This Is My Testimony...Cortne' Lee Smith
My plan. Working my good job with all the perks and benefits only ten years away from full retirement with travel, travel, travel.
On September 8th, 2009 my plan met a bump in the road. My husband was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer.
On the night my husband came out of surgery, a call came through from Savannah, GA. My son was in a major car accident. My coworkers in that end of the state sat with him till I could get there.
This put to test my good health insurance (major surgery & chemo treatments) which maxed out fast. Next, a major flooding took place in our home which destroyed the entire basement level.
In addition to all this, I am not suppose to stress. I was diagnosed with a heart condition in 2007, which does not allow me to. But, God has a sense of humor. I laughed often with Him in an effort to not cry. All of this happened back to back, in less than thirty days. Despite it all, I never looked like what I was going through. #godcoveredme
Fast forward two years later, our home was foreclosed on. In 2011, despite numerous hardship requests, the mortgage went up every year. While I had a good job, and received raises and bonuses, the increases were consistent with my performance, not the costs of living.
From homeowners to renters.
I almost forgot to mention, another child was in college that needed some financial support, which of course, was being sent as well. I can remember fasting for 30 days to send grocery funds to help my child through college. #godkeptme
As always, God never allows me to give to Him ( I tithed on every penny that came into the household + stayed committed to an additional offering of a building fund to help with building up God's house ++++ as well as other places the Holy Spirit required me to sow), without recompense.
Summer was approaching and my job opened up an overtime project to work extra hours with a maximum allowance of 32 hours a week. This was just in time to cover expenses for summer camp for the one minor child left at home during the day.
Maybe I forgot to mention what I did for a living three to four days of most weeks...I traveled to various training sites to conduct trainings which required overnight stays or 12-14 hour workdays if I wanted to get back home every night. Signing on for the overtime project two days out of each week, I clocked 20 hour days or I worked two 16 hour shifts over the weekend. God sustained me working an entire year at this rate, until the project ended.
In 2011, a new cancer had metastasized which required additional surgeries and additional treatments. Thank God for extra overtime and savings to cover additional medical expenses.
I was back to feeling like everything was working to plan. Yes, my plan...eight more years to full retirement, everybody back healthy, travel, travel, and more travel.
However, this was not God's plan! On April 4th, 2012 I buried my husband at the age of 48.
90 days later on a train to New Orleans...(let’s be transparent, I didn't have to be on the train but I missed my ride from Atlanta. I was worrying about what people would think of me having fun), I arrived at midnight, perfect timing to see the fireworks show. It was in those moments, I chose to look up and see the beauty that comes in the darkness versus looking down to see the trash left behind from the fireworks displays.
On July 4th, 2012 the Essence Festival helped me find freedom in living my widowhood on my terms. Reality hit that I had been married all my adult life. I spoke to God on this trip that I enjoyed the single life. Navigating through the Essence Festival day events and seeing them through a new perspective of my eyes,
only watching the display of God working in my life.
Somebody reading may be saying " 90 days that's just too fast you haven't healed yet. " Healed probably not. But, my grief load is not so heavy anymore. I am free to explore what I want grief to look like for me.
Everything seemed to be on a better foot. Then, October 4th, 2012, ten concrete stairs decided to fight with me—I lost. I was at work. A workmans comp case was opened. Then just two years later, November 2014, I required shoulder surgery due to this incident. During my eight months recovery, frenemies backstabbing for position (promotion), forced me back to work. In addition to, my family leave time had been exhausted. You read right, FMLA not Work Man's Comp. FMLA was exhausted after my personal leave was exhausted because my job denied me using my Comp time.
From my plan to God's plan. I had to accept that I couldn't push another four years to reach full retirement.
November 16th 2015 was my last day of work on my “good” job.
Here we are in 2019, the case still has not settled nor did I reach my full retirement this year.
What I have done in the last four years?
Married a Widower #loveafterlove
After losing my spouse in April 2012 I met a widower and we married 45 days later December 31st 2012 to bring in a NEW year and a NEW life together. #godstiming
On this journey, I was pushed into reinventing myself. As a part of the reinvention process, I analyzed what was missing along my grief journey walk and began to create messages and programs to facilitate a healthy grief journey to empower the left behind to embrace a new now.
Got Hired on God’s Job #mediaministry
I currently use my voice over the airwaves, as the host/producer of her show: The Master Relationship Mechanic to provide tools to have the best relationship with God, Self, and others. It just received a Gospel Image Award.
Got A Promotion
I’m also a contributor to various magazines that empower Godly relationships and Christian marriages
Similar to my “good job,” I have had the opportunity to travel, travel, travel as an International Speaker and live life under God's retirement plan.
Connect with her at relationshipservicestation.com