"Within a matter of months I was dating my now husband and within seven months we were married. No one's situation is the same, and I don't advise quick marriages."
- Audrey Foster
The Search for Love After 30
By Jennifer E. Jones
When the streamers fell and the cheering subsided, 40-year-old Audrey Wineglass Foster stood amongst her friends and family as the unexpected guest of honor at her own birthday party. She was quite surprised.
She hugged everyone who celebrated her special day. She was especially appreciative of Fred, her husband of two years. He arranged the entire festive event aboard the Spirit of Washington cruise ship. As the party sailed gently down the Potomac River and she danced the night away in his arms, everyone marveled at what a wonderful husband Fred was. However, just a few years ago, life for Audrey was very different.
“My single years were spent trying to find myself,” she says. “I'd grown up in church and decided at 18 that I needed to find myself apart from my parents and any church.”
She wrestled with her faith as most young adults do, and she found herself conflicted between how she was on Sunday and how she acted the rest of the week.
“I felt like I'd been some hypocrite, thinking one way and acting another,” she confesses. “That's how I saw Christianity. Look good on Sunday. I had my church friends and my world friends, and I thought I'd die if the two ever met.”
Audrey says she was tired of “trying” to be a Christian and thought she should focus on being herself… or so she thought.
“My thing wasn't drugs. I didn't have a desire to drink myself into oblivion but the attention of someone -- anyone -- was what I craved,” she says. “I knew I wasn't supposed to fornicate but I was rejecting what I had been taught to believe. So I did.”
It didn’t take long for Audrey to develop a damaging identity. She recalls, “Before you knew it, I had slept with one too many guys, and I was now the girl on campus with a ‘reputation’ -- the girl who slept around and who no one respected.”
How could it have happened? She was raised in church – the daughter of deacons. Yet Audrey fell prey to the deceptive nature of “casual” sex.
“When you sleep with someone, it is an intimate act and one preserved for marriage,” she explains. “When it's done outside of the covenant of marriage, you give away pieces of yourself. Before you know it, very little of who you truly are is left. God didn't intend for my heart to be hurt again and again but I continued to step outside of God's plan for me. Hurt happened, and it hurt more than it should have.”
After getting her heart broken enough times, Audrey began searching for a lasting love. The "one" she was looking for was in her heart all along.
She rededicated herself to Christ. She found a new life in Him, but her dating life was still troubled.
“I dated and then I'd have these dry spells that would go on for years literally. I'd have a date, then expect too much, give too much and be right back in the hole I was in before. I was needy,” she says.
By now, Audrey was in her 30s and still single. Her hopes for marriage were starting to fade.
“The seemingly shrinking pool of prospects frightened me, which made me even more needy,” she says. “I couldn't believe that there were any men out there. The statistics supported my unbelief.”
To help boost her chances at finding true love, Audrey tried Internet dating for a while. She met plenty of guys but none of them seemed to work out except for one – the one Audrey calls “Ishmael.”
“Everything seemed to be just right except for the gnawing thought in my brain that this wasn't the fit God had in mind,” she explains. “What was wrong with him? He was born again. We were equally yoked spiritually so I thought. Still I had no real peace about it.”
She couldn’t bring herself to break up with him even though her spirit was not at rest. Finally, he left her. Audrey was more saddened at the idea of being single again rather than losing her boyfriend.
She picked up the pieces once again and jumped back into the dating game, but this time, she was determined to do it God’s way.
“I had given up on ‘illegal sex’ 'cause that had brought me nothing but grief. God wanted more.”
She knew she needed to sow good things to reap a good man but she wasn’t quite sure how to do it... until one day when she read a common Bible verse in a whole new light.
The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." [Genesis 2:18, NIV]
“I read Genesis 2:18 with new eyes, and the Holy Spirit enlightened a scripture I had read and heard a thousand times,” she says.
In January of 2004, Audrey took her “rhema word” and began praying for a husband. She says, ‘[I prayed that] my husband was out there somewhere, he was alone and that wasn't good. I was designed for him. I began to tell the Lord that me and my husband had a purpose and a destiny that could only be accomplished with the two of us together.”
She prayed fervently against obstacles and barriers that might stand in the way of God’s will for her and her husband – even before knowing who he was.
“I began to believe this with everything in me. I was excited about the promise even though there was nothing and no one in view. I had to actually know that I was supposed to be married.”
Meanwhile, a tall, handsome man in Audrey’s church named Fred Foster had been watching her from a distance the whole time. He too was praying for his future bride and when to approach her. By April 2004, he gathered his courage and asked Audrey out.
“After the first date, I came home, called my mother and told her that I'd had dinner with my husband,” Audrey recalls. “It didn't rattle her one bit. That was a big test because my mother is very discerning.”
Not about to mess around this time, Audrey put Fred through the test.
“I went through all the necessary checks and balances. He met my parents. He met with one of the pastors at my church. He was scrutinized by anyone who was important in my life. People who I trusted and who knew the Lord gave the OK.”
By June they were engaged and by November 2004, Audrey and Fred became Mr. and Mrs. Foster. Just a few days after her 38th birthday, her dreams had come true, and her prayers were finally answered.
“I had prayed that I would someday marry my best friend, and this guy was an answer to prayer,” she says.
Today, Fred and Audrey are as happy as ever. She loves to remind others: "God's not playing games, and He desires us to ‘be fruitful and multiply.’ You're actually one more day closer to meeting your mate.”
Audrey's Advice for Single Women Over 30
Know your purpose in God and do it. “A long time ago while in the presence of the Lord, the Holy Spirit told me, ‘Be about your Father's business.’ For me, that was ministering to deaf people. I got busy doing that, and that's where my husband found me. The first place he laid eyes on me was as I was interpreting my pastor's message one Sunday morning. I didn't readily accept that this was my ministry, but imagine if I had never yielded to being in that ministry. There are over 2,000 people at service on any given morning at my church. He may have never spotted me.”
If your destiny includes marriage, stand on the Word. “Find scripture that supports what you are believing for and use that to change your mood. That word should be more than just words on a page; it should be alive."
Feed your faith and starve your doubts to death. “I realized that the enemy had been separating me from my mate so we couldn't achieve our destinies in God together. In the past I would get mad at God. Finally my anger was placed correctly -- right on the enemy. You have your individual destinies but there's also something that you as a couple are supposed to fulfill. What better way for the enemy to foil that plan than if the two of you never meet.”
Stay under your covering. "I took my husband to my parents, Christian family, friends, and pastors of my church whom I trusted and considered my covering. If any of these people had said, 'hold up', I would have put the brakes on."
Make sure your prayers are not selfish. “Everything is about God and what He wants out of your life.”
Beware of single friends. “Don't give ear to people who are struggling with their singleness. Without meaning to they may sabotage your blessing."
Change your mood on purpose. "When it seems like you're in a drought, don't stay in a funk in those dry places. Change your mood on purpose. Some days you'll do it with gusto, and other days the moodiness might be hard to shake."
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