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 - 9. Bernadette

In this episode, I am interviewing Bernadette, who works in marketing and is married to Chris, one of Cornerstone Church’s elders. Listen in to be reminded of our need to come to God in prayer throughout our daily lives.

Transcript (Auto-generated)

Welcome everyone to the sister stories podcast.

This podcast is aimed at marvelling.

I've got sovereignty, each of our lives has been and that's encouraging 1 another via our stories.

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



You are there? I am here.



So to start off, could you tell us a little bit about who you are? So my name is Bernadette.

I, in my early thirties now.

I am married to Chris, who is a, recent elder, at Cornerstone Church, and I work in marketing.


Thank you.

So, obviously, we're going to talk a little bit about your journey with Christ and how that came to be and and all of that.

But first, can you tell us a little bit about your family background, how you were brought up? Sure.

So, I originate, if you like, from South Africa.

I was born in Johannesburg, and my whole family at 1 point lived out there.

Either in Zimbabwe or South Africa.

So I spent the 1st 7 years of my life out there, and, And then, because of my dad's job, he was offered a chance to come and work in London for a year.

With the company he was with at the time.

And so, my parents decided to take it and to come out here.

So we live in London for a year, my brother and I went to school.

And then at the end of that year, he was offered a chance to extend and to stay here permanently.


And so mom and dad weighed up the options, given the state of, South Africa and and just, future prospects, I think, and they made the decision to leave permanently.

And so we ended up here.



And we're very grateful to have you, obviously.

How did you find the difference between South African and the UK? There is loads of differences.

I think, fortunately, I was at an age where, I think you're fairly resilient as a child, and you, you adapt very quickly to new situations.

So, it didn't have It wasn't sort of a a massive deal in my head just because, you know, that's what was happening.

And off we go, I think for my parents, it was a lot harder.

I know my mom really, really struggled with loneliness, being isolated from her family, they were so so far away.

And, so, yeah, for them, it was a it was a lot more intense, a lot harder.

But for us, it was just, you know, okay.

You're starting a new school.

Every everyone sounds weird.

And do they do things a bit differently here? You know, they call tea lunch and and all sorts of strange things.

That confused me as well.

So, you know, there was all of those little little things that were different But, you know, we made the most of it as a family.

We I think we saw every single, tourist exhibit there was to see in London at the time, plus, every ruined Abby and Carl, so there was in England.

So they were soaking up the history.

And, yeah.

So it was good.

It was it was challenging, I think, for the family, we got very used to the, it was just us 4.

I see.


And close knit.

Very yes.

Very so very close knit.

We had relatives here too, but, you know, they're a little bit further away.

So I grew up with grant without grandparents or without knew they were there just very far away.

But without the concept of a grandparent in your life, same with uncles and aunts, not really there.


So, yeah, so it was just us 4, and, yeah, we just got on with things.



And so I wonder what your background with in terms of church and and your faith or your family's faith was like, can you tell us a little bit about that? Yeah.

So, I've been very blessed to have been born into a Christian home.

Both my parents were Christians.

And our, you know, our Christians.

It's not killing us.

So Yes.

But I think sorry, parents.

But I think and it they're their understanding and of, all sorts of things, and their faith has grown since coming here.

The biggest thing that they found is they weren't getting good teaching where we were in South Africa.

They arrived here, and, it's all god's hand because he bought them into a church that explained the Bible, taught actually what was in there.

And so, they they grew, with that.

And as a result, my brother and I, you know, we we got more and more of, Bible truths as as we grow up.

So I remember Bible Studies with dad.

He taught us, to say all the books of the Bible.

Memory verses as well we used to do as a family.

So, yeah, we, you know, brought up in a Christian home, unfortunately, in a in a place where we were well taught as well.

That's great.

And, yeah, as you said, god's providence to bring you to a place where you could learn, accurate truths and and really grow.


And so how can you describe for us, whether you accepted those truths quite early on or or what was your response to what you heard? So, when I was, well, when you grow up in that environment, you don't question.

To begin with.

You know that there's a god.

You know who Jesus is.

You have some concept of the fact that you're not what you're supposed to be.

You're not what you created, originally for.

There's something missing.

And, Jesus is the way back to having a relationship with god.

So you've got those early concepts.


So I I remember at 1 point, it was it was some family bible study that mom and dad were were saying, oh, you can you don't have to be in a special place to to pray.

You can pray anywhere.

So why don't you go and pray where you want? So I sort of went and hid and prayed.

And that was just sort of, you know, it's just a very childlike understanding of of, you know, I can access.

I can I can talk to god? So you don't question it.

And and then when you are brought up in a Christian home, the church that you go to hopefully has peers your own age, and so you you know, everyone is in the same boat as you.

And so you, you, you believe and you learn.

And because everyone else is doing that too.

You and you have a very you have a very good understanding that what you're being taught and what believe and what your family believe is very different to your friends at school.


There is a divide.

Not like it's a them and us sort of type thing, but you you know that that you know that it's different.

So and you don't question it.

And I think the the questioning only happens, later on, as you as you get older and you go hang on a sec.

So can you tell us for you specifically how how that happens? I think So you seem to accept these truths quite quite early on, as you said, as a child would accept what they see around them as as true, really.

But was there a time of questioning for you later on? Yeah.

So I, I became a Christian in my early teens.

I was about probably about 13, 14.

I can't really put a date on it, but I know it was on a Sunday evening.

And it was because I had been under a a a preaching, and it was a little bit of a a shock to me.

He was preaching on judgment and on heaven and hell.

And for the first time, I think those 2, the reality of that became was very strong.

Sort of hit me in the face.

And I realized for the first time that I couldn't there was no guarantee of where I was going.


And so that night, I prayed, and I think I stayed up all night because I was just terrified, but knew that I needed to have Jesus as my savior.

So that happened, and and earlier in my teens, And it but but as you as you go on, especially when there isn't a massive change because you're in an environment where you've you've not had a chance really to to properly kick out against anything.

So there isn't a stark contrast to to watch for.

And so the questioning came later in my in my late teens and early twenties, whereas suddenly, actually stood back and going, do I actually believe that you become very I became quite apathetic because it's day you know, it's week in, week out, you're hearing the same stuff.

Nothing's changed.

You know, you you kind of expect this bolt of lightning.


And I what I mean? Yeah.

And so you become apathetic.

It becomes boring.

You're not quite sure.

Like, our mom and dad mad.

Church is weird.

You know? And so for me, that was that's that's when it started.

To be questioned.


And I wonder what, so you were saying how you perceived the outside world to be different.

What was your relationship with kids at school or or people around you? Did you have good relationships with them, or did you really feel that difference in your behaviors? Yeah.

I really felt that difference.

I knew I knew that my upbringing was different.

I, especially, you know, during your teenage times, it was very obvious that I didn't do the stuff that my peers were doing.

And the funny thing is I didn't really have any desire to.

It's quite odd.

It's sort of I was not 1 of those girls who was I almost couldn't be bothered.

It was sort of just it just didn't really appear on my radar.

I had no interest.

And that in itself is a bit strange, I guess, but, I was quite happy.

I was quite happy and content that I was I just didn't do what other people did, and and that was fine.

But I I was very aware that how I lived and how I spent my time was different to to the girls around me.

I did have good friendships, good relationships, but there was always a stop as to how much you could do with them, I guess.


And so it was very much over there.


That's you know, I'm friends with you, but the mark the the line is here.


And that's where we where we differ.

And I wonder, as you grew older, whether that changed a little it, or maybe you wanted to relate to these people a little bit more, that caused you to rebel inverted comments, obviously.


I I suppose so.

I think, I definitely started to to think that their lives were easier.

Mine was more boring.

And they were they seemed to be having a lot more fun.

They were just a bit more, together or not.

And and I think I I thought that they were happier than me.

Alongside that, it's not it's not just it wasn't just a outward looking at the world.

But I was also very, very unhappy at church.

I see.

That was the other thing.

So there was a lot of stuff going on.

I think when you grow up in a church, sometimes you can become part of a culture within a church that's not healthy.

And, people people think the same way do the same thing, and it can become quite toxic.

And so I think my apathy, my frustration, grew within that.

You know, also, I I thought all the Christian boys were idiots.

Does it help? No.

It doesn't help.

And and and a bit weird and just not normal.

And so, yeah, I just got more and more uncomfortable and and more, I think miserable is probably the way to describe it.

So it was twofold.

It was it was looking outward at something that I didn't I I didn't have and I thought I wanted.

And then also a a real yeah, a really unhelpful, culture.

And that's not the that's not, you know, that's not a reflection on the teaching.

It was it was the people inside that were causing that.

So, yes, those 2 things combined made me very it made me, question, you know, what's the point of this anyway? Is there is Jesus really who he says he is? And, yeah, so I sort of, grew very cold.

I see.

Do you think that might be also caused by maybe the church not addressing the culture? As much as it could have or Yes.


Potentially, or not not equipping you to deal with the culture Yes.

And I think there was also, there was a a a lack.

I think when you when you when I reflect back on it, it was also that the the, some people weren't putting into practice what they were hearing, really.

And so you got, yeah, you you kind of had there was quite a lot of inward inward facing stuff.

And, I mean, I was fully culpable within that, but it it it I started to feel very, very unhappy and uncomfortable within that.

So, yeah, I do.

I I think there was quite a few things that they could have done, but it's very easy to point fingers.


Of course.

Isn't it? Yeah.

I'm sure we all give of of doing that.

And it's easy when you found when you're in the community to look at people who are like you, actually, and and not really want to go outward so much.

And I think that's that's for everyone, really.

That that's what everyone does.




And that I wonder from that point onwards, what brought you back to church or brought you back to your cries to really, and if there was something in particular.

It's a little bit of a funny story, actually.

So, I was yeah.

I was at that at that point, I was very unhappy.

I was just, questioning everything.

At the same time, it was late teens, early twenties.

My dad, lost his job.

And that was quite a pivotal point for the whole family, because he was, mom didn't work.

At that point, although she's, you know, she's a qualified teacher, she she was fine getting work, but it was At that point, she didn't, everything was kind of riding on on dad.

And so he he suffered enormously, from that.

He he really, really affected the whole family.

So I had, obviously, my trust and my foundation was in the wrong place because it was on my on the on money and, material things and that there was an assumption that that would just be there.

And that wouldn't let me down.

And then the rug completely got pulled up from under my feet, with that.

So that was a very, very good thing.

But that just chucked everything up in the air for me.

I questioned everything.

So you've got this buildup of of unhappiness frustration, starting to to question it.

And then this happens, and you're like, what what is going on? And so actually, at that point, I bumped into a guy who he was a bit weird.

He said he was a Christian, though, but he was He didn't go to a church.

I see.


And at that point, I was in my head, I was like, well, I'm not going to church.

I'm not going church.

I'm not and I'm not claiming to be a Christian at this point.

But I know that if you are a Christian, you should be connected to a church.

So I kind of I kind of, was like, well, if you say you're Christian, you need to go to church, don't you? And so I ended up looking king for churches for him.

And that's when found Cornerstone online and in Kingston.

And I was like, okay.

That's quite nearby.

I mean, the this person was up the other side of the country.

So I wasn't I never sort of suggested he go to Cornerstone Kingston.

But it was through that that I, you know, I got to find Cornerstone.

And I I also knew that I needed to settle the quest for myself of is Jesus who he says he is, is this based on solid factual can I trust it? Because at the moment, I don't think I can trust anything, and I can't trust anyone.

People let you down.

People are always always going to do something to you.

So what what do you do? Yeah.

And so I was quite determined to find the answer and go around.

I just need to, you know, it's either yes or no, and then I move on with things.

So, that's how I that and that and god brought me to that place because I think I get to a point where I get irritated, and I just need to, you know, sort something out.

So that's part of my character.


So I started listening to sermons online at Cornerstone, and it was actually Andrew Bruns, who was preaching, and he was preaching a series on, Job and suffering.

And, I was just really affected by them.

I can't even remember exactly what he was saying, but I do remember, god speaking to me through that.

And so, I've paid attention.

And at the same time, I was also reading quite a lot.

And so I I absolutely love this book.

And if anybody is going, well, I really need to know the facts, I can't trust this without a fact.

I read, Lee Straubles, the case for Christ, and that was super helpful because here was guy who was, quite belligerent and and sort of, you know, he would he would he's quite cutthroat and he would go for the jugular he wouldn't shy away from hard questions.

And so I really connected with that.

And so great.

Someone's actually gonna go and lay out all the evidence for me.

And so that was quite pivotal for me.

And I got to the end of that combined with the preaching online and then actually walking into Cornerstone.

And, hearing the preaching, through that.

Pete was preaching at that point, and he just made it so clear and obvious that Jesus is the way the truth in life.

There is nothing else that you can put your trust in.

And it was through those series of events that I ended up sitting in Beadelsford going, okay.

I do believe this.

I am actually a Christian.

This is right.

This is true.



It's quite interesting how sometimes I mean, we need a time of dissatisfaction on for you to come back and to realize, and that can come in many different ways, I'm sure, but Yeah.

To come back to god and to realize actually that this is true and this is what is foundational for us.

And that's really amazing.

And you're sorry to see that dissatisfaction and and with your dad's job loss as well and and all of that being put into question, really.


And god bringing you back to him.


So, yeah, that's that's amazing.

So that's a really interesting way of finding Cornerstone for someone else, really.


I don't normally say that, but, yeah, it that is how it happens.

And so, obviously, this year, these couple of years have been a little bit strange for all of us.

And I wonder what's less you've drawn from this year these years, sorry, and if, how god has, challenged you or correct you made your or taught you things? Yeah.

It's I mean, yeah, this the past 18 months now, isn't it? Has been yeah.

It's been really tricky.

Again, in a way, the rug has been pulled up from under our feet.

And we've had, you know, we've had to make decisions, about what we're gonna do as a as a church and we we had to adapt very, very quickly to how things were going on.

So I think I think for me, god god really put back into focus.


What what is this? What are you really all about? What are you gonna put your trust in.

What are you gonna cling on to now? When, again, the framework and what you know and what you're comfortable with, is not there anymore.

Where else is there to go but back to me? And trust me, I've got this.

And that's difficult.

I mean, that's hard.

That really pushes people and it pushed me.

But once and and we have to keep reminding ourselves.

We have to keep going back to the Bible.

We have to I mean, this is this we if we believe that this is god's word, to us.

This is a living word.

It's god breathed and it's true.

Then this is where we go for, answers and for encouragement and for, correction.

And so you have to go back there and you have to go to him.

And so I think it's just highlighted the fact that he's definitely troll.

Although crazy things may happen, you have to trust him.

There's nowhere else to trust.

Because nothing else is certain.

I mean, and we've seen that with, the pandemic.

Things change week on week.

You know, what about the rules that said you can't do this you can do this.

And now it's, you know, it's just all over the place.




And so I think it was very it was very interesting because it it called into question where where where is your trust? Yes.

So that's been that's what's really been, coming up for me.

But when you do go, okay, lord, I am not in control.

I'm not even control in control of my own little life.

Let alone what's happening on a global scale.

You actually there's a burden that gets released, isn't it? I mean, you don't have to worry.


You do worry.

Everyone worries, but we're told in the Bible not to worry.

And so you have to keep going, okay.

God's telling me we're not worry to trust him.


Lord help me get through today.

Just very basically, this is, you know, this is what I know I need I need to figure out, help me do that, help me help me get out of bed.

You know, help me help me be in the right frame of mind so I can jump on zoom, or I can I can sit there and concentrate and listen and and watch the church service that's going on today? Yeah.

And and and be an encouragement to others.

I think the other thing, about this whole period has been we our natural tendency is to look inward.

And to look at ourselves and to worry about us and to, you know, it's me, me, me, me, me, me, and what I'm what am I gonna do now? And, And, actually, this has gone the to to me, this has been very much okay.

Well, acknowledging that you're not you're not at the center to repent of that, actually.

And that, you know, it's not I'm I'm not standing here saying, oh, yeah.

I've done that.

It's all good now.

But that's been the challenge and how how we can be an encouragement to others and how we can support others and stop obsessing about ourselves.


I think that's right.


It's funny because the day I became a Christian, someone put that way, which was you were saying that we need to have basically, we need to put the sun at the center of our universe and not be us, basically.


And so and as in, as a picture of putting god at the center.

That really struck me.

I think that's the only thing I remember from that day from what was previously.


That's the most important thing.


I think actually that's a really good thought to hand end on a really good encouragement for all of us to go back to scripture and listen actively to sermons and and to really try to apply that to our lives.

And and as you said, to put god that the center and rely on him as first and the only person who can Yeah.

And it do anything.

It's coming to him with the small things.

I mean, there's been multiple occasions over this year that, you know, Chris and I have been talking and and it's like, well, we need to pray about that.

And it's not even it's not even the big things.


We need to come to the lord for the little things as well.

And it sounds, you know, it's not an we're not belittling, god in that way.

We need to ask him for all sorts of things, but it's it's it's having that child like reliance on him and and talking to him, he wants to know.

He knows already, but he, you know, it's like a little kid.

They come running to their parents and show the picture that they've drawn, you know, Or look, I found this stick.

You know, the parent knows stick.


Or something like that, but it's it's having that re reliance on him and and and talking to him and having that relationship along along with reading his work.

It's it's yeah.

It's it's life changing.



Well, thank you so burned it for sharing your story with us.

So that's all for this episode of sister stories, everyone, but join us again next.


Previous episode Next episode