This Is My Testimony...Cortne' Lee Smith
Updated: Jul 7
My plan was to work my good job with all the perks and benefits for only ten more years until retirement and then travel, travel, travel.
On September 8, 2009, my plan met a bump in the road when 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 sat with him until I could get there.
My good health insurance maxed out fast. Before we could catch our breath, we had a major flood in our home which destroyed the entire basement.
In 2007, I was diagnosed with a heart condition which does not allow me stress without major consequences. But God has a sense of humor and I laughed with Him often in an effort to not cry. All of this happened in less than thirty days, but through it all, I never looked like what I was going through. #godcoveredme
Two years later, our home was foreclosed on. Although I had a good job and received raises and bonuses, the increases were consistent with my performance, not the costs of living. Not to mention we had another child in college in need of financial support. I can remember fasting for 30 days just to send them groceries. Despite numerous hardship requests, the mortgage went up every year and we couldn’t keep up. #godkeptme
As always, God never allows me to give to Him without recompense. I tithed on every penny that came into the household, stayed committed to an additional offering of a building fund, and continued to sow in other places as the Holy Spirit directed me.
My job opened up an overtime project just in time to cover expenses for summer camp for my youngest child who was left at home during the day.
I was travelling to various sites to conduct training that required overnight stays or 12-14 hour work days if I went home every night. The overtime project had me clocking 20 hours days, God sustained me for an entire year until the project ended.
I was back to feeling like everything was working according to my plan. Now, I have eight more years to retirement, a healthy family, and travel, travel, and more travel. However, God had another plan. In 2011, a new cancer had metastasized in my husband's body which required additional surgeries and additional treatments. Thank God for extra overtime and savings to cover additional medical expenses, but on April 4, 2012 I buried my husband at the age of 48.
Ninety days later I went to the Essence Festival in New Orleans. I took a train as I was fearful of what people would think of me attempting to have fun so soon after losing my husband. I arrived at midnight which was the perfect time 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.
That 2012 Festival helped me find freedom and live my widowhood on my terms. I had been married all of my adult life and this trip was the first time I enjoyed the single life. I was able to navigate through the Essence Festival events see them with a new perspective and watch God work 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. October 4, 2012, ten concrete stairs decided to fight with me and I lost. I was at work so a workman’s comp case was opened. Two years later in November I had shoulder surgery due to this incident. During my eight months of recovery, frenemies, backstabbing for my position, forced me back to work. My FMLA was exhausted, my personal leave was exhausted and my job denied use of my Comp time.
I accepted that I couldn't push another four years to reach full retirement. November 16, 2015 was my last day of work at my “good” job.
After losing my spouse in April 2012 I met a widower and we married 45 days later December 31, 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 process, I analyzed what was missing along my grief journey and began to create messages and programs to facilitate a healthy grief journey to empower the left behind to embrace a new now.
I got hired on God’s job. #mediaministry I currently use my voice over the airwaves as the host/producer of the show: The Master Relationship Mechanic. This show is purposed to provide tools to develop the best relationship with God, self, and others for which we received a Gospel Image Award.
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 me at relationshipservicestation.com