The Safe, Decaying Heart

Well happy belated Valentine’s Day, everyone!

I’m writing this on Monday evening, after driving home from the Hamptons with seven of my best friends. We spent the long weekend at a cheap airbnb. We cooked a LOT of really tasty food, we took walks on the snowy beach, we played some pretty intensely competitive board games (Catan!!), sipped a cocktail or two, but mainly, just enjoyed spending quality time with one another.

It was an absolute blast. My heart feels like it is completely overflowing. The flood gates are open, and it is just so full of joy and love, I think I am actually literally floating. I have some really wonderful friends.

Today was our travel day, and my handsome gentleman drove us all home. And after dropping off the rental car, I went over to his apartment to have some lunch and attend virtual Mass together, since we missed it yesterday.

We watched Father Mike, as per usu, and I found myself getting choked up as he was reading the story of the man with leprosy.

It drew up emotions in me, that I had put to bed a long time ago, but were just close enough to the surface. And as I thought about it, I realized that three years ago, during this exact Mass: the Sunday before Valentine’s Day and the beginning of Lent, with the same readings about the man with leprosy…I had the exact same emotional response. I actually wrote about it in this blog post. And I was so emotionally moved that right then and there, I looked up that post, and reread it. And it hit my heart so much, I want to share a quick excerpt from it:

  • Sitting there, listening to the first reading about the man with leprosy, I realized that there were tears rolling down my cheek, and a lump had taken residence in my throat.
  • “The one who bears the sore of leprosy…shall cry out, “Unclean, unclean!”…He shall declare himself unclean, since he is in fact unclean. He shall dwell apart, making his abode outside the camp.” — LV 13: 44-46
  • Listening to that, I came to the stark realization, that is me.
  • That is the lie I have been believing and living with: Living at arm’s length, because I do not believe I am worth loving.
  • I try so hard to put on a brave face and do and say the right thing, but when it comes right down to it, I still carry my brokenness, leftover from the anorexia in my past.
  • Listening to that reading, it was as though someone had taken the feelings I couldn’t put into words, and proclaimed them from the pulpit for all to hear.
  • Recovery is journey, ever evolving. And there are times when you’re on mountain tops and times when you’re hanging on by your fingernails. And for those with anorexia in their past, you can attest that the largest and most difficult aspect of recovery is not the weight. It’s not the food. Not the exercise, or the body image – although that is definitely a bear too. But it is the self worth. It is believing that you are worth love. And that is what has flared up here recently.” – from “An Ashy Valentine’s Day” March 2018

Rereading those words today, with tears welling up in my eyes, sitting next to this incredible man who I love, and who loves me, I realized just how good of a Father we truly have, and how grateful I am for the work He has done on my heart.

It was one of those rare full circle moments that brings you to your knees at the power of God.

But that’s not where God decided to reveal His love for me tonight.

Because tonight, Father Mike ended his terrific homily with a quote from CS Lewis…perhaps you’ve heard it:

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”

If Lewis wasn’t talking exactly about my heart during (and post) my anorexia, I don’t know what was. I wasn’t locking my heart with “hobbies” or “little luxuries,” but rather, allowing the eating disorder to enclose my heart – withdrawing in isolation, believing the lies of unworthiness, and creating that impenetrable barrier to my heart, and to love in any and all forms: from friends, from family, from a significant other, from God, and from myself.

My heart felt safe with the eating disorder. Little did I know, like my deteriorating body, my heart was decaying too.

Friends, we have a God who loves to redeem. We have a Father who knows our deepest needs and deepest longings, and loves to hand deliver them to us, in beautiful ways that only He can orchestrate.

The vulnerability of love is something I have experienced in, truly, a life changing way.

It has made my life bloom. It is the key and secret to truly unlocking total and complete recovery, once and for all.

Because in the vulnerability of letting another person love you, and loving them in return, you are placing your heart in someone else’s hand, while holding theirs in yours. And in that moment, you realize that all the messed up, destructive ways you treated your body during the eating disorder are not how God intended us to live. The moment you hold someone else’s heart in your hand, you realize how you should have been treating yourself all along. And I’ve gotta tell you, that realization was the most beautifully tragic realization ever. Because you’re realizing how beautiful it is to live in the gentle and delicate care of love, and that, this is how you should have been caring for yourself all along.

I couldn’t be more thankful for the transformation God has facilitated in my heart. And I am so grateful that He brought this man into my life to show me that I am worth loving.

Tonight, I pray for all those girls trapped in the desolate darkness of an eating disorder, like I was so many years ago. May they have the courage to become vulnerable. May they have the courage to open their heart to the possibility of love — starting from themselves. May they see the beauty, hope and healing power that comes from being seen and known. It will change their lives. And they are worth it.

“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5



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126 responses to “The Safe, Decaying Heart”

    • Aw thank you Paula!! You are just too kind! 🥰 Love is a beautiful thing!! Hugs and love xox

  1. What a beautiful expression of love. Jesus touched and healed those with leprosy, the untouchables to society. And I picture you long ago with anorexia, someone so delicate looking, people would be afraid to touch you. And Jesus touched you, on purpose, lovingly, to heal you. Rebuilt you and restored you to health to where friends and loved ones can touch and hug you. What a beautiful picture of hope and God’s grace!! You are so inspirational, my friend! Love you, as always, my beautiful friend. Hugs! XO😃♥️

  2. The story of the leper and being compassionate actually was used as an example during these vivid times for our online children liturgy ….. btw I am nominating you for an award soon!

  3. Great message and story. In order to love another, you have to love yourself first. And concerning Fr. Mike., he is truly amazing. I think my Mother-in-law might have a secret crush on him.

    • Thank you Tony!! You’re so right – you can’t love from an empty cup! I agree – he’s phenomenal! Hugs and love xox

  4. Powerful and beautiful. To be vulnerable is to be strong because you risk getting hurt and are sometimes hurt. The beauty of a life well lived weaves through vulnerable spaces – gets hurt and recovers. With your courage to allow vulnerability is a life well lived from the depths of grief to the soaring epiphanies of Divine Joy.

    • Hey friend!! Thank you for saying that. You’re so right. There is beauty in vulnerability – it is the gateway to all good things. Hugs and love xox

  5. In this sinful old world we are all in recovery without exception but the good news is someday the Lord will give us a new mind and a new body washed clean of the traumas we’ve carried with us in this life on earth. So continue being happy in that knowledge.

    • You’re right Ian, we are all recovering from something!! Amen – He is the redeemer! Thank you for that encouragement! Hugs and love xox

    • Thank you Jeff!! I appreciate that 🙂 turns out that vulnerability has become my new normal! Who knew! Haha and I appreciate your prayers!!! Hope you’re having a great week so far! Hugs to you and your girls! Xox

      • 2F this morning and we’ve been snowed in since yesterday. Another blast coming tomorrow. I feel like I’m back in Ohio!! But we’re all safe and sound as I hope your are.

      • OH MY GOSH!! That’s SO much snow!! Glad you’re safe! Hang in there! Hope the snow subsides soon!!! Hugs and love xox

      • Right? This was the best winter to work from home for sure! How was the snowfall last night?

      • Oh wow – what has gotten into mother nature?! We’re in the middle of a blizzard right now too – 10 inches are expected! Stay safe!!!

  6. What a beautiful realization! It’s so true that we must learn to love ourselves–truly and deeply–to be capable of loving another. I’m happy that you’ve found that place, and your special someone. <3

    • Thank you friend! You’re right – we must love ourselves first! Step one is loving God and accepting His love in return, and then from that full cup anything is possible! So glad you stopped by! Hugs and love xox

  7. Sometimes it’s a recipe. Sometimes is truth telling. Tonight was truth telling. Jesus said, “I Am the way, the TRUTH & the life.” Jesus is the rock on which you have fallen. You have allowed Him to put you back together. He holds you in His hands, never to fail you.

    • Thank you friend. Amen – He has put me back together – and how grateful am I for His mercy! So true. His hands are the best place to be. Hugs and love xox

    • Thank you Jazmin! Wasn’t the quote something! It really hit home with me too. Hugs and love xox

  8. My beloved wrote this to me:
    by Patricia A. Bow 1975
    I love you little more than I love air for every time I draw a breath a puff withstands the void of death:
    I love you little more than I love air.
    I love you little more than I love water. It sends the new green springing high, without it I would surely die;
    I love you little more than I love water.
    I love you little more than I love bread. It binds the muscle to the bone, it sends the heartbeat throbbing on;
    I love you little more than I love bread.

    To know such love is to know God. God is LOVE!

    • Oh wow, I am so moved by this beautiful letter. It is so incredibly touching. Thank you for sharing. Hugs and love xox

  9. From the first time I read your blog and got to know you on-line, your gentle, searching heart was evident, and I knew God would give you the desires of your heart at the perfect time. No one as beautiful inside and out as you are will be destined to live alone and not find the love they need… not if they are living in faith as you do. So, I was delighted when you revealed to us that you had found the right person for you. Just when you realized: “in the vulnerability of letting another person love you, and loving them in return, you are placing your heart in someone else’s hand, while holding theirs in yours,” God knew you were ready… and Wah-Lah … he showed up. Isn’t our God amazing??

  10. as the Prophet tells us, God has so many blessings waiting to be delivered into the Hearts of those who truly believe, amen, fine post, stay blessed, meaning, keep your feet on the ground too, amen

    • You’re so right about that!! All in His perfect time. Thank you for your kindness. Hugs and love xox

    • Thank you so much Mark, I really appreciate that!! I’ve been smiling a lot lately! Haha Hugs and love xox

  11. Hey! I love this, my friend! I’m glad you and your buddies managed to have a great time. As I was reading I could not help but recall my own personality.

    I’m an extreme introvert and suffer from depression from time to time. But God has been so gracious to help me by putting particular buddies close to me who really love me & understand me. They always see others who say I don’t talk as awkard. They end up laughing and say, “Then you don’t know, Thompson! He is very cheecky when you get to know him.” Haha.

    I’m more of a withdrawal to isolation type. I get lost in my study room and just read and write. Many people would find that weird, but I’m daily reminded and I try to remind myself of the Gospel of our blessed Lord, Jesus Christ.

    He is truly a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. A friend born for adversity. I’m encouraged by your post. But most especially with that, C.S. Lewis, quote. I enjoy his works!

    Hugs, my friend!

    • Hi friend! Thank you so much for sharing your heart and your kind words. Yes – God always brings people into our lives who help us bloom. I’m so glad He’s done the same for you! Hugs and love xox

    • Hi Penny!! You’re so right – God’s healing and mercy are as wide and deep as the ocean. Thank you for your kindness!! Hugs and love xox

  12. Caralyn, I am happy you released everything that was holding you back. If not the world would not have known your talent and beauty. I pray that you will have the same wonderful relationship that I have had with my wife for the last 30 years. Take care. Scott

    • Thank you Scott. Thank you for your encouraging words. Wow! Thirty years, that is so beautiful. And something to truly celebrate! Thanks for sharing that with me! Hugs and love xox

  13. This post made me cry for so many reasons, but I am so happy for you. I’m so thankful I found your blog and enjoy following your journey. You have grown so much and it is beautiful to watch. I’m so happy that you have realized you are beautiful and it’s not just your outer beauty that matters. Your heart is so big and had to see that you are worth love and are able to love as well. Thank you for writing. God is using you in so many ways you can’t even see or may not intend to be used in. Please keep writing. Have a blessed day. Happy for your new chapter 🙂

    • Aw thank you so much, my friend. I’m so touched by the fact that you have accompanied my on my journey. It’s friends like you who have encouraged me along the way. I am so grateful. God is GOOD!!! And gosh I am humbled by your generous words. Thank you friend. Hugs and love xox

    • Thank you so much Tega! I’m so glad this resonated with you!!! I pray that be the case. With God all things are possible! Hugs and love xox

  14. Wonderful! Thank you. I need that constant reminder. I have worth and value because it is granted to me by God Almighty, Who loves me as I am, simply because I am, and it does not matter what I did or did not accomplish, or what I look like. Almighty God made Himself vulnerable to me in love. He sent Jesus for me.

    • Thank you so much Harriet! I’m so glad this struck a chord with you. Yes! He gives us that value!! Jesus is that embodiment of love!! Hugs and love xox

    • Hi Teresa! Thank you so much! Yes! His grace and mercies are a wide as the ocean! Hugs and love xox

  15. I love, love, love this. It is so thrilling to hear how God’s word as it touches us and we can sense the emotions deep inside of us coming out. That is the Bible, it lives! It is not just words on a paper but it touches our very existence today, in the moment. Then the faith and strength that you have in sharing and posting those deep moments with others throughout the world. God is and will use this struggle. Whatever the battle may be it is never over but God allows us to see more daylight in each moment as we crawl closer to Him.

    Thank you for sharing
    your blogging friend
    S Joiner

    • Aw thank you so much S! I’m so glad this struck a chord with you! Amen – God is good and in the business of healing and transformation! I am so grateful. Hugs and love xox

  16. My sister, the Holy Spirit spoke directly to my heart through your words and experience. At this very moment in my life this post penetrated me through with words so relatable to my own journey. It’s one of learning to love and see ourselves through the eyes of Jesus, which teaches us to open our hearts to be loved by others, and as you said, ourselves. While my walk has been the opposite, as I deal with an eating disorder at the other end of the spectrum, it’s one that requires healing by placing in the hands of the Father just the same.

    Thank you for sharing, and God bless you!

    • Thank you so much for this thoughtful response! I’m glad it resonated with you!! Praying for you in your recovery journey. You’ve got this. With God all things are possible!! Hugs and love xox

    • Aw thank you CA, you are kind to say that. I look forward to reading Ang’s words. At the end of the day, both sides are of the same coin, and Jesus is the key to both! Hugs and love xox

  17. Deeply deeply beautiful, and powerful. Thank you for this. God working in your life is tremendously encouraging to all of us. I see God also at work in giving you a wonderful relationship. There were so many posts and prayers about that topic. Peace to you both and wonderful blessings. BTW I’m watching Mass with Father Mike too now. That quote from C.S. Lewis is truly amazing.

    • Thank you friend. Aw yay! It’s nice to know I have a Mass buddy also in the Virtual Front Pew! God has been so generous, I am so grateful. Thank you for walking through my journey with me! Hugs and love xox

    • Yes He really does!! Thank you Jeff. I look forward to watching that video! Thanks for passing it along! So beautiful! Hugs and love xox

  18. Wow! A powerful piece…I really felt and could understand…there are so many other situations, events, battles that can be put right where you are and right where you were…continue to be blessed and bless others 🙌🏿🙏🏿❤

  19. Thank you for sharing God is continuing to shape and mold you remain open to his work in you rhe blessing are endless

    • Gosh you’re kind to say that. Thank you so much. His grace and mercies are as wide as the ocean! Hugs and love xox

  20. I see that you appreciate not only your struggle and how difficult it was because “the struggle” had weaved into your identy. That is where it got it’s strength. I am grateful that you found love to be the ingredient that messed up your false identity in Aneroxia. That is God’s justice for stealing who you are from you and consequently others as well. I think a large majority of people have struggled with various false identities and have overcome it from Jesus love. I know I have also. I think you have what I have, tell me if I am correct. You have become a warrior when you see people getting stolen from like you were at one time.

    I know you read my story about Rollanda. The Police should have never let her into the crime scene. She saw it all bones. It was a masacare done by a jealous x boyfriend. When Rollanda sat in the chair and shared, I knew that all the counsel she had gotten did NOTHING to overcome those images she saw of her duaghter and grandsons. She needed a miracle! She tried everything else already including drugs. Nothing worked. I am glad God sent her to my healing rooms I needed to see God work miraculously the way HE did. While listening to others try to help, this righteouse indignation rose up in me that the only person who could really help her was Jesus. Not just the stories about Jesus, BUT He himself needed to drop everything and come help her. When Jesus appeared to Rollanda while standing behind her daughter and grandson, nunable to see his form because HIS glory shone so bright, I knew it He left His throne in heaven to come help her. That night, I gave her no counsel Bones, I just knew if she could see HIM, that she would be delivered of her change of identify of being the Mother and Grandmother of masacerred children.. His LOVE while standing on what seemed to be a porch of the entryway overwhelmed us all and many others were also healed from having loved ones murdered by gun shots. About 4 other people in the room.

    Bones, if I could commision you to carry miracle gifting induced by righteous indignation for all those similarily affted as you were, it would be to be known as a gateway to heaven so that only a few words be said and people are miraculously healed of Anerixia. I sent this anointing now to you. Receive it. It’s supernaturally REAL!


    • Hi David, gosh, thank you so much for sharing your heart, and this powerful story. I am so moved. And i truly appreciate your prayers! it means so much. Hugs and love xox

  21. “Take heart daughter” because you are surely “fearfully and wonderfully made”. God makes no mistakes – he created you on purpose. It’s a beautiful thing to be able to look back on our broken and battered hearts and realize we have made it so far. It is a blessing that you’re willing to share your walk with us – thank you for that!

  22. Reading your journey for several years now Caralyn, it is heart-warming to me to listen to so much of your personal growth and rejoice with you over the grace you have….and continue to…receive. Thank you for always sharing your heart with so many….💕

    • Hi again Dawn! oh gosh, you are just so kind and thoughtful to say that. thank you with all my heart. God has been so good to me, and I am so grateful for His transformative power in my life through my recovery. It is truly a life long journey. God is good!! Thanks for being such an amazing friend! grateful for you! 🙂 Hugs and love xox

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