Late Bloomer

Well, Lord, I’ve gotta hand it to You: Well played, Sir. Well played.

Sitting here in the Adoration Chapel with my mom, wracking my brain about how The F am I supposed to write a Valentine’s Day post as a hopelessly single gal, who has left all prospects of love back in NYC when I temporarily moved back to Ohio to help my mom recover from her stroke six weeks ago, and what do You do?

Enter: a tall, handsome, young man (sans wedding ring) into the chapel.

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Good grief, Lord, You could have warned me! Why was today the one day I decided to slum it and wear sweat pants and an oversized sweater to the chapel?! I haven’t seen anyone ever under the age of 65 in here! But on the one day I’m a hot mess…Sheesh.

Well played, Lord. Well played.          

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I’m going to be honest: being back home and helping my mom….dating has been the last thing on my mind. That is, until my mother, (in her temporarily unfiltered state) unabashedly probes as to why I’m still single (and why I haven’t gotten a haircut or if I’ve considered botox)…haha

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Being home here, and truly serving my parents during this difficult season, pouring everything I have – emotionally, physically, and from my inner-most heart — I realize just how much I love loving. I really do have so much love to give. Love that I cannot wait to share and shower on my future husband, whoever he may be.

But I think if I’m being really honest, that thought and that notion is guarded in so much fear. Fear that I will have to expose my heart and my brokenness, and that I will be a disappointment. That I will be rejected at my most vulnerable, innermost level.

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But there is just so much fear there.

And I wonder, what if I’m incapable of loving someone? I say I’ve got high standards, but jeez, boy’s gotta be Brad Pitt-adjacent for me to be interested. I mean I’m always finding something that is a deal breaker.

I tell myself that I just haven’t met him yet. God hasn’t brought him into my life yet, but I mean, my clock is ticking and I don’t care how Fort Knox my nighttime facial cream routine is, those smile lines are gonna start popping up any day now, and believe me, that will be the day…

But I know I have a lot of love to give. And I love loving another person. Perhaps right now just isn’t my season for romance.

Perhaps this is my season to serve. To help. To love. To foster my mother’s spirit and help her to bloom and regain her life and her memory. Because honestly, that is where I’m feeling so strongly pulled. I have never felt like my life has more purpose than it does right now. I have never felt like my life has more value and worth than it does right now.

It’s funny, I’ve spent my whole life battling the lies in my head that told me I didn’t have worth, and now there’s not a doubt in my mind – all it took was a stroke.

            “Above all, trust in the slow work of God.” 

I just looked over to a book my mom is reading and that is the sentence I read.

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Through my time with her here, one of the most incredible things is watching her bloom after this devastating event. So too, I think, with me. I was a “late bloomer,” which is really just the nice way of explaining why you’re sixteen and still flat as a 2×4. But I digress.

            Trust the slow work of God. 

I think my life has been one big, gradual, slow as molasses, blooming process. Through my anorexia, I slowly learned to love myself and love God. Now, through this caregiving season, I’m learning how to love another person. And this final stage is going to be to learn to let another person love me. Because it is in letting someone in and becoming vulnerable and sharing my past – my hurts – my fears – failures – how I’ve hurt people and what I still struggle with – that Caralyn…the real Caralyn…is the girl who needs to learn how to be loved.

But above all, I have to believe that I deserve to be loved. Because honestly, that’s the kicker.

And I know, writing that out – and yes, I’ve handwritten all 1000 words with a pen – I know how ridiculous that sounds, but I still think that vulnerable part of my heart still needs work. The part that believes I deserve to be loved.

Trust the slow work of God.

Slow work.

I don’t know how much slower it can get. But I do pray it not be too much longer, or all the “good ones” will be taken!

I think I need to give myself permission and grace to be slow. To bloom at my own pace. Let God work His timing. That’s what I’ve been encouraging my mom with – to not rush the blooming process. It sounds like I need to heed my own advice.

God is at work in my heart. Slowly. Methodically. Deliberately. I cannot see the grand plan. The end game. Only right here. Right now. Right at this handsome man God brought into the chapel tonight to remind me that He hasn’t forgotten me.

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BBB: Because we're all recovering from something. // For speaking/business inquiries: beautybeyondbones@yahoo.com

353 thoughts on “Late Bloomer

  1. Have you heard of Kintsugi? It’s the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery using gold-dusted lacquer. The process usually makes the pottery more visually appealing, and I think it presents a neat symbol of how our brokenness can be redeemed into something beautiful. Waiting on God can be tough, but it’s cool to see your honesty and outlook through everything.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve seen it time and again…love comes when you’re least expecting it. I used to secretly pray that my kids wouldn’t have admirers or fall for just anyone, unless it was THE one..hoping to spare them hardship. Hey, it’s a mom thing 😊 btw…you’re not far from me as I live in Indiana😁.

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  3. Hey you! You, my friend, are loved. For the long term, forever. You’re learning the rhythm of faith. I was never quite sure if God’s work is slow or our expectations were too fast though. I’m pretty sure we never deserved anything from God but He is just so full of grace and mercy that He gives it. Which builds faith. Which lets us relax and see the wonder of life.

    Trouble happens when we let fear creep in. We write a future story of a dreary existence or even catastrophic tragedy. Thing is – it almost NEVER happens as we’ve so dreaded. Even when the bad stuff goes down (and it does sometimes) there’s comfort and yet more grace.

    So cool, You get to see there are guys who call you beautiful and desirable and eminently lovable in every way. Because you are. But there is no perfect man besides Christ, so discovering flaws, learning to forgive as you are forgiven and walking through this imperfect life is as good as it gets.

    Praying all the good stuff for you!!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hey friend. Oh gosh thank you so much for this beautiful response. I so appreciate your prayers and encouragement. I think you’re spot on – in our instant this and that age, I definitely am guilty of placing unrealistically fast expectations on God. And amen to that, we are showered with grace. Thanks for stopping by. Hugs and love xox

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  4. Caralyn,
    A girl is informed her mom has taken ill. While she’s still living in the Big Apple, at 26, forging a career, passion or job. She would have done any of these:
    1. Hired a professional nurse to run shifts round the clock, looking after her mom.
    2. Paid to have her mom moved to the best Nursing home and given the best professional care in the world.
    3. She could do nothing and say, ‘Oh my! This is painful, but I have a job going on here, a blossoming career. I can’t just leave all and come at the drop of a hat to look after you!
    4. She could say, ‘well, it’s a pity. She has lived her life well in her youth, now is my time to live mine! I’ll try and pop in from time to time.

    This girl did none of the above!!! She dropped all she was doing, ignored the vast dating pool in New York, with the opportunities for a career, romance and good life, to come to the ‘back side of the desert’, to Ohio. To do what? Physically, personally take care of her own mom, who wiped her nose and bum when she was little; to give her a cup of water, be with her through these confusing trying times!!

    This is the Ruth factor. This same attitude had RUTH in the Bible. If you guys can’t discern this, permit me to inform you: a girl like this who loves you will STICK to you better than a postage stamp, superglue or resin; she will go with you through hell or high water! She would give her life to be with you and comfort you.
    That my friends, is what we call “wife material”! So what are you guys in Ohio and reading the blog doing mopping around? Caralyn, you should be getting calls by the minute.lol
    It is quite surprising that some ‘Brad Pitt’ has not come already to whisper your name, “Caralyn, Cara mia, can you go on a date with me- at your house? I’ll bring over the candle sticks or whatever you fancy, even a small box of chocolates, we’ll spend the time at your house, so you will not have to leave your mom. Chit chat over a cup of hot cocoa, watch a film, listen to good music and I’ll try and cook you dinner!
    So what if the guy does cook dinner, and helps with the dishes, leaves early, ‘carelessly leaving behind a decorated box of chocolates or your fave desert? And still calls you first thing after valentines ended: “how’s your mom, did you sleep well?”

    May God deliver men from the gal whose heart is traps and snares, in modern parlance it would be dungeons and dragons.lol .Seems guys over there have been bamboozled with so much cheap variety they miss out on the important stuff. Its okay you know, surfeited hearts loathe the honeycomb, but the hungry soul, every bitter thing is sweet: you gotta be hungry!

    This response comes to mind: he who found treasure in a field: buried it back, sold all he had and bought the entire field! Guys take the hint.

    Caralyn, and if no one says it, I will: Happy Valentine’s day in advance, keep your posts coming.!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Wow wow wow Lexezra. I am literally choked up reading this. Thank you so much. I definitely don’t deserve such glowing words! You know, I have actually never read about Ruth. I’ll definitely look that up this afternoon. But gosh, I am seriously so touched at your incredibly kind words. Haha I would definitely not be opposed to a home cooked meal and a box of chocolates:) haha that sounds so lovely! Haha “patience caralyn. Patience :)” thanks for giving me such a wonderful start to my weekend. Sending massive enormous hugs and love xox

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Listened to Leonard Cohen’s song Anthem this morning on the treadmill

    The birds they sang
    At the break of day
    Start again
    I heard them say
    Don’t dwell on what
    Has passed away
    Or what is yet to be
    Yeah the wars they will
    Be fought again
    The holy dove
    She will be caught again
    Bought and sold
    And bought again
    The dove is never free
    Ring the bells (ring the bells) that still can ring
    Forget your perfect offering
    There is a crack in everything (there is a crack in everything)
    That’s how the light gets in
    We asked for signs
    The signs were sent
    The birth betrayed
    The marriage spent
    Yeah the widowhood
    Of every government
    Signs for all to see
    I can’t run no more
    With that lawless crowd
    While the killers in high places
    Say their prayers out loud
    But they’ve summoned, they’ve summoned up
    A thundercloud
    And they’re going to hear from me
    (Ring, ring, ring, ring)
    Ring the bells that still can ring
    Forget your perfect offering
    There is a crack, a crack in everything (there is a crack in everything)
    That’s how the light gets in
    You can add up the parts
    You won’t have the sum
    You can strike up the march
    There is no drum
    Every heart, every heart to love will come
    But like a refugee
    (Ring, ring, ring, ring)
    Ring the bells that still can ring
    Forget your perfect offering
    There is a crack, a crack in everything (there is a crack in everything)
    That’s how the light gets in
    Ring the bells that still can ring (ring the bells that still can ring)
    Forget your perfect offering
    There is a crack, a crack in everything (there is a crack in everything)
    That’s how the light gets in
    That’s how the light gets in
    That’s how the light gets in

    That’s all we need to know.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my gosh, what beautiful lyrics! I looked it up on YouTube and listened to it as I read through them. Wow, so powerful. Thank you so much for sharing that. I really appreciate it. I hope your weekend is off to a great start! big hugs xox

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      1. No worries, so happy you replied because I wanted to follow your blog but I lost track of it and thought I wouldn’t be able to. Now thankfully, I can so it’s all good! Keep writing!!

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  6. You’ll never be incapable of loving someone. God is love, and He created us in His image. So, you are love. As the book of Ecclesiastes rightly puts it, there is a season for everything in this world. As one season doesn’t last forever, so does our current situation or circumstance won’t last forever. I’ve recently learned that God’s perspective on life can be described in three metaphors: life is a test, life is a trust, and life is a temporary assignment.

    I’m so touched with your article, and I would like to share some words of encouragement from the Bible, for God’s Word is useful for not only correcting but also building our hopes up. In Luke 18:29, Jesus replied to Peter’s question (we have left all we had to follow you) saying “truly I tell you, Jesus said to them, no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.” It’s true that you’ve left everything for the sake of your mum, though you are doing it for the Lord (cfr. Colossians 3:22). The Lord Almighty who searches the heart and examines the mind, will not deny you your reward according to what you’re doing for your mum (cfr. Jeremiah 17:10). Also, it is written “God keeps his promise, and he will not allow you to be tested beyond your power to remain firm; at the time you are put to the test, he will give you the strength to endure it, and so provide you with a way out” – 1 Corinthians 10:13 (TEV).

    It’s my prayer that the Lord, our healer (Jehovah Rapha) heals and restores your mum. May His mighty hand continues to rest you for the strength to endure this current situation. As the Lord promises to never leave you, may He bless and keep you safe while He also guide your path to your future lovely and kindhearted husband. Amen!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Owusu, thank you so much for this beautiful encouragement. You’re so right – God is love, and that is our hope. Thank your so much for such a kind prayer and for your encouraging and kind words. I am so blessed to have you as a friend! big hugs xox

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Caralyn, Happy early Valentine’s Day. For tomorrow, I pray that you wake up with a smile on your face and a heart full of joy. May you have a wonderful and blessed day tomorrow.
    Caralyn, Joyeuse Saint-Valentin.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Lovely post, I am glad you’re now able to live with an inner peace about your exterior. Finding the one is not the be all many make out, but loving yourself first and foremost opens the door to allowing others to love you 💗

    Liked by 1 person

  9. If I were a woman I’d want a guy who would love me without any warpaint on, in sloppy even cheap clothes and with a figure “less than Greek”, as Frank Sinatra once put it. Me, at 54 going on 15, I don’t really care about all the externals so much. It’s the heart… the maturity… the kindness and the smarts, I guess. That’s what I’m looking for now.

    But you’re young. You deserve to get whatever you dream. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Caralyn, this post itself had a slow effect on me that has gained power over time. I keep a blackboard in our kitchen for scripture quotes and right now what’s written on it is: Trust the Slow Work of the Lord. My father, a retired physician, always told me that bad things happen quickly and then get better slowly. How true it is…with your mom and with the hardships and struggles we all face. This is just an incredible Spirit-inspired and so very timely message. Thank you as always!

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  11. Soooooo, what happened to tall, handsome dude in the Adoration Chapel? Did you check to verify that he has an Ohio driver’s license? Did he disappear while you were contemplating the range of variants and conjugations of the concept of “love”?
    Oscar

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  12. What an amazing, revealing, blind-trusting reflection. Perhaps your best yet. I have driven through Ohio several times – clearly you would be the best thing there. Ahh, if only I wasn’t so close to that 65… and married… lol.
    Seriously, the love you are portioning to yourself is a direct result of all the pain and doubt you have gone through, all the insights the you are being rewarded with as a direct result of unexpectedly taking care of your mother, are leading you to the next great thing. It just happens at a time much slower than we pine for. And all you have to say is, “Your Will be done, Lord, not mine.”
    As a man, who feels no remorse commenting on beautiful things – be they the promise of sunsets, or the lover’s glow of sunrises, the pastoral view of a meadow, or the turbulent scene of crashing surf… or a beautiful woman – I can easily say, any man worth your time (let alone your heart) would see straight through the sweats and tossed hair. And he will. Like a thunderbolt.
    Be peace, young lady!

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    1. Hi Michael, oh my gosh, wow. Thank you so much for this incredibly kind reflection. hahah you’re funny. But what you wrote really resonated with me – I think everything in my past really has been leading up to this moment — learning how to trust, how to love, how to be patient. It was all a dress rehearsal for this big time. Thanks again for your encouragement. You have truly brightened my day:) Keeping that little tidbit with me : Your Will be done, Lord, not mine. Hugs to you 🙂

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  13. God has a sense of humour…….be prepared to be surprised. Trust his “Yes”, his “No” and his “Wait”…. trust the process. I suspect if we knew everything precisely, we make ourselves into little ‘Gods’………..2 Peter 3 v 8 tells us ” Beloved, do not let this one thing escape your notice. With the Lord, a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day’…….we are all on this journey, in one way or another. Lets just share the love!!!!!!

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  14. Honestly, I know I’m a complete stranger, but I really enjoy reading the blog posts you share. This post resonates tremendously with my current life. I am a firm believer and also a person who practices external love, yet I have struggled my entire live with self love and accepting love. I pray to God almost every night-I do my best to stay consistent- but for some reason I find myself growing impatient with him and myself. You are right, his timing may be slow, but there is a deliberate reason and purpose behind this slow process we’re enduring. I wish there was a magical portal that would allow me to see the end goal, but then I probably wouldn’t appreciate it as much and do things to hinder it. Thank you so much for this.

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    1. Thank you so much! I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed the read and that you can relate. Hang in there – His timing is slower than our timing but it is deliberate and He has good things in store for the both of us. 🙂 much love to you! Xoxox

      Liked by 1 person

  15. “But I know I have a lot of love to give. And I love loving another person. Perhaps right now just isn’t my season for romance.

    Perhaps this is my season to serve. To help. To love. To foster my mother’s spirit and help her to bloom and regain her life and her memory. Because honestly, that is where I’m feeling so strongly pulled. I have never felt like my life has more purpose than it does right now. I have never felt like my life has more value and worth than it does right now.

    It’s funny, I’ve spent my whole life battling the lies in my head that told me I didn’t have worth, and now there’s not a doubt in my mind – all it took was a stroke.”

    Yes, life is all about the seasons and recognizing the season you are in. It seems that you do. The threat of loss, especially permanent loss on this earth, has a way of shifting our perspectives and prioritizing what is most important to us. This is also a training ground for you. This is a time of sowing and reaping. You are sowing love, dedication, faithfulness and triumph; therefore you will receive it in return. In the meantime, allow yourself to fall completely and totally in love with God. Yes, it’s possible – know this from experience. Still experiencing it and I’m married.

    What you are doing is prepping you for marriage, after all, marriage is ministry. It’s dedicated service and the purest form of the love modeled by Christ for us.

    It’s not that your life has more value and worth than it did before. It’s that YOU recognize it now. Everyone else already did. Keep growing and learning. Enjoy this season as you have it right now. Even the lonely times. Marriage has a way of shifting your service, and having to divide your time, prioritize your time between your husband and children (when you have them). Age nor time matters to the Lord. As it says in Isaiah, My maker is my husband and his name is the Lord, and in Zephaniah (or is it Zachariah, can’t remember which), Therefore wait for Me, says the Lord of Hosts. Really, how much more romantic can you get?

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    1. Wow, this is such a beautiful response. thank you so much. I love that – marriage is ministry. THere’s a lot of truth in that, and what a beautiful way to look at it. you’re right, you’re both helping the other deepen their relationship with christ, and both, together, growing in christ as a team. SO romantic. Thanks again for sharing this. big hugs to you xox

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I think everyone has the opinions and secrets to finding someone or when knowing you have found someone. And I don’t mean to be the dark cloud or anything but love will never come to someone waiting. Being married for 3 years now I have learned love is work. It is a “bank” there are fights, small ones and big ones. The idealistic relationship and marriage like the fairytale movies is just that a fairytale. I am a podcast guy you should listen to “The Stronger Marriage” podcast it is a great podcast.

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