Written by: guest blogger, Courtney

It seems the clichéd adage, “expect the unexpected,” has pretty much summed up the journey I’ve been on for the past few years.  Although there was a time when I thought I had my life perfectly planned out, it didn’t take long to figure out just how wrong I had been.

I thought I was in the prime of my life at 26 years old.  I had married at 25, just given birth to my son, and had built a new house for my perfect little family.  The joy didn’t last long however.  By 28, I was a divorcee.

At the time, I was completely blindsided.  “No!  This cannot be happening to me,” I thought, “I had married for life.”

What happened to all of the dreams and plans I had?  My whole world came crashing down on me.

Going through this mess, I experienced many emotions – shock, denial, anger, sadness, embarrassment, and the list continues.  Fortunately, I had a brand new baby boy, and regardless of how I felt, I had to be strong for him.

After a year of trying to reconcile a broken marriage, there came a time when I realized that there was nothing I could do.  Faced with a difficult decision, I ultimately decided that not only did I want a better life for myself, but I needed to create a better life for my son.

I started rebuilding my life from the bottom up, revisiting my dreams and figuring out what I wanted for my future.  I realized that although my life might not have turned out how I planned it, that didn’t mean that I couldn’t make it better.

Following the divorce, there were countless times when I felt alone, and I often wondered if I’d ever fall in love again.  The future had become so uncertain and intimidating to me.  But I found that it’s during these situations in life, when you are forced to step outside of your comfort zone and experience independence, that you are able to truly grow as a person.

Although I was facing a difficult situation, I had a blessing in front of me – my son.  I was now not only a single mother, but a first time mom, learning how to raise a child as I went.  In the midst of my chaos, I had met an amazing group of mom friends – my “guardian angels.”  They helped me stay focused on motherhood.  I took my son out to local playgroups, talked with other moms, and embraced motherhood.

And it’s also then, when you least expect it, that the best things sometimes happen.

I believe people are brought into our lives for a reason.  And it was when I least expected it, but actually needed him the most, that an amazing guy came into my life.  There was an instant connection and bond between us.  But what really struck a chord with me was that there was also an instant bond between him and my son.  It seemed like he was the missing piece that made our family complete.  I have had the pleasure of not only watching this man love my son, and be a positive role model for him, but I’ve also been able to show my son what a loving relationship is.  That is priceless to me.

If there’s anything I want people to take away from my story, it is that not only can you survive a divorce, but that you can make a life for yourself after divorce too.  I can’t explain how many times I felt alone and misunderstood during that time, but there are people out there that do understand.  I never imagined that I would have been married, divorced, and singly raising an amazing little boy all before the age of 29, but I’ve learned that what has happened to me has been a blessing in disguise.  It has shown me that I can get through an extremely difficult situation and be okay – in fact, be better than okay!

I could have never gotten through this difficult situation without the love and support of my family and friends.  I learned to lean on these people because I needed them.  If you are going through a similar situation, please turn to your family and friends for support.  If you know someone who is going through a situation like this, be the support that your friend needs.

I truly believe that everything happens for a reason.  I am a single mother, and I have found true love.  What happened to me didn’t lessen who I am, but made me stronger after experiencing it.

“I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.”
– Maya Angelou.