A Wedding Juxtaposition

I’ll tell you what, wedding planning is not for the faint of heart.

It’s a jungle out there!

Even with a wedding date that is 14 months away, churches and reception venues are ALREADY filled up!

Who knew that planning a wedding would bring about a powerful perspective you never knew you needed?! #edrecovery #recovery #healing #mentalhealth #catholic #god #jesus #wedding #hope #faith

My goodness, it’s like the wild, wild west.

I’ve gotta say, the last several days I have spent in a full course press, trying to lock down a church and a venue at coordinating times. And in doing so, Steven and I have been watching a lot of random people’s wedding videos on YouTube. Which…is definitely a strange experience: watching two complete strangers live out the most important, special day of their lives, on a public YouTube video, from a couch in Manhattan, as though it’s the latest Marvel flick.

Who knew that planning a wedding would bring about a powerful perspective you never knew you needed?! #edrecovery #recovery #healing #mentalhealth #catholic #god #jesus #wedding #hope #faith

The happy tears; the private moment beforehand reading the letter from their betrothed; the toasts at the reception, recollecting funny and touching moments from their past. It’s like…I don’t even know you, but here I am watching the intimate details of your life! It’s a little weird!

But granted, it has definitely helped us get a feel for the venues, as we’re planning this thing from across the country!

One thing that has been fun, is envisioning how that day will be for us. Putting ourselves in the picture, if you will.

Dreaming about how it will be for me to get ready, and read a handwritten note from the love of my life. Picturing how handsome Steven is going to look in his tux. Imagining what it’s going to feel like, walking down the aisle, to meet my love at the altar before God and our loved ones. Picturing how I’m going to look and feel in my wedding dress.

All this dreaming actually brings up a lot of emotion for me, because there was a time when I never thought the life I’m living now could ever be a reality.

Who knew that planning a wedding would bring about a powerful perspective you never knew you needed?! #edrecovery #recovery #healing #mentalhealth #catholic #god #jesus #wedding #hope #faith

When I was trapped in my anorexia, and at inpatient, I never thought a life of freedom could exist for me. A life free from ED — free from the fear, the crippling addiction to exercise and schedules and routine, free from a hatred of self, free from the lies I had up in the air in order to manipulate my loved ones — I literally could not even imagine it.

I couldn’t even fathom what “joy” was anymore, because it had been void from my life for so long.

All I had known during those two years in my disease was darkness. The anorexia stripped me of who I was — my personality, my love for others, my love for myself, my passions and drive, my excitement and hope in the future, not to mention: my health. I was a skeleton of myself — a hollow shell, empty of every human emotion other than panic over food, weight, body image and exercise.

I wish I could go back, and show that broken, scared 18 year old girl a glimpse of where she’s at today: at peace with her body, joyful about life, embracing love from an incredible man, free from the guilt and shame from her past…living abundantly.

Who knew that planning a wedding would bring about a powerful perspective you never knew you needed?! #edrecovery #recovery #healing #mentalhealth #catholic #god #jesus #wedding #hope #faith

I would have never believed it. And to be honest, part of me still can’t. Knowing the depths of darkness and despair that ruled my life for so long…the fact that — not only did my body recover physically — but mentally and spiritually…God’s mercy is written over every aspect of my life.

It’s been really quite moving to recollect on just how far the Lord has delivered me from where I once was.

So to close, I just want to share what I’d say to my younger self, scared and alone on her cot at the nurses’ station at inpatient:

It gets better.

There is a life you can’t even imagine, that is out there waiting for you.

A life of abundance that you deserve. A full and joyful existence where, believe it or not, this current suffering will be just a blip on the radar, and you will have grown from it and become stronger because of it.

Don’t lose hope. This isn’t “it” for you.

It gets better.

Who knew that planning a wedding would bring about a powerful perspective you never knew you needed?! #edrecovery #recovery #healing #mentalhealth #catholic #god #jesus #wedding #hope #faith

Have a wonderful weekend, friends. And God bless.

xoxo Caralyn

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95 thoughts on “A Wedding Juxtaposition

  1. I wish you a happy life, a good husband, a blessed marriage, and a beautiful planning for your marriage with the one you love and who loves you. May the Lord Almighty bless you both, the King of the earth and the heavens. God is my Lord and your Lord, who created everything and He is the omnipotent above worship and He is the most worthy to be worshiped. All prayers and worship. Congratulations to you, my lady

  2. 14 months will go by fast, Caralyn, get excited! I love the photo of you and Steven, looking so classy! Have a great weekend, guys. 🙏🏻☺️

    1. Thank you John! Oh gosh i can’t wait! And haha thanks! That was at his cousin’s wedding this past winter. It was fun to get all gussied up! Seeing him in a tux for the first time was something! I got butterflies in my stomach and got tongue tied! Haha thanks for sharing in the joy with us! You too! Have a great weekend! Hugs and love xox

  3. Blessings to you and your wedding day. After almost 48 years of marriage to my one and only wife just a little word of caution. Do what you can to put as much preparation into your marriage as you do for your wedding day. Center on Christ. Serious pre marriage counseling. It will work out if you both follow in Christ’s steps. Prayers for both of you Caralyn. John

    1. Hi John! Oh gosh thank you so much 🙂 and wow – 48 years! That is so beautiful and really something to celebrate!! That is great great advice. We actually just signed up and we’re matched with our priest for our pre-marriage counseling. I know it’s going to bring up some important and vulnerable conversations, and will be tough – but I’m really looking forward to it. Thank you for the prayers!! Hugs and love xox

  4. Caralyn, I WEPT when I read this post. I have been feeling very down and kind of oppressed by darkness for a while, and Jesus put this phrase on my heart: “Life and Life Abundantly.” I have had a hard time believing I could ever have such a life, but Jesus led me straight to your post here tonight to show me His Goodness and that I can dream of getting married, being an auntie (my sister is pregnant), maybe having babies myself, and all of the amazing things Jesus has in store for me. Thank you for cooperating with the Holy Spirit and writing such a beautiful post 🙏❤

    1. Oh my gosh thank you so much!!!!! You are too kind. I’m sorry you’ve been going through it recently. Yes! Life and life abundantly! Amen to that! That is what He wants for you!! Yes! Claim those dreams! God has goodness in store for you, and I will be praying hard for you, my friend. Thanks for stopping by! Hugs and love xox

  5. It’s amazing to me! It seems like just yesterday you were posting about how you were praying for God to help you find The One.

    I’m so happy for you both! 💖

    God is good. Always.

    1. Thank you so much!! You’re right about that! God hears our prayers! Actually just the other day, I read to Steven my post, “Dear Future Husband.” Its funny because I actually knew him at the time. (We’ve been friends for nine years!) funny how God’s timing works! Thanks for sharing in the joy with us! Hugs and love xox

  6. Great shot of you two! The right church and venue will present themselves in due time. God brought you Steven. I’m sure He’ll provide places for the day! I’m extremely happy for you both!

    1. Thank you Jeff! That was taken at a wedding this past winter 🙂 It was the first time I had seen him in a tux and I got so tongue tied! I think i told him he looked “beautiful.” hahaha oh gosh. Thanks Jeff — you’re right. That’s the best perspective to keep. hope you’re feeling well today! i’ve been thinking about you! Hugs and love xox

      1. I’m doing well after a rough weekend. Please keep my wife in your prayers. She had a nervous breakdown last Sunday – crying jags off an on all day for no specific reason. Our Christian therapist recommended taking leave from work for an extended period. She’s on an even keel now but needs tp disconnect for a while. Your thoughts and prayers are much appreciated and effective! Love and hugs, Jeff

      2. Oh gosh, Jeff, I’m so sorry to hear that! i absolutely will be praying for her. Jesus, cover her in your peace, in your comfort, in your love. hang in there my friend. sending massive hugs and love xox

    1. thank you Kenneth 🙂 🙂 🙂 hope you’re having a great night! Hugs and love xox

    1. Thank you so much Jenny! Yes! You’re right about that – His love IS great. And what a beautiful truth. A Christ-Centered marriage is what I have always prayed for! Hugs and love xox

  7. I have followed you for awhile now. Been gone and came back to find you got engaged! I remember your search and pain to find your one true love. So happy for you both. Marriage is a blessing…all of it. 23 years and counting.

    1. Oh my gosh, thank you so much for sharing, not only in the current joy, but also the journey with me! you have no idea how much that means to me. I am so touched, thank you my friend. Wow – 23 years, that is so beautiful and really something to celebrate! sending so much love and hugs xox

  8. I may not have ever met you, and yet I am so very happy for both you and Steven and feel fortunate to be able to see a small part on this journey with you. As others have said, the planning (over the next 14 months) is just one step to the prize of the marriage. We have looked at it as being in a boat together – sometimes we are rowing together or at times one of us may be doing more of the rowing, but at least we both are “in the boat”. AND of course, Jesus has been in the boat with us. God Bless to you both. 45 years and counting….

    1. Oh my gosh, this means the world to me. thank you so much for sharing, not only in the current joy — but also the journey — with me!! it seriously touches my heart so much. you’re right — in the boat!!! yes! and wow — 45 yaers, that is so beautiful and really something to celebrate! Hugs and love xox

  9. This post makes me so happy. You’ve expressed the transformation you’ve experienced over the past several years and it’s been God-inspired. You and Steven are an impactful team that will bring each other much happiness, many blessings and exciting new roads to travel. It’s amazing how much you’ve learned, the emotional growth you’ve experienced and most importantly, how much you’re capable of loving. I’m so happy for you, I’m beaming!!

    1. Aw, thank you so much mom 🙂 Coming from someone I look up to and admire and love so much, this means the world. Thank you for fostering a safe environment to grow and bloom into the woman God made me to be, and for always showing by example the power of love and forgiveness and joy — and what it means to be an amazing wife and mother. I love you so much. Hugs and love xox

  10. I wanted to read your post. Dear Future Husband but I cannot find it. Perhaps you have kept it special for you and Stephen now. I would quite understand that. I have been doing a lot of looking at my own past posts lately.

      1. Wow just read it. Honest and beautiful. All that time Stephen was right in front of you.God was just waiting for you both to be ready for each other.

      2. aw thank you!! yeah, it’s really special to be able to go back and read that 🙂 God’s timing!! thanks for reading it 🙂

      3. i was not! thanks for bringing this to my attention! i just googled it, and wasn’t able to find it…do you by chance have their website? thank you!

      4. i do know about the high school group that formed last year: beautybeyondbones dot org…I looked into legal options for a minute, but it’s just a high school group….hahah

  11. So happy for your happiness and joy!! Praise God who works miracles, of which your life is one. Love you as always, my beautiful friend. Hugs!XO😃❤️

    1. thank you so much Tonya! Yes! It is thanks to His Amazing Grace that I am here today. He is so good! Love you too my beautiful friend! Have a lovely week! hugs xoxo

  12. What a good read. I would watch out from the toast from you’re father though, I say that cos I managed to embarrass my daughter when she got married.😂

    1. thank you so much Kenneth! I’m glad you enjoyed it! hahahah oh gosh – yeah, knowing my dad, I think he’s got an embarassing story or two up his sleeve! Actually though, I think it’s going to be so sweet – I’m going to have a hard time not crying. i’m a big ol softie at the end of the day! hahah Hugs and love xox

    1. thank you friend 🙂 Yes! It really is thanks to His amazing grace! Hugs and love xox

  13. Such an exciting time for you both! My humble advice: enjoy every minute, don’t stress, make this a very special time for you and your mother, remember that bigger isn’t better and cost doesn’t equal happiness. Most of all, as a Pre-Cana Leader, I remind you that the wedding will be one of the most special and memorable days of your life, but it’s only a day. Put more time into planning the marriage than planning the wedding.

    1. Hi Amy! Yes! it is so exciting. And than kyou for this awesome advice. I know – it is already going by so fast! Wednesday we will have been engaged for a month! Where has time gone?! That’s so true – it is only a day. We start our Pre-Cana on Tuesday of next week, and I am so looking forward to that relationship-growing time. I know it will be tough in many ways, but also beautiful, and I welcome that with open arms. Also – how wonderful that you’re a PreCana leader! Those are some lucky couples that get to be fostered by you!! thank you for sharing that 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  14. Congratulations! You can simplify this if you want. I have a beautiful meadow at my house, nestled against the mountains. Set up a few chairs and voilet!

    1. Aw, thank you Jim!! oh wowwwww — that sounds absolutely picturesque and breathtakingly beautiful! thank you! 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  15. Why don’t you just employ your reasoned choice and have the wedding ceremony that you want and your future husband want? What does it matter what others have done? Have the ceremony that is unique to you and not a copy of what others had.

    1. that’s a great point! I like your thinking! thank you JC! Hugs and love xox

    1. hahah oh my gosh -believe it or not i’ve never seen LOTR!!! I know – that is a travesty!! Hugs and love xox

  16. What I will say is when the big day arrives take time to step back and look at those happy faces all around you and take it all in. The day goes so quickly in a blur in fact. Enjoy every minute.

    May happiness, luck and love be always with you both.

    Bright Blessings

    1. Thank you so much Tilly, I really appreciate this beautiful advice. That’s what I’ve heard! That you blink and the day is over!! Wild to imagine! 🙂 Hugs and love xox

    1. Thank you Jo! YOU are so sweet!! 🙂 hahah you’re right about that! Hugs and love xox

  17. What an exciting and wonderful season to be in!

    Praying the Lord will shepherd you and Steven through this preparational time, guiding snd leading and providing and revealing !

    1. thank you so much, I really appreciate your prayers! We start marriage prep at our church next week!! Hugs and love xox

  18. We are currently planning our youngest daughter’s wedding this coming November 5. She and her fiancé have been dating since HIGH SCHOOL. 9 years. Neither of them ever looked back. Lol. Enjoy this time! And blessings to you and Steven!

    1. oh my gosh that is so exciting! congratulations to them!!! so beautiful. Thanks for sharing in the joy with us. Hugs and love xox

    1. hahah you’re right about that! It’s funny, I was talking wish steven about that over the weekend. We have a single friend who is looking for a nice catholic girl, and I told him to go to the church events I went to….hahah How everything comes full circle! Hugs and love xox

  19. I have a tip for Steven. When I was starting that process with the future Mrs JP (which concluded 32 years ago yesterday) I went with her to interview a photographer. After seeing the mind-numbing number of packages and options, I said on our way out to the car “Anyone who can’t shoot a wedding in 24 pictures just isn’t trying.” Poof – I found myself outside of the loop on every major decision that came along after that. It undoubtedly removed much stress from both of us. 🙂

    1. Oh my gosh 32 year! Congratulations! That is really something to celebrate! Hhahahah oh my gosh that’s a great story!Funny enough, we actually just booked our photographer — she’s a family friend who has shot our family portraits a few times. we are thrilled! Hugs and love xox

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