Making Room in My Heart for Love

I don’t often post about the fact that I’ve found love. Aside from the occasional mention of my special gentleman, I’ve kept that part of my journey pretty close to the chest.

Which, given how open I was about navigating being a single young Christian woman in New York City, it’s a bit surprising that I haven’t been plastering my posts with overshare information, like I probably would have done, circa 2016 when I wrote this post which went viral…

But the truth is, now, my story involves more than just me…and therefore, I have to keep my TMI moments in check. After all, we are dealing with the unforgiving and unforgetting world wide web here.

But I recently discovered a new song that, upon hearing the lyrics, made me literally stop and go — wow, that is exactly my story.

If you follow me on Instagram (@beauty.beyond.bones), I make videos just about every day in my “stories,” and I discovered this song as I was putting one of those videos to music.

The song is “Love Someone” by Lukas Graham. And I came across a beautiful acoustic cover of it by Jonah Baker.

But the lyrics that struck me were this:

When you love someone, you open up your heart.
When you love someone, you make room.

And listening to those beautiful lyrics, I realized that, that was what I had been missing in my recovery up until now.

The thing about recovery is that you’re always evolving, which, I guess is true for absolutely everyone, recovery or not.

But specifically with recovery, it is a lifelong journey. One where, even after over 13 years in recovery from anorexia, I am still growing and healing — physically, spiritually and emotionally. And reflecting on the lyrics of that song, I’ve come to appreciate the exponential emotional healing that has occurred, just in the last year.

Why?

Because I’ve allowed love into my life.

Yes, I’ve opened up my heart, but the bigger hurdle that is so obstructive in recovery, is that I’ve made room for love in my life.

I think sometimes, we get so focused on being diligent, and have our eyes fixed on the finish line and grow so comfortable in our routines and the safety that comes with a closed-off, guarded heart, that we can create (either purposefully or inadvertently) blinders to anything else outside of our comfort zone.

At least, that was true for me.

I had everything in my life just so. My recovery was rolling along swimmingly, I had my friends, I had my job, I had my routine and my outlets for fun and socialization and I felt really safe there. I was in control.

I was enjoying my safe little recovery bubble that had no real threats or obstacles. My life was full, but safe.

Love, throws a bit of a wrench in there, doesn’t it? Because all of a sudden, your life — your story — is no longer just yours anymore. Now, all of a sudden, you’ve got another person to account for – their feelings, their time, their schedule.

But more so than that, love opens you up to vulnerability. Because now, all of a sudden, you can get hurt. You’ve got to surrender control, that your heart is now in another person’s hands. And conversely, someone else’s heart is also in YOUR hands.

And so with love, also comes great responsibility.

When you love someone, you open up your heart.
When you love someone, you make room.

When I left inpatient treatment for my anorexia, back in 2007, I was advised — like every other woman leaving treatment — not to be in a romantic relationship for at least a year into recovery.

And I finally understand now, why. Because I had to have a total and complete control over taking care of myself, my needs, my recovery, my self worth. I needed to be airtight, steady, totally and completely bulletproof to any lingering “ED issues” before I could invite someone else into my heart and relinquish control over many of those emotional areas.

I can definitely see how that could be emotionally dangerous, as you cannot give from an empty cup. It’s gotta be overflowing, and you’ve gotta be connected to The Source to keep it that way.

But wow – the beauty that comes from that vulnerability. The joy. The feeling of hope and warmth that just runs like an electric current from your head to your toes when you open up your heart and make room for another person in your life…Not only is it not as scary as I once thought it would be, but it’s truly the most beautiful thing in the world.

God is love.

Love is the closest thing we have here on earth to God’s divinity. And it’s no wonder that making room for someone else in your life, is not a “chore” or a struggle, but rather, something that, when you love someone, you want to do.

Recovery no longer becomes this rigid, schedule-driven, perfection seeking, gotta-fulfill-x-y-z task master, but rather, the tides of the ocean: rising, falling, coming in, going out, and going with the flow. But always: constant.

Constant can look like iron bars, or it can look like an undulating wave. And believe me: having now experienced both, I can fully say that the latter is the recovery consistency we’re meant to have.

Which, is no surprise, considering that God’s love and mercy and grace are described as the ocean. Vaster, deeper, wider. It’s no surprise that He wants us to reside there, and well: recovery is part of that deal.

So. Making room in your heart for another person. Part of me wants to say that I wish I’d done it sooner, but I know that God’s timing is perfect. I know that right now is when I was finally supposed to do so. He had been preparing my heart for this moment. And finally allowed me to be ready to let that love in, and have the ability to make room in my life for love.

Because it will: love will come in and upend everything in your life. In a beautiful, wonderful, freeing way.

God is good like that.

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“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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100 thoughts on “Making Room in My Heart for Love

    1. Amen to that. The greatest is most certainly love. Grateful to have finally learned that. Thanks Myron for stopping by! Hugs and love xox

  1. As a father of four that are all somewhere around your age (18-32), I want to say I am so proud of you. I don’t even know you other than the words you have written and yet I AM proud of you. You have overcome SO much and you are helping so many people. You are amazing. You are correct, you cannot give what you don’t have to give. You had to receiving healing and allow yourself to be loved and to even love YOURSELF first. Now God is giving you your heart’s desires. Really happy for you.

    1. Thank you so much M – oh gosh, Iโ€™m so touched by your kind words. Truly. Thank you with all my heart. God is so good ๐Ÿ™‚ thank you for sharing in the joy with me. Hugs and love xox

  2. Hello there! First off, I just want to let you know that I loved this post. I can’t say much more than that (mostly because it’s been a long week and my brain is practically toast at this point ๐Ÿ˜„) but I really love it. Secondly, I just wanted to address one thing: I don’t know how WordPress works as far as notifying you about when your older posts are getting likes, but if you got a good half-dozen notifications of me liking your posts from ages ago, please don’t look at it as “stalker-like” behavior. I swear I only meant to read the one you referenced at the beginning of this post, but then I saw another related post, and another – and I really appreciate your insight from these posts (especially the one about how dating apps are practically killing traditional dating) ๐Ÿ™‚ … and now I’m rambling… anyhow, to wrap up an unusually long comment, I don’t bring it up to brag or anything, but just to clear the air so you aren’t like “um… Vera??”๐Ÿคฃ good luck on the 30,000 followers!

    1. Thank you Vera ๐Ÿ™‚ Iโ€™m so glad you enjoyed this post! Haha oh my gosh I would never think that!!! Heheh THANK YOU for taking the time to go through those and read them. It seriously means so much ๐Ÿ™‚ sending so much love!! Hugs and love xox

      1. Any time! I really appreciate the time, effort, and passion you put in your blog!! <3

  3. Hey Caralyn ๐Ÿ™‚ Just reviewed this EXCELLENT post @ relationships.code.blog ๐Ÿ˜‰ As you know, we both have our concerns re: so-called “social media” (I reviewed your review of “The Social Dilemma” a half a year ago when the big G was ramping up their annihilation of DJT — more info about that, in case you’re interested). I checked Gerry Palermo’s ^ reference to 30k … so I see you’re still a little conflicted about this.

    You are not alone.

    Most people online do not recognize their own worth, so they think they can become “more worthy” through the recognition via such brands / brand names. Don’t do it! It’s simply spyware! Read Marianne Williamson’s famous quote (“Our deepest fear…”). Realize that this wonderful mind *IS* self-reliant (see also Emerson’s article on “self reliance”). No one needs to fear for validation. #EndOfSoapBox

    1. Oh awesome! Thank you! Youโ€™re right about that – our validation comes from the Lord! The only reason i care about the โ€œnumbersโ€ is because it helps me pay my bills! Advertisers are attracted to higher numbers, naturally, so it really helps to support this blog ministry! Thanks for the awesome advice! Hugs and love xox

  4. As to whether one chooses to keep their V-card until marriage is entirely personal. I respect your decision not to go all TMI on here. When you find the right person, you just know it in your heart – itโ€™s a feeling thatโ€™s hard to describe.

    Most people these days are overly-generous with sharing their V-cards, without much regard for potential consequences like broken hearts or regrets. With dating sites, I feel like waiting until marriage is a concept that has gone out the window. Despite that, true love still exists in this day and age and itโ€™s a beautiful thing when you find a special gentleman to share your life with โ™ฅ๏ธ

    1. Thank you so much Hilary for this wonderful encouragement. Youโ€™re absolutely right about that!! I know. Dating sites have completely changed the game. And I agree – true love DEFINITELY still exists! Thanks for sharing in the joy with me! Hugs and love xox

  5. โ€œYou canโ€™t give from an empty cup…โ€ I like this, and itโ€™s true. I also love the stanza you quote from the song, and I have seen how true this is even as my love for my wife was not diluted or lessened in order to make room for five children, daughter-in-laws, and grandchildren – it grows. Blessings…

    1. Hi Pat! thank you so much for sharing in the joy with me. oh wow, that is such a beautiful sentiment you shared, thank you for that! Hugs and love xox

  6. Wow, wow, wow- your perspective and wisdom has grown so much since Iโ€™ve begun following your blog in 2016. Iโ€™m so happy you found love. And your perspective of God- omg way to give Him glory! Yes, His love is like the ocean. Recovery is supposed to be constant. It takes time to heal and we all have our own journeys and timelines of healing. Reading your blog has always brought me comfort in knowing Iโ€™m not alone. Itโ€™s helped me realize maybe one day, I too can have love in my life, the kind of love God has for me. Take care Caralyn, may you be safe and well xoxo Laura ๐Ÿ’›

    1. oh my gosh, i am so touched by this!! thank you so much Laura. First of all, I can’t begin to express how grateful I am for you to have joined me and encouraged me on my journey. that is such a beautiful gift, and I am so grateful for YOU! You’re so right – His love changes us! And amen – we are never alone ๐Ÿ™‚ we are on this journey together!! And I fully believe with every fiber of my being that love is waiting for you too!! I will be praying for your in that realm specifically! God’s timing is perfect, and He’s preparing your heart and his heart. What a beautiful thing!! thanks again for blessing me with this beautiful response. Hugs and love xox

  7. So happy for you. And absolutely true. When you’re trying to balance health/recovery/stability it can demand your all. I’m blessed to have a husband who travels that zig zaggy Road with me, with all its challenges. To love & be loved is a blessing.โš˜ Penny
    Ps. Following you on iG as Hope found in M.E. Congrats on an amazing number!๐ŸŽ‰

    1. Thank you so much for sharing in the joy with me! and yay!! i’ll follow you back on IG ! thanks for that support!!! Oh Penny, that love really is such a blessing! so happy you have that blessing!! Hugs and love xox

  8. Hey, kiddo! Iโ€™ve felt your pain and isolation for years now. I sometimes wanted to find that switch in your head to make you open up and say โ€œYesโ€ to someone, even just a date or telling a guy that you DO care. That, of course, was wrong of me. God knew how long it would take for you to take that step. Now that youโ€™ve taken that step with Steven I think Iโ€™m almost as happy as you are! You both are in my prayers.

    Iโ€™m not a social media person, but I thought โ€œWhat the heck?โ€ You talk about stuff you post there, so I followed you tonight.

    Nothing but love, hugs and happiness for you.

    1. Hi Jeff!!! oh gosh, thank you so much – you have always been such an awesome source of positivity and ecouragement and friendship. I know that your prayers have helped contribute to this blossoming heart of mine, so i thank you with every fiber of my being for that, Jeff. You are a great friend, truly. I know I say that a lot, but I am grateful for you! And hey, thank you for the IG “follow!” haha it’s a wild and crazy world on social media! haha

      1. Thank you Jeff โ˜บ๏ธโ˜บ๏ธโ˜บ๏ธโ˜บ๏ธ

    2. Hope you and your girls are having a blessed and meaningful Holy Week! hugs to you all! xoxo

  9. ” …..as you cannot give from an empty cup. Itโ€™s gotta be overflowing, and youโ€™ve gotta be connected to The Source to keep it that way…..” ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ
    Happy you invited love in ..may your cup run over with blessings ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ

    1. Thank you so much!! yes, me too!! And thank you for sharing in the joy with me! Hugs and love xox

  10. Exciting that you are openly admitting these feelings/emotions that we have been watching develop. You are a special person and we are ecstatic that you are sharing with us. Hugs ๐Ÿค— & Love โค๏ธ!

    1. aw, thank you so much!! gosh, i am so touched by those kind words ๐Ÿ™‚ yes – God has certainly been good, and I appreciate Him transforming my heart to be able to ๐Ÿ™‚ Hugs and love xox

  11. Ok I believe Luke 17:21: “21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” That means Patricia is also within me. The quest is to be aware of God, my beloved and heaven within! It is not always easy. God’s will be done. God is Love and sets my path! The footsteps are His! Strive for what C.S. Lewis called “God and us!”

    1. oh i love that so much! thank you so much for sharing that powerful verse. you’re right! let Him set our path! Hugs and love xox

    1. aw thank you so much Sheree! thanks for sharing in the joy with me! Hugs and love xox

  12. You found yourself first dear lady…only then do have something very lovely to give when you open your heart…instead of the pain you once carried. Take a bow โค๏ธ ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿฝ ๐Ÿฆ‹

    1. thank you so much Mark, i think you’re so right about that idea. we must find ourselves first. thanks for sharing in the joy with me!Hugs and love xox

    1. aw thank you so much Laura! i appreciate you sharing in the joy with me! Hugs and love xox

  13. i love the respectful, and gentle way you shared your love, for so many that is such a painful personal journey. I appreciate you allowing and respecting that.

    1. aw thank you so much Jamey! ๐Ÿ™‚ I appreciate your kind words and for sharing in the joy with me! Hugs and love xox

  14. I think I said it already, but I LOVE the new cover painting.
    One of the best treatises on love is from C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves. In it he makes the case that because we are fallen people, even the best of human loves will disappoint at some place in time. You and Steven are in my daily prayers.
    โ€œTo 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.โ€
    โ€• C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

    1. oh thank you so much! i’ll be sure to pass that along to the artist! I’ll haev to read up on the Four Loves – sounds incredibly powerful! yes! vulnerable! Hugs and love xox

  15. This post made me cry. I can relate on so many levels and am praying for healing and waiting for my person, too. Your story is so beautiful and I appreciate your vulnerability to share it with us.

    You wrote it so perfect and beautiful. I am so excited for your joyful season of healing and love.

    1. awwww, thank you so much!! i’m so glad this hit home with you ๐Ÿ™‚ and thank you for sharing in the joy with me. and for your prayers!! Hugs and love xox

    1. aw thank you my friend. That is so kind of you to say! thanks for sharing in the joy with me! Hugs and love xox

  16. Amazing post Caralyn. I’m really happy for you. I remember reading about your struggles in this area. Glad to see God has answered your prayers and brought you someone worthy of you.

    1. aw, thank you so much. Yes – God has definitely taken me on quite the journey in this area. thanks for encouraging me along the way! ๐Ÿ™‚ means the world! Hugs and love xox

      1. True friends encourage each other. You have encouraged me in the same way. :))
        Have a great day. Oh.. and a word of warning to the special gentleman.. He breaks your heart, I’ll have him neutered. LOL.

      2. you’re right about that! ๐Ÿ™‚ thank you again ๐Ÿ™‚ hahahhahahahhah oh my gosh! i’ll pass that message along! *gulp* hhahaha ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ˜‰

  17. AMEN! So true. This really blessed and encouraged me sis. I really needed to read this. Recovery truly takes time and the restoring power of GOD. I’m so happy that He has blessed you with the right one! You’ve obeyed Him in the waiting and you have been rewarded for that immensely! <3 God bless and congrats on the 30K! ALL glory to GOD always. xxoo!

    1. Thank you Tammy!!! Oh good!! i’m so glad this struck a chord with you! you’re right – it is the restoring power of GOD! Thanks for sharing in the joy with me! Hugs and love xox

    1. Thank you so much Amy!!! You are just too kind, thank you for your prayers, your encouagement and kindness as I’ve been on this journey. It truly is such a blessing. YOU are a blessing to me! have a wonderful Monday! Hugs and love xox

    1. Thank you so much!! You’re kind to share in the joy with me! Yes! He’s an amazing Filipino guy! ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m the lucky one ๐Ÿ™‚ hehe Hugs and love xox

    1. thank you so much R! You’re kind to say that. Thank YOU for sharing in the joy with me! Hugs and love xox

    1. Aw thank you so much Jorge! Me too, that’s what I’m praying for as well! have a wonderful Monday! Hugs and love xox

    1. Thank you Lisa!! My heart is bursting! rthanks for sharing in the joy with me! Hugs and love xox

    1. aw thank you friend ๐Ÿ™‚ your encouragement seriously means so much ๐Ÿ™‚ hope your monday is off to a great start! Hugs and love xox

  18. Our perception of love has been so degenerated over the millennia hasn’t it? Read, watch and you will see it depicted as sex and sex alone. But sex is a minor part of love though an important one within boundaries God has established. Love was demonstrated on the cross. God was willing to take our guilt upon him if we were prepared to merge our ambitions and actions in Him. Makes a person want with all their heart to love him back when they discover that doesn’t it?

    1. I think you’re so right about that Ian. It really has. Amen! We must strive for God’s perfect love…His is the path to true joy and lasting love. Hugs and love xox

    1. Aw thank you friend. I appreciate you sharing in the joy with me! Hugs and love xox

  19. Congrats on your relationship and not needing to share it all over the world! When you do write about this, be sure to let Mr. Wonderful review and edit it for privacy. Anyway, if you go back over the concepts that I outlined in my series on empathy (extracting out the politics and religion issues) you have a nice description of love in different term. Welcome to a new direction in your journey. – Oscar

    1. thank you so much Oscar. That’s a great great point – gotta get that thumbs up of approval! thank you for sharing in the joy with me, my friend! i’ll definitely go back and check out those concepts! Hugs and love xox

  20. I am so happy for you, Caralyn! And I am quite certain this “special guy” feels equally as blessed to have found you.

    “Constant can look like iron bars, or it can look like an undulating wave. And believe me: having now experienced both, I can fully say that the latter is the recovery consistency weโ€™re meant to have. Which, is no surprise, considering that Godโ€™s love and mercy and grace are described as the ocean. Vaster, deeper, wider.”

    When I read these words you wrote I couldn’t help but remember the video story you recently posted of the waves in the NYC harbor – and your comment that you’d never seen them that way. Such a visible sign of the grace & mercy you are receiving. It’s all around you!!! And it can no longer be contained!! I am bursting with joy for you to know you are allowing it in. Sending you far away Hugs, dear one!

    1. Hi Dawn! ๐Ÿ™‚ Aw, thank you for saying that. Yeah, I really feel so blessed, love is an incredible feeling! Oh my gosh, yes! that is the perfect visual for that! Wow – that just gave me chills, because you’re right, I have NEVER seen it like that, and I’ve taken a walk there every day for the last 10 years. God was just reminding me of His grace and love and mercy right coming off of that weekend, and with this new chapter! i love that!!!!! awww, thank you Dawn, for being such a great friend and sharing in the joy with me. Grateful for you ๐Ÿ™‚ Same here! big big hugs from NYC!! xoxoxo

  21. Thank you for this. I, too, have been waiting for my husband and have just recently, in my early 30’s, potentially found the man God has had me waiting for. Just this morning I was feeling anxious and nervous about letting go of my freedom and giving in to the relationship but reading your words brought so much peace to my heart. Thank you.

    1. Hi Lydia! thank you for sharing that! oh that is so exciting! i will be praying for you and your gentleman!! thanks for sharing in the joy with me. I hear you – yes! there is joy in the union of two lives journeying together towards the same goal: (Heaven)! sending big big hugs xoxo

  22. This was a lovely essay: I’m glad you’ve taken the risk to find happy. Your partner looks like someone who hates having their picture taken ๐Ÿ˜ He also looks kind. Blessings and happiness.

    1. Thank you Em! I really appreciate you sharing in the joy with me! Hugs and love xox

  23. I love following your posts. I appreciated a chance to read the viral post from 2016 as I don’t think I had discovered your blog yet. I love the hope that your choices offer and even if someone has taken wrong turns in their pursuit of love, the redemptive story your ED journey offers gives hope in that area too. Thank you for always sharing from the depths of your heart.

    1. aw, Shelly, you’re so kind to say that. thank you so much ๐Ÿ™‚ Yes! Jesus is the source of that redemption, and how grateful am I for that! Hugs and love xox

  24. I haven’t checked your blog in waay too long, and what I see – you’ve found a kindred heart. How awesome, my friend! You are helping so many people and I am glad to see you are doing well. I’ll also hope he knows there are 48K that are concerned for your happiness (LOL)

    1. Hi Eric!! Great to see your name pop up on here!! ๐Ÿ™‚ Oh gosh, thank you so much for sharing in the joy with me. ๐Ÿ™‚ Yes! my heart is overflowing! and gosh, thank you for that little nudge of encouragement – means a lot! Hugs and love xox

    1. thank you friend for sharing in the joy with me! it really is such a beautiful thing! i have never been this happy! Hugs and love xox

  25. Iโ€™m so happy for you ๐Ÿ˜Š I wish you both the very best and I expect you are excited about writing this next chapter of your life

    It is a subjective question but I believe that love should be something that just happens naturally. If youโ€™re preoccupied with your thoughts about the perfect relationship, you will be forming this from your past experiences and cherry picking things. They say that someone walks into your life and you realise why it never worked with anyone else. Love and life generate effort but effort will not generate them.
    This is why, I believe, so many people are unhappy in their relationships. The pressure to be with someone that is born out of necessity for popularity in society rather than for love, happiness and serenity within.
    This is why Iโ€™m single. Regardless of my looks or anything material, Iโ€™ve never been in the presence of any lady to yet take my breath away

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words! Yes! That is such powerful advice, thank you for sharing your heart. Praying for you! Sheโ€™s out there! ๐Ÿ’› Hugs and love xox

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