In “Second Chances,” Smith illustrates an all too common problem, writing that “Growing up, I went to my mother for everything. I didn’t have a relationship with the Lord.” This was a theme that continued on into her relationship with Martin Lawrence, that wove through her desire to win the Miss USA Pageant, and her oft-frustrated dream of hosting her own talk show. These people, important as they were, and these achievements, lofty though they are, could not give the permanent sense of security, guidance, and worth that God could. God gives us our inherent value as created beings. He is our permanent security, our rock-solid guidance. And the best part? He’s not going anywhere. Ever.

Finally dealing with her mother’s passing and allowing God to become her security and guide changed the way Smith interacted with her family. On Mother’s Day, nearly 21 years after her mother’s passing, she was finally able to allow her family to celebrate her. She realized that “just because I had lost my mom didn’t mean my kids should be denied experiences with theirs.” She goes on to write, of her children, that “I would empower them and teach them independence so that when they day came when I was gone, they would be strong…” In this, Smith was given her second chance to become a mother, using her grief to become a better member of her family than ever before, and passing that wisdom along to her children.

Smith’s ministry doesn’t end there, however. Her combined experiences, as well as the mentorship of the various women of her life, led her to found Treasure You, a nonprofit organization dedicated to “supporting women in financial, emotional, or spiritual needs. Treasure You hosts women’s retreats, pays emergency expenses, and helps to meet educational needs. True to its name, Smith’s organization helps women to learn to treasure themselves. Just as importantly, the organization collects and shares many of the stories of its members’ “second chances,” for others to read and learn from. These women, empowered by their own stories, now empower others, and through this, Smith has helped multitudes of women learn to treasure themselves as they should, and to make the best of the difficult experiences of their lives.

That’s not to say that this has been easy for Smith. She writes that, when she first began talking seriously about starting Treasure You, negative thoughts began to creep in—“Who’s going to come and hear you? You’ve been divorced. You didn’t win Miss USA. Your television career hasn’t gone anywhere.” Obstacles appeared and tragedies occurred. But Smith knew that God had a plan for her. In her book, she writes that “We don’t want the stuff that we can accomplish on our own. We want the stuff we can accomplish only through God.” And Pat Smith did just that—she accomplished what God set her out to do, doing more good than she could have ever imagined.

It seems now that those negative thoughts were utterly false. Not only is Smith heard, but she is now heard by thousands, and the thousands that hear her are heard by further thousands. The positive change she has wrought ripples outward through women everywhere, giving them their passion back, giving them a safe place to share and grow, and gifting them with hope for a second chance.

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