Personal Stories: Jackie Bullen's story
Be Patient With Me, God Hasn't Finished With Me Yet
Jackie Bullen expressing her Testimony at New Life Church, Durrington on 23 March 2008.
I was brought up in a very loving family environment, though my parents were not regular church-goers. At boarding school I attended the Anglican church one week, and the Congregational church the following week, so I grew up quite ecumenically-minded. When I was about 14 one of my friends invited me to go along to the Scripture Union meeting, which I did, and continued to do until I left school. I was christened and confirmed when I was 15, which were very meaningful to me.
On leaving school I became a regular attender at the Congregational church, and in due course was ordained as an Elder in what had by then become the United Reformed Church.
Many years later I went to live in Alderney in the Channel Islands where I once again attended the Anglican Church, and then when I moved back to Surrey I joined the local Anglican Church there. Where-ever I have worshiped I have enjoyed being actively involved, as my faith is really important to me.
On moving to Worthing I thought I would join an Anglican church again, and attended the one in Broadwater, where I was very happy, but I didn’t like the fact that I was going to one church and Eric (now my husband) was coming here. So I started coming along here where I found the services very different, and it all took some getting used to, but eventually I felt convinced that this was where I belonged. Hence my request to become baptized – again!
Eric and I were married here by Graham last August – in the coffee shop. It was a beautiful, small, family affair, and we were so grateful to Graham for the wonderfully informal yet meaningful way that he conducted the service. Our family all said that they had never experienced such a lovely service – thank you Graham, and also thanks to Steve Jeffery for his beautiful music, which included the exit music, Bring Me Sunshine, to which Eric and I were able to dance down the aisle. After all, not only does Eric bring sunshine into my life, but Jesus brings sunshine into all of our lives.
My spiritual journey has been steadily on-going from the age of 14, with no dramatic moment of conversion, as some people have. It’s a never-ending learning experience, yet in so many ways, even though I’m now in my 70s, I feel I’ve only just begun. As I’ve heard Graham say on occasions, I need to be wearing the t-shirt with the logo “be patient with me, God hasn’t finished with me yet”.
In common with most, I suspect, I have had periods of trauma during my life, but I have always been comforted by the fact that the Lord loves us and understands our difficulties. I do seek to serve the Lord in my life, failing badly much of the time, but it’s wonderful to know that God forgives us our sins and has washed us clean by his blood.
I am so pleased to have Eric and my daughters, Sue and Marion and her family, here today, and I thank them for their love and support at all times.
And lastly, and very importantly, I would like to thank all the members of my home group for making me so welcome, and in particular Stephanie for so kindly agreeing to accompany me into the water today, especially as she’s got guests arriving in an hour or so. Thank you and God bless you.