Dorothy Savage: A Mountain of Imperfections
By Cheryl Wilcox
The 700 Club
CBN.com- Broadway actress Dorothy Savage is a self-described “failed perfectionist.” Her debut Christian album, ‘Glorious Mess’, represents a transition from acting to recording.
Scott Ross: “I’m intrigued by the title.”
Dorothy Savage: “Yes.”
Scott: “Glorious Mess. Anyone we know here?”
Dorothy: “Yeah. I am a complete hot mess right here. So…”
Scott: “A hot mess, okay.”
Dorothy: “That came from a series of conversations talking with my manager. We started talking about it, and it was a really good fit. And I was like, ‘I’m a complete mess. But God takes it and makes it glorious.’”
“In my home my mother was a very godly woman. She taught me from a very young age to read my Bible and talked to me about Jesus. And so it was always a part of my life. I can’t remember a time when it wasn’t.”
Scott: “Did that bring it into a personal encounter with God?
Dorothy: “Absolutely. Actually, I came to know the Lord when I was four years old.”
Dorothy: “Four. And it was absolutely real and genuine.”
But, that didn’t produce a picture perfect childhood. Dorothy says her life got messy when she was 13 and her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“Everything was in chaos around me. Inside, I was a complete disaster and breaking up and it was very, very dark.”
The only thing Dorothy felt she could control was her eating.
“I began this pattern of kind of extreme exercising and all this. It kind of was small things throughout high school.”
“What happened is when my family started to say, ‘What’s going on? You’re getting too thin.’ I started to try to eat a little more because I was like, ‘Oh, I don’t want to look too thin.’”
By the time Dorothy was a music major in college; her mother was dying of breast cancer.
“Going to school full time and working – I worked 40 hours a week. Then any other time I was home with her. I don’t even remember sleeping.”
“I also hated it because everybody on the outside thought I was so successful as a person. You know, ‘You’re handling your mother’s illness.’ ‘You’re just so strong and going to college.’”
“You know, the bingeing and the hiding food, and you lie. And you do these deceitful things to hide those habits. There’s a part of you that you really hate. It’s really dark.”
Her mother’s battle with cancer eventually ended.
“She was at home in hospice care and I had the privilege of taking care of her until she passed.”
Dorothy’s battle with bulimia continued, as the cycles of binging, purging, and abusing diet pills went on for years.
“There was always that part of me, and I know it was the Lord that was always like, ‘Kid, you better back up here.’ And I knew - I knew it was wrong. I knew that I had to find a way to work through this.”
Exciting things started happening in her life. After college she moved to New York and started her career as an actress and singer, performing in professional theater productions and a national touring company.
But, in the backdrop she continued to struggle with an eating disorder.
Dorothy: “Even though it took me a long time to stop behaviors, I knew the Lord, and I knew the truth.”
Scott: “So how’d you break out of the cycle?”
Dorothy: “Well, I went to several counselors. I came out, told everyone, was like – I told everyone I could find that I trusted, ‘Look, I’m struggling with this. I need help, help, help.’”
Scott: “No one gave you any hope that there was a way through this thing and get out of it?”
Then she turned to God, and cried out: “’This is going to leave my life.’ And I got into the Word. I just started filling myself with it over and over, day and night.”
“And it came to the point where I said, ‘Okay, I may go an hour without bingeing and purging, but if I can do that, that’s great. That’s an hour I’ve gone.’ And then I’d go six hours. And then I’d go a day. And then I’d go three days. And that’s how it went.”
“And then I’d mess up. Then I’d go back and before I’d know it, I’d gone three weeks.”
“And I just began – the Lord just kept telling me, ‘Be patient with your healing. Be patient with the process.’ And as I began to be patient with that healing, I began to be kinder to myself. And the Lord just kept telling me how much He loved me through His Word. And that – the Word of God, and His love just became the ultimate healing thing. But it was a process.”
Today, instead of playing out roles written by others, Dorothy uses music to share her own story of healing and faith.
“Hopefully using all the messes that I’ve been in and have been brought out of, to touch somebody’s heart.”
She finds encouragement from her husband, Phil, and from God – Who brought her through her struggles and into a new found freedom.
“I can stand here today and say that I am 100% completely, blessedly healed. There are days when I just get up and it’ll cross my mind what I’ve come from, and I can’t even believe it. I am so excited and it just makes you want to just grab everybody and go, ‘It’s okay. You can get through this.’"
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