Welcome to the online home of Audra Jennings, a book publicist and crafter. Here I share about both. I hope you'll find books you'll want to read and crafts you will want to order. I live a rather boring, single life. At times I would like to think I am humorous. The kids I teach in Bible class tend to think so. I also blog about current seasons of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. I don't know why, I just do.
Do you believe in true love?
Part 1 of an interview with Rhonda Stoppe,
author of Real-Life Romance
Do you believe in true love? In a world of broken relationships and
hurting people, it can seem as though heartache is all around us, marriages are
doomed from the beginning and relationships aren’t worth the risk. However, in Real-Life
Romance: Inspiring Stories to Help You Believe in True Love(Harvest House), Rhonda Stoppe sets out to show that heart-fluttering, long-lasting
love is all around us, if we just take the time to look for it.
Real-Life Romance is
not a marriage self-help book; rather it is a celebration of love stories that
honor Christ and are a testament of God’s faithfulness, showing that true love
exists and endures. Gathered from years of ministry and from the author’s
friends and family, these real-life accounts will bring laughter and tears to
readers as they read of ordinary people who found extraordinary love. Stoppe
believes audiences will find inspiration to:
including photos of the couples and video clips of the
couples from the book.
Romance shares real-life accounts of ordinary people who found
extraordinary love. How did you find and collect the stories included in your
Real-life love is all around us; we
just have to look for it. That elderly couple sitting
in the pew at church — what’s their story? How did they meet, fall in love and
stay in love for so many years? Those lifetime lovers are my heroes of the
faith because their lifelong love reflects Christ’s love and offers hope to
anyone who wants that kind of romance.
My husband and I have been in ministry
for 30 years. In that time we have had the privilege of watching many young
people fall in love, meeting people with incredible love stories and walking the
elderly through the death of their loved one. The love stories we have heard in
our years of ministry, along with speaking at women’s events, I have heard
story after story of real romance that offers hope. I truly believe the world
is ready for a book celebrating that kind of love.
Q: When people think of romance,
candles and roses come to mind. What actually is romance, at least from your
point of view?
Romance — real
romance — is loving someone for who they are and believing the best about that
person. I think of 1 Corinthians 13, which says, “Love bares all things,
believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” That’s romance.
Choosing to believe the best about
your love when they haven’t measured up to your expectations? That’s romance.
Choosing to see their beauty after they’ve been up all night with a sick baby,
and they look like a train wreck? That’s true romance. It’s the love we long
for and the love we hope to give. This love is possible when our love
for Christ is deeper than our love for any other person in life.
Q: When did you first realize you
were in love with your husband, Steve?
I met Steve when I was only 14 (almost
15) years old. He had come home from Bible college and was way too old for me.
At that age, six years’ difference is a big deal. I remember when I met him for
the first time that he took my breath away. After a quick interaction with him,
I walked away and literally thought, I’m going to marry him one day. (Immediately, I was embarrassed at
the thought because I was young and knew this would be impossible.)
I watched him date all the college
women in our church and wished he would look my way, but I knew I was too
young. Throughout the years our paths would cross. When our siblings were
dating each other, I was often nominated by my parents to be their chaperone.
Steve would come along from time to time. As I got older, the time came when. .
. . Well, I am not going to tell you the whole story. You can read it in the
first chapter of the book! Let’s just say, I knew I loved him almost from the
start, and it took God a number of years to work out the timing of our love
Q: What lessons did you have to
learn about God’s timing after you first met Steve, then later on in your
marriage? What advice do you offer to those who may be growing impatient in
finding the love of their life?
As a young girl I was naive about how
real romance would be found. Because of the age difference between me and
Steve, it would be awhile before we would become a couple, but looking back, I
see how God orchestrated our steps. He was in control over the timing of our
story. I recall how one night Steve called me on the phone while I was on a
date with another young man. Just when the young man and I were moving toward a
place of inappropriateness, Steve called. He had no idea at the time that his
phone call was God’s timing to rescue me from going down a path I wasn’t
equipped to steer away from. Since our story began by relying on God’s
providence, remembering His sovereignty in our story has helped us to trust
God’s timing and providence throughout our marriage and as we look forward to
is the common thread that runs through Real-Life Romance. God is
sovereign and providential throughout the timing in our lives. The more you
keep your eyes on Him, the more you can trust that no matter what circumstances
are happening around you, He is in charge of your future. If it’s His will for
you to marry, He is able to bring two hearts together to fall in love and spend
the rest of their lives glorifying Christ together. Story after love story in Real-Life
Romance reveals how waiting on God’s perfect timing brought true romance
that lasts forever. I think these stories offer real hope and encouragement
to anyone who is waiting for God to write their love story. For moms who are
praying for God to bring a spouse to their children, these stories will help them
show their kids how God is even more interested in guiding them toward their
happily-ever-after than they are.
though all of the stories tell of a love that has endured, every couple faced
their trials too. Some of the couples faced addiction, such as pornography,
alcohol and drugs. What is the common thread between couples, and how did they
work through their issues to make their marriages stronger?
Whenever I speak at a women’s event or
my husband and I teach at our No Regrets Marriage Conference,we inevitably hear someone’s
heartbreaking story of how his or her spouse is addicted to pornography. I
share one story in the book. Chuck and Angie met when they were young. Both
were Christians, and long before they met one another, both had committed to
Christ that they would wait to have sex until marriage. After they fell in love
and married, the two settled into married life. You can imagine Angie’s
surprise when Chuck seemed less than interested in enjoying her in their
marriage bed. One day Angie stumbled across the reason for Chuck’s lack of
interest. He had been viewing pornography. When Angie approached Chuck about
what she had discovered, he was quick to apologize and promised it would never
But happen it did, repeatedly. The
more Chuck wrestled with his addiction, the more Angie resented him for his
sinful behavior. For Angie, forgiving Chuck was hard, but
resenting him was even harder. As Angie pressed in to her love for Christ, He
gave her His selfless love for Chuck. As Chuck allowed God’s Spirit to
strengthen him in his battle against his addiction, he has seen strides of
great victory. Angie credits prayer for getting her through. It was humbling
when she realized that whatever sin she was addicted to was equal to Chuck’s.
They both had to break free of their sinful struggles.
I also share a story of a couple who
battled alcohol and drug addiction. As a young woman Jennifer battled with
feelings of being used and unwanted while for most of Jeff’s life he wrestled
with feelings of inadequacy and loneliness. Both tried to mask their pain
through alcohol and partying. That’s where the two one day collided into each
other. Eventually, they were wed. Jennifer stopped drinking when she found Jeff
and thought her love for him should be enough to make him stop as well. As time
went on, Jeff’s drinking turned to drug addiction. After their first baby was
born, sadly Jennifer moved out of their home, but she never gave up on Jeff.
After she started attending church and found Jesus, daily she asked God to save
Jeff too. Through a wonderful set of circumstances Jeff came to Christ and
broke free of his addictions, and the two were reunited. That was more than 25
years ago. Their love is stronger than ever, and these days they serve Christ
together as worship leaders in their church.
Both couples were able to heal their
marriages by bringing Christ into their marriage. They wouldn’t have been able
to do it on their own.
Q: Both of
your daughters and their husbands have faced challenges of their own —
challenges many couples face. Can you share a little bit about their struggles
with growing their families?
When my youngest daughter, Kayla, and
her husband, Estevan, were expecting their first baby, they were saddened when
the doctor told them the ultra sound revealed the baby she had been carrying no
longer had a heartbeat. They were heartbroken over their loss but drew strength
from knowing God was lovingly in control of all aspects of their life, and
their trust in Christ drew them closer to one another for comfort.
That Christmas, Kayla and Estevan sent
out a beautiful letter to their friends and family sharing just how sweetly God
had walked them through their trial with His peace. Their testimony of God’s
faithfulness was read by numerous people who did not know Christ. Amidst the
storm, their love for one another and trust in Christ shined brightly.
A month after Kayla’s miscarriage our
family was overjoyed when our eldest daughter, Meredith, gave birth to her
second child, Ivy. Ivy had been born with some unexpected deformities. In a
moment everything changed.
Throughout time Meredith and her
husband, Jake, came to understand the syndrome God had allowed little Ivy to be
born with. Rather than questioning God, the two had come to realize that the
Lord’s love for Ivy far exceeded their own and that they could trust Him with
their sweet baby girl. This grandmother’s heart was encouraged by Meredith’s
wisdom and peace when one day she said to me, “Mom, this is Ivy’s trial, and God
has invited us to prepare her to walk through it.”
Great love stories don’t always
consist of two people falling in love and living without a care in the world.
Rather, true love stories are wrapped around real life where God calls two
people together to love Him and to love each other no matter what trials might
come in life. When the love of two people is deeply rooted in Christ’s love for
them, their response to life’s trials will reflect to a watching world how
knowing Jesus really is the way to true love, joy and peace, no matter what
challenges may come — and in this God is glorified.