Hi, it’s me again. Except it’s not really the same me that you all have come to know through my writings. My narrative is different now, my life looks nothing like what I had expected, and my purpose has shifted. Before January 12th, 2016, I was Andrew Smith’s wife, caregiver, and biggest support. I was the voice you heard through Kicking Cancer with the Smiths through the highs and lows of our battle with cancer. I was the smiling face you saw alongside my seven-foot tall husband, constantly beaming with pride and usually wiping tears from my cheeks from laughing so hard. I miss being that girl. I miss that genuine joy. I miss that life. But life today looks completely different from then, and life tomorrow will probably look completely different from today. So goes grief.
The two most common questions I get asked are “how are you doing?” and “what are you doing?” To answer the how: I’m hanging in there and, honestly, doing the best that I can each day. Some days my best does not even come close to pulling me out of bed, and other days I feel pretty unstoppable. To answer the what: this. Samantha Smith Speaks is my what now, my option B, my backup plan. When I’ve reflected over the past year and half as to what has brought me joy again and what caused a spark of life back to my soul, the one and only answer has been encouraging and empowering people in their own journey. I’ve been so blessed with incredible opportunities from speaking at various women’s conferences to doing a TEDx Talk. This new sense of purpose has become abundantly clear. Friends, that clarity scares the heck out of me, but it also offers some relief. I’ve been aimlessly wandering around for the past eighteen months, wondering what I was to do with myself now that I’ve lost everything I’ve known and loved about the life I had. It feels good to have a new “why.” It feels good to have a sense of purpose again.
Here’s the thing, I know that this is going to come with some backlash and naysayers. I know that there will be people reading this and subsequent posts, and they will scoff and call me opportunistic. But here’s the other thing, regardless of any negativity I may receive, it was not going to sit well with my soul if I never pursued what I truly feel is this new calling in a new season of my life. It was not going to sit well with me if I didn’t feel like I encouraged as many people as I could, loved on as many hearts as I could touch, or empowered as many searching souls that I could reach. My journey with Andrew projected me onto this platform of influence; some days I have fought that, and some days I have even resented that. But, I have reached a healthy frame of mind in knowing I can’t someday leave this earth with anything but empty hands having served as many people as possible. I have reached a healthy mindset of knowing I have been entrusted with this pain, these life lessons, and Andrew’s legacy. I have also reached an extreme point of clarity in knowing that my life cannot revolve around cancer. My marriage and journey with Andrew will always be intertwined in everything that I do and I honestly wouldn’t want it any other way, but it isn’t healthy for my mind or heart to forever devote my life to cancer.
So what is Samantha Smith Speaks? The purpose behind this is to come alongside and empower people in their journeys through speaking engagements, writings, and consulting. My heart is to meet people where they’re at in life and empower them through what I’ve learned in my own life struggles and challenges that I have faced. We all know the saying, “To whom much is given, much is required.” It’s not lost on me how much I’ve been entrusted with. It’s also not lost on me that bearing the weight of that responsibility is heavy, but the responsibility can also lead to some powerful breakthroughs for others if I walk through this journey intentionally and purposefully. I can’t even begin to express how much joy it brings me when I get the privilege of speaking, and I am ready to be stepping into more of that. I also can’t begin to tell you guys how much I have missed sharing my heart through writing and am beyond excited to be able to do that again in a much lighter and more positive manner. I have a list of blog post topics that I can’t wait to tackle. I hope you guys are as excited for this next step in my journey as I am, and I hope and pray you will come along with me for it. My gratitude for everyone’s unending love and support over the past few years is something I could never put into words. Thank you all for loving me through hardship, grief, and day-to-day life. I can’t wait to do the same for you now.