Posts tagged thoughts
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?

AUTUMN NOTES FOR THE SOUL

(a collection of words from my journal and heart over this past season on different occasions, acting as rambling thoughts and pep-talks to myself)

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• There’s a sweetness in brokenness and hurt that sends you fleeing to the Savior.

• If you’re feeling awkward, try to change that. Get uncomfortable and be somewhat social, whether it is by forcing a laugh or faking a smile. At least go say “hello”. I know as an introvert it is hard, and not everyone understands, but it’ll be okay. Fake it ‘till you make it if you have to.

• There are hard days, like today; where you feel like you’ve been running circles and that you barely know yourself. You might feel confused and hurt and lonely and who knows what else. But guess what, tomorrow is another day.

• When there’s an empty room and a piano, go over and play. Hit a wrong note. Perform loudly as if you could care less. Not for anyone, just yourself. Try to sing along to a tune you just thought of and can’t really play. Play hymns you don’t really know and sing at the top of your lungs.

• Your worth is in Christ, who is forever faithful. Trust in Him and what shall outlast the test of time; because those mundane things of today will soon vanish from memory. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.

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• Nobody may understand your humor or that somewhat-but-not-really-witty quip, but it’s the thought that counts. And if it’s just one person’s suppressed giggle or smile, take joy in that.

• Walk into Chick-fil-A and hug that cow or set up your laptop and blast Spotify. Ask for a ton of sauces and well-done everything. Don’t look up afraid of what people might think; embrace those weird, astonished looks you get from people and smile back at them. Stay until 9:59 and enjoy yourself.

• Confess what you’ve been wrestling with. What makes you crazy. What hurts you. What you find discouraging or challenging. What makes your soul thirst. What makes your entire being full of happiness. If you have to cry, cry. If you have to scream or clench your teeth or hit the table with your fist, do that. You’ll make it through, whatever it is.

• Remember details and ask people about them. Show them they are cherished, loved, because it’s these things that prove you care the most. Take these chances to encourage them and point them to Christ.

• Be thankful for the good times and dare to try something that terrifies you- something that makes you sick to your stomach. Dare to fail in front of others. Go up to that stranger your friends picked out and shake their hand. Sing around a campfire or run up to pet someone’s goat. Intercept that football and show people you can throw a spiral (or not, for that matter). Those smiles and laughs and fails won’t be here forever. Give in to a grin and a giggle because they happened.

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• It’s okay not to have the words for what you feel or what you want to say. There will be times when things are welled deep and things that cannot be explained. It’s okay. Put it at the feet of the One who died for your soul.

• Busyness may reassure you that perhaps your life has meaning, but truly, it doesn’t make you more holy or mature-looking. It just shows that you’re busy. And that you’re overwhelmed. That you’re just like everyone else. Busyness isn’t to be gloried or bragged in. Slow down, take everything in. Forget the hustle and bustle for a moment. Simplify. Don’t become so preoccupied that you overlook the simple and beautiful in the everyday. You may just miss it.

• If you must wait, wait in prayer. Wait in simplicity. Wait in humility. Wait in quietness. Wait in grace. Wait in faith. Wait in patience. Not in rebellion, but with a quiet, humble, spirit; sure of the goodness of the Lord. Yes, there will be times when you wait in uncertainty and you won’t be sure, but have a steady hope. Never grumble or complain. But instead approach the Savior and say, “Not my will, but Yours be done.”

• Remember that life isn’t as awful as it could be, and it certainly isn’t as terrible as you deserve. Learn to say whole-heartedly, “All I have is Christ.”

• Be thankful. Be prayerful. Be faithful. Be kind. Be loving. And if you have to, ask for a heart of those things. Ask for growth in every grace.

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• No matter what, rest knowing that Christ’s work on the cross is enough. That He loves you and carries you through, every step of the way.

• And I don’t care if you’ll stand out or look like a goody two-shoe, but dagum, if you say you love the Lord and care about His Word and His commands, then freaking act like it in public. Do you not realize that although you may be homeschooled and go to a Christian school, not everyone will be going into Heaven with you because they’re wearing uniforms with a cross or sit next to you in the pew? And you want to be a missionary and evangelize to people in other countries, yet you cannot do that here, when there are endless opportunities in front of you. Oh soul, how do you expect to tell a stranger effectively about the Gospel and how you’ve been changed in the deepest of ways when you cannot share that with a friend who will understand your words and see the sincerity in your eyes, heart, and life? Don’t just say that you are a disciple of Christ, and hide in the darkness with everyone else. You’re supposed to be a witness and a light; And dang, you really do a crummy job at that. Oh soul, pray. Pray pray.

Instead of complaining with someone about an upcoming test, ask about what God’s done in their life lately, or How God’s shown them grace lately. Ask how you can pray for someone. Give someone a hug. Ask the person who’s annoying, or dumb, or whatever you want to call it, how they’ve been doing. Love others as Christ loves you. Care. Build up and don’t tear down. Make Christ the center and glorify him in every little thing. I know it’s tempting to gossip and swear and act pervertedly like everyone else, but please, please, use kind, patient words. Be quick to listen and slow to speak . Tame your tongue and think. Would you act the same way if you knew Christ was coming in 5 minutes? Would you be ready to give account for every thought and deed? Forgive like Christ forgives you each and every day. Yes, forgive when someone may unknowingly offend you when they don’t sit in class with you or make a racist joke (because you seem to be okay with it anyways). &It doesn’t have to be through something major and public, but in the little things when people aren’t watching, honor Him. I know that this Christian life seems overwhelming, and you know, it most certainly is. The bar is high, and it’s like that on purpose; it’s to show us our desperate need of Jesus and our dependency on Him.

&Don’t ever forget that each and every moment is a gift of Mercy to your soul. Remember that you are a sinner; a terrible, horrible, person who deserves to be less than the dust of the ground. You deserve to be cast into the fiery furnace. You cannot earn favor with God, no matter how much you do. Remember that Christ didn’t have to die on the cross, but in obedience, He graciously laid down His blameless life to save your soul from the depths of Hell so that you could stand justified and forgiven and spend eternity with Him. Should that not be enough? Oh heart, cling to the Savior, because all other ground is sinking sand.

• Live a life characterized by grace.

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Summer was a grand adventure.

In a lot of ways, this summer played out completely differently than all the rest. Instead of slowing down as I hoped, things were quite the opposite...and I didn't mind that one bit. + worked and worked and worked. + spontaneity and lightheartedness for the heck of it. + nights out and good times. + new people, new friends, new memories. + loud laughing and bright smiles. + good food and late-night talks. + road trips and seeing old chums on the way.

this was my summer. although simple, twas a grand adventure indeed and good for the heart. here are a few photos from my iPhone. If you follow me on instagram these won't be a surprise to you. In all honesty, there aren't enough to capture my summer in its entirety, but I hope that this will give you an idea.

hannah forsberg photography summer

hannah forsberg photography summer

When things don't go as planned

"Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD." —Psalm 27:14

There's a lot in my life that happens unexpectedly. And when things don't go as planned, I start to panic. I am a huge planner. I think making lists is insanely fun, and having every aspect of my life planned out for the next week, next year, is something i find relaxing. Ironically, though, none of my dreams or goals usually happen in my own timing or the way I think they should. I think that God uses the fact of me being an over-planner to bring me to wait and rely on Him instead of myself; because often times, those plans of mine are foiled. completely.

Waiting is hard. I'm still struggling with it. Yet, God constantly proves to me that He is always faithful. I forget that I can simply ask, and simply wait. Not all of my desires are in His will or His timing, but I am confident that if a prayer is not answered, something much more sweet is given in its place.

Too many times have I wanted to jump ahead in life and rush to whatever I thought was the next big thing. Too often I became upset when things didn't go as planned. Too many times did I forget that there's many things to cherish in the present. Too many times did I worry about tomorrow, when the Bible clearly states that I don't have to. Too many times did I forget to stop, and just thank God for today being today. Too many times did I forget to enjoy life, here, right now.

Paul David Tripp wrote via Twitter, "Waiting bothers us because it's in the way of our plans but it's never in the way of God's plan of grace for us." It hurts how true this is of me. I am so fickle, friends, and I fail constantly. But praise God who gives me enough grace for each day and as I fail Him, lovingly brings me back to Himself.

My heart is full. Full with joy, full with awe. I serve an amazing, gracious God. Right now, I'm waiting on answers, waiting on people, and waiting ultimately for the Lord. Many times, things don't always go as planned; and while I may not understand why, I am confident in the fact that they are ultimately for my good. I am convinced that this time is being used to conform me more to His image and I am so very glad.

I have a question

DSC_2848-7 Why is it that whenever I go to social media, I feel insignificant afterwards? Why does it seem that, especially online, people have better, more exciting lives than I do? Why is it so hard being content? I can't help but often feel that pang of jealousy...inadequacy...comparison stealing my joy. But perhaps this is just me.

The answer to those above questions is this: I'm a selfish human being.

I realized that, the Internet only captures a moment in time— not the before or after. We're given a small detail and get to run with it. That photo shows her laughter but not those tears she cried the night before. That update marks his milestone of success, but it doesn't show those days where everything was out of control.

Looking at what I've posted in the past and summing all those up, my life looks pretty awesome. But honestly, my life isn't perfect although I prefer to portray it like that. My heart is so fickle, so prideful, so conceited!

It's easy to become so caught up in the stresses of life that I forget what really matters. I get too tied up with trying to get those perfect shots for Instagram and Vine that I miss the things that can't be remade. I miss the bursts of joy and excitement with those around me because my face is glued to my phone— envying others and what I don't have. I miss precious time and conversations with God and the people I love. I hope that I'm not the only one who struggles with this.

Instead of updating your status to how you won another game of Mouse Trap, play the game again. Instead of posting on that person's wall, why don't you call them and invite them to coffee? Instead of wanting to get 50 likes on your profile picture, why don't you tell someone that they mean a lot to you? Instead of wishing your hair and wardrobe and face looked like hers, sign off and thank the Lord for making you, simply you.

Friends, learn how to be content with where you are in life and stop comparing yourself to others. I'm learning each and every day and I'm so convicted. Remember that Jesus is all you need, despite how appealing others' lives are around you. &Chances are, that person's life probably isn't all that glamorous as it's made out to be. Instead of focusing on other people's lives and what you don't have, strive to constantly say, "I am full and content by the grace of God."