In our Everyday Faith series, members from our congregations share how their faith impacts their lives.
This week, Juliana Sutton shares her story
Where would we find you and what would we find you doing in a typical week?
4 or 5 days a week you’ll find me at work which takes up most of my day. When I get home you’ll often find me in the kitchen making things for people – cakes, savoury treats or dishes that I enjoy making.
On my days off I exercise, going for 70 minute runs. I like to tidy my home, cook for others and watch the evening news. On Sunday you’ll find me at church or doing something related to my faith. At home I like to listen to religious music and to spend much of the day in the kitchen making things for others. I like to chat to friends on the phone or on WhatsApp. Many of my friends live in far-off places. I’m still in touch with friends I made at school and college in Sierra Leone.
How does being a Christian makes a difference to your week?
I start my days with prayer and end them with prayer as well. Sometimes I lie prostrate or I kneel to pray, but sometimes I lie in bed before I sleep, thank God for the day, leave everything in his care and drift to sleep. I have a daily prayer audio I listen to and I drift off to sleep with that. As a Christian, I always try to be pleasant and friendly to people I meet.
What challenges your faith?
I found fasting in Lent was a challenge as I would get quite weak and feel shattered with work and only eating at certain times.
Sometimes relationships can be fraught, but I talk about that to God when I pray. Similar to the prayer Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane I ask if this cup can be taken away, but not my will but God’s be done. I remind myself that we’re all sinners and we can’t meet Jesus’ standards – only try. When things go wrong in relationships, I say a little prayer and I connect to God who calms me
What strengthens it?
What strengthens it is going to church and meeting with other like-minded people, being happy, singing where the words connect and going to evening prayer. I’m also strengthened by requests made in my heart of hearts when I pray on my own. As a Christian I sometimes find it hard to let go – so am reminded God will do it in his own time. I remember God has heard my prayers and leave it with him.
Noah has given our music a whole new meaning. We use the ‘blessed is he’ prayer, during the eucharist, but putting the tune to words resonates with me and I feel blessed.
Where and when do you feel God’s presence most strongly?
I feel God’s presence most strongly during my last prayer of the day before I drift off. When I sleep and dream, I feel God is with me. I feel God’s presence when I ask God to help me serve him, help me not to be envious, help me to make my mind an open book just living for God because this world is transient. Yes there are nice things in this world but God promises us a better world in a heavenly realm. So I look forward to the things that are to come.
Do you feel always comfortable talking about what you believe?
I feel comfortable talking about faith. At Evening Prayer we have a format – we listen to each other and pray and mention things we heard from each other, so I feel I do have a platform here.
My mum died at 55 in Sierra Leone, so I feel fortunate to be in the 1st world where I have learned about things that are good for health and I can afford to have alternatives that are better for me. I believe that looking after your health care can make life improve.
How can our church help you with that?
I would like to be able to contribute my passion for health and appreciating God’s work, goodness and greatness.