keep on encouraging you in the lord.

So that would be my advice.


That's I think that's really useful, actually, because seeing the church grow, which is obviously amazing.

I think we need these closer relationships to anchor us even more to others to account, as you Yes.

I think so because with the best 1 in the world, our home group is not necessarily the setting in which you're going to be that honest and open.

And so I just think a a smaller group is is great, really, and it'll help carry you through the times when you're feeling pathetic and, you know, we kinda shore each other up, which is great.

You know, we all we point each other back to the lord.

And quite often, 22 out of 3 of us will be struggling with our quiet times, you know, struggling with reading the Bible, struggling with the root and praying.

And but but the other 1 will be okay, you know, and she'll pray up a storm for us and, you know, so, yeah, and we all go through different things at different times.

So Yeah.

It's a great thing.


That's really useful.

Thank you so much, Jackie, and thank you for sharing your story with us.

That's all for the a series of stories, everyone, but join us again next time.


Previous episode Next episode