Confession: In the nine years that I’ve lived in New York City since college, the city has definitely taken its toll on this midwestern gal: I no longer wave at people while jogging (that was embarrassing). I have come to expect efficiency — whether it’s at the grocery store, with traffic patterns, even email correspondences. But lastly, I don’t really allow for much time to simply sit and feel. Because frankly, I don’t have that luxury of time. I’m a young, single woman, and any time not spent working, socializing, or doing what needs to be done to keep my life running, is typically spent sleeping.
So, all that to say, you can imagine my utter surprise, when earlier this week, I found myself with beautiful tears streaming down my face at a praise and worship session at church.
The sanctuary was completely dark, except for about 100 tea light candles. The guitar music and singing were just heavenly. And there I was, with the Holy Spirit breaking through that hardened New York exterior I have, admittedly, allowed to build up over the years.
Praise Before the Breakthrough
When it comes to worship, there’s something really powerful about music. And last night, there was a particular song that moved in my heart.
“I’ll Praise Before my Breakthrough.” And it’s all about how, in the midst of our struggle, or our period of waiting, or when we’re down — that we need to praise God during that time, even before our moment of breakthrough. Even before God delivers us, we need to sing praise to Him because we trust Him and His plan and His perfect timing.
“I’ll praise before my breakthrough
‘Til my song becomes my triumph
I will sing because I trust You
I will bring my heart, I will lift my song.”
Listening to those lyrics, reminded me of a very transformative, albeit desolate, time in my life, 12 years ago. It was when I was recovering from a severe case of anorexia. I was in high school, and I had to go across the country to an inpatient treatment facility for three months. It helped save my life, and rescue the 78-pound girl who was enslaved to an eating disorder that was trying to destroy her.
That time was the most challenging, terrifying period of my life. I had over 30 pounds to gain. The things I saw and the stories I heard at inpatient are things I would not wish on anyone. There were some women there who were detoxing from drug addiction. I heard stories of sexual abuse and other horrific acts of violence. The veil of innocence was ripped from my eyes, and the only way I got through it was by clinging to Jesus.
Delivered in So Many Ways
I didn’t know how I was going to get through that time, but I knew that if I just kept my eyes focused on Him, He would carry me through. It was an instinct that was placed on my heart by the Holy Spirit — that praising before my breakthrough.
Or rather, clinging-tooth-and-nail before my breakthrough.
The reading from Sunday’s Gospel was just the button to put on my candlelit, tearful experience earlier in the week.
“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom, a light has shone. You have brought them abundant joy and great rejoicing…For the yoke that burdened them…you have smashed” (Isaiah 8 & 9).
God really did deliver me and smashed that yoke. Not only did God save my life and deliver me physically from the throes of that eating disorder, but He heard me crying out to him during that suffering, and delivered me, body, mind, and spirit.
I was at the basement of rock bottom, and all I had left was God. So I put my trust in Him. It was the only thing I had left to do.
And just like the song, that praise before the breakthrough — sometimes it is the only thing that gets you through. But, I’ll tell you what—it does.
“When I’m stepping on the sea
I know You take my hand and
Walk with me.”
Now, 12 years later, sitting here as a healthy, whole young woman, one of the most important aspects of my recovery, is praising Him for my breakthrough. Not a day goes by that I do not thank Jesus from the deepest fiber of my being, for delivering me from the dungeon of anorexia. For saving me from the destructive life that I nearly succumbed to.
We have a Savior on whom we can depend. And that is worthy of praise indeed.
About the author:
Caralyn is the writer and speaker behind the blog, BeautyBeyondBones. It has recently been named one of the Top Three Eating Disorder Recovery Sites on the WorldwideWeb. She’s a twenty-something actress and writer in New York City. Having battled a severe case of anorexia and Ulcerative Colitis, she now uses her story of total restoration to positively impact others, and offer Christ’s hope and encouragement for those with eating disorders, and other forms of adversity. Her book, Bloom is now available!