Just on the Other Side

I don’t know who needs to hear this, but God is in control.

There are so many seasons in life — some of them difficult, isolating, exhausting, terrifying, full of sorrow — life can throw some incredible trials in our path. But no matter the circumstance, God is in control.

And the truth is, those seasons don’t last forever.

And for all the darkness, all those long nights, vast expanses of loneliness, physical pain and toil, there is goodness waiting for you on the other side of this season.

Hard to imagine in the present, but God will always make a way.

I just think back to 2007: those first several nights at inpatient for treatment for my severe case of anorexia. I was sleeping at the nurses’ station so they could monitor my heart and vitals through the night because my condition was so dire. I learned upon my discharge that it was the worst they had ever seen. But those first nights, I’ll never forget the beeping sounds of the monitor throughout the night.

I would stare at the ceiling with that rhythmic beeping, and I just remember pleading with God to get me out of there. Pleading with Him for help. Pleading with Him to rescue me from the hell that had nearly taken my life.

That was the first time I had realized the actual repercussions of my destructive life — the eating disorder that had been all consuming.

During the disease, I felt more and more invincible — and became more and more emboldened — as my body became more and more gravely depleted. Lying there that night, I realized that I was there because I did this. I starved. I threw away food. I over exercised. I was unwilling to nourish myself and take care of the body God entrusted me with.

I wonder if inmates have that same realization.

But I remember thinking: this is it for me. This is what my life will be going forward: the girl with anorexia. I couldn’t see past the obsession with food and weight and body image and sneaking exercise. I couldn’t believe I would ever be free from that hell. I couldn’t even remember a life before anorexia. A life where I wasn’t completely in this choke hold I found myself in.

If only that scared 18 year girl could see me now. If only she could see the life that God had waiting for me on the other side of my anorexia.

If only I could see that God always makes a way. That He has never and will never abandon me. That His Hand has the power to save, and the power to carry me through the most horrific seasons of life.

If that girl could see that my life today is filled with love: I’m no longer isolating myself, but rather: I have the most amazing husband who is absolutely the answer to prayer; an incredible family — with whom all the relationships have healed after the deception and lies I told them when I was in the eating disorder; wonderful friendships — old and new; that I’m living in my hometown — from which I had run away to NYC for 12 years in search of a “clean slate;” and that I’m healthy — complete with my fertility intact after not menstruating until I was 26 due to complications from being in a state of severe starvation for such a prolonged period of time.

The only way my story turned out that way is because of God. His saving grace, overwhelming mercy, and unending forgiveness.

That was quite a season, but all seasons come to an end, and new life begins again.

I don’t know who needed to hear that tonight…perhaps I needed to be reminded of it.

There is always hope to be found. Just do the next right thing.

34 responses to “Just on the Other Side”

  1. Me! It was me who needed this reminder today. Thank you, my friend. It’s been awhile since I commented. God bless you.

    • Oh gosh I love that thought so much. I actually just recorded a video I’m going to share in a few weeks that talks about that exact thing!! 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  2. It’s always good to hear a story of how God delivers. I’ve heard yours before, and will read/listen to it—again and again—because it’s a reminder that the hope of heaven is always available.

    A wise person once said, “God’s plan is perfect, but our interpretation of that plan is not.”

    • Amen to that: He delivers and then delivers some more! His mercy and grace are infinite! Gosh, I am so touched by your kind words: thank you my friend. Love that last quote there – hah! so true! Hugs and love xox

  3. Such a beautiful post, Caralyn, looking at the photo of you and Steven so very happy! I think of our lives the same way, we pass through many seasons of our lives. Looking at your beautiful wedding photos it is so obvious how real, how good our Heavenly Father is! Be well, you two. ❤️🙏🏻🥰

  4. Just read it this morning, 11/14. On the other side. Yes, there are God’s beautiful plans for us after hardships in this life. Even better are the beautiful plans he has for us on the other side of this entire earthly life.

    My family’s perspective has changed due to my near-fatal bout with COVID pneumonia. And now again as Julie’s parents are struggling in the throes of dementia and Alzheimer’s. Julie went to Ohio to help after her mom broke her leg in a fall. She’s gone downhill quickly mentally. Sometimes coherent, often not. Her dad no longer recognizes her without prompting – sometimes every few minutes. Julie and her sister are struggling to find proper care for them as they deal with guilt for finally needing to put them into care facilities.

    There’s no “other side” on this earth for them. This morning will be as good as it will ever be now on this earth for them. This afternoon will be noticeably worse.

    The only plus is their Christian faith, which I doubt is a conscious thing for them anymore. I believe God is merciful and will credit their faith when in sound mind. Given that, there is the eternal “Other Side” they will experience when they are finally relieved of their “earthly tents” as St. Paul wrote.

    We can always live in the sure hope of God’s love and “other sides” of life’s calamities. But the day comes when the only other side that is left is eternal perfection in God’s loving arms. Without that knowledge and sure hope, this life would be unbearable.

    Thank you for your thoughts as well as the ones they prompted in me.

    • Hi Jeff, it’s so good to hear from you. thank you for sharing this. gosh – my heart breaks for Julie and what she’s going through. i will be praying for her parents. Amen to that – God is infinite in His Mercy, and I fully believe that He will. And what a beautiful thought: being in His loving arms in eternal perfection. You hit the nail on the head: that is the hope. That is the truth that we cling to here on this earth. I pray for you and your family every day! Sending massive hugs to you all! xoxo

      • Caralyn! How great to hear from you! Thank you so much for your continuing prayers. It turns out I’m going up to Toledo tomorrow to take a few things to her and stay for several days – she’s been gone almost two weeks!!! I’m excited to see her after so long.

        The current timeline is that they found a place for her dad (mom’s at a rehab facility for now) and he’ll move in Tuesday. We’ll drive home on Thursday, Thanksgiving. It’ll be a relief to finally get them both settled someplace safe and structured.

        Again, very glad to hear from you! 😊

  5. God is always trying to rescue His children on earth but we have been gifted power of choice which sets us apart from animals and all too often we humans voluntarily choose death rather than the eternal life He has promised us. You made a wise choice to turn your life around and He has honored you for that choice.

  6. Hey Caralyn 😀

    Funny — I was *JUST THINKING* “Hmm … I really want Caralyn to gimme her opinion about


    🙂 Norbert

    BTW (sorta long, so I will start a separate paragraph 😉 ) :

    I have been TOTALLY FASCINATED with the debate over “free will” vs. “determinism” (+ “fatalism”?) for a VERY LONG time (maybe longer than you have even been alive 😯 ) … and JUST TODAY I realized (I think, I guess or whatever) that the word “ubuntu” seems to be sort of RIGHT at the intersection of the opposing views (debate or whatever). I just noticed this and moved on, and now I arrived here and see that you were sort *on the same page* here — wow: #GMTA!!! 😉

    • Thank you Norbert! I have been hearing more and more chatter about free will online recently! perhaps i’ll do a little deep dive on it 🙂 glad you stopped by! Hugs and love xox

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