let me begin by saying that today's society is in need of some serious TLC. i think most people, if not everyone, would agree with that to some extent or another. i used to roll my eyes anytime someone would mention something along the lines of, "we as women are taught by today's society that our bodies aren't good enough unless they're a size zero or look like, (fill in your idea of beauty)." i thought, "no, you're only choosing to believe that way & really you're just taking on a victim mentality." i'm very pleased to tell you that i no longer believe that. in a world consumed with social media, "clean" eating, fitness bootcamps, photo shop, the kardashians & victoria secret fashion shows, women aren't necessarily directly "taught" these beauty standards, however over time the idea that "pretty" only looks like, (fill in the blank) is planted, it takes root & begins to manifest in our minds. before we even realize it, we are scrolling fitness accounts, doing intermittent fasting & signing up for the latest, fitness trend classes just to try & reach that idea of beauty. why are the victoria secret models all size zeros, why are we being blasted with weight loss commercials, why are the kardashians promoting waist training corsets & skinny teas, why do all the kick ass women in the latest, hottest movies all have rock hard bodies, zero cellulite, perfect mermaid hair & are making millions for it. we are praised for dropping pounds & looking chiseled in a bikini. all that teaches us is that we are better for those things. wait.. aren't we are also told that all body shapes & sizes are beautiful too? what're we supposed to believe? are we being told that idea just to justify the fact that our society's beauty standards are still so unrealistic?

i never thought i'd ever be the girl to blame our culture & society for brain washing my idea of beauty. it happened subconsciously & it's happening subconsciously to everyone, especially young impressionable girls. let's get a clue! let's stop commenting on people's weight. you have no idea how they got to that point. maybe it's weight gain or loss, it really doesn't matter. they could be struggling with hormones, eating disorders, over training, stress or maybe they got to that point in a healthy way. regardless, we are all worth more than our bodies appearances & we shouldn't be praised for looking a certain way when it's out of our control or we're killing ourselves to get there. there are so many other things you could comment on. no, i'm not too sensitive, we as a society are just too opinionated. let's be more mindful of our words. 

birthing from my belief that no suffering is ever in vain for a believer, i knew that i'd want to eventually share my story. Romans 5:3-5 says this, "Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." amen, amen, amen. i have been clinging (sometimes slipping) on to that truth & finding joy & hope in the midst of my pain & misery.

for some of you this may come as a shock or maybe it won't at all, but for close to two years now, I have been battling with anorexia nervosa. there is a genetic link to this eating disorder & for quite a few people it's a loaded gun waiting to be triggered. once it's triggered there is no cure, you're either in remission or relapsing. thankfully a life long remission is possible. i won't get into the science or the extremely complex neurological details, but i did want to mention that it's a genetically predisposed condition & not a choice. there is this idea that people have about eating disorders simply because we are very uneducated on them. anorexia is not a choice, a person is not a vain human being for fighting with this sickness, they aren't weak or "messed up." it's an illness just like the rest of them & i did not choose to be sick. some of you may be thinking, "caroline, you don't look anorexic?" i say, "what a blessing!" someone suffering with this disorder doesn't have to be skin & bones. at one point i was at a very unhealthy weight & my mental, physical, emotional & spiritual health all suffered (& still are) because of it. the ugly side of this illness isn't just physical, it effects not only the sufferer, but the friends & family of the one suffering. side effects someone may endure include, loneliness, loss of hair, depression, dry skin, lack of energy, sleep deprivation, anxiety, loss of menstruation, acid reflux, joint pain, low thyroid, low blood pressure, low blood sugar, nutrient deficiencies & so on. i'm not trying to bore you with the details, i only want to inform you. it's ugly, it's brutal & it's a battle.

in september of 2017 i decided it was time to ask for some help. i moved back in with my parents & started to seek out professional help. guys, it's okay to ask for help & it actually shows your strength, not your weakness. i was tired of living in fear of food, saying no to that piece of cake because it'll immediately go to my waist & my worth will somehow be less than it was before, i was tired of saying no to social gatherings because i was afraid of the food that might be associated with them, i was tired of being a slave to the gym because i had to burn off (blank) amount of calories or something terrible (who knows what) would happen. i was tired, i was lonely & i was depressed. living a life to the fullest was what i dreamed of, but this illness was tangled around me, pulling me down every time i tried to get up. it still pulls me down. it's ugly, it's brutal & it's a battle.

it's been eight months since i moved back home. a lot has happened. i've gained some weight. however, i only allowed myself to half way recover. i thought i was good. "okay, you're at a "healthy" weight now. you better not gain any more." you see, in my mind, i was recovered & as long as i didn't gain any more weight i'd be good. i'd be happy, i'd be worthy, loved & wanted. yet i was still living in fear of food. in those eight months i was only seeing a therapist. i didn't want to see a nutritionist. they'd probably tell me i still wasn't eating enough, put me on some type of meal plan & then i'd gain a ton of weight. oh how i wish i could smack some sense into myself sometimes. the thing about any mental illness is that the only person who can change your mindset is yourself. if you're not ready to recover, you won't, no matter who tells you or what they tell you. the truth is, i will probably continue to gain some more weight. my body is damaged & not only does it need to trust me again, but it needs to repair itself. that may mean gaining a few extra pounds (for the time being) than i'm used to or comfortable with in order to fully recover. i have to ignore all the weight loss commercials, summer body exercise routine ads & instagram posts of girls with "killer" bodies (whatever that means). i have to focus on myself, my health & my well being. i have to trust in the process & in my Redeemer because that is what He's doing, He's redeeming my broken body. 

let's fast forward to the now. "control." it's the word i am fighting daily. we aren't called to live a life in fear, we are called to live a life in abundance! abundance in peace & in joy. over the past few months i've slowly been gaining more weight. it's uncomfortable & my clothes aren't fitting the same. by no means whatsoever am i anywhere near over weight. at the same time however, i'm dealing with my ED (eating disorder) thoughts & fears. they're constantly telling me that i am gaining too much weight, that i better stop or i'll be worth less than i was before. i have to fight my old ways of thinking & choose to trust in The Lord, finding my worth in Him alone, because if for one second i give into my old ways of thinking it'll be a downward spiral into fear & restriction. i've allowed myself to recover half way, but that's not enough. personally, i think this second half is the hardest & the scariest. fully, 100% letting go regardless of the outcome & surrendering my control. i am beginning to work with a nutritionist & that's terrifying. letting someone tell you how much food you should be eating & the different kinds of foods, ("fear foods" or ones that i have deemed as "bad") knowing full well that i am going to gain weight (even if it's healthy & needed). that goes against everything our society tells us to do! literally right now there is a commercial on tv telling me how to lose ten pounds before summer. meanwhile, i'm intentionally trying to put on weight. hmm. i have to choose to believe in my beauty, see my "flaws" & love myself anyway. 

i know i am being very transparent, but i think my vulnerability can bring some light on this topic & i think it's important. i've lived it first hand & if my story helps even one person in any way, shape or form, then it was worth it. i don't know what the future holds or what the scale will say in a month let alone tomorrow morning, but it doesn't matter! there is freedom in giving our life to Jesus & allowing Him to take the wheel (s/o carrie underwood). i'm on the road to recovery & it's exciting! it's freeing & it's fun. guys, ice-cream tastes good! chick fill a is bomb, & vanilla lattes are better than just regular lattes, ha! i don't know when this post will be blogged or how many edits i'll make before hand, but i know that when i do decide to share my story, it'll be worth it. my story isn't mine anyways. my story is a reflection of the love & saving grace of my Savior, Jesus Christ. i pray that i'd be able to freely give my life to Christ. it's yours, Lord & not my own. use me in whatever way pleases you! i pray that my story would be used for the glory of my Creator, the One who intricately wove me together. the One who decided my eye color, my body shape, my voice, my life purpose & said, "that it is good." the One who sees my soul, not my earthly vessel & loves me anyway, despite how ugly it can be sometimes. wow.

recovery from anything isn't easy, it's just as much physically painful as it is mentally. it's a daily battle for me, however every single one of us are dealing with battles of our own. this life isn't an easy one, but there is hope! hope in our tomorrow because of the loving & saving grace of Jesus. we are more than our battles. we are more than our earthly beings. we are more than our careers. we are more than our race, gender, size, shape, height, clothes, our partner, our past & our mistakes. we are who Christ says we are. we are beloved, we are loved & adored. we have purpose & our tomorrow isn't ours to control. there is freedom in surrendering. we can't walk through this life alone. i would have thrown in the towel a long time ago if i tried to do this on my own. i'm leaning on the truths of God's word. that's all i need. He is enough. He completes me in all the areas i fall short. He calls me worthy, He calls me beautiful, He calls me to a purpose & equips me to fulfill it. i am enough. you are enough. we have hope & that means we can rejoice even in the midst of our suffering. my story isn't finished yet & in many ways it's only beginning.

Psalms 139:13-14 "For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully & wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well."

Philippians 1:6 "And I am sure of this, the He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ."

Romans 12:12 "Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer."