Since we are a community of women, we want to put you, Bricklayers, in the spotlight. Every month we will interview a Bricklayer (either married, single, engaged, or dating) so you can share wisdom and encouragement with one another. This month we interviewed Audrey Milburn: a lovely, radiant woman of God! We hope you enjoy this glimpse into her life.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I grew up in Uganda for 17 years and then worked in Rwanda for a few years, which is where I met my husband. He was out there doing Business As Mission and I was developing children’s ministries in Rwanda. I’ve been married for 2 ½ years and have lived in the U.S. for a little more than that (I came to the States to marry David). I currently am a counselor at a Christian counseling center called CIFT and just recently graduated with my Masters in Marriage & Family Therapy. Other than my passion for families, I enjoy reading Sci-Fi books, swimming, interacting with any type of animal, playing tennis, watching Star Trek, and eating fondue.
How did you start dating your husband?
I met David in Rwanda one summer while driving him and another missionary to a missionary conference. I led worship that year, and as I stood up front, I
found myself drawn to this man who worshiped God with such authenticity and pursuit – just like David in the Bible. We spoke a few times during this one-week conference, spent two days talking after that, and then he left to come back to America. We corresponded by email and Skype for about 6 months until he flew me to California so I could meet his family, and we began dating. That began 2 years of long-distance dating, using email, Skype, letters, and phone as our modes of communication.
Being that you are no longer in the season of singleness, but now married, what would you do differently in your single years and what would you do the same?
I would have memorized Scripture more and been on my knees more, praying for the man who would eventually come into my life. I also would have journaled more and recorded my spiritual and emotional journey with God. What I would keep the same: stay intentional with my girlfriends in singlehood, let the Lord- not the world- define relationships, and develop disciplines in my life (time for God, exercise, ministry, friends, sleep, etc.).
How did your girlfriends support you in singleness and now in marriage? How do you stay intentional in your friendships?
Some of the best experiences I had were in Bible Study groups or small groups
with women. These were places where we could share struggles, fears, prayer requests, and praises, and really lift each other up. This also solidified in me the desire to wait for God’s best and to not water down the standards I knew God wanted for me in a husband. Some of my favorite single times were in working out with a friend at the gym and talking about life, disappointments, and relationships. Now, in the U.S., friendships take a lot more intentionality, especially since I’m married. Friendships now take more courage and purpose in seeking out people at church, Life Group, or social circles that I desire to get to know better. I cut back an hour or two of work, or a workout, or an extra hour of sleep to be intentional in friendship.
When do you feel closest to God (activity, place, interaction, etc)?
I feel closest to God when I’m serving others (I’m an extrovert, by the way) or when I’m spending time with Him in nature. I also have had some of the most intimate moments with God while driving my car and talking (or crying) to him out loud. So turn off those radios, roll up your windows, and pour out your hearts to God while you’re on your way somewhere!
What has your friendship with God taught you how to be a friend to the girls and the special man in your life?
The most important thing: I can’t just talk – I need to listen a lot! Being an extrovert and having a naturally outgoing personality, I can talk to God or my husband or a friend for hours. But the challenge, and the key to a healthy vibrant relationship with anyone, is to be still and listen. My ability to listen and then empathize has grown one hundred fold since being married (and also pursuing counseling)! My advice to each of you is to practice this now – to listen and wait upon God, and interact with what He might be telling you. My friendship with God has also taught me how to be selfless in a way I never understood until I entered marriage! God is stretching me so much in these past years to seek the benefit of others over my own, to love others in the way they need to be loved, and to forgive like never before!
What would you say to your sisters in Christ who are experiencing heart ache and longing for marriage?
I would remind you that marriage is not the end goal – there is more beyond. The things that will last are what will exist without or beyond marriage: your relationship with Jesus, your love for and serving others, and your unique God-given gifts. You think your quest for purity ends on the wedding night? By no means! I’m learning what it means to be a pure married woman, in my thought life, in my interactions with men, in my speech, and so much more!
Also, I would tell you this: that man that you’ve asked God about, that man that you believe God would want you to marry, that man you’ve dreamed about – he does exist! Don’t give in or give up when someone second-best comes along. I found this illustration of a guava tree when I was single and in the middle of Africa. In this picture, there were all these ripe guavas within arm’s reach of me on the lower branches, and all I had to do was pluck one and eat it. But these lower-branch guavas were rotten or pocked by hail, or pecked by birds, or infested with ants. But through the trees, way on the highest branches, a dangerous climb upward, I spotted some beautiful, sweet, perfect guavas. I wanted one of those! But was I willing to take the climb, be patient, get leaves in my hair, and pursue the better one? I sure was! Does that make sense? So don’t lower your standards. Don’t talk yourself down or doubt your prayer life or your heart’s cry. That man exists.