You guys. I have a confession.
I haven’t cleaned my chandelier since I got it…which was ten years ago.
*Pause for the disgusted gasps.*
Yes, I know, that is terrible and I am so embarrassed.
It’s this gorgeous mini crystal chandelier (that I got from Chinatown for pennies on the dollar) and it’s the focal point of my studio apartment.
And well, I had let it go for 10 years without giving it a bit of love.
I mean, I guess to be honest, I never really realized that it was that bad. It didn’t look dirty to the eye, and I mean – how much grime could really be on a chandelier in a one room apartment, occupied by one — contrary to the information that has been presented so far — very clean and tidy girl?
The answer: a lot.
You see, Steven is out of town on a business trip this week, and so as a result, I have so much more free time on my hands than usual. Listen, I would much prefer that he be here, but his absence did allow me the luxury of time to say…clean my chandelier.
But you guys, when I say it looks like a completely different light fixture…I mean…wowwwww. I showed Steven on FaceTime and he said, “It looks like diamonds!”
Can you see the difference? In this photo, the bottom had been cleaned, but the top was still dirty. (And I apologize for the lack of a proper “before” photo — my phone was in the Apple store getting the broken cameras repaired when I embarked on my cleaning journey, but you can still get the effect from this snapshot.)
It took me a long time. I split it up over two days…about 2-3 hours each.
I used just plain ol’ Windex and paper towels, which- probably isn’t the proper way to clean it, but hey — at least I was doing something.
But as I was painstaking cleaning – by hand – each individual crystal: buffing it, carefully cradling it in my hand – knowing that one false move could send it shattering to the ground, delicately removing 10 years worth of grease and grime and dust and dirt to reveal this sparkling, gleaming crystal….I couldn’t help but think about the work God has done with me in my life and my recovery.
You see – the thing about eating disorder recovery that is so misunderstood, is that even after the girl (or guy) puts on the weight and “looks” healed, there is so much internal work that still must be done.
Heck, putting on the weight is easy…and that’s coming from someone who was literally terrified of any food other than nonfat plain probiotic yogurt and canned lite tuna.
The weight gain is the easy part — and because it’s the visible aspect of the disease, it’s also the part that puts people at ease: Ok, my daughter’s in her healthy weight range. Now I can sleep at night.
To the eye, she’s healed: but the reality is that she’s still that chandelier walking around with caked on grease and grime that is going to take work to get rid of.
And sadly, many people don’t. A lot of people — like me with my grimey chandelier (and also me for much of my recovery) — just get used to it, or don’t even notice anymore that they’ve lost their sparkle.
I had just gotten used to living – what others saw as a healed, whole existence – but what was actually a life where I carried my shame and guilt from my past around with me: influencing my thoughts, my actions, my relationships. I kept people – and romantic prospects – at arms’ length, still believing that because of the terrible things I had done, I didn’t deserve to be loved.
It took God and me, together — and with the patience and support of my loved ones — to painstakingly go through and clean each individual crystal in my life.
That looked like: listening to sermon podcasts, spending time in the Word, painfully journaling through my healing process on this blog and reopening up those wounds so I could really get in there and clean them out and heal what had been eating away at me internally. I had to pray, and really hand over to God those black pits of shame I was letting shroud me in self-doubt and reinforce the walls I had erected around my heart.
And the last, scary step: was I had to find the strength in God to let me open my heart and become vulnerable with my special gentleman: letting him see who I really am: not the perfect image I’d try to project, but all the gritty details that I had believed made me unworthy of love.
And friends, I can stand here today, with my arms stretched high to God in praise for restoring me — my chandelier.
I am that beautiful, sparkling light fixture again. I know — that is so dang cheesy, but it’s all I could think about as I cleaned that dang thing for four hours this week.
That is me. With glittering crystals, reflecting the Light.
People in my life have said to me, that in the last year and a half, I am a different person: I have that sparkle back. That I am the jovial, fun-loving, goofy girl that the eating disorder had strangled, and who I thought was gone forever.
I am her.
And I thank God every day for restoring me to the girl I used to be.
God is good.
Matt 5:16 “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.“
Now – I’ve just got to get on a better cleaning regimen for that chandelier though….It can’t be another 10 years.
How has God been working to restore you recently?
“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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43 responses to “Restored to Full Gleam”
I like your post thank you so much
Thank you friend. Hugs and love xox
You truly are a shining light BBB for all who suffer with anorexia, and with your raw and honest posts many times enlightening those around you. Blessings Always.
P.S. Your recipe for the tortilla bowls made from rice cauliflower is the best!
Hi Julia! Oh gosh, thank you so much for such wonderful encouragement. That really means a lot. And oh my gosh yay! I’m glad you enjoyed them! Those tortillas are one of my favorite recipes! Hugs and love xox
Jesus is showing me that I don’t need to prove myself to anyone, or pine for anyone’s approval. I have always been a people-pleaser, and for a while in my life, I was mentally ill– this caused me to act and look awkward and “weird.” This has led me to feel like I need to prove I’m stable and healed by looking normal and perfect on the outside, even when so much is still going on on in the inside. But Jesus’ Love for me is enough; I don’t need to pretend and I can be vulnerable, with Him, and now slowly but surely, with others. Sorry for the novel, I just wanted to share! Hugs!
Wonderful novel of truth! Be Blessed .
Amen to that! Thank you so much for sharing your heart and sharing your story. Jesus’ love IS enough – and it is His opinion that is the only one that matters! I so appreciate you sharing! big big hugs xox
I have a confession: I was being judgmental when I read the first few lines of your blog post because I read #chandelier and attributed that to lots of diamonds, bling, and humble bragging. Just wanted to share that I feel bad and I have no idea why ‘that’ was the first thing I thought….
I think it’s awesome that you got a good deal on this chandelier because it LOOKS $$$! I think the chandelier is awesome and that it really brings great vibes to your apartment.
Hi Hilary! haha, no worries! I hear ya! – yeah, I got it $129…it was the steal of the century!!! hahah thanks for saying that 🙂 I hope you have a wonderful weekend! Hugs and love xox
Beautiful chandelier, but I love how you tied it to God’s Love…that is what He does for us, isn’t it? So many people think they have to wait to go to Him until they get their act together, but we know that isn’t how it works. Thank you for sharing that visual—I think it will touch many! Blessings, my sweet friend!
Thank you much! You’re so right about that – God doesn’t want our perfect, He wants our heart in the here and now — He’ll heal it and make us whole 🙂 I’m so glad it resonated with you! big hugs to you xox
I’m reminded of how I described you as a Tiffany lamp years ago; lots of beautiful colors but needing Jesus’ light inside to show how beautiful His creation is. Now He’s used Steven it seems to clean you up and rally make you shine! Much better than Windex and paper towels.
Aw, Jeff – I remember that comment — it touched my heart so deeply. Thank you, friend. I think you’re absolutely right! Which just goes to show how God is always working, and working THROUGH others in our lives too. Hahaha I think you’re right – Windex can’t hold a candle to God’s cleaning power! I hope you and your ladies have a lovely and relaxing weekend! big hugs to you all! xox
I can see a huge difference in the shine, Caralyn, I love how you’ve glorified our Lord with this post. ❤️🙏🏻
oh John, what a kind thing to say. thank you so much!! Hugs and love xox
Excellent allegory. Everyone has some kind of grimy film on them that only the blood of Christ can wash away. He’s doing that for me one day at a time but He has to squeeze me through the wringer way too often! Just glad He never gives up on me…
Thank you Rollie! You’re right about that — the Blood of Christ redeems! so glad you stopped bt! Hugs and love xox
You still seemed pretty sparkly, Caralynne—even through the caked on grime. It’s so amazing how God has brought you to this moment of even more sparkly—ness! It looks to me like you and your special gentlemen are now a team. And that means both of your are exponentially stronger than either one of you. This man God brought you is helping to increase your candlepower, Caralynne!
Awesome post! In Jesus, we are restored to full gleam. Ready to shine for Him.
God is good and you are beautiful! Great post.
Wish I had one of them in my house (but then again I wouldn’t be to keen on cleaning it)! 🤣
A beautiful confession! Thank you, “Sparkles.”
A story from a spiritual mentor tells about an old man who had been a missionary most of his life sitting in a church hearing the pastor speak on opening our hearts to Father in prayer. The old man teared up as he went to the altar to pray with a member of the prayer team. He said, “It has been too long that ‘crust’ is forming again on my heart since my wife died. She used to keep me spiritually fit, and now that she has been gone these three years, I realized tonight that my life is stale. It is so easy to just float along without getting direction.” As he and the prayerer cried together, they both asked Father to soften their hearts and make them attentive to what the Spirit says to the Churches.
This was sooooo good friend. God is so amazing!!! Continue being a blessing and a chandelier.
aw, thank you so much! I’m so glad this resonated with you! big hugs xox
Wonderful words. So deep. As I was reading your post what raced my mind was how tenderly God is taking care of us and restoring our fallen self, back to beauty. His hands so carefully cleaning us up. He knows how fragile we are on the inside though we put a strong face on the outside.
Another thing that hit my heart was that if we neglect our soul and stay away from God for a long time like the chandelier, or maybe even for a short time, we end up with dirt and filth in our hearts.
A place for cleaning our “chandelier heart” would be in the confessional.
Thank you for seeing God in the minute things and sharing with us His merciful love.
Hi Mariam, thank you so much for your kind words. Amen – God is definitely taking care of us and restoring us fully and completely! What a thing to celebrate! yes!! thank you for stopping by! Hugs and love xox
I absolutely love this post! I owned a house that had not one but five chandeliers. Cleaning them was a daunting task. One time I did a quick spritz to fake clean a few of them before a party. You get out exactly what you put in, and it was very little. There is also the tender care that is required or damage might occur. Just like you, I found it was so worth it because of the radiant light…just like we are called to be light. Some days I don’t put much effort in and it really shows!! I pray that you are a brilliant light wherever you go.
Thank you so much! Oh my goodness, I can’t imagine doing that 5 TIMES!! This may be TMI, but using all those chemicals, the skin on my hands was like peeling off! and that only after one mini one!! haha Amen to that – we are called to be the light! And yes! that’s a whole different lesson, but SO true: we DO get out what we put in — that’s true for so many things in life: our relationships, our faith, hard work, fitness etc! thank you for this awesome reminder, and for your prayers! sending big hugs to you xox
Great post, Caralyn.
We all need God’s polishing to sparkle!
Thank you so much Penny!! Amen to that – God is our ultimate restorer!! Hugs and love xox
This is a very good writing and a great example to all who need to hear and read you testimony.
Hi Essie, thank you so much! Oh, I’m so glad this resonated with you! sending big big hugs xox
Isn’t it great how the love of God polishes us? Cheers to you today!
It really is, Carole! We are so loved, and so blessed to have the Ultimate Redeemer! thanks for stopping by! big hugs to you! xox
The rejoice with you! Nice post – God is awesomely present and will journey with us through every step of life…He is our life!
Thank you so much! I’m so glad this resonated with you! yes! He really is – He’s our constant companion and guide! how blessed are we! Hugs and love xox
Love this! Thanks for sharing your experience and insights. Yes, it takes a loving God to help us know that we are lovable.
Thank you my friend!! Yes! We have the best Father! Hugs and love xox
Brilliant! Such a light-hearted yet inspiring read.
thank you so much! i’m so glad you enjoyed it!! Hugs and love xox
That looks brand new! I could imagine how tired your arms would get cleaning that! But worth it!