Well, this is it! I am on the train and heading to London where I am being given the opportunity to visit the headquarters of News International where I will be sharing my story and can honestly say that I CANNOT begin to describe how very excited I am! I never dreamt I would ever be asked to do anything like this…let alone actually be on my way to do it! I’m sat on a West Midland Train, in a comfy chair (with a table seat – this is VERY important!) on my way to London to share my story with a room of staff from News International. On the VERY day that Rupert Murdoch is giving his testimony in the Leveson Enquiry, I will be sharing my Testimony with some of his staff! How ironic!
I don’t have a clue what to expect, I just about know where they are in London after rigourously planning my journey in every detail, but I have never studied journalism, I don’t read The Sun, The Times or The Sunday Times and am the least qualified to be doing this….but that’s what makes this whole thing so flippin brilliant! God uses the least likely, he uses those who aren’t qualified, aren’t prestigious and aren’t capable to do GREAT things on their own, and that pretty much sums me up to a ‘T’! So here I go….we have arrived at St Pancras and as I pack up my laptop, and prepare to venture into the unknown, with a confidence from God and a jacket on loan from THE Jenny Gilpin, I can honestly say that I am READY! Bring it on!!!
As I head out of the exit of Tower Hill Underground I am met with this! The Tower of London! What a building! Its very impressive and the grass is incredibly green!
The weather isn’t great but I’m barely aware of it! I have all I need with me and am stepping out in complete faith, with God by my side, putting one foot in front of the other I venture into the unknown with an anticipation that can only come from a confidence in God.
I make my way through various subways and find myself miraculously where I should be! Opposite a plaza of buildings! Thomas More Square to be exact! I am slightly regretting the choice of heels as the floor is paved in cobblestones but, determined I keep going and head towards the large impressive entrance of the tall, glass building rising up in front of me. I walk through the doors and WOW! Talk about tall! The entrance is large and the decor minimalist. There is a sleek reception desk in front of me and a very efficient looking woman manning it! She takes one look at me and I can see on her face that she thinks I am in the wrong place (as I
said..I’m not qualified to be here…but God has sent me, and that’s all the qualifications I need!). I ask her to call my contact and she reluctantly picks up the phone. It’s so funny to see her face when she realises I’m in the right place! She gives me a pass and asks me to sit in the reception area. As I look up, all I can see are windows into offices, with a glass roof topping it off! What a view! What a building! I can’t believe how calm I am…definitely a God confidence has taken over. I’m ready, prepared and excited! My contact arrives and leads me upstairs in the lift to the first floor of The Times. He introduces me to a gentleman called Robert who is to show me around the first floor. We talk about the Leveson Enquiry and he shares how its affecting the atmosphere in the offices. I ask him how he inspires his staff and motivates them when prospects are grim and he couldn’t really answer me. He shows me around these large open plan offices where there are journalists sat at double screen pc’s and talks me through the basics of which department does what. Its so intriguing! He then shows me the meeting rooms where they have two conference meetings a day. One in the morning, to discuss possible stories, the other in the afternoon where they finalise their prose. A lot of the desks are empty as Journalists tend to be actively working on their stories at the end of the day as opposed to the beginning. I get the sense that being a journalist in a big Tabloid paper means you don’t get the quality time with your family that you would like. I should imagine a lot of children whose parents work at the paper don’t see as much of their parents as they should.
After seeing the first floor of The Times I am taken upstairs and shown the second floor. As I’m walking through I see the Editor sat in his office with a colleague watching the breaking news of the Leveson enquiry. I can sense the tension coming through the glass walls. Robert, whose showing me around, points to a large oil painting on the wall. This painting is apparently a ‘perk of the job’ as Editor. It only ever hangs in the office of the Editor of The Times. I should imagine if I were a journalist, working my way up the corporate ladder I would have my eyes set on that painting. That would be my goal. Once I had the painting, I had made it! How funny that is! I mean, honestly, what a thought. The painting is, I believe, called ‘Waiting for the Paper’ and is pretty large, quite dingy and not my ‘cup of tea’. I can’t quite make out the face of the man in it who is waiting for the paper. It looks as as though he is all body with a neck….but no head. Not something i personally would aspire to claim as my prize possession to represent my excellent career progress but I guess that is not the point!
Anyway, we finish off our tour of The Times and head up to The Sun. We walk in and I can honestly say, I can instantly see the difference. Gone are the serious, reserved wall hangings with the bank of clocks set at all the time zones across the world and hello to a REAL ACTUAL DALEK from Doctor Who. It is an original from the BBC One series! We turn the corner and in front of me is a GIANT plastic cow…yes seriously! Also, very bizarre! We walk past the editors office and I peek in to see Dominic Mohan sat at his desk reading through the paper. He looks…….serious. And if I’m honest, I don’t trust him. Don’t know why, its just a feeling I get. Anyway, that’s enough of that. We head upstairs to another floor of The Sun and see more journalists working away at their desks. And finally the tour is finished and I’m being lead downstairs and brought in to THE room. It’s a conference room with a huge long white table with super posh black chairs all around it. I’m placed at the head of the table on a very comfortable chair! It feels odd sitting with a room of people who work at News International not knowing their name or what they do there, but aware that they have come here to listen to me. Little old me! It’s very surreal! But the calmness I had when entering the building is still here and as I start to share my story I feel the confidence in me rise up and my excitement grow! I had decided on the way down to just be honest. I figured that if they were journalists they would be very used to people avoiding the truth. They would spend their days hearing people avoid the issue, or sharing half truths but I wanted them to see the power of God and for that, I needed to bare my heart….so I do!
I tell them the lot, what I was like growing up, what drugs I had done, why I married a man I didn’t love….and why I left him. I tell them the bits I usually leave out when sharing to a group of people. And it’s powerful. As I share with them my mindsets, my motives and my dependencies I can see on some of their faces that they are gripped! They are with me! And finally we get to the God bit! The point where He saved me and plucked me out of the pit of despair and I can see the astonishment on their faces! You can hear a pin drop….I tell them about the Grace of God, about the way He picked me up and restored me. I tell them about the gifts He’s given me and how I use them to give glory to Him. I tell them about the relationship I have with Jesus and what it has done to my life. It is, in every sense of the word, incredible! I think they are blown away. I think God has spoken to them. I know they are inspired. I know they are motivated and I know they are reassured. One man asks me how he can help his children remain in Church as they are starting to turn their backs on it. I’m not entirely sure what to say as its such a big question but I share with him what I found as a child entering adulthood and what has helped me. I share that the Church needs to be relevant and based on Relationship with God and not the religion of just turning up on a Sunday. Another asks me about my relationship with my Father. I tell him how it has become the best its ever been. I tell them about City Hearts and how they helped me turn my life around. I tell them what I think about City Hearts program and how it should be in our curriculum in every school in the Country. That if our schools taught forgiveness, being in control of your choices and how our personalities vary, that we would see our children growing up confident and in control of themselves, and not broken young adults growing up with a complete lack of prospects and self respect. I tell them how I wake up almost every day excited at what God will bring and after today, I can honestly say that I CAN’T WAIT to see where he takes me in the future. One of the staff at The Sun, who gave me the tour asks me, “What do I hope to achieve over the next ten years”. Initially I answer with “to get married” but swiftly follow it up with “to inspire people that there is hope, there is a way out of the mess they may find themselves in, and there is a future for them”. This question has inspired me to look further than next week, look further than next month and step out even more in sharing what God has done for me and see where it takes me! As I get up to leave people come forward to thank me and tell me how inspired they are. I feel as though I have achieved what I set out to do, that I have made my Lord and my Church proud and have found myself inspired by what God has done today here at News International!
If you want to join me on my journey and hear where God takes me next, rest assured I will continue to bear all in my blog and hope that it will bring inspiration your way too!
I am now on my way back home, sat on the train to Sheffield, and thrilled with today and excited to see where I end up next on this crazy, exciting journey called life with the ultimate Life Coach, Jesus! In a few weeks time I am heading to a prison in Yorkshire to share my story with a group of inmates….and I can’t wait to see what God does through THAT!! But for now, I’m signing off. Please do leave a comment on the above so I get some feedback, and don’t forget that God does and will use anyone! And He’ll use the least likely of us all!
Have a great day!