Autumn's Journey -- Huntsville Alabama Portrait Photography HerStory

Autumn is my friend.  She's been my friend for ages and ages.  We played together as children, then when we both grew up a bit we played together as college students, working side-by-side as interns for our church's youth program.  Through the years we've drifted in and out of each others' lives, never straying very far from our shared history and soul sisterhood.

Autumn is now a newly single mom to the most wonderful little boy.  I watched from afar with such joy when she was made a mother.  And I wept for her when her marriage crumbled.  I could say so much about this strong, gentle, and wise woman, but I wanted her to speak for herself.  So here are Autumn's words -- such rich, beautiful words:

"My journey... I was actually just telling my therapist yesterday I can see where I've been and how far I have come.  I feel the strength in that.  But so much of my identity was tied to being a wife that I don't know who I am anymore.  So when I lost that I lost everything I thought I was."

"All I ever wanted was to be married and have a family.  I remember telling my friends after the adoption, if something happened to me, they should know I died happy [because] I finally had everything I ever wanted.  [Eight] months later it all fell apart.  I still have a family but not a family in the traditional sense."

"Single mom is what I use to describe myself now.  And it's sad and depressing some days no matter how far you come.  But I get to find out who I am.  It's been hidden for years. I can't even tell you my favorite color other than soft pink."

"If where I've been helps someone else see that in this moment, it isn't the end of the world, then sharing my story was worth it.  It hurts.  Some days it hurts to breathe.  Some days you literally have to get through 1 minute at a time."

"But today, three years later, I KNOW I'm in a better place.  I KNOW God has something amazing planned for me that I just can't see yet.  I KNOW that life goes on.

"[I want] my story [to] encourage someone else.  I'm not a saint.  I'm not amazing. I simply made it to the other side -- and we have to do that together."