What We Do Not See

Right now, there’s approximately 4 pounds of candy in my apartment that I don’t know what to do with, a giant 4 foot blow up baby zombie, and enough leftover hard seltzers to feed an army.

A very tipsy army…

The devastation of an eating disorder is not only physical, but also social. It is an isolating disease that takes years to rebuild. How a Halloween party reminds this recovery warrior just how far God has delivered her, and how He is a Father that keeps His promises. #recovery #anorexia #eatingdisorder #edrecovery #catholic #christianity #god #jesus #bible #prayer
Zombie Baby and Mr. Special Gentleman

Yep…I had…a Halloween party.

A Spooky shindig. A ghoulish gathering. A frightful function. A seasonal soirée.

My special gentleman, Steven and I threw it together, at my little 500 square foot studio apartment in the Village. And if you’re wondering why there and not his glorious – and spacious – apartment in the sky in midtown, the answer is that the Village is The Place To Be on Halloween in Manhattan. It’s the site of the annual — and notorious — “Halloween Parade,” and the brownstones go all out with decorations for the kiddos, big and small.

The devastation of an eating disorder is not only physical, but also social. It is an isolating disease that takes years to rebuild. How a Halloween party reminds this recovery warrior just how far God has delivered her, and how He is a Father that keeps His promises. #recovery #anorexia #eatingdisorder #edrecovery #catholic #christianity #god #jesus #bible #prayer

We dressed up — in a very last minute decision — as a Roman princess and a gladiator. And, I must say, we were quite the duo.

The devastation of an eating disorder is not only physical, but also social. It is an isolating disease that takes years to rebuild. How a Halloween party reminds this recovery warrior just how far God has delivered her, and how He is a Father that keeps His promises. #recovery #anorexia #eatingdisorder #edrecovery #catholic #christianity #god #jesus #bible #prayer

But it was such a fun night. (I mean, look at my face…can’t you tell!?)

The devastation of an eating disorder is not only physical, but also social. It is an isolating disease that takes years to rebuild. How a Halloween party reminds this recovery warrior just how far God has delivered her, and how He is a Father that keeps His promises. #recovery #anorexia #eatingdisorder #edrecovery #catholic #christianity #god #jesus #bible #prayer

There were around 20-21 people there — yes…it was literally standing room only — and everyone said it was a blast.

The party lasted until 1:30 am, when the final five brave souls and I headed out to a club where our friend was DJ-ing.

And wow. That was quite the sight. So many people, all dressed up in costumes, dancing to the best latin music in the city. And we closed the place down.

So, yeah…safe to say…I am exhausted today.

ANYWHO – that is not the point of this post.

As I was cleaning the apartment yesterday, and Lysol-ing every surface, down to the light switches in the bathroom, I found myself reflecting on my socially-full weekend, and the state of my overflowing-heart. (I mean, I hadn’t stopped smiling all day!) And what came to mind, was a verse that I have held close to my heart, ever since I battled anorexia in high school.

It was shared with me by the naturopath I was seeing, Dr. Bill – he is this incredible Christian man, who not only introduced the Specific Carbohydrate Diet to me when I was in my most recent Ulcerative Colitis flare back in 2010, but he also was with me every step of the way during my anorexia in 2006/2007.

And though I never admitted to having an eating disorder, (and was actually lying to all the doctors, saying that the weight loss was some mysterious complication from Ulcerative Colitis), looking back now, he could see that I was under severe spiritual attack. And I believe he could see all along that – not only did I have an eating disorder, but that the enemy was actually the culprit behind it. And I say that because he had my mom and I go to the spiritual healing service he held at his evangelical church. He would pray over me. He would invite me to pray with him. And he also shared this verse with me…

Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see.”

He had been planting seeds of healing in my heart, long before I knew I needed it.

But why did my Halloween party of all things, make me think about this verse in the Bible?

You see, one of the things that most people don’t realize or appreciate about eating disorders, is the devastating effect it takes on your social life.

I spent those two years in high school isolating myself — never returning a phone call or answering a text message from my friends. I just wanted to be alone with my disease, not accountable to anyone, able to just sink further and further into the depths of the anorexia that was slowly — and very publicly — killing me.

And that’s the other thing that is never talked about in regards to anorexia — primarily because no loved one would ever have the nerve to actually say this to the sufferer, for fear of retaliation or sending her further down the rabbit hole — but the way an anorexic body looks scares people.

There. I said it. And the only reason I can say it, is because I’ve been that girl that people would gawk at.

People feel acutely uncomfortable — disgusted even — around someone so deathly skeletal. The hollow cheeks. The sunken eyes with a dead, vacant look behind them. The gray, taught skin that reads “72” instead of “18.” The sinewy arms with veins protruding sharply from ice cold, bony hands. I could go on….

Bodies suffering from anorexia are terrifying to look at. They are highly disturbing. And so people stay.

I went from being on the homecoming court with more friends than I knew what to do with, to a mere shell of a person. I was empty in every sense of the word. And alone — and that’s how I wanted it.

And after adopting recovery, rebuilding those relationships was difficult. And most never recovered. The important ones did, and the gratitude I have in my heart for those people knows no bounds.

But to say that I had such a deep longing for friendships is a gross understatement.

Coming out of that terrible season of destruction and pain, I longed for friends. I desired so deeply to be back to that goofy, fun-loving, full-of-life girl I “used to be” before the anorexia.

And I prayed to become her once more. Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see.” 

That’s what Dr. Bill explained that day, sitting in his office during one of my visits during my anorexia: That Jesus knows the longings of our hearts, and we can be absolutely certain that, even though we do not see it right now, Jesus is working in the background, and will make it come to be.

The devastation of an eating disorder is not only physical, but also social. It is an isolating disease that takes years to rebuild. How a Halloween party reminds this recovery warrior just how far God has delivered her, and how He is a Father that keeps His promises. #recovery #anorexia #eatingdisorder #edrecovery #catholic #christianity #god #jesus #bible #prayer

And so today, cleaning up after such an affirming weekend — filled with literally an apartment bursting at the seams with friends who I can be that goofy, spontaneous, fun-loving girl again with — I just smiled, knowing that Jesus keeps His promises. He is always giving His children good things, and answering our deepest longings.

We truly have an amazing Father.

The devastation of an eating disorder is not only physical, but also social. It is an isolating disease that takes years to rebuild. How a Halloween party reminds this recovery warrior just how far God has delivered her, and how He is a Father that keeps His promises. #recovery #anorexia #eatingdisorder #edrecovery #catholic #christianity #god #jesus #bible #prayer

One final thing to close on the weekend….which is right on theme for the night.

That Sunday after my party — i.e, yesterday…Steven and I went to Mass in person at this beautiful church in my neighborhood that, in the 10 years I’ve lived here, I have been to church there every Sunday, minus the “Covid years” where I went online.

But this was the first time that he and I had been together. It is a beautiful, historic church that has the most incredible choir, and amazing priests with such powerful homilies.

Anywho — every Sunday, not only would I always get “dolled up” hoping to, perhaps, “casually bump into” a nice Catholic gentleman, but I would sit in those pews and pray to one day, not be sitting there alone, but with a good man who loved me and loved God.

And sitting there yesterday, next to this great man, hearing those beautifully familiar songs echo in that majestic cathedral ceiling, I again, recalled Hebrews 11:1. And I told Steven exactly that: that today was an answer to prayer. He makes me feel safe to speak my heart to him, and I could not be more blessed.

But I wanted to share these things with you tonight – in lieu of, say: and article about Facebook’s new name, or any other “listicle” that is November-appropriate — just to remind anyone who needs to hear it, that no situation is ever a “dead end.” Not for God.

Even after throwing my life, nearly completely away, without hope, without hair, and without a plan – God still know the longings of our deepest hearts and loves us enough to always bring them to fruition. It may not look the way we may envision. But He brings together all things for good for His children. Even if it takes years, He is always working. And as it took with me, it took a willingness to surrender, and a willingness to let Him love me, in order for those things to come about.

But nothing — no person, no situation, no relationship — is irredeemable.

Because as it turns out, God is in the business of miracles. 🙂

The devastation of an eating disorder is not only physical, but also social. It is an isolating disease that takes years to rebuild. How a Halloween party reminds this recovery warrior just how far God has delivered her, and how He is a Father that keeps His promises. #recovery #anorexia #eatingdisorder #edrecovery #catholic #christianity #god #jesus #bible #prayer

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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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58 thoughts on “What We Do Not See

  1. A couple of questions. As an expert on anorexia perhaps you can tell me why the condition is only found in rich countries? Also, why in the U.S. Is anorexia mostly a condition among white women? Thanks.

    1. Though anorexia impacts a large number of white women, it impacts both genders and all races.

  2. What fun you’ve made with this post and pleasant to read. It is excellent you have enjoyed a Halloween party success! And it is nice to read about you and your man going to the church service.

    It is a fun reminder that you once went to church services with the additional hope of meeting someone special. I’ve been by your blog long enough that I can remember, by you writing a recollection like that, I remember enjoying reading about you doing that. You’re so good at blogging.

    I hope to be able to make reading your blog a regular thing again. Take care! God bless

    1. Hi Odell! thank you so much! yes! it was such a fun weekend, I’m feeling so blessed – although very tired! haha Yes! He and I attend mass every Sunday together – it is my favorite time together 🙂 haha yes!!! As I was writing that, I thought that there may be a few very special friends who would remember me writing about getting gussied up to go to mass to meet someone. God is so good. Aw, thank you my friend! You words are so kind 🙂 I hope you have a wonderful day! Hugs and love xox

    1. Hi friend! Yes! He is so so good! Aw, thank you – I really do feel His hand over my life, and I am so grateful for it! Hugs and love xox

  3. Your post brings back memories of Halloween 1989…when my “special gentleman” (now hubby) and I went to the grand Peabody Hotel in downtown Memphis—as Mark Antony and Cleopatra! He rented a gladiator costume, and I had the perfect leftover bridesmaid’s dress with a Cleopatra wig! We didn’t win any prizes, but I had the handsomest fellow in the room at my side. God answered my prayers for knight in gladiator armor…hoping the same for you!

    1. oh my gosh that sounds like so much fun! And the Peabody Hotel! oooh la la!! 🙂 I wish I could see a photo! Amen to that – God loves to bless His children and answer our prayers! so happy for you! thanks for sharing that 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  4. A-men! God does work miracles and does know the perfect time! Sometimes we don’t think He heard us, but He knows what we need when we need it. I am so very happy for you and your happiness. God Bless!

    1. You’re so right about that! God’s timing is always perfect, and His plan ensures goodness for His children! Amen! Thanks for stopping by! Hugs and love xox

  5. I love reading your journey, how our Great Shepherd, Jesus, walked along side you “through the valley of the shadow of death” and even now, continues to restore your body and soul. (Psalms 23 reference.)
    The joy of your new life is radiant! Blessings on you and your special man. Celebrate your victory!

    1. Hi Judy! Aw, what a kind thing to say. thank you so much! Yes! God has been so good to me — rescuing and restoring me. I am so grateful! Thanks for sharing in the joy with me! Hugs and love xox

  6. I can’t tell you how warm I feel to read how you are in such a state of fulfillment! It’s been a long road that I’ve watched you go down, knowing these days would come. The tear in my eye is for you.

    1. Aw, Jeff, thank you my dear friend! I don’t know if this sounds weird, but I can feel God smiling with me! He is so good. Loved hearing about your weekend with your girls! It sounds like there was much to celebrate 🙂 And yes!! A long road – but what a blessing to have friends like you walking with me along the way. i am so grateful! hope your week is off to a great start! Hugs and love xox

  7. Hello, a bit of a life update, this past year I have been in and out of the hospital multiple times now, I am looking in to getting a psychiatric service dog( yes they do exist) I was wondering if I send you a link to my gofundme page via email if you could share it, or if i’m allowed to share it in the comments

    1. Hi Natalie, thank you for sharing your update. I’m sorry you’ve been in and out of the hospital, and I pray that a service dog will be helpful for you! I saw your comments with the links a few minutes ago, and posted them in the comments! Hugs and love xox

    1. Aw, Greg – thank you so much 🙂 aw man, that would have been so much fun! (We had a great cheese plate!) hahah Next time! 🙂 Hugs and love xox

    1. Aw thank you Jan! haha yes – it was super super fun! And amen to that – He is ultimate Miracle Worker!! so wonderful! (Just like you! 🙂 ) Hugs and love xox

    1. thank you Penny! I’m so glad it resonated so positively with you!! hope your week is off to a great start! Hugs and love xox

  8. This post made me so happy! The smiles on your face really did say it all. I’m so thankful for the things the Lord is doing in your life, and for your life period. Praise God. He is so good, so kind! And, your post gave me happy memories of parties I held in my teeny-tiny apartments many years ago—I’m convinced a crowded room makes for the best party. God bless you!❤️

    1. Hi friend! Aw, thank you so much! I’m so glad it brought you joy! hahah My cheeks hurt by the end of the night for smiling so big the whole time! hahah 🙂 Thanks for such kind words – God really has been so good. I am so grateful for His saving Hand! and yes!! crowded rooms = double the fun! hahah Hugs and love xox

    1. Hi Theresa! thank you so much! isn’t it fun to dress up for a night! (My “theater kid” was having the best time!) Hugs and love xox

  9. Hi, Caralyn. I always enjoy reading about your and Steven’s relationship and pray for both of you that you will find your ways pleasing to the Lord.
    That said, I am rereading an excellent text on how to “affair-proof” a marriage (or any relationship, for that matter). I know, you cannot imagine even having an argument with Steven at this point, but the education in this book is something that I wish someone had given me when I was still dating, so I could understand how differently men and women think.
    If you don’t have a copy, pick up “His Needs, Her Needs” by Willard Harley. Good stuff.
    http://www.hisneedsherneeds.com/
    love and prayers,
    c.a.

    1. Hi CA, gosh thank you so much for your prayers and kind words 🙂 Interesting!! I am very intrigued. As they say, the best offense is a good defense. I don’t know if that really fits with that, but in my mind it works! hahah i’ll definitely check it out. thank you for the recco! Hugs and love xox

    1. Hi Deborah! Yes, He really is! so glad this struck a chord with you! 🙂 thanks for stopping by! Hugs and love xox

  10. Man, for a last minute decision, y’all look the bomb!! (Does that phase date me?? lol) I needed your post so desperately. Just yesterday, I was thinking of separating from my husband aGAIN. God is so good, now I need to surrender to him, so I can have the true desires of my heart. Thank you, Caralyn, for that reminder!! <3

  11. This really touched my heart. I can relate to the healing that happens (although my issue was not anorexia), but I also lost connections with people during my depression and codependency. Many of those relationships are restored. You have inspired my next blog, and I will give credit to you for reminding me of how grateful I am that God brought back many friendships and has given me so many new relationships. Thank you for sharing your life.

  12. Looks like a great party. Also, thanks for sharing your story. So glad you were able to work your way through this with the help of some amazing people. Isn’t it wonderful how our dreams can come true, when we relax enough to let life follow its path. Cheers. Allan

  13. Faith is such a cool, eternal principle to consider. It’s awesome to think that God sees what we can be and not what we are. In your case He saw you coming out of your struggle and who it would make you become. He knew the struggles you battled would help you become better and stronger. It helps make trials bearable, in my opinion, to know they’re meant to make us eternally stronger. Thought I’d share some of my posts as I love studying faith and have written a lot about it:
    https://nocoincidencesdotblog.wordpress.com/2020/11/12/lectures-on-faith/
    https://nocoincidencesdotblog.wordpress.com/2020/12/31/lectures-on-faith-lecture-2-the-object-of-faith/
    https://nocoincidencesdotblog.wordpress.com/2021/02/25/lectures-on-faith-lectures-3-and-4-the-character-and-attributes-of-god/
    Thanks for sharing as always and for the motivation to keep sharing uplifting content!

    1. It really is! And you’re absolutely right – He knew us before we were born, He knows our innermost hearts, and He has laid out who we are to become. It is such a comforting thought, knowing that He walks through it all with us, and works everything together for good. I look forward to checking out your posts! Thanks! Hugs and love xox

  14. You touch my heart beautiful Carolyn. What a message of hope and miracles! I stand with you in awe and praise of our miracle-working Christ! To be able to celebrate, after so many years of “hiding” is pure joy! Your story~and the way you spoke~is due to your surrender. The faith we know, that spoke in Hebrews, and as Paul said, “is dead without works” is evident because of…surrender! You found it dear one. And thank you for being a light of truth! I love you! Karla 💛

  15. Thank you for sharing these realisations, built with hardships. They’re not only positive but allow us all to reaffirm our belief systems. Thanks again, and best wishes.

    1. Hi Tej, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this. you’re so right – hardships grow us in more ways than one! Hugs and love xox

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