Posts tagged hannah forsberg
thoughts on singleness

hannahforsbergsingleness2 I started writing and I rolled my eyes. Another single, Christian girl writing on singleness. in a coffee shop. typical. Yet, we all like to click those links, don’t we? If you came up to me one day to ask me how life was, how it really was, this is what i’d say: Life is full, busy. Jesus is still teaching me about my heart and my need for Him. Jesus is still teaching me a lot through singleness, and quite frankly, I didn’t think it would take this long to still be learning from it (hello, pride!).

disclaimer: this post is coming to you from a recently-turned-eighteen year old homeschooler currently immersed in nearly 30 hours of work a week, with one foot in high school, and the other in college. it’s also coming to you from the chick who’s never been in a relationship, never been kissed, never held hands with a boy, never had someone seem remotely interested in pursuing me. (i’ve had the occasional person look at me twice, ask my age, and perhaps initiate a conversation further than “how are you?”, but the only boy who ever seemed to “like” me back was one who couldn’t even look me in the eye.)

A kind, sweet lady I met up with asked me if I ever struggled with loneliness as a single person. I squirmed a little in my seat, nervously laughed/sighed “Ahh yes,” My heart ached. Who hasn’t? “but it’s okay. completely okay”. These past four/whatever years have been rough on my heart. aches, sorrows, and unanswered questions…and yet in the midst of that, I found the tender and faithful kindness of The Lord extravagantly woven in and as evident as ever. I’m seeing how the Lord is absolutely gentle and gracious in all of his dealings with me.

For so long, I whole-heartedly believed that what I needed was marriage. I was sure that marriage would be the thing to sanctify me, grow me, and satisfy me. And so often I would forget that Christ is indeed, “the deep, sweet well of Love”. My heart is so fickle. I started to try and find my worth and base my happiness on the hope and expectation of a some-day husband. Although I would never say that I deserved a husband, or that it was my right to become a wife, my heart would daily declare otherwise.

I frequently found myself questioning and doubting The Lord’s timing, His goodness, His faithfulness, and His sovereignty. Oh yes, with my head, I knew the perfection of His timing, the sweetness of His goodness, the richness of His faithfulness, and knew I could rest in His sovereignty, but sometimes, I think it takes a while bit longer for your heart to catch up to your head; it takes sometimes a bit longer to taste the truth. I found myself questioning His doing and His purpose. I forgot that I was the clay and that He was the potter (Is 45:9).

I often wondered if (and concluded that) I would remain single in 10 years. Anxiety described my days. I saw myself wishing life away, refusing to savor the present and the daily gifts of mercy in front of me, yearning and hoping for what was to come. I regularly lacked trust and patience and joy, wondering what I did to repel boys away, and what I was doing wrong- how that girl could get a boyfriend, and I couldn't? Was I simply not pretty enough or too quiet? Too obnoxious or not fun enough, perhaps? I tried manipulating situations, strategically trying to position myself in the best corner to talk to someone I was interested in, or staying a little longer with hopes one might talk to me. I’ve even asked others if they thought one might return some sort of affection. But that’s not what the Bible says. Jesus commands us to pick up our cross and follow Him (Matt 16:24), not cling to the fleeting joys and mundane things of this world, but to the cross, to Him. He commands to pray without ceasing (1 Thes 5:17). To not be anxious about tomorrow (Mat 6:25-34). To be rooted and grounded, loving others deeply, and sincerely (Eph 3:17, 1 Pet 1:22). To trust and to be glad for today (Ps 118: 24, Ps 62:8). To, in all things, give thanks (1 Thess 5:18) because He is sufficient and He is good. (Ps 145:9, 2 Cor 12:9) My desire for something good and God-given grew more than the desire for the King Himself. I clung and treasured the thought more than the One who saved my soul. I failed to count everything and all things as a joy and failed to ask for wisdom and grace in this area (Jas 1: 5-8). Wretched, wretched heart! And yet “He gives more grace”? (Jas 4:6)

I searched for fulfillment, and happiness, and yearned to feel wanted. My heart had to change. Surrender, and gratitude was the call. I dare not forget the advice married ladies would share with me (almost always word-for-word the same): “You have so much TIME, so much opportunity in front of you: to serve the church and those around you, to grow spiritually, to do all sorts of crazy things. Singleness is AWESOME! Just TRUST God and WAIT.Although those words were said with much love and sincerity, sometimes it felt like a slap in the face?But you’re alreaaaaady married!” were my thoughts.

But God saw it fit to slowly chip away at my heart, inclining it to seek those opportunities, to invest time in loving others and serving the church. Humility. My heart needed time to see how his “severe mercies”, as Elisabeth Elliot puts it, are indeed mercies all the same…to understand how his refusals are absolutely kind, right, and just; how I am where I am meant to be. To surrender my desires, my longings, and be broken. From my knees, cry out, “Lord, yet not as I will, but as You will”. To see that, yes, what is certain is this: that He is very very good, far sweeter than all the rest. Far sweeter than the fleeting, earthy joys (Ps 34:8).

I became even more aware of the sovereignty of God (Ps 115:3, Prv 16:9, Prv 19:21)…that I am not single because I refuse to follow the trends of the Christian, homeschooled community, or that my standards are too high, or that I’m not serving enough, or that I’m too quirky, or that perhaps I’m not pretty enough…I am not single because I’m just not content/trusting enough or because I’m not doing XYZ or perhaps because I am doing XYZ. I’m not single because I’m doing something right or wrong. I am single because it has been sovereignly ordained before the beginning of time by God Himself that this shall be my current state, right now. I am single because “with mercy and with judgment, my web of time He wove”. and therefore, I must rejoice in thanksgiving and praise. And yet, I dare question and doubt Him, wondering and fretting about the mundane in comparison to eternity. i forget that if cares for the sparrows and the lilies and can number the stars and remember how many hairs are on my head, surely He cares for my heart and soul all the more (Mat 6:25-34, Lk 12:7)? This good, God-given desire for love had become twisted. twisted into an idol.

I think, how often words of comfort are similar to, “I know God is just preparing you for that guy,” or “God will give you a husband once you really give your heart to Him” or if-then statements as if God needs me to do something, then in return I will get my heart’s desire for marriage. While there are hearts of kindness and aspects of truth in those words, it’s dangerous. It’s dangerous because, never does the Lord promise to give me all that I ask for. The Lord never guarantees me a husband. He may just have given me this desire with the intent of leaving it unfulfilled. And He would absolutely right, kind, and just in doing so because “aye, the dews of sorrow are lustered with His love”. Girls need not words of sympathy and comfort and empty promises, but words of truth and encouragement. We need words pointing out the deficiencies of our love for the Gospel and the hope we claim to believe yet fail to embrace. We need others’ pointing out our need for absolute satisfaction in the Gospel, in Christ, no matter the state because Christ is worthy of our trust. Allowing the motivations and hopes of the one-day husband shape the way we live life is dangerous. This is not to negate that sometimes the Lord, out of his kindness and grace, grants desires, but sometimes, He doesn’t. The Lord answers “yes”, “not now”, or “no”, and we should not try to answer for Him.

I find striking, how easy it is to presume that I indeed deserve a husband after shabby attempts to justify it with all my worldly accomplishments or with how “spiritual” I supposedly am. I find it easy to fall to the assumption that someone is being prepared just for me…that he’s “out there”, and I deserve Him. This is far from the truth. I deserve judgment, as a result of my hell-bound race. I don’t deserve yesterday, today, or even tomorrow. I don’t deserve forgiveness or grace or mercy, and yet, Jesus extended that to me through His death on the cross. He saved my soul. He saved my soul. And still, I fail to remember that He is enough. I fail to remember that all things work out according to his purpose, for my good (Rm 8:28). Contentment doesn’t come overnight; despite my wishing it would. But with a lack of contentment in this season, how would there be contentment in the next?

So, here i am, in a coffee shop, still very, very single, following the stereotype of the Christian girl in a coffee shop who blogs (I don't even like coffee). I’m still learning much. I’m learning contentment and comfort in Christ’s being, and to give thanks in this season, realizing that He alone will satisfy my longings. I’m learning much about humility and my great need for Him. I’m seeing fuller how it is no mistake that I am where I am meant to be in the midst of this uncertainty and flood of questions, because of His sovereignty over every detail of my life. I see how Jesus is undeniably using my current state for my good, and His glory, according to His own good pleasure, to bring me closer to Himself. And, although some nights my heart sighs, I’m finding richness and the joy, too, because His faithfulness abounds. I’m certain of His dealings with His children being always tender and gracious and kind. I’m certain that He who began the good work will carry it onto completion (Phil 1:6). The Lord in His mercy, forgave us of much. Should that not that be enough?

this season

photo Hello, hello. Forgive the sporadical-ness(?) & extreme vague-ness of my writings on this space, would you? There’s not much to say (online or to anyone for that matter), quite frankly, except that this season is very full. Late nights walking around on campus. The twenty-minute power naps between study sessions(which work wonderfully, by the way). Counting down the hours until the next break. Routine. It’s awfully familiar; those are my days.

Writing has occurred more often in my tattered moleskine, documenting the wonderings and uncertainty…the questions and hopes. The things I dared not to dream. I’ve noticed how there’s a deeper chill to the mornings and an rising difficulty in getting out of bed. People are busier nowadays and there’s an increasing list of to-do’s. There’s almost a sense of urgency to get going and forget to bask in the sweet times and simple joys. I walk entirely too quickly and have my head down rather than taking time to amble, observing and breathing everything in. I wonder if when I look back on this first semester if all I’ll be able to remember is weariness? I suppose I might.

I am confused about this season. I’m confused about feeling lonely and confused if my time is being spent well, away from almost everything I knew last year. I'm confused about being vulnerable and opening up to people or if I'm simply setting myself up for more hurt and heartache. I see only what is happening now and have no idea what to expect, or what not expect. It scares me, uncertainty. But, I think that’s what I’m seeing the most about this season, to live clinging to the One I cannot see. To seek rest and comfort in knowing Him alone. To learn and experience joy knowing that this is where I’m meant to be & each season serves its purpose. He does what He sees fit. I'm grateful.

Garrett + Shelby

I am at a loss for words. I am humbled and in awe and so very grateful for these two who gave me a chance. I am ecstatic. My first wedding (hope to write about that, soon)! Having a seventeen-year-old photograph a wedding is definitely not the norm, that's for sure. August 2 was so so full of joy & a sweet, tender love. Garrett and Shelby were wed in the church they cherish so deeply, surrounded by so many dear ones who were rejoicing with them, praising God alongside them.

Garrett and Shelby, thank you, thank you, for giving me a chance, and for asking me to photograph your wedding. Thank you for trusting me, and for this privilege you've entrusted me with. You both have a special place in my heart and I could not have asked for a better first wedding. For now, a preview.

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here's to many more years and good, sweet, rich times, Mr. and Mrs. Bone. sincerely, hannah

5 days and 10,600 miles

italyblog5daysx It’s been 5 days exactly, since landing back home. 10,600 miles traveled within a matter of 10 days. Folks ask me how my trip went and I never thought such a simple question would be so difficult to answer. I think, too, it depends on what you really want to know about. I can tell you bits and pieces (you can see the blog here, that I'm working on). But truly, I don’t think I could sum up what the entire adventure was like in a sentence, or two, or three, or an entire book’s worth…the words are difficult to come by, for me at least.

I will never be able to tell you fully, what it was truly like to take it all in and simply be. ...to finally be in that place that I had waited so long for, to walk in the streets and experience life, even if it was for a short bit. How I wish I could, though! Or at least, been able to show you more fully. I feel like even my photos (you can view them here) seem to sell the journey short for what it was. There is something so different about hearing the commotion in the streets and the market, watching the sun quietly grace the mountain and ocean at 5:30 each morning, feeling the wind on your skin and flutter your hair...writing hardly does justice when you try to weave your travels into words. But I remember saying to myself, I am so happy here.

As quickly as we came, it feels also as quickly we left. Yet, it strikes me how quickly I fell into routine and grew to love the people and ministry there...how quickly I started making Messina home. Messina was like a breath of fresh air (but really, a fresh breeze was always there). The work was hard, the days were long, the sleep was short, but I found there was so much joy in that. All because of what The Lord has done for me, and because of what work He is doing there. Oh yes, my emotions were the highest they’ve been in the longest time and I felt shaken to the core numerous times, but the week was so rich, so sweet, and so full of the goodness of The Lord.

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Transitioning back into life at home is harder than I imagined. I’m having a hard time remembering my English, and time itself. Oh, don’t misunderstand; I love being back. But it’s bittersweet, you see. It all seems so differently paced and I can’t tell if my health problem is turning better or worse. Things are strange because everything but you seems to be the same; mentally, emotionally, spiritually. Oh, they never tell you that. They also never tell you how much you’ll ache to go back and hug the people you met (which on my part, was very American and not like their culture at all) or how much you'll desire to walk the same route you did for those 10 days, even though you sweat like a pig, both ways. They never tell you how raw you end up feeling or how you slowly start to realize you left your heart in that place.

It’s not that the work we did was glamorous or that we resided at the prettiest of places; despite how Instagram or my camera can make things seem. It’s not that life was perfect and we dilly-dallied in the streets, shared the gospel and just left with no connections, no accountability...No, life that week? It was sweat, it was tears, it was fear, weariness...it was hearing each person’s story of how grace saved them, the conversations we struggled through and the ones over Google Translate, the heart-to-hearts, the songs of praise either hummed, whistled, sung, or played...it was the Gospel that people across the world (that you've actually met!) love and cling to...it was the friendships you spent the week investing in, the opportunities to show Christ’s love to children even though there was a language barrier, it was the love we have for one another because of Christ’s work on the cross. It amazes me. It’s only because of Jesus that we can love others whom we have nothing but that in common with.

I often catch myself going back to the photos of the streets I walked and the people I stood with, and I slowly begin to see how dearly I miss that place and long to return. Whenever I look at a map and see the distance between my town and Messina, I’m overwhelmed. How good The Lord has been & is to me. So grateful and full of thanks. I don’t think I’ll ever have all the words to share, and I think that’ll be okay. I’m so glad you’re even wanting to listen.

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