The day was warmer than expected for it to be late November in Atlanta. Well it wasn’t really Atlanta; it was north of Atlanta but it felt like the middle of nowhere, the kind of place you go to take a break from civilization. It all kind of seems like a blur now. My younger sister was getting married to a man she had introduced me to a few months ago. They hadn’t been dating long and the engagement was quite short but if I saw nothing else in my sister’s eyes that morning, I saw certainty. She was sure about the decision she was making.

There were less than fifteen of us there. My brother made a surprise visit and walked my sister down the aisle. The officiant did a wonderful job. In such an intimate setting, you could feel the love my family had for my sister. She may have been sure, and although happy for her, we weren’t as certain. That’s the thing about love and marriage though. The only people who have to be sure and confident in their choice, are the two people making the commitment.

The commitment my sister made that day was made with forever in mind. She committed to a future full of understanding and joy, laced with experiences and forgiveness, fueled by the promise of love. Knowing ups and downs would come, she could have never anticipated the end would be divorce but it was. And it was absolutely devastating. That future she envisioned on that beautiful November day was no longer and she had to figure out a way to re-envision a new future for herself, by herself.

How did you feel when you realized you were definitely getting a divorce?
Even though I knew I was going to get divorced it didn’t seem real at first. It’s like feeling you’re in a fake reality but it really ends up being your life. Initially, I felt like I was just a person helping someone with their divorce. It didn’t become real to me until I saw my name on legal documents. Then it felt like my world was crashing and I have no choice but to let it crash. But I also kept in the back of my head that, if it all crashes then I can rebuild it however I want.

What was the hardest part about going through a divorce?
The hardest part about going through a divorce is grieving the life you thought you were going to have; doing life without this person even though you know they’re not good for you. When I have new experiences, I’m excited about them but there is also a part of me that is sad because I’d pictured doing these new things with him. Those moments are constant reminders that I’m not where I thought I’d be but they’re also reminders of how far I’ve come and I’m proud of that.

What did you learn about yourself as you went through the divorce process?
1. God really does not take you out of a bad situation and put you in another bad situation.
2. I learned that my support system really loves and supports me. It’s okay to lean on them when things are too heavy for me to carry alone.
3. Throughout the divorce, I was able to forgive myself for some of the decisions I made. This led to me rebuilding trust in myself and being okay making mistakes and just doing the work to correct them along the journey.

What would be your advice to someone going through a divorce?
Stay true to yourself. You know the ins and outs of what you’ve been through so you’ll know what to do.

What are you looking forward to regarding your future?
I look forward to enjoying whatever God has in store for me, like really appreciating and enjoying life; living and not just existing.

Around the time my sister was going through her divorce, a close friend was also going through a divorce. I knew people who had been divorced but I never had such an up-close view of the experience. Watching my sister and my friend question their judgement, make decisions they never thought they would have to make, doubt their abilities, and combat the feeling of failure was heart-breaking. I am so proud to call my sister, my sister (and my friend, my friend) and to watch her overcome her own fears. That certainty about life I saw in her eyes on her wedding day had faded away and been replaced by shadows of doubt. I’m happy to see that certainty returning back and those doubts fading. If I’m being honest, supporting someone going through a divorce isn’t easy. You want the best for them and sometimes you think you know what’s best for them (most of the time you don’t) and it’s just hard to watch them struggle through such a major life change. Just as my sister had to trust the process, I did too. I had to trust that God would see her through and He did.

Isaiah 61:3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.