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.
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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