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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S4 - 2. Susanne K.

In this episode, I am interviewing Susanne, who is married to Stephen and has two young children. She also works in marketing. Listen to hear about her walk with God from her childhood and how he drew her back to him in her teenage years.

Transcript (Auto-generated)

Welcome everyone to the Cystic Story's podcast.

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

And to encourage one another by sharing our stories.

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



So first of all, can tell us who you are.

So I'm Suzanne.

I'm Marita Steven.

We have 2 children.

Lewis and Chloe.


Lewis is 8.

Chloe is 5.

And we live in Chasington.

And what do you do? I work as a marketing manager for a publish publishing company, who own, like, local newspapers at the moment.

So I help them market their products.



So we're going to be talking about your, journey with the lord Jesus Christ, but could you take us back to the beginning and your family background? Yeah.

So I grew up and was born in Enfield in North London, lived there with my parents and my brother.

My parents used to take us to church from when we were babies, really.

We had we were dedicated as as babies.

And, the church I went to back then was called Enfield Evangelical free church, and had, like, really good youth group, was quite a big church, actually.

It was probably around 4 or 500 people when when we started And, yeah, I grew up in that church and went along to the youth groups and the Sunday school.

So kind of grew up, having, like, learned and understood who god was and and the gospel was taught to us, really, from a very, very early age.


Would you say that you understood the gospel or were not not quite? Or I think I understood a lot of it because we were we were well taught at that search.

And I remember once being in primary school and, being in a in the classroom, probably I was around year 3 or something like that.

And the children in the classroom having a argument about, how the world was made or something.

And I just remember being like, of course, it was god.

What are you talking about? So, I remember, yeah, back then, it, like, as a child, as a young child, it was obvious, really, that there was a god and that he was the god of the Bible.


And, obviously, this will go into the details, but there's a difference between understanding something and making your own.

Of course.

So, yeah, can you tell us a little bit more how how was it at school for you? And did you enjoy the church? You know, as well.


I I I loved primary school.

And, yeah, as a child, it was quite happy.

I was quite happy.

Quite shy child.

But happy enough.

But then it was I I when I got to secondary school and started there.

I hated it.

That's, to be honest, hated secondary school.

Really struggled.

And, I think it was probably in my kind of early teenage years.


1314 in particular, where, yeah, I I wasn't really sure if what we were being taught in church was right anymore.

And Yeah.

Just remember it being quite difficult at school.

Probably didn't have, like, loads of friends because I was quite quiet anyway.

Yeah, I didn't really enjoy it.

But I did have a really, like, good group of friends at church, which I think made a difference.

So there was 4 of us girls, together in in a little group of friends.

And they were a big influence on me, but all So I think we kind of grew up together.

So all of, like, the questions and that kind of, early teenage years where you yeah, trying to make sense of life and trying to be cool and all that stuff.

We kind of went through that together.

So it was in a way, it was nice to have that kind of support of those girls and, yeah.


And growing up.

Would you say that there are things that you heard at school that challenge your beliefs or Was it just wanting to be popular in a sense? Or I don't know.

Weirdly, I don't think it was school because it was a Christian school.

I mean, it was, it wasn't the best sort of, you know, well taught school when it came to Christian stuff, but it was a Christian school.

We used to have, like, they used to do maths and not not mass, comedian, and stuff in, assemblies.

So it wasn't really that, but I think it was more, possibly like the influence of my brother, I think, because He rejected the kind of Christian message, probably when he was around, like, 10 or 11, I think.

He's like playing football on Sundays and going off to do that instead.

And he used to come along to the the youth group still, but he didn't really get on with anyone.

The youth group just thought they were not like his kind of people.

So I think that influenced me quite a lot and, yeah, because I looked up to my brother a lot.

I always wanted to be like him and, it was probably why I started playing football, things like that.

I really enjoyed, because I wanted to be good at sports as well.

But, yeah, so I think it was that, that that he had rejected it.

And then probably also, yeah, when I was around 14 as well, I, I did start playing football for the local team, girls' team at that time as well, which I really love playing football So I really wanted to do it, but the girls in that team, it was quite a nasty environment.

And I didn't there was a bit of a split, I guess, between, like, the cool girls and the uncool girls.


It was, like, one of those kind of situations.

And Yeah.

I just remember, like, wanting to be in with the cool people, but then, you know, the way they were behaving didn't quite match up with what I'd been brought up with.

So it was a real struggle because, like, you know, trying to make sense of should I be doing what I've always been taught that is right it to do, or actually is life more about, like, having fun just doing whatever you like, really.


So there was that tension.

So I think that was also why I was sort of questioning, questioning a lot, what I've been taught.

And, yeah, what was really what life was about, really.

And did that make you I don't know, maybe he resents god or or think, why am I not with the cool people? I'm not able to just Why is it not that easy, really, in a sense? Yeah.

I think I don't know if I resented god.

I just I think I just started to wonder whether it was true.

Because if it was true, then it meant that there were, like, demands on me.

Like, I that I should live a certain way.

But then is that that the right thing to do because should I have just, you know, gone with the other girls and gone with the flow? Yeah.

And, you know, go and chase all of the things that they were facing as well.

And, yeah, so it was more questioning god's existence.

And, whether the Bible was true rather than how, you know, fitting resentful towards him, because I wasn't quite sure if he Yeah.

And that's that makes sense.



And I guess as well that continuity between what you learn at church, and then does that actually apply in the real world on in in a sense, not that such as the real world, but maybe that separation is small.

Yeah, it's difficult to reconcile that sometimes of, like, actually where you hear a church and then having to apply it, especially as a child, I'm sure.



I think so.


So Yeah.

Can you tell us a bit more how so you we're in sec secondary school at the moment.


What did you do at university? What what happened then? So I mean, I became a Christian probably around when I was about 15, actually.

So it was a bit earlier before I went off to uni.

But really that was the influence of so, I mean, at the time, I was questioning, as I said, and then I got to a point because I was still going to church and I had this close group of friends.

And I was in the youth group, which was, yeah, we had some really good pastors at Enfield then.

We had Joni Mhmm.

Walker, who was our youth pastor, and Joni Prime, who was the senior pastor So, yeah, they were really big influence.

And I remember John T, like, Was really good with us, actually.

I mean, Linda as well, his wife, that she used to have us round, to their house to do bible studies.

And I remember once he'd even they both took us out to the cinema for a cinema trip.

So they were really like they they put a lot of effort into, like, the youth and, like, getting alongside us.

Which was great.

And I remember, like, as I was having these questions, thinking, okay, like, either it's true or it's not true.


I do remember praying at one point to just ask god if you're true, you need to show me because I don't really know this is true.

And then it was kind gradually over time.

I don't know exactly the length of time, but I, like, keep continuing going along to the youth and being able to ask the questions.

Just as the word was preached.

I think eventually I was convinced that, yeah, I think this is true, actually.

At that point, that was when I just prayed and and asked the lord to be my savior.

And then there was like a gradual change from there, which yeah.


But yeah, they were fantastic.

So I was baptized when I was about 18 in in the church, before I went off to uni.

Yeah, the youth group was fantastic as well, and we were just learning loads from the Bible and, yeah.

But yeah.

So then I went off to uni.

So I went to Stafford University to go and do journalism, because at the time, I thought it was gonna be a journalist.

And, yeah, like, I I think at that point, because I'd had such a bad experience at secondary school as well, because this was kind of like a new start as it were, I was like, I'm just gonna be myself because I don't have any pressure.

I don't know anyone.

They don't know Yeah.

So it was kinda like a fresh start.

So I went in with the attitude of, like, I'm a Christian.

I'm living for the lord.

This is how it's gonna be.

And the lord is really kind, actually, because on the first the first Sunday I was there, I so I'd hooked up with someone who I knew who was in the CU.

So before I started coming, and she had by to me along to church with her.

So I think we'd arrived at uni on the Saturday on the Sunday, so we've gone out probably that night to the student union or whatever.

Sunday morning, I got up early and went off with her to church.


But the other girls in my halls didn't notice.

And they must have got off around, like, I know, 11 o'clock, 12 o'clock, or something, and realized that I was missing.


But I wasn't in my room.

I need to know where I was.

So when I got back, which I think I went out for lunch with them as well, by the time I got back was for, like, 3 or 4 o'clock, and they were like, where have you been? Like, we've something happened to you.

And I was like, oh, no.

Like, I've I just went to church.

Like, I got to church.

So that was, like, really amazing because it was like all out in the open straightaway.

It didn't have to find a way to tell them I was a Christian.

It was just like out there.

So from then, yeah, just yeah, I used to go along to the CU, went along to church when I could on Sunday, yeah, and just had some really great conversations and got to know them and some other of the guys in the halls who turned out to be Christians as well, and it was, yeah, a really good time.


And did that helps your faith mature then at that time.

Or Yeah.


It did.

And I think as well from that time, I I realized what a privileged kind of upbringing I've had to be have grown up in a church where the Bible was taught really well.


Because when I got to uni and met, some of these other Christians.


I was like, wow, like, you don't know a lot of the stuff that's in the Bible, which, really struck me.

So what yeah.

In my 3rd year, I was the CU president and just used to make sure that we had good teaching and stuff in those meetings and was doing bible studies and leading us bible study group with some other students here and trying to teach them, but I knew, basically.

That's great.

It's interesting to see how, you know, through youth youth group and anti bot uni as well.

And there's always people around you, and I wondered how seeing them live helped you to reconcile that that problem that you had between, oh, I want to be part of the cool kids, but actually You know, I want to reconcile with that with Christian living.

Yeah, and I'm sure that senior youth leaders taking you out to the cinema, all that all that thing, all that kind of thing just probably helped as well.

And and see, actually, you can be a fairly normal person in a sense.

Get along with loads of different people and still live as a Christian.




It did, it did make a difference, I Yeah.

And that you can just, as you said, just be a normal person, but you can live with peace, really, and with, assurance in your life.

Because I guess at uni, things are quite extreme as well.

There were definitely some characters who were on way on the other end who didn't know what they were doing with themselves, really, and were in a bit of a mess.

And I guess when you see that, you think, this is definitely the way that I should be living.

And it's not just because well, obviously, because that's what the lord teaches us, but even just as a way of life.



It's no better.


It's true.



And so then later on, you ended up in Kingston.

How did that come about? Yeah.

So It's a long story.

Well, we have to go back a little bit.

So, I started go so I started going to contagious, senior contagious, the camp, the youth camps, around about the same time.

So I was around 14.

So the first one I went to, I hated it because I wasn't a Christian.

So I was like, why am I here? This is mental.

But then I became Christian.

And then, I should be in a couple of years.

I think it might be the second or third one I'd be into.

Just turned sixteen, and I met Steven, who's my husband.


Spoiler alert.

And basically, we, like, yeah, from that time, from that contagious that we met, we liked each other, and we started chatting, we started day meeting.

And then he so we were we were dating, and then before I went to uni, He then Oh, yeah.

He had a conversation with with John T and ended up coming down to Enfield free church to do a an apprenticeship.

So he came down to Enfield just at the same year that I went to uni.


So you were not there anymore.


So we we had that this long distance relationship, basically.

And then after that, he then finished his apprenticeship and then he had an option to go to uni himself.

He didn't have, like, loads of qualifications.

So it was either teaching or nursing, I think, and because his his comes from a family of lots of nurses.

He decides to do nursing, and one of the courses was in Kingston at Kingston University.

And because we knew Pete, from contagious.

I'm a new Steve Sims as well.

He was also down here studying.

He decided to come down to Kingston.

So he moved down here for uni, And then I finished my university degree.

We got engaged.

Moved home for a year, so we were still long distance because I had to travel across London see him.

And then, yeah, we got married and then I moved as soon as we were married and I moved here in Kingston, so he just graduated.

He literally graduated after we were married, I think, if I can pump the other, like, a few more placements to do, after we got married.

But, yeah, and then I was living Right.

Zocalum, sorry.



You was a silly story.


It's all.

That's fine.

So and did you come to constant that when you arrived in Houston, then Yeah.

So we had a choice.

We could have stayed in Enfield.

So he could have left uni, and we could have stayed in Enfield.

But because, that church has mentioned was really big and thriving.

There weren't so many obvious opportunities to like serve.

Whereas at Cornerstone, we were aware that it was just a small church at the time, quite young, and it's, you know, from when it was, found it.

So there were just there was just loads to do.

So we were like, yeah, let's go there.

We can get involved, and there'll be, of, yeah, things that they'll need doing, you know, serving in different ways.

So yeah.


Oh, great.

And obviously, the church is now growing quite a lot.

So Yeah.

In a similar situation, I guess.


We carry on a little bit in the story.

So you've you've now got 2 got 2 children.

Have you found words you learned through becoming a mom and Yeah.


So I think that, like, when you get married, people will tell you that you learn about yourself that you're selfish, I think, because you have somebody else to think about.

When you have children, like that, like, tenfold because you really you're really restricted in your life from that point because it's all about them, really.

And, you know, taking care of them, giving up your nights out, and, you know, not being able to go and play ball when you really want to, you just have to get a babysitter.


Things like that.

You know? So, yeah, it's hard, but You know, they they are fantastic.

Like, they're they are a joy.

Even though they're hard work and it's difficult to bring them up, really.

Normally alone, like, having to also bring them up to know the lord themselves, that also a challenge.

So, yeah, really stretching, really makes you, learn something new about self, I think.


And that's when having a church around you is really helpful, isn't it? Oh, yeah.


You can do it without the church around you, at all.


And it's fantastic, really, because especially at Cornerstone, there's so many other families as well.

And so many older people who are really good in So it's really important for them to come along and see that there are normal people.


And people say yeah.



And, that they can respect as well.

And, but they they talk about Jesus, and they love Jesus.

And that's, yeah, I I really hope that's gonna be a huge influence on them as they grow up.


We can pray for that.



And so, yeah, I guess if we, again, carry on, Yeah.

What is there anything in particular that you have learned over the last year or so, yeah, more recently? I mean, learning all the time, really, because different life circumstances, they teach you different things, ain't they? I think Yeah.

I think service in particular, I'm still learning that.

So we came out of so COVID was like a really interesting time for me because, working in marketing, I also lead the media team at church.

So that was like a real really busy, busy time for us.

But really exciting as well because everything we were doing was, like, great to get the word out on the internet.


But, I think after that, I had a little bit of a burnout, really, because, yeah, I just found it really tough to keep keep going.

Which I've kept going.

So it's it's okay.

The lord's sustained us.

But, yeah, I think now that at the point we're in, that still feels like there's loads to do.

So I was just trying to juggle that and also just learning contentment as well as the a big thing that I'm constantly learning different life circumstances.

You know, sometimes things aren't the way you want them to be.


And you have to find peace in those situations.

And then at the moment, I mean, things aren't that bad.

Actually, things are quite good.

Like, works going well.

Like church is great.

But still it's easy to look at other people and want things that they have or just find little things that you, would change or you want change.

And, yeah, it can be can be quite challenging.

So I think just learning, contentment, and that the law provides everything that we need, and we don't need to worry or, strive after things.

It'll just it'll provide.

And if there's something a choice make, then he'll help us make that choice.



And, lastly, what what advice would you give to a younger question? I think probably just to read the Bible, right, is the most important thing.


Because, really, that is your foundation for your faith.

And I think Christians can especially young Christians get in a real model if they don't understand the word of god very well.

So yeah, I would say that's probably the most important thing.

Like, go do your Bible study, read your Bible, talk to other people about it as well and ask questions particularly to your pastors and, church leaders, they love all that as well.

They love being asked questions.

They love people who are really getting in the word and want to learn it.

So, yeah, make use of that, go and make friends with the pastor and, asking lots of questions and learn Yeah.

And as we've seen through your story that that when you have that foundation, it's really it's so important, isn't it? And that will define your view of the world and and how you go about everything, really.

So that's really important.

Yeah, and it's really encouraging to hear how God has sustained you and and kept you even if you could have wandered off and, you know, and maybe you did it at at one point, but then he brought you back and and having that foundation on the word is just the the, yeah, the basis of all of that, isn't it? But, yeah, that's really that's really encouraging.

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


And, thanks everyone for listening.

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


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