Sunday, March 20, 2011

Passport Through Darkness - A Review

Kimberly Smith was an average American churchgoer, wife, and mother—until she dared to ask God His dreams for her life. Traveling around the world and deep in to the darkness of her own heart, Kimberly’s worst fears collided with her faith as she and her family discovered the atrocities of human trafficking. But it was in that broken place that a self-centered life was transformed into an intentional effort to save thousands from modern-day slavery, persecution, disease, and genocide.

Through painful trials, serious errors, and gut-wrenching fear, Kimberly reminds us of what God will do when one person puts her life on the line for His purpose. Along the way, she inspires you to discover your own story—to live your purpose and feel God’s pleasure. Here you will find courage to live the life God dreamed of when he first dreamed you. 

Kimberly Smith shares her journey of writing Passport Through Darkness

The journey into my own soul was scariest and hardest thing I’ve ever done. Yes, even more challenging than building an orphanage in the war-zone of Darfur, nearly 2,000 miles away from our nearest supply chain in Nairobi, Kenya. My world was rocked not so much by the darkness I had to pass through, but by the beauty I found buried within.

Finding that beauty---glimpses of what God dreamed of for me---changed everything dear to me, but most profoundly my marriage.

I had walked through hell in Sudan to listen to others’ stories, and comfort them with mercy and compassion. But, when it came to my own pain, somehow shame got mixed in there, choking out the truth and driving me to sin and darkness. I couldn’t seem to hear the same God of comfort I heard for others. Fear of being found unlovable, unworthy, plain old “Un,” drove me to lock entire parts of myself away from even those I loved the most.

The woman who defied boundaries—flying straight into war zones—had constructed her own no-go zones within, where even she wouldn’t dare to go. And she hurt anyone who dared to breach the heavily-armed border.

I’d heard Believers referred to as “soldiers” the whole of my Christian life. I just never thought much about it personally…until I realized a battalion of troops had been sent out looking for me. They literally fought to save my life. And while it might sound strange—coming from a woman whose life is supposedly about saving lives—their pushing me to share my story inPassport through Darkness is what ultimately saved mine.  My heart had been broken for the men, women, and children I’d met in Sudan who’d survived trafficking, rape, persecution, and genocide. I felt angry on their behalf that greed, corruption, and oppression stamped out their voice so I wanted to be their voice by writing their stories.  That’s what first set my fingers to the keyboard—to make a place for their story, to honor their suffering, to show their dignity in the midst of it all.

But as I wrote, the cloak of their darkness wrapped itself around me so tightly I often felt paralyzed. There were days and long period of times when I couldn’t separate their pain and shame from my own. I knew much of my stuckness came from the shame that bound me. But still I hunkered down, hiding.

I thought I could control how much I would let others see. I would tell the stories I heard and witnessed, but not my own—especially not my sin. Maybe I even thought somehow I could serve some sort of penance by being the voice for the voiceless, and never have to hear my own, or even remember its sound.

I was wrong. Diving into the darkness of others awakened my own, and each day as I wrote their stories, I found myself coming more undone. I felt out of control. Falling apart. And, desperate for help.

That’s the state I was in when the troops found me: undone. First on the scene was my precious husband, Milton, standing ready. He’d been waiting for years for the walls to collapse so he could finally enter the places I’d shut off from him. God used Milton—and others—to listen, love, guide, confront, press, and hold me until one word, one tear, one memory, one confession at a time my story unfolded like morning glories opening to the rising sun after a long night of darkness. Through the telling I found parts of myself I’d pushed so deep into the darkness that even I didn’t know they existed.

Ultimately, I knew it was not just the stories of modern-day slaves to human traffickers I must tell, but my own story of slavery to fear, shame, and sin—and how God has delivered me, and is delivering me.

I have two prayers for Passport through Darkness. First, that it helps us to save more babies from genocide and slavery. Second, that it helps others to understand God has a unique dream for each and everyone one of us, and He will even descend into the depths of our self-made hell and carry us out to find and live it.

If it’s true that all we Believers are soldiers in His army, then I am nothing more than a Private. Private Kimberly. He withholds no good thing from us, not even from a Private. He sent and is sending troops to fight lies, speak truth, be His Light in my darkness...and yours, too.

Love, your sister along the journey, 
Kimberly Smith

Passport Through Darkness: A True Story of Danger and Second Chances by Kimberly L. Smith

January 1, 2011/ISBN 978-1-4347-0212-8/224 pages/softcover/$14.99

What did I think? Oh my goodness, what an amazing story. Amazing. I loved reading Kimberly Smith's story. Well written and engaging, for an autobiography, it was a good read. 

Smith finds a good balance between sharing the story of the people she serves and revealing her weakness and struggles. I appreciated how Smith was willing to show that life is not perfect, even when we're risking our lives to serve others and God. She shares her passion without laying down a guilt trip... though I'll admit I felt convicted to help the weak and helpless victims in the world.

This book is not for the faint of heart, it does not skimp on the human suffering that Smith saw. I found myself in tears several times. It left me feeling angry and sad all at the same time. I have a huge respect for Smith and her journey. 

Check out the mission's website here or you can read her blog here.

Thanks to the The B&B Media Group for sending me this book for free in exchange for an impartial review.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a very interesting life story! I just heard on the radio yesterday that she is coming to a church in Lynden for a talk at the end of March