Well, today is the first day of Lent.
The 40 days where, as Christians, we prepare for Jesus’ Resurrection at Easter by seeking a true conversion of heart to follow Christ more deeply.
And every time this day rolls around, I am given the gut punch of a reminder that today also marks the onset of my anorexia, some 16 years ago.
Back in 2006, as a junior in high school, little miss student-athlete perfectionist was trying to “challenge herself” by giving up sweets for Lent. Innocent enough. Little did I know that that choice would be the absolute worst decision of my life, snowballing to years of severe anorexia, followed by several more years of a disordered relationship with food and exercise, more than a decade of amenorrhea, and a wake of destroyed relationships, dreams, and self-respect to follow.
All of that, can be traced back to a decision I made sixteen years ago, today.
I never let myself think about it, every year when Lent rolls around. I never let myself “go there,” emotionally. And to be honest, if this blog post didn’t fall tonight, on the actual day, I probably would have just let this day glaze by, without really acknowledging the impact it made on my life, and the feelings I’ve bottled up as a result.
But as I’ve been mulling it over today, and praying about it, there’s been something very poignant that keeps coming to my mind and heart:
Lent is not about me.
*Scoff* I’m embarrassed to even type that out, because…I think to myself…”DUH Caralyn! How could you even think about making this about you!”
But it’s more than just that.
In this season of Lent, we are supposed to align our hearts with Christ, and participate in His suffering leading up to the Cross and Resurrection. Jesus: flogged, humiliated, beaten, mocked and crucified all in love for us – we are to unite ourselves to Him, and share in some bit of that.
And what I keep feeling in my heart, is that in preparation for Jesus’ Resurrection at Easter, I’m being called to reflect on this: What God used to break me, He has used to rebuild me.
On this “anniversary of sorts,” instead of getting angry or bitter or resentful about the decisions I made all those years ago that led to my anorexia, I need to “offer it up,” as so many Christians have banally said before me.
But it’s true. I need to surrender those negative feelings, and instead look at how Jesus delivered me through that season. How, yes — that was a season of suffering. Not only for me, but my loved ones, too. But it is precisely because of that season that God was able to truly reach me.
I had to endure that season of darkness in order to fully appreciate that I am nothing without God. All my hair had fallen out, I was flirting with death at a mere 78 pounds, I had pushed everyone away, and was living only for my eating disorder.
That period established my utter and complete dependance on God for literally everything that sustains me both physically and spiritually.
It was only through experiencing first-hand what it meant to be alone, hopeless, terrified, in despair, completely empty in every sense of the word, with nowhere else to turn — that I realized that, not only was God the only thing I had left, but that God was the only thing that could get me out of that pit of rock bottom. I had thrown my life away, but God was able to rescue me, and love me back to life. And not just life, but life in abundance.
“But we also rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance, character, and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. – Romans 5:3-5
It’s time I finally offer that up once and for all. Not just push it under the rug and try and forget about it every time this day rolls around. But truly surrender it to Christ. Because His deliverance is the absolute greatest blessing in my entire life.
And His resurrection — His triumph over death — is the hope that saved, not only me, but the whole world.
That is what Easter is all about. And as we prepare for it, during Lent, it’s time I really come nose to nose with what He actually delivered me from, and how He has ultimately turned that pain into something good.
Friends, as we go forth during Lent, may we each fully examine our hearts — even the dusty, hidden away parts we like to forget exist — and surrender them to Jesus. Because like the Resurrection that we’re preparing for, He has proven that He makes all things new.
And one final thought that came to me 15 minutes before this was scheduled to publish: is that when God rescued me, I was not in a state where I was “ready” to be rescued. The perfectionist in me would have wanted to be polished, poised, unblemished, welcoming. But no. I was the lowest of low. He didn’t care.
He came to save me as I was. As the broken, lying, destructive, manipulative, girl with a laundry list of sins a mile long. He still saw my dignity and worth as a child of God. He still loved me and believed that, despite all of that, I was worth saving. I didn’t have to be perfect or “in good condition” to be saved. Heck, then I wouldn’t have needed saving.
I don’t know, but maybe someone needed to hear that tonight. I know I sure did.
OK, bye for real.
Thank you for your support on Patreon!! You make this blog possible 🙂
“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5
***THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO HAS ORDERED MY BOOKS, BLOOM: A JOURNAL BY BEAUTYBEYONDBONES AND “MY BLOGGING TIPS“***Click to order your copy!
MAGIC TOOTHPASTE? Yes! I am in love with this superior whitening toothpaste. It keeps my smile sparkling, without sensitivity or bleach! I made a website where you can directly order this miracle product! So if you want to give it a try, you can go ahead and grab a tube for yourself. I promise, your smile will thank you!Get a tube!
Be sure to check out my affiliate, Audible. Listening to audiobooks while I cook is literally my new favorite thing. And just for you, they’re offering a Free 30-Day Trial Membership. And with this free membership, you’re going to get 2 free audiobooks! Literally. Free. It is the best deal ever. And if for some reason, you decide it’s not for you, you can cancel within those 30 days and it’s zero money out of your pocket, plus, you get to keep the 2 audiobooks. Soooo…it’s pretty much a no brainer. Plus, it’s a free and easy way to support this blog! So thank you!!
@beauty.beyond.bones – Instagram
And really quickly, I’ve had several questions concerning my Amazon link (amazon.com/shop/beautybeyondbones) — You do not need to buy one of my specific highlighted products on my page, in order for it to “credit” my account. Any purchases that you search or make from anywhere on Amazon, after first visiting my Amazon page, will credit this blog and help support this blog ministry. I am truly so grateful and appreciative to those of you wanting to do so! So thank you! Again, it is an absolutely free, and easy way for you to help keep this blog going!
46 responses to “Lent: A Breaking Point”
“I was worth saving. I didn’t have to be perfect or “in good condition” to be saved. Heck, then I wouldn’t have needed saving.”
Awesome Caralyn! Exactly right! And we also know from 1 John 1, that once we’re His, all we have to do for Him to cleanse us is run to Him. He loves us completely and wants us to be bold in approaching Him. How amazing is that? 😊
Have a wonderful weekend! 🤗🙏
Thank you Kenneth! Yes! amen to that – His love is truly amazing. thanks for stopping by and sharing that. sending a big big hug xox
Wonderful post. This was a great way to start Lent. Thank you 💕
Thank you so much Amy, I really appreciate that. Glad you enjoyed it. Hugs and love xox
Beautiful!!! God is so good! Praise God!! Love you as always, my beautiful friend. Hugs!XO😃❤
Hi my beautiful friend! thank you so much 🙂 amen to that – God is so so good! Hugs and love xox
[…] Lent: A Breaking Point […]
thank you for the link up! Hugs and love xox
What God used to break me, He has used to rebuild me. 😮
amen to that! He always find a way to work EVERYTHING for good! thanks for stopping by! Hugs and love xox
“…not only was God the only thing I had left, but that God was the only thing that could get me out of that pit of rock bottom…”
And I’m sure you’ll agree that when we do hit rock bottom, God IS there and HE IS ALL WE NEED.
For great is your love toward me; you have delivered me from the depths, from the realm of the dead. Psalm 86:13
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast. –Psalm 139:7-10
Thank you so much for this wonderful encouragment, Myron. You’re so right – He IS there, and He is absolutely ALL we need! Hugs and love xox
Wonderful! I had to do that with Valentine’s Day. Fifteen years ago, my ex chose to announce his filing for divorce after almost 28 years of marriage the evening before Valentine’s Day. Every year since, that was the only thing I thought about as that holiday approached. I decided finally that every day of the calendar belongs to the LORD, so I surrendered that to Him. From now on, Jesus and I are honoring St. Valentine’s Day together.
I think such timing is often cruel and deliberate. My ex moved away from my children the day before Father’s Day. I think it may have backfired on him though. He is lucky to even get a text message on Father’s Day, these days.
Thank you so much HJ, for sharing your story. Gosh, I am so sorry you had to go through that. You’re so right – when we surrender those sources of pain to Him, He is able to redeem it, just like He does with us! sending big hugs and love xox
What a beautiful post. For the last 24 years I had one major goal. I know this sounds melodramatic but my goal was just to get my children and I, out alive from our toxic situation. Now they have both finished their degrees. Just when I finally have time to breathe, life has again become a struggle. Thank you for the reminder that God will still take me, empty and broken as I am.
Thank you so much my friend, for sharing your heart. I’m so moved by your story – that is truly incredible the life that you’ve given to your children. I’m sorry that things are tough right now. I’m praying hard for you. God will absolutely take you, just as we are! Hugs and love xox
Yes this is a beautiful post. Our God is so good. I feel the same way. I feel so blessed to be redeemed and restored!
Wishing peace and love to you this season <3
You called to mind the beauty and challenge of “Grace.” I’m naturally an achiever, focusing on how I can improve, what I can get done. I think a lot of us are like that. But, God works differently. It’s taken me a lifetime to realize that God isn’t interested in what I can do, how perfect I can be, but just being. When I focus on Christ’s sacrifice and less on me, as simple as that may sound, I find that life is easier to understand. Here’s to a peaceful and reflective Lent.
Yes dear sister in Christ! Offer it up to the Lord! This is now the season to celebrate because of what the Lord has delivered and saved us from. Not only that but we are celebrating the regeneration and the newness of our walk in Christ. Thank God for His refreshing teachings, promises, love and grace towards! Hallelujah! 🙌🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾
Powerful post, Carolyn. Thank you for sharing your heart with us this Lent. May God continue to keep & bless you.
C.S. Lewis suggests three levels of good/evil interaction (in Mere Christianity, I think, but not certain). There is the simple good that God created at the beginning; “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.”
Then there is the simple evil. Lucifer tries to undo or damage what God has made; “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.”
Then there is the complex good that Father makes out of what the devil intended for evil; “We impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.”
This is in line with the apostle’s reasoning, that “where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.”
One of the marvels of God’s grace to us is His ability to take what WAS evil, or what WAS damaging, or what WAS humiliating, and turn it around to be good, to be blessing, to be honoring.
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Keep walking with Jesus into all His wonders that He has prepared for you and those on this journey with you.
Amen. Praise God.
Romans 5:5 was the first verse I ever memorized on purpose. (The fictionalized version of the story is here: https://dontletthedaysgoby.home.blog/2020/11/21/february-15-16-1996-and-hope-does-not-disappoint-us/
Thank you so much Greg. Amen to that! Can’t wait to check it out. Hugs and love xox
😭😭😭❤️❤️❤️beautiful testimony – yes, come as you are ❤️❤️❤️
Beautiful sharing, Caralyn. Especially the paragraph you shared regarding “when God rescued me, I was not in a state where I was “ready” to be rescued.” I don’t not know if you’ve been watching but, I think that’s exactly why the scene from The Chosen series, when Jesus calls Mary Magdalene “by name” has been so utterly profound to so many. We can all identify to being rescued at those moments in our lives we would have least suspected, least desired, yet were in most need of. I think it IS most profound because it was HIS appointed time. 💕 Hugs to you for always sharing your heart with us!
Hi Dawn! Thank you so much 🙂 Yes – it is so comforting to know that He takes us and loves us as we are. I have not been watching The Chosen?? Is it good? That sounds like a powerful scene. Amen to that. HIS appointed time. So glad you stopped by! hope you’re having a great day! Hugs and love xox
The Chosen is a must watch! Prime carries it, as well as you can watch all the episodes through their free app The Chosen. Let me know your thoughts if you watch….I promise it won’t disappointed. (It’s THE largest crowd-funded Series to ever be produced & the are currently filming Season Four.)💕
Ooh! I can’t wiat to check it out this weekend! Oh my gosh, crowd funded! That’s impressive!!! Good for them! 🙂
We never even knew of Lent in my culture.
Thanks for sharing that! Hugs and love xox
Yup! I needed to hear it.
Thank you friend. I’m so glad it resonated with you 🙂 Hugs and love xox
Thank you for your transparency and call to commit. Well written and touching.
Thank you Harry, I appreciate that! Hugs and love xox
May God continue to use you to help others. blessings.
Thank you so much Oneta, I really appreciate it. Hugs and love xox
I am glad you love God & Jesus Christ and it’s a great feeling to enjoy him when everything else is thrown away. I came to him when I was very young & was saved at 7 years of age. What hit me a lot was being able to see other Christians at my home church as I was growing up. I had a lot of health issues before I was getting started as a baby since these health issues were so important to go through. I had chronic allergies, memory blockage, being pigeon-toed, having low blood pressure & low blood sugar & I was told it might just kill me since I was fighting for my life as I grew up. I know I commented to you before, but not sure about what I said. These are the worst when going through life & I just pushed on to be athletic & make it the best I could. I also had to figure out how to get moving after eating & after that had a high metabolism. So God was always watching over me & I was grateful that he could know more about me & push me from beyond that part of my life. It really makes me happy that I can find others who believe in God & want him as much as I do & look to him for necessary failures to become successes in my life. Another great post & sharing of yourself.
Hi friend! Thank you so much for sharing your story. Gosh, I am so moved. Amen to that – God is always there for us, especially in our suffering. I appreciate you! Hugs and love xox
I appreciate you for sharing also!
Great post. My soul is jumping up and down like a little frog and its saying–“Jesus loves me!”
yes!! He does!! 🙂