I never had to wonder what I’d be when I grew up, because it sort of all found me at a young age, even though it seemed to have no congruency at first. At age three, I did my first TV commercial. At age eight, I won a ribbon in a 4-H poetry contest writing a poem about Watergate, of all exciting things. At age ten, I somehow knew God wanted me to help others understand Him better, even though all I knew about Him was His rich peace and hope that I was beginning to notice that others on my path did not have. By age thirteen I found the stage and had hopes for a future in television, but the same year I received a neurological diagnosis (epilepsy) that would try to rock my world and change my plans (seeing as how live tv and seizures don't mix). Instead, it would all force me to focus on health and nutrition to stay alive through years of failing medications, prayerfully tricking death more than 80 times when I was unconscious for hours after very violent convulsions, cared for by family each time. Although doctors told me I should be dead, there was a hope I could not shake. I had no idea how valuable this fight would become to my future work as I won the war one battle at a time. I was just trying to live. And live I have!
Remember how I said that live TV and seizures don't mix? Well, I went on to fulfill my dreams of a career in television by becoming a shopping channel TV host on the Shop at Home TV Network at age 41, not to mention starring in dozens of commercials over the decades (and of course, now I have my own television show). I would go on to write 25 books (so far) even though I often feared my brain capacity would diminish or that I would not regain my speech after being unable to talk during and shortly after each episode. I would go back to school after 50 and become a Nutritionist and then eventually a Naturopathic Doctor. But the capstone of the whole saga--the part that proves what doesn't kill you makes you stronger--is that during that time I was forced to create a treatment for my highly electrified brain since no medicine could completely calm the seizures, doing so successfully with essential oils. It would become such a groundbreaking therapeutic blend that beyond just helping my situation, it would go on to receive a patent from the US government, a patent which, I somehow wrote myself. Why? Initially because I could not afford the $20k patent attorney, but eventually it became about giving death another black eye and proving that I was the victor and not the victim in this story. That little oil blend has now become a thriving business with other blends that hit its 1 million dollar mark in 2021. I am proof that dreams comes true if you simply don't give up. I am healthier than I have ever been and honestly, I feel like a teenager. The moral of my story?
Trust me, friend: God never wastes our pain.
Did I mention that during all of this I married at age 18 and had six kids??? And that now I have 12 grandkids? Chris and I have been married for 37 years, and if you were wondering how I survived all those brushes with death and lived to tell about it, he is your answer. What a beautiful -- albeit difficult -- journey we have had. Chris was a record executive in the Music Industry for almost 20 years before leaving that world and stepping into the world of ministry, soon after planting Eastgate Creative Christian Fellowship in Nashville, TN. He is Senior Pastor there. Our children are a multi-faceted mix of all the giftings God has placed in Chris and myself, all with his or her own creative twist. A midwife, a filmmaker and actor, a pastor, a photographer, a musician and an artist manager. They are my trophies, the loves of my life, and I am only what I am today because of their corporate love. With our youngest now graduating college, the house is more quiet than ever before but there is still never a dull moment around "Campsmith." That's what you call a houseful of Smiths! Though the kids grow up and move away, the name stays the same.
We founded Eastgate Creative Christian Fellowship in 2004 with an emphasis on community and creativity, which remain today as the ingredients behind the growing church’s city-wide reputation for creative Christian fellowship. Eastgate is inter-denominational, meaning that people from all backgrounds attend and thrive there, and with my naturopathic guidance on body, mind and spirit health, it is known as the church where you come to get healed and stay healed.. Services last about two hours and include a brief open-mic time when audience members are allowed to bring encouragements, exhortations and edifications to one another, all based on 1 Corinthians 14:3. Eastgate is the people's church. No dress code; just bring an expectant heart!
Come meet us any Sunday in Nashville, Tennessee, at Eastgate Creative Christian Fellowship. Services are at 10am at 633 Shute Lane, Old Hickory, TN 37138.