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 - 3. Emma S.

In this episode, I am interviewing Emma, who is married to Steve and is a mum of three young children. She also works as Cornerstone Church’s administrator. Listen to hear about her journey with the Lord from childhood and how her faith grew throughout her life. 

Transcript (Auto-generated)

Welcome everyone to the sister stories podcast.

This podcast's aim is to marvel at God's sovereignty over each of our lives as we and to encourage all another by sharing our stories.

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

Hello? Welcome, Emma.

First of all, can you tell us who you are? So I'm Emma.

I'm married to Steve.

I've got 3 children, Kayla, Amelia, I've been at Cornerstone for about 14 years now.

I was a teacher for nearly 10 years, but left that job at Christmas and have just recently started working for the church.


So we're going to be talking about your, journey to faith and you walk with Christ.

Could you tell us, what's your family background is and what it was like in your childhood? Yeah.


So I, grew up in a Christian home, both of my parents, were Christians, and both of their parents were Christians, so very blessed to come from, from a home that believed, the Bible, and brought us to church from the time that we were born.

I'm so I'm 1 of 4.

I've got 3 brothers.

So church was always a big part of my childhood, went along to Sunday school.

Learnt all the Bible stories, what they meant, even did Sunday school tests, which they had in the church I grew up in.

So my parents were great.

They faithfully taught me who Jesus was from a very young age.

So I don't actually really remember a time, where I didn't know that God had made me.

I didn't know so I knew from a young age that I was a sinner who needed saving and that the only way to be saved was, through Jesus' death on the cross.

So those fundamentals, I don't ever really remember not knowing, which is down to my parents, really.


Oh, that's great.

So you grew up in Ireland since you I did.


So, I Ireland is a predominantly Catholic country.

So we went to a very small Baptist church, with 20 members, but I was actually born in Darbyshire.

And I remember an So when I moved when I was 5, and I think because I had that big significant move, I do have it sort of stimulates memories.

And I remember praying the prayer while still in Darbyshire.

So I must have only been 3 or 4, so very young when I prayed, that god would save me thanking him for Jesus and knowing, you know, kind of confessing that I was a sineuant that I needed him.

But I didn't have an understanding about the assurance that Christ can give about my salvation.

So I was quite I prayed that prayer lots and lots of times.

So, as a young child, both before I moved and after I moved, I remember sort of being awake at night and praying that prayer and being encouraged by my parents to talk to god about worries and my mom would always say, you know, talk to the shepherd and count your blessings and lots of little, you know, sound bites that still come to me now when I'm struggling, just encouragement to to do that.

So I do remember, really trusting that God had saved me and was with me in everything, which did continue through life, but obviously in in different ways.

I wonder why you were struggling with assurance in particular.

Would you say there was made more of an emphasis on your sinfulness in your life and therefore? Yeah.

I think I just didn't have I had it was obviously a very childlike faith.

I knew that I needed to be safe, but I didn't have the full understanding about god's sovereignty and his character Yeah.

That to kind of back that up, to give me that, you know, sure hope of heaven.

That as a a child of god, I should have had.


And that's quite a hard thing to understand even as an adult, isn't it? Yeah.

So as a child, I can imagine, potentially being a bit scared of god as well that you could be feeling, oh, if I'm a sinner, then how can I approach this god? Absolutely.


That's interesting.

So we're going to follow your story along, literally, and see how that developed into Yeah.

A stronger and closer relationship with cards.


Could you just carry on with the story what happens? So, as I said, it grew up.

So from age 5, lived in Ireland, which was Catholic, So at school, I was the kid who wasn't doing their first holy communion, who wasn't making that confirmation.

So I was always different And as a young child in primary school, that didn't bother me that much because I was just very happy that they were all wrong, and that actually I was being taught what was right.

And, but as I got older and into teenage years, I became much more self conscious of being different, and wanted to fit in.

So I just became quite quiet about what I believed and what my family believed and how that was different to the Catholic teachings.

I knew my friends had an idea about god, and they all thought they were saved because that's what they taught, but I they didn't have the right idea about being saved by grace.

And I never really pointed that out to them.

I just stayed quiet in that.

And there wasn't wasn't any really, any young people at my church, my age.

There was a couple of families, but they then moved away when I was early teenage.

So a youth group that I was going to, I then became completely uninterested in going because everybody was a couple of years younger than me.

And that was really difficult.

And so I continued to go to church with my family, but I think I sort of hid behind my parents a little bit.

I was never with my peers, within that setting of questioning what the Bible says and learning from it.

So I wasn't very engaged as a teenager at all.

And that then that mentality of just wanting to blend in with the crowd just sort of followed me into late teenage years.

And even into university, which, looking back now, I now see as a terrible shame because it was a waste.


Would you say that you still had interactions with other people at church even if they were not your own or young people.


So we had, I mean, it was a lovely little church family, and I still, you know, my parents still go to that same church now, and it's just, I was more seen as their child.

I wasn't really my own person in my faith.

In that.

And I I didn't have the confidence to question, the things that I didn't quite understand.

I was very thing that if that's what the adults told me, I was like, well, that is what's true even if I didn't really understand why.

So I wasn't really encouraged to grapple with anything.

In my teenage years.

And I think that therefore didn't help me, but also I think I probably wasn't, you know, a good listener when it was came to sitting under the word that, I mean, the sermons that were being preached were good, you know, faithful bible teaching, but it was aimed at adults when I was a teenager, and there was nothing really for me.


That's quite difficult as a teenager, isn't it? Because you need that attention a little bit more at that time.

You do.

And I just the confidence to be able to say, well, actually, I'm not sure that is right, even if I was wrong in my thinking, but just that encouragement to find out for myself a little bit.


I mean, I can see having such a big Sunday school in Cornerstone, how great it is to actually see the kids as a teacher, some of the lessons, just see the kids ask the questions and really try to understand the things, that they are taught.

So I think that's a massive blessing to have age groups are appropriate and and have that.

And then as well to mix together as a church because you have a good balance of with a bit of both, really, what she needs.


And I think I see that throughout the life of Cornerstone because even in so, yeah, it's Sunday school, the youth group, student group.

And even as adults, we're encouraged to question.


And we're encouraged to talk to each other and, you know, what what struck you or what didn't you understand, or what is hard? And I didn't really have an experience of that until I came to stone.

So that, growing together as a church family was a new thing to me, when I came here.


That's great.

So what what's happened next when you came to university and how was that? Yes.

So I went to university in Edinburgh.

And so moved away from Ireland.

So it was quite a long way away, so it didn't get home that much.

And Sort of, again, I fell into just blending in with the crowd.

Within my 1st week, I'd made friends with the people on my corridor, none of whom were Christians, all lovely people, but, had completely different priorities.

And I didn't then say, oh, well, I need to now go and find the CU and I need to go and get stuck into a church.

I sort of just drifted along with them until I just slipped into the next few years of, you know, living student life in a non Christian way.

So we were all, you know, quite studious.

We went to the library, but there was nothing, I I used lots of excuses of all.

These are the people that I can invite to church 1 day when I eventually find 1 and get stuck in.

So I did go sporadically, and I never really doubted what I'd been taught as a child.

So I do think I still had that underlying faith, which in lots of ways is worse because I didn't have a big wobble and think, oh, actually, I, you know, what I've been taught is wrong.

I knew that god was the creator god and that I was a sinner and was saved through grace, but I just sort of ignored it because it was easier.

And I just went on that easy path, which looking back is is a shame because I do look back at my uni years and say, well, actually, that was a bit of a waste.

Well, there are any opportunities, though, where you had maybe some conversations with these people.

Or Yeah.

So I definitely had some conversations, and I, I mean, like I said, I did go to a church sporadically.

My cousin was also in Edinburgh, but at a different uni we used to go along together, which sort of helped us hide in the back row a little bit.

So we never got you know, stuck in or plugged into anything, the teaching at that church was very intellectual.

So it was like going to another lecture, and it it didn't speak to me, but again, that possibly was my heart and me not being a good listener.

And it could have been incredible if I was in a different place.

And my friends knew that I would have called myself a Christian.

But again, that wasn't great because I wasn't living it out.

So I was not a good witness to them, really, at uni.

That's hard, isn't it? Cause it's hard to want to fit in and at the same time, you know, be different because Yeah.

That's always just a hard balance to strike, isn't it? Yeah.

It it strikes me how through these 2 church experiences, you didn't really have 1 group of people in the church that you felt close to.

And I do wonder whether that didn't help you in in getting stuck in in the sense of, like, actually, I knew I can find a similar group of people in this church and and just pushing that up.

The church I grew up in and I'll, like I said, was very small.

The church I went to, on and off for 4 years in Edinburgh, and it really was on and off.

It wasn't.

It wasn't very regular, was huge.

It was only 4 to 500 people.


So it was complete stark contrast to each other, but neither, yeah, neither 1 did I get stuck into the church family or have anybody who was gonna call me out on any of the things I was doing or have any accountability with anybody.


That's challenging, isn't it? So what changed then in your life? Because it feels like at this point, you have an understanding but you were lacking assurance, and then you're trying to almost avoid your faith in a sense, or just leave it aside.

So What changed in your life and brought you back to your choice? Up to the end of university, obviously, everybody's thinking about what you're gonna do next, and I really just had you know, it was god working working in me.

And I just, I guess, showing that he is such a faithful God, even though we are so unfaithful to him, that I just realized I, you know, I don't wanna do this anymore.

I want to change.

I want to live for him.

I know what I've been taught is true.

I know the Bible is his word, and I know he doesn't like that I'm ignoring him in my life.


So that was and I used the opportunity of leaving university to say, okay.

Right? Something's changing now.

I'm not gonna stay in Edinburgh, so I actually went back to Cork for a while.

And my pastor there was great.

He was really helpful.

He met up with me each week, and we read the Bible together.

And I think there weren't any necessarily big new revelations at that time, but god was just working slowly in my heart to change my priorities and bring what I had been taught to life a little bit and giving me the desire to want to live that out a little bit more.

So then after that, I did a few things.

I didn't really know what I wanted to do.

I did psychology as a degree.

I thought perhaps I'd go and do some further study in that, but needed some experience doing some kind of psychology you know, work experience.

So while I was working out what area I might go into, I, my dad was involved with Rad Stock Ministry, so I went to Kosovo and Albania with him on a trip.

And I then, ended up getting a job in Kingston with a Christian holiday company.

And it was just gonna be an interim thing of my aunt and uncle lived in Kingston, my granny lived in Kingston, So I could move in with them for 6 months, work for this Christian holiday company.

And then the following academic year, I would start further study, and I kind of just came here.

But the first thing I wanted to do was find a church, and went to Dun Donald once, and they sent me to Cornerstone, which was then Fairfield, because they said, what's the point in driving past a good church to come here? So and that was great advice.

Because, Cornerstone was my local church.

And I think within the first, you know, few minutes of walking in felt so welcome.

And it was people my own age that were very real and wanted to get to know me And it kind of just, from there, everything just seemed to sort of start into place.

Suddenly, I had preaching that was very dynamic and engaging and things that I had all that Bible knowledge there, and it all started to, just be a lot more alive.


Which was great.


That's good to see how all these different churches and different influences bring, like, were used by god to kind of make things almost click in your mind and just make things fall into place for you.

I'm just bringing you back to god in a sense.


After that unique experience.


So that's how you came to concerts about 14 years ago, you were saying? Yeah.

So at the beginning of: 2009 Wow.

14 years ago.

It's like a long time.

It was.


And did you meet Steve at? Yeah.

So I met Steve at church.

So very quickly, felt very involved in the church family, which was great, got involved in the youth work, and he was also a youth leader.

So we just, by default, ended up, started spending time together serving, which was great.

And then we got married in 2011.

So a couple of years later.




So I wonder whether we can move on to the things that you've learned and especially perhaps more recently, but it could also be throughout your years as a Christian, really.


Anything in particular.

So, again, again, god has taught me that I am not in control of my own life.

There've been lots of examples of that.

I when I was thinking about this, like, you know, 1 of the things from the last year, because I've, like I said, I've got 3 kids.

Nathan's had some health issues, and it just becomes so clear that you know, I can't control what happens with my kids.

God has, god has made them.

He is suffering.

He knows the plan that he has for them, and I need to put my trust in that.

So he had a couple of stays in hospital, he's got a metabolic thing where if he doesn't eat, he, can get low blood sugar.

So there's been a few instances over the last year where I've had sort of put him down to sleep, knowing that he hasn't had enough to eat or drink, and you just that really is a sort of a testing thing of You know, what do I truly believe? And, you know, I do believe that god has made him.

God actually loves him more than I love him.

God knows going to happen.

So therefore, I can trust my children over to god that he will keep them safe and, you know, praying for that piece so that I can go and get some sleep.

And god was really kind, and he has given me that.

And even though it's trying times, when you've to deal with issues with your kids.

It is amazing how god can sort of step in and remind you of those true that, that, yeah, that he is he is in control, and we are not.


And all that assurance that we were talking about earlier as well kicks in, isn't it? Cause now, I mean, it feels like through your journey, you've you've learned to really put your trust and, you know, know that your salvation is is in him, and that's that's enough.

That's sufficient, really.


So that's a that's a beautiful thing.




And, yeah, is there any advice that you'd like to pass on perhaps to younger Christians or younger parents or yeah.


So I think, if you are someone like me who is growing up in a Christian home, know that that's a privilege, but know that, you know, it's okay to question it and ask questions and do that now.

If you are someone at Cornerstone, use the great kids work, youth work, student work, whatever, to to do that.

And, Yeah.

Get that good understanding now.

And I, again, I would just, you know, say don't drift and get stuck in because if you are part of the church family, and you are serving, then especially at Cornerstone, you will be held accountable for, you know, things that you perhaps have in your life that you might need to be challenged on, and that's something I think that's really important that I perhaps didn't have at various stages of my life that you know, maybe if they were there or if I had let them be there, then it would have possibly possibly been slightly different.

But if, yeah, if you're about to go off to uni, that will be my biggest thing if, you know, in your 1st week, find the CU in the 1st weekend, you know, you need to have a church lined up you're gonna visit.



You can visit a few churches to see where where is gonna be suitable for you, but, you know, have done that research and be be ready because if what you want to do at uni.

If you want to live for Jesus, then you, you need help with that.

And you'd, therefore, need Christian brothers and sisters around you.

And, yeah, don't do what I said of the world.

Make friends of the people I can invite along to the church things that I'll find later, which was just me giving myself excuses.

So I think, yeah, just get stuck in at whatever stage you are if you find, actually.

Life life is too hard to have to try and live out as a question on your own.

You need church family around you to encourage you and, challenge you.


That's a very good point.

Isn't it? And, yeah, that's really important.

And as we've seen, I mean, in constant, we're so blessed with such a diverse church family, and it would be a shame not to enjoy that and just get stuck in, really, but in any church as well, really.

Yeah, that's great.

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

And thank you everyone for listening.

That's all for today's episodes of sister stories, but join us again next.


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