Sunday, March 20, 2011
Passport Through Darkness
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 in Passport 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 voluntarily walks through the gates of hell. If you can read her accounts without being affected, you should check for a pulse.”
~ Philip Yancey, author of What Good is God? and What’s So Amazing about Grace
“I appreciate your efforts and those of Make Way Partners to rescue and care for the orphans of Sudan. I respect the ministry you lead and the fact that it cares equally for all children, whether Christian, Muslim, African, or Arab. By eliminating the divisors of religion and skin color you exemplify Christian peacemaking.”
~ Jimmy Carter, former US president and founder of The Carter Center
“What you read in this book will be used of God to motivate you to action on behalf of vulnerable children around the world. In the process, as you walk with Kimberly, you may also find perspective, forgiveness and healing in your own life. May God use His servant’s story to His glory. Not only Kimberly’s, but yours and mine.”
~ Randy Alcorn, bestselling author of Heaven and If God is Good
PASSPORT THROUGH DARKNESS is a very hard book to read. It is full of grit, pain, and disgusting truths of life in other countries. It also is a book of hope as Ms. Smith shows us God’s redemptive power heal broken hearts, fill empty bellies, and provide other basic needs.
If you are looking for meaning and a purpose in your life, or just want to read a truly amazing and horrifying account of how God used another person, then PASSPORT THROUGH DARKNESS is a book to pickup. This book isn’t going to be for everyone. But it might be for you.