A Glimpse of Heaven

Guess what! Steven and I spent last weekend in Ohio!

Family is a glimpse of heaven on earth. And coming from this eating disorder survivor, believe me when I say: no relationship is ever "un-fixable." There is always healing to be found. #family #recovery #love #edrecovery #parenting #hope #healing #life #eatingdisorder #mentalhealth

That’s right! Perhaps, you saw my Instagram Stories, but we were with my family all weekend!

It was SO nice to be with everyone. They threw us a sweet backyard dinner engagement party one night, which was such a beautiful surprise! It was my oldest brother’s birthday, and we thought we were going over there for a birthday BBQ…only to show up and realize that they had the place all decked out with celebratory decorations for US!

Family is a glimpse of heaven on earth. And coming from this eating disorder survivor, believe me when I say: no relationship is ever "un-fixable." There is always healing to be found. #family #recovery #love #edrecovery #parenting #hope #healing #life #eatingdisorder #mentalhealth

It was so thoughtful and such a special moment with everyone 🙂

But the weekend was full of so much love, and I know that’s really cheesy to say, but it was.

Although we were only there for two days, we jam packed it with so much togetherness.

We visited our wedding venues! We went to Mass at the church where we’ll be getting married, and had drinks at our reception location. My parents also took us to a beautiful steak dinner downtown.

Family is a glimpse of heaven on earth. And coming from this eating disorder survivor, believe me when I say: no relationship is ever "un-fixable." There is always healing to be found. #family #recovery #love #edrecovery #parenting #hope #healing #life #eatingdisorder #mentalhealth

We tooled around the neighborhood in my parent’s golf cart, and — my favorite moment of the weekend — was when my mom and I went out for a mother/daughter coffee date 🙂 I miss her so much.

It was one of those moments when time simultaneously stood still, and flew by faster than the blink of an eye.

I was really sad when I got back to New York. I’m not going to lie. I got home from the airport, threw my bags on the couch, and just sobbed, missing my family like crazy.

But this week, as I’ve been returning to “life as normal” here in New York, one thing I’ve been reflecting on is the power of family.

And how, truly, family is a glimpse of Heaven on earth.

Family is a glimpse of heaven on earth. And coming from this eating disorder survivor, believe me when I say: no relationship is ever "un-fixable." There is always healing to be found. #family #recovery #love #edrecovery #parenting #hope #healing #life #eatingdisorder #mentalhealth

And believe me when I say, it is not lost on me that I am very blessed to have such a loving family unit. I appreciate that there are a lot of different – and difficult – family situations out there, and that having a stable foundation, is sadly not the case for everyone.

But I have really come to appreciate the role that family has played in my life, shaping me into the woman that I am today.

Last week was the 15 year anniversary of my recovery from anorexia, and I appreciate all the kind words that everyone had to say on my post about it.

But as I’ve been reflecting on it, and reading all the beautiful words of support from you all, I’ve come to think a lot about the role my family played in my recovery, and how — it is because of them that I have thrived in recovery, in the way that I have.

Their support, their love, their forgiveness. Thinking about it brings tears to my eyes as I write this.

One story that I just want to share, that I think really highlights it, has to do with my dad.

As with most recovery warriors, my recovery journey had a “hiccup” and I relapsed pretty much as soon as I got back from inpatient. I left for college in Charleston weeks after returning from inpatient. And looking back, I should have listened to the advice of literally everyone, and waited to go to college for a few months until I had more of a firm handle on “recovery life.” But alas, my headstrongness got the best of me, and I left for college out of state, where I knew not a soul, and was therefore, not accountable to anyone.

And — big shocker — I relapsed, hard. And coming home for Christmas break, I was told I was not allowed to return, and had to stay home with my parents and regain the thirty pounds I had lost that first semester.

During that terrible semester, I also relapsed into the mindset of fear around food.

So my dad, after I got home, wanted to help me “fall in love” with food again. So he took me all around town to different restaurants and buffets, so that I could overcome that fear and try all the different flavors and foods, while also being present with me during meals. And it worked. And that was only one of the myriad of ways that he supported me in reclaiming the recovery I had lost at college.

That is the type of man he is. One who shows up. One who is going to go to bat for his family, and do everything in his power to help them thrive and succeed.

Family is a glimpse of heaven on earth. And coming from this eating disorder survivor, believe me when I say: no relationship is ever "un-fixable." There is always healing to be found. #family #recovery #love #edrecovery #parenting #hope #healing #life #eatingdisorder #mentalhealth

My family has never once held that season of my life against me. They have never once used it as the punchline of a joke, or treated me as “broken,” “damaged goods” — or — “someone who owes them something.”

All I have ever been shown is love. Grace. Forgiveness. Support. And encouragement.

I wouldn’t be the woman I am today without them.

And this is the last thing: reflecting on my gratitude for my family, makes me also appreciate that no relationship is ever “un-fixable.”

Because during that dark season of my eating disorder, my treatment of them was horrific. I lied. Manipulated and deceived them. I had daily outbursts of rage and fury, that I took out on them. My behavior was nothing short of demonic, and I don’t say that flippantly.

So to see how they found it in their hearts to forgive me, and move forward, is nothing short of a miracle.

Family is a glimpse of heaven on earth. And coming from this eating disorder survivor, believe me when I say: no relationship is ever "un-fixable." There is always healing to be found. #family #recovery #love #edrecovery #parenting #hope #healing #life #eatingdisorder #mentalhealth

They understood that — though it is not an excuse — my behavior was coming from my anorexia. It was controling my actions, my words, my destructive behaviors, my berating thoughts.

And they found the grace to be able to separate that demonstration of darkness, from the daughter and sister that they knew and loved.

And for that I am so grateful.

But all that to say, is that no relationship is too far gone. There is always room for forgiveness. Always an opportunity for repentance and grace. Even if, mustering it up is the most difficult, painful thing in the world, there is always healing to be found.

Family is a glimpse of heaven on earth. And coming from this eating disorder survivor, believe me when I say: no relationship is ever "un-fixable." There is always healing to be found. #family #recovery #love #edrecovery #parenting #hope #healing #life #eatingdisorder #mentalhealth

My heart still hasn’t stopped floating since I’ve been back from Ohio. (And please note, that I will never call NYC “home.” Even in the Uber app in my phone, I have my apartment listed as “work.” Ohio will always be HOME.)

But coming back, my heart felt so full that it was almost bursting.

And maybe this is sharing too much, but my heart is in a constant state of unsettledness. Because it is always full to the brim with the love I have here in New York, but at the exact same time, even though it is overflowing with fullness, it is also always deeply broken, because it is away from my family.

Does that make sense? It’s like, I am always simultaneously the happiest I’ve ever been, while also deeply heartbroken.

And I pray about it a lot.

One thing I know is that God knows my heart better than I know it, myself. And I just trust that it is in His hands, and He will make everything okay.

So I will close with the wise words of my fiancé: “Hug your family and let them know that you love them.”

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27 thoughts on “A Glimpse of Heaven

  1. The family model was initiated on earth to remind us of our kinship to the universal family of God’s creation. How nice to see your family models this so well and how sad to note that the norm today is far from that ideal.

  2. I am sorry to hear that you are still so conflicted! Maybe NYC will start feeling more like home when you are married and start writing the next chapter of your life with him! An observation that I’ll probably fumble, but here goes: Your family in Ohio is still so valuable and important, but it is also – to some an extent – the past Your future is with Steven. I don’t suggest you leave them behind. Just use that family relationship to fuel your future with Steve. I hope this makes sense and that I didn’t bungle this too badly!! With the best of intentions…Jeff

  3. You’ve learned how to make quality food.

    That’s how we have to do it sometimes. Instead of running from the situation, throw yourself into it and learn how to be a good cook.

    The fact you post blogs on cooking all the time is part of the results of taking a positive stance in life.

    It’s like that with anything. A person who smokes who wants to quit often finds something else in its place. It could be reading. It could be meditation (yes for a Bible believing Christian there is meditation. It’s very biblical. Meditating on the Word of God is very biblical thing to do.)

    For you, it was blogging and cooking. That was part of the whole deal.

    It really comes down to a deeper understanding of the Bible. Wisdom, which is the sayings of the wise, and understanding, which is how one applies it to onesself, is the key thing.

    Not only did you get wisdom about food and life, you got understanding about it — learning how to apply it to yourself.

    That is far more than recovery. That is excelling in life. You have excelled in life and now things have worked out, not because you left them alone, but because you addressed them.

    Wisdom has been described as knowledge looking forward. Understanding is the application of wisdom to your situation.

    We used to say in Intervasity Christian Fellowship in college: there is wisdom and there is how one apply it one’s life.

    I didn’t know until recently applying it to one’s life is the understanding of the situation.

    You are very powerful in the areas you’ve taken authority over in your life. You’ve grown and that’s the way to do it.

    Personal Growth
    ——————————
    Wisdom — sayings of the wise (Bible)
    Meditation — meditating on it
    Understanding — applying it to the situation
    Action — acting on it

  4. I’m so glad that you two got away from the city for a weekend with your parent, Caralyn! Be so glad that your mother is still with you! Your father sounds like a very wonderful man, God bless your parents!

    I was in Michigan very recently to see my son, daughter, dad and sister. It’s so very good for your soul, isn’t it? Like you, it’s difficult to live far away but it’s also a big choice! Be well my friend. ❤️🙏🏻✝️

  5. What a wonderful post! I very much appreciate your testimony and transparency, and exhortation to believe that things can change, people can indeed, by the Grace of God change, and there is always room for forgiveness. I know these things, but, hearing of others experiences in this gives me such hope. Thank you!

    Prayers for you and your fiancé!

  6. When you share your pictures of your family and tell of their love, I know that the “good guys” are winning. Thank you.

  7. Love carries with it the most wonderful pain possible. What a beautiful family you have. And what a loving, redeemed daughter they have. Love to you.

  8. Beautiful post, Oh my, first of all, the pictures are adorable, and yeah family is everything, one should never forget their origins, where you grew up, where you came from.
    Have a nice day!

  9. I’m so proud of you for beating that terrible disorder! God made you for a reason, to enjoy life and help others. God bless you girlie! Sincerely Christina Yoder

    1. Thank you Christina, what a kind thing to say. Amen – God has been so good to me. I am so grateful for His saving hand in my life! Hugs and love xox

  10. For me dealing with in laws and our family of origin issues has to be one of the most challenging aspects of any marriage. Steven is your home now. I am sure yours and Seven ‘s families family are quite different from the in-laws I experienced but nothing destroys a marriage quicker ,than one or both of you, continually forgetting you are part of a new family now. One lady I knew put her foot down the first time the issue arose and was prepared to walk. I so wish I had done that. It might have spared me a lot of heartache.

  11. “A Glimpse of Heaven” is an apt title. One of my greatest comforting truths from the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ is knowing the sociality of heaven and that families are eternal. Thank you for sharing.

    1. thank you so much aish. I definitely feel incredibly blessed to have the family i do. i am so grateful. Hugs and love xox

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