Thursday, August 17, 2006

Happy Anniversary


Four years ago today I got married.

Previous to meeting Nick I wanted to be a single girl forever. In highschool I had dreams of being an Interior Designer and had my whole life planned out. I was going to go to design school in the States so as to get more recognition, and since I didn't have any type of trust fund I was planning on doing it Coyote Ugly style. That's right, I actually planned on stripping to pay my tuition bills. Then I would graduate debt free, with the silver lining of a large bank account, I would become a famous designer, (perhaps I even could have been business partners with Nate Berkus). I would attend galas, have a closet full of fancy dresses that I would actually wear on a regular basis, and when I had the house and the cars and life looked perfect on paper I would hop over to my local sperm bank and add the crowning touch, some trophy children. I had it all figured out in highschool.

Then through a series of what seemed to be unfortunate events I ended up broke and needing out of my house. I moved literally across the street to attend Bible College. I continued to hold my highschool plans, but needed to get some money to get across the border and get that rat invested apartment I dreamed of starting out in. Then something started to happen to me and I began to believe that I was worth more than the singles men would be placing in my g-string. But, then some bizarre events happened to me. I was nearly pulled into a suburban by some men while riding my bike on a main street in Regina, I was followed by a, um, ahem, visibly excited male on my way to work which ended up with him, um, ahem, taking care of business without me, thankfully. I dated a guy who didn't want to have anything to do with me unless it involved swapping of saliva, and I found myself working towards that old goal of high heels and drunk men.

Again, through a series of what seemed unfortunate events I ended up back at CBC for a second year, and again I heard God whispering that I was worth more and that I needed the courage to believe it. And that's when I met Nick. And that is when I tried to run. Literally. To Mexico. But God made sure I stayed and gave Nick the perseverance to ask me to marry him again and again until I finally caved and said sure. Now don't get me wrong, I love Nick. I really, really do. But up to that point I had not been sold on the idea of being a wife. I mean guys are smelly. And no matter how many times you express your displeasure with it, they still treat you like "one of the guys" on a regular basis. And when you're a wife you have to adopt the ideals of your husband as he saw modelled in his home, and you inevitably express yourself through what you saw in your home, it's just the default no matter how many times you've said "I will not be my parents".

So a few years later we took the plunge. It made sense to us, it was time for me to jump in with both feet. And I did, crying the whole time. Everyone talks about how great it is to be married, and how much excitement there is leading up to the day, but no one talks about mourning the loss of your singleness and man did I ever need to mourn that. I couldn't imagine thinking of someone else first all the time when there's only one piece of pizza left. Or putting aside money to surprise a man with a trip when I so desperately want a new wardrobe. I couldn't imagine trying to get the mixed up things in my head out, and not only out, but out in Guyspeak. (Side note, my hubby is very much a guy. He's not romantic, even forgot today was our anniversary, so some of this need not apply to the more metrosexual hubby's. I just like to generalize).

And tonight at about 11:00 when I looked over at hubby working on a 3-D puzzle which is his current de-stressor from work, (although it seems to cause more stress, hmmmm), I pointedly said-'Let me know when you're ready for bed and we'll go up together.', and half hour later he said to me......well nothing because he's asleep on the floor next to said puzzle. And I began to think about being a wife, and letting go of my old self. I was distracted by my current scrapbooking project, and then I came back to the thought, and was distracted again and then I felt like journaling and so I picked up my journal and instead of writing anything I re-read my previous entry, the last entry I made, way back on June 11.

And it speaks just of what I was thinking tonight. And I'm going to put it here, because on my fourth anniversary I realize that I haven't totally sold out to being a wife, or the mother of Nick's children, and that is simply not cool with me. I'm writing this entry as a new beginning. That this is my focus for the next year. Not working as it has been for so long. This is the perspective I need to adopt and fall in love with and in essence become.

So feel free to read it if you like, and if you've made it this far-thanks. Feel free to call me on it throughout the year. Ask me how I'm doing with coming into my own as a wife. I am opening myself up for that today, and I think it's the best anniversary gift I can give.

June 11, 2006
I don't know why it takes me so long to remember that I am married and that my husband wants to be my best friend. Two times today I cried and it wasn't until he held my hand silently that I told him what I was thinking. Every time I share my heart with him he amazes me. He doesn't seem to show interest in me much, but each time we talk for real he surprises me with how much he knows me.

I've been reading this book by Max Lucado, 'The Cure for the Common Life" and for the first time ever I feel that the passions I have need to direct my life, not just be put under a barrel so I can help someone else pursue theirs. I think for the first time ever I'm passionate about me.

I have known for a long time that I'm not living a congruent life. That that the things I do are not the things I can excel at, not even the things I want to do. Working just to pay the bills kills me. And because it kills me I don't even effectively pay the bills.

I had so many thoughts while reading tonight's chapter, (11), that I am invigorated and don't even feel tired at 2:45am. God is doing a work in me and although I've whined about being broken a lot lately I actually finally am.

We are scared spitless of covering our financial costs of moving to Georgetown. To think we need nearly $3,000 a month just to scrape by brings both of us to tears and leaves us feeling defeated. But at the same time there is total peace that this is where God is leading and this is the time to go. We may be very broke for a while and I'm sure there will be many days of tears, but I do believe that the non-monetary return on our investment is going to blow us away. I'm still praying and asking God for a knock our socks off financial blessing, but even if I have to wait as long as Sarah did for a child, I will remain faithful to this journey.

Tonights chapter was about giving God your boat, (boat being job), and I think that's where my challenge lies. Instead of daydreaming about how different life could have turned out if I'd just asked out my highschool crush or followed my dream of being an Interior Designer-I need to be sold out to being a mom, wife, friend, housekeeper, etc and give God my boat.

How amazing would life be if instead of chores being chores they became instead preparation to show Christ to my family and friends? How amazing if instead of filling conversations with 'how's the weather' I filled them with what God is teaching/showing/challenging me with? Wouldn't that be cool?

I need to discipline myself until a change of perspective takes over. Instead of whining about paying $1,200 a month for rent, I need to figure out how to make my home look and feel like $1,200 a month is a steal of a deal.

I feel as though I'm on the brink of stepping into myself and become the person God created me to be. And not to be conceited but I think I can finally handle my own greatness.

I know there is a long hard journey ahead of us, but I am beginning to feel like I have the energy for it. I'm beginning to see meaning in the seemingly meaningless.


What a journey. What a crazy, crazy journey.

18 comments:

samantha said...

What an amazingly open post.

Though I'm not married, I've often wondered about a lot of things you've touched on here.

Thanks!

Elizabeth said...

Wow, Amanda. That is incredible. Thank you for sharing that with me. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Jen said...

Thanks for sharing your private thoughts Amanda. It really puts things into perspective, doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

How sad.....to know that you will never be financially successful because you followed God and not your dreams.

How sad.....to know that you will never be able to give your children what they want most because you followed God and now are a SAHM without an income.

How sad.....that you have regrets in your life about not aspiring to live out your dreams.

How sad.....that you will be divorced in the next 5 years because you truly are not satisfied nor happy with your life.

Isn't it strange that people can see exactly what is in your heart through your writings although you don't come out and say it directly.

Isn't it strange that you seek approval from others when you know that you are living a lie and want so much more for yourself than what you have.

Isn't it funny that the only thing all you bible thumping chicks have in common is a lack of money and dreams of how to be financially successful...........get an education so that you can have a 6 figure a year job which will enable you to fulfill all your wishes and dreams.

Is it too late to give this kid up so that he/she will be able to have the best that life has to offer......think before you get pregnant again and bring another child into the miserable life that you have......How sad is it knowing that you will never be able to give your kids all that they deserve and want.....to be a failure at anything and everything you have ever dreamed of......to be so selfish and continue to pop out kids when you can't afford them because it makes you feel wanted.

It is time to go to therapy to try and work out all of your inadequacies.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately the truth hurts, but it is time for you to evaluate where you are and start to do something about it instead of bitching here constantly about your lack of money and not fulfilling your dreams.

I find that reading all of your blogs makes me laugh at how stupid you all are....

I have to move back to SK because we can't afford to live in BC....

I don't understand how people can actually afford to buy a house....

I don't know how we will manage to pay our rent....

The one thing you all have in common is not actually having a job! I don't care how young your kids are, get an f'ing job. It is obvious that you shouldn't have had kids because you resent "doing without" as that is what each of you bitches about constantly. Take a look at the world outside of your church....successful people usually do not have children until they are financially secure and are ready to give up their freedom.

Jen said...

"Anonymous",

I agree with some of what you said. The condition of each of our lives now is directly based on the decisions we ourselves have made in the past.

My definition of "success" is much different than yours. Success to me isn't money and possessions. It's having a family, great friends and happiness. Those who lack that are not "successful people" in my opinion.

It is so true that I could go out and get a job and then afford to live in B.C. or be able to afford to buy a nicer home or rent a nicer suite. Being able to stay at home with my daughter is much more important to me than any of that. Being the one to watch her grow, teach her new things and to be able to be there when she needs me is a thousand times more valuable then any house in any province I could ever own.

Financial success isn't on the top of everyone's to-do list, as it appears to be on yours. Of course everyone wants that in this material world, including me, but to some of us it isn't worth all the sacrifices that would need to be made to attain it. I can't speak for everyone, but I do not resent "doing without". I know full well that I could go out and get a job and have much less financial stress. My choice.

Amanda Franks said...

Anonymous, I wonder if you're someone I know and you only have the courage to tell me what you really think of me behind the title of anonymous, or if you're someone who doesn't know me at all. In writing my post I wasn't bitching about not having money, it's true that I am scared to be in this financial place, but what I was trying to get across is how much more fulfilling my life will be when I give it over to God fully and live fully in what he has in store for me. Do I still want to be an Interior Designer? No. But I spent a lot of time thinking about it, planning it and dreaming about it, it takes just as much work to let things go. As for going out and getting a job, I may just do that in a few months, but right now I've been off work for exactly a month, my FIRST month long vacation since I was about 12. So am I going to get a job tomorrow? No. I am going to trust in my Heavenly Father to provide. It's funny that I wrote that post to free myself from all the crap I don't want to be bound to, to free myself from living a life that isn't congruent with how I truly feel inside. To give myself the permission I somehow needed to embrace being a mother and wife which are top of my list, but not top of the world's and for some reason I feel like I need to conform way too often. I guess it's opinions like yours that I wanted to be truly free from. To be able to look at my life as is and be happy, not feeling like I let down everyone cuz I don't match up to what's important in the world. I really hope you don't know me at all because if you do it deeply hurts that you think I'm only worth the singles I would have collected stripping, that you think I should have followed that course for my life. If you know me it would hurt deeply that you don't think I deserve the unfailing love of an infallable God and that I'm not worthy of a husband and children. I hope that if you know me you could find the courage to tell me that to my face.

Anonymous said...

I am not judging you, only stating that you seem so unhappy and unsatisfied based on what you write. You seem to focus on not having money to be the root of your problems and it comes across as resentful, full of loathing and self pity.

My point is that you are the master of your own destiny and have chosen the path you are walking so don't bitch and complain when you can't afford to do something.

Be thankful for what you have and stop complaing about what you don't have. If you want the nice lifestyle, nice home, new car, great vacations then get off your ass and do something about it. If not the accept the life you have chosen for yourself and deal with it.

True, I do like the nice things in life and can't imagine having to worry about how I'm going to make next months mortgage payment, how I'm going to make the grocery budget work this month, or if we can afford that dinner out whenever we feel like it.

I have a different lifestyle due to the choices I have made. I love...

the house I live in
the woman that comes in and cleans every week
our nanny
the drycleaner that delivers
the new car I drive
the weekend in New York
Christmas in Hawaii
Spring break in Mexico
Summer in Europe
taking responsibility

I hate....

being on call 24/7
the phone ringing at 3AM
always paying because I work hard and can afford it
babysitting employees
dealing with banks and investment brokers

Although we have different lifestyles each has good and bad points. My point is that you need to stop complaining and take responsibility for your life choices. I did not chose God to be in charge of my destiny as I don't believe he knows me as well as I know myself. I take full responsibility for my life and the direction that it is going in. I will not put my future in the hands of others no matter how divine you may think they are. It is all BS. You are responsible for your own life and the choices you make. By saying I believe God will provide you are "passing the buck" so to speak and not accepting the consequences of your own actions.

What happens when you can't make next months rent payment....is God going to make it for you? When your daughter can't go on the school trip because you can't afford it, is your faith going to heal her and make her believe she is an "equal" to all her friends or is she going to feel like a loser because her parents can't afford the things all her friends have?

My point is that we all live in a world that is controlled by the almighty dollar and most of our decisions are based on what kind of return we are going to get.

Do I feel bad for planning to retire before I hit 40.....no, I am proud of the fact that I will be able to because I worked hard to get there. Yes, my children have a nanny and go to private school but the have a great work ethic which was taught by example. No, they did not have a mother who was with them 24/7 when the were young. Did they suffer.....I don't think so, they had a mother with them every evening who cooked dinner, took them to soccer, baseball, the library etc. I also took them to work with me for a couple of hours on the odd Saturday, they did not suffer because of it, they learned to respect other peoples things, to read or play quietly, to use their imagination, to make do without all the toys and electronics. Yes I also worked for a few hours once they went to bed. I have never missed a parent teacher night, a school play, a church pagent, nor a soccer or baseball game. I may not be the one that takes them there but I am always there to take them home, to talk about their day, to go for ice-cream on a warm summer night. I have a different life philosophy and a different parenting style than you do, neither of which is "perfect".

However, I have a life that provides my children with many more opportunites than you can provide because of the almighty dollar. It affords them the luxury of making their own choices instead of having to accept what we can afford. I would never have it any other way as I believe that children deserve every opportunity available and if you can't give them the best that this world has to offer then you should not have brought them into this world for your own selfishness.

Amanda Franks said...

Thanks for responding Anonymous. All I have to say is that I am able to give my children the same things you are, yes through an Almighty God and not the almighty dollar. Will my kids feel less loved because I stress about where the money is coming from? No they won't. Because I too am there to cook dinner for them and all the great things you provide for your children. Do I have to sacrifice going out for dinner, I sure do, but I don't make my child sacrifice love and safety. I am proud to say that she has no idea we're broke, and that may be because she's 18 months old, but those will not be her stresses in life, they will be mine. And that is why I talk about them here with other GROWN UPS who can understand, and why my husband and I talk about them TOGETHER and make sacrifices TOGETHER. You asked what will happen if I can't make next months rent, will God make it? I believe he will. You asked what will happen if my daughter can't afford to go on the school field trip, and the answer is she wont have to worry about that. I choose to put my kids first, meaning I may not have the wardrobe I wish I had, but she will have the opportunities the other kids have. It's not money that raises children, it's love. And this post was all about accepting that and living a life sold out to that. I will continue to bitch and complain on here as much as I feel I need to in order to be true to myself because that is the best thing I can do for my daughter. I hope that your children are grateful for all the material things you can give them, and that they feel loved by you as you've expressed you love them. I hope that they can pass that on to their kids as well. It's great that you can do that for them. But please do not misinterpret poor in money to be poor in life, for my daughter will grow up to believe that she can have the stars and the moon should she wish, and when you believe it doesn't matter how much money you have. I am no less of a great parent than you because your bank account is bigger. I am no less of a great parent because I stress about things you do not stress about. We are simply different parents and I think you need to rethink the last paragraph of your last response if you truly mean the first one.

T said...

Amanda,

Thank you for taking the risk to share such intimate details from your heart! Your story is a testimony of God's faithfulness.

I'm so thankful that our Heavenly Father walks with us through our journeys of life...for the way He keeps meeting us right where we are at and continues to provide for ALL our needs (even financial=)

YAY God and YAY you for continuing to persue His heart...allowing Him to mold and shape you into the wife, mom and person that He wants you to be! I hope we can all be so brave=)

So, Happy 4th Anniversary! Here's to the next 40 years and beyond for you and Nick! May God's love continue to be the glue that holds your's and ALL of our marriages together!

T=)

T said...

...and to Anonymous...

I would just like to ask why you find it necessary to hide behind the title 'Anonymous'? If you truly believe in the point you are trying to get across, why not come out and reveal who you really are...take ownership for your thoughts and opinions!

From reading your comments, you certainly don't seem very happy...no matter how much you try to make it sound like you've got it all together! The true message that comes across from what you have to say is that you have alot of pent up anger and resentment! Why else would you read and rant on people's blogs that you don't even know?

Maybe it's time for you to be MORE like Amanda and start being a little more real...to stop hiding and start being honest about who you really are! Kindof ironic, don't you think?

Angella said...

Thatnks for being so open Amanda. God is doing a work in you, and I can't wait to see how His plan unfolds.

:)

Anonymous said...

Amanda:

I had no idea about the traumas you put in your blog - you never told your Mom about them - and that makes me cry.

I didn't know you weren't happy these past four years - and that makes me cry too.

I wish you knew you could talk to me about anything and I would love you and help you and pray for you.

Did you feel like we didn't love you because we gave up everything we had to move across the country to serve a God who promised to love us and whom we love? We never wanted you to feel that and we tried very hard not to let you know about the financial stress but also to understand that life costs money and that money isn't alway readily available.

Marriage isn't a simple thing. It takes a lot of work. When your Dad and I got married, we didn't have the advantage of knowing our Heavenly Father - we simply decided that if we got married it was forever and if we weren't going to be committed to that, we weren't going to get married. Thankfully, after 10 years of marriage we found God and, though it hasn't all been a rose garden since, we have grown to love and respect each other much more.

You are right honey. Your priorities need to get in place. First, GOD. Then YOU! Then Nick and the kids. Then everything else will sort itself out because God has it in His hands.

I want you to put yourself on your priority list. I know how amazingly organized you are so, get a daytimer/calendar - whatever. Write down Nick's stuff, Belle's stuff, your stuff that MUST be done. Then find a babysitter - Aunt 'Shell isn't that far away (lucky her)- and find a time EVERY WEEK when you can have the sitter in and go out and do something FOR YOU - maybe it will be with Nick, maybe not, but make sure it is FOR YOU. If you have to, trade babysitting with a neighbor, trade some scrapbooking time with a friend, trade anything for babysitting. BUT PUT YOU ON YOUR LIST OF PRIORITIES. You are the most important person to God and you need to be the most important person to you as well. Make God's thoughts your thoughts.

I love you.

I wish I could have called on your anniversary but I was staying with Will for daycamps and they don't have a phone - looked for you online though and didn't see you.

I'll call tomorrow. I'll pray today.

Love Mom

Amanda Franks said...

Well, I must confess to not expecting the response to the things I wrote that I got. I really just anticipated a lot of comments like Sam and Angella's!

But it's been interesting. And I think it just goes to point out even more how sold out I want to become to being a mom and a wife because if I'm not sold out to it the joys I have in my life wont come across.

It's like Angella said, God is doing a work in me and I'm excited about it. It's hard, but it's worth it. I have been happy these past four years, and I have no intention of leaving my husband ever. I just know there is a place on this journey I am not yet at.

There was a book in my friends bathroom that I noticed this week called Relationships. The sub title is "how to make the bad ones good and the good ones great". I am so happy to say that I am definitely in the boat of making a good one great!

Thanks for all of your comments and for those of you who have been silently reading this and not speaking, thanks for that too. I want everyone to know that I wrote it perched on the edge of my seat with excitement about the next phase of the journey, and that everything in this post Nick already knows.

We are definitely a team and life has already thrown us a lot of curve balls, but we are so pumped about the non-monetary returns of being in Georgetown, and so ready to embark on this next phase of learning to be sold out to each other, and together to be sold out to God and our kids.

So thanks again, and keep commenting away if you'd like, iron sharpens iron and you have given me a lot of food for thought.

Amanda said...

Yowzaz! Quite the forum here! Good for you for being so transparent and open and willing to discuss your thoughts with those who see differently.

Margaret. said...

I think you sold yourself short. In Christianity, isn't the man supposed to be able to provide?
Isn't the man supposed to care for his wife as Chirst cared for the church?
It makes me sad that you are living the same life that your parents lived. You said so yourself in the post. Poor girl.

Amanda Franks said...

Margaret.
Where to begin. You really have to know all of my life and the last years to know the whole story and well, you don't, which I know because I don't share my day to day life with anyone named Margaret. My husband just graduated from college and is working forward in his career. So has my paycheck been bigger than his sometimes, sure, but that doesn't mean he's not providing. How funny that you read providing and think money when God talks about providing and then says not to worry about what you eat or where you will sleep because God will provide it for you. It doesn't say how, it doesn't say the husband will do it either, it says God will do it. And he has. Even if it may not be the way I expect it or as much as I want, I always have what I need. And I didn't say that my parents life was what I was living or that their life was bad, I merely said that it's all we know because it's what we grew up in. I don't know a person who hasn't stopped at some point in their life and said to themselves "I've become my mother!" in that shocked way you do because you're determined to become yourself. Sorry you only get a snapshot on here Margaret of my life because I really don't think you would have said those things. It's funny because the thing I've realized is how we all interpret words differently and I know that because the people on here who actually know me in person didn't have any of the same reactions as those people who don't. Interesting indeed.

motherinlaw said...

Hi Amanda,
Wow!!! You sure got a lot of reactions, eh. I am glad that you are so transparent. It takes guts to be like that. When I was a lot younger I pretended a lot that everything was hunky dory. I think a lot of young people do until they learn to really accept themselves the way God does. I used to think that I was only pretending to be grown up and kept hoping for the time that I would truly be grown up. Sorry. That didn't really happen. There were a lot of times that I thought I really blew it too. John wasn't a Christian when we were first married so the boys didn't see a Christ centered home for a long time. But I do hope that what they did see was two parents who loved them so very much that it hurt. We all learn from our past and our present lives. We learn not to dwell in the past and to build on it. I am sure too that when you get to some of the Ladies Time Out meetings that God will lead you to others who are struggling too. It is amazing how God ministeres to us through others. I am praying that you will find many friends as I believe that you are worth knowing. I am very thankful that you are our daughter-in-law. We love you a lot. Oh, Nick is not the only man in our family that forgets anniversaries. lol John forgot two of them. I think men are very practical in showing their love to us like helping with the housework, stuff like that. Women tend to be more emotional and romantic and we like all the mush stuff, especially when we are pregnant. Hope I made sense in this message. God bless. (John 14:27)