Beautifully Broken: Forged Through Fire, Up From Ashes
On this blog, I have an ongoing series called Trials to Triumph. That’s where I get to interview different people and hear their stories and their journey of overcoming difficulties and trials and how God walked them through it. Recently I had the opportunity to interview live on Facebook, the lovely Kimberly Smith. She is the founder and president of Beautifully Broken x3. It’s a ministry that she has with her two adult daughters. Prior to that, Kim was also the founder and CEO for over 15 years of Journey to Dream, a nonprofit organization for teens that was started and inspired by her and her daughters’ story. Now she shares some of that story in her newly released book, Beautifully Broken: Forged through Fire, Up from Ashes.
Catch excerpts from our interview below as we discuss the book and journey through Trials to Triumph.
What inspired you to write it? What made you decide to share your story with the world?
With Journey to Dream, which you mentioned, and that was a nonprofit that I started because of some things my daughters had lived through and I wanted to help other children that were struggling with addiction, destructive behaviors. Through those 15 years, I got really good at telling the stories for Journey to Dream. Part of that was my story, but it was only a very tiny part of my story. I would say about five, six years ago,
I had a couple of people start asking me, “why don’t you share your story? We’d like to hear more about your entire story.”
And I did at a women’s retreat and I would say that it was a bit of a flop. I really knew the minute I did it. I thought I am not in a place to do that. And so I really prayed, you know, Lord keep me from speaking until you have done the healing or the work or whatever needs to happen until you want me to speak again.
So in 2018, I guess I was asked to speak at our women’s luncheon. And that was really the first time that I told my whole story. I just felt God put on my heart, tell your story, tell your stories. And I thought, you know, I love writing. I much prefer writing than I do being on camera or anything. So I started writing it and it was just very depressing. And every time I would sit down to write, I thought, “I don’t even like reading this. Why would somebody else want to read? This is just a downer.”
In January of this year, I did a really cool 31-day devotional and prayer time with a group of women. During that time, I just was really grappling with it and praying about it.
I just felt the Lord say, “tell our story, Kim, not your story, our story”.
It was like, wow, that I can get behind. And then COVID happened. I had just stepped down from Journey to Dream, from my position there. And so it was, trying to find my way and what was next. And so it was just a good season, to buckle down and write the book. So I did.
The title, Beautifully Broken: Forged through Fire, Up from Ashes. What does that title mean to you? How did that come about?
Well, there’s a song by Plum called Beautifully Broken and I heard it, I heard it a long time ago obviously, but then I heard it again probably two years ago. My daughters are 26 and 23. And so they had had some years of struggle and suffer and just some really dark season that they both went through that they were kind of coming out of that and they were getting the healing and the therapy and, everything that they needed to try to start to heal some brokenness in their own lives that they had lived through. And so when I heard that song I wrote it down and I was like beautifully broken. I love that term. And I thought that is so how I feel. I feel like my story has just been brokenness after brokenness, like so many of ours.
We can’t still be on the planet very long, not experiencing it. But the x3 was the three of us. I kind of had this vision of the three of us telling our story together someday. And we haven’t, so that’s hopefully still to come. The girls are both great writers and they are still shy about writing. Both of them keep thinking they need to completely evolve or be there, wherever there is, to write. And so I’m trying to push them a little harder in that, because they’re just, again, they’re just beautiful writers and they’re very talented. So that’s why the Beautifully Broken x3.
About the subtitle, Forged through Fire, up from Ashes. In your book, you talk about how you had to go into the Forgers fire a few times. What was that like to find yourself in there?
There were definitely seasons in my life. I went through a very traumatic murder when I was 10 years old and I can still remember. Then I went through a divorce because of infidelity in my twenties, and that was really a time of depression and sadness and just a lot of angst that I didn’t get the healing that I needed. I just kind of pull my pants up by my bootstraps or however you say it and kept going and jumped into being a single mom and career woman, and just started doing that.
Then I had a really great season where I just fell in love with Jesus. And so there were tons of healing in my life and just great things. But I had been a single mom for 10 years and I was getting weary. I was running a nonprofit and I just wanted somebody to do ministry with me.
So I started praying “Lord, I would really like a pastor or somebody in ministry.” And so I ended up meeting my second husband and he was a pastor low and behold. And so immediately when I met him, I was like, just it, “thank you, Lord”. This is the guy. But our marriage also ended in infidelity and betrayal. And I think that for me, it was just really having to sit in that, and the timeframe that it was going on and the discovery process and all of that I got very clinically depressed just to the point where I couldn’t get off the couch. I was achy my whole body hurt. And it was just a really difficult time. Both times during my divorces, during some dark seasons for my daughters,
I just knew God was there and I just knew somehow he was going to get me through this time and that I would get to another side of it at some point.
But it doesn’t happen overnight. There’s so much that goes on and so much healing. I went to therapy for a long period of time. I was in a support group with women for a long time and all of that work. Now I can look back and say, “Ooh, that was so awesome”. But in the middle of it, it was horrible.
In this book, you go over a lot of and reflect on some of your past, including the hurts and the trauma and the difficult stuff. What was that like for you, reflecting on that and try writing about it?
I did a lot of really hard work for a long period of time to get to a healthy place. And even though I felt like I was in a really healthy place when I would start writing about my childhood it was triggering. I mean, all of a sudden I would feel sad or I would feel that worthless feeling or whatever it was. And so, honestly, it wasn’t until I felt the Lord say, “write our story”, that I could look at it from both sides. I saw I could go through the hard stuff, but at the same time, I could also talk about how I saw God’s hand on my life when I looked back at 30, let’s just say, and looked back at my childhood, and my teen years. He showed up so many times. I didn’t know it then, but now I do.
It was definitely hard. And I think that if you’re going to give your testimony or tell your story, or write a book or anything like that, you have to do it from a healthy place. Because I think, for those of us that have trauma in our past, and I had some sexual abuse and things like that, it’s just too triggering. I think that and prayer, I have a main group of girlfriends that prayed me through.
That’s amazing. In the book, you provide so many great insights and lessons from each page. I really love that. Every chapter has questions to consider and the lessons learned. If you were to pick just one, what would you say is the core message or core lesson that you want the readers to learn?
I think it’s two-fold, but it’s the same thing. It’s just that we really seek and find our identity in Christ and that we understand who we are as women, as daughters of God. And just that I think when you know, that, you know, that, you know, who you are in his eyes and what he says about you there’s very little that can shake you. There are definitely things that can take you down, but I think at your core once you get that, you know you can overcome because you have Jesus, you have that power living inside of you. We have that to fall back on and to tap into. And so I think that just finding that out so that we can bravely be the women that he created us to be.
In this ministry, I talk a lot about going on a healing journey. I’ve definitely seen that in your story of being beautifully broken. What would you say was the hardest part of your healing journey?
I think it was realizing that I played a role in so much of it. I think that it was easy for me to say, well, he cheated or this happened or whatever, but I think from a healing standpoint, I really had to look at, okay, where did that woundedness come from? Especially the negative self-talk that we have in our mind. I had a pastor that walked me through, “what is the negative message that you hear, or that you tell yourself?” And I thought “you’re worthless or invisible”, there were several things.
So I really had to go back and figure out where did that come from? Was it an experience that I had as a child that made me feel worthless? Was it something somebody said to me that made me feel invisible or whatever it was, not enough? And really uncover that. I think that tripped me up so much. And I became just this really codependent “I’m going to save and fix everyone.” Then there was this martyr almost in me of “look what I’m doing and look how good I am.” And so in the healing process, it was really just looking at the ugliness of all that.
I have one thing that Beth Moore said, that I say all the time. She had you really ask yourself, “am I doing this to glorify me, or am I doing this to glorify God?” I really started doing that on a regular basis. And I was just sickened by how often I was trying to glorify me. So for me, it was just really peeling back the onion. Where’s the pride where, where are the issues that I needed to deal with within to change my heart?
On the other side of this healing journey, what has been the best part for you?
I will say that once I really did the hard work and that was several years, it wasn’t something that just happened in six months of counseling. My relationship started to change and look different. And I think for one, I’m a different mother, really, to be honest.
I think that my daughters did not benefit from my recovery or me getting healthy. They were 15 and 17, I think when I started on that journey. And so, they saw a lot of my unhealthiness, even though we were memorizing scripture and we were going to church every Sunday and all that. They still saw this unhealthy woman that was just striving, striving, striving, and, you know, desperate for love or whatever it was. So I think that today on the other side and in a healthy place, my boys are being raised by a very different type of mother. That’s probably one of the best.
I think that when you do the work and you really start to figure out how God wired you and the way that you are and you accept it and embrace it, you know, I like myself and I don’t think that I could say that for much of my life. So I think that today to be able to say, I like who I am and I have these weird, quirky things about me, or I’m not supposed to be in a suit and heels and a career woman. I’m not a country club, girl, or anything like that. So I just kind of embraced the way God made me.
There are many women that will relate to your story and many of them might find themselves in similar situations right now. What’s one encouragement can you give them?
God has not forgotten you. He is there, he will walk through this season and this fire with you. I think that you matter, and knowing that you are enough and you do matter and that it’s so important that you seek the healing that you deserve. I feel like we all deserve it. And God wants that. He wants us to be whole and healthy so that we can help other people that are in the same pit I was in.
I also had women that came alongside me. And I had books that I read that, you know, all of a sudden, I thought, well, I’m not absolutely crazy. I want this book to be that, to feel like you’re not alone. Pain is universal, right. I mean, we all go through things. And so it’s just a matter of, cleaning of the Lord. Trusting Him when he puts a resource for healing in front of us or opens that doo; go through it. And I would just have the courage to continue to heal and do what you need to do to be healthy and happy.
What a truly beautiful and encouraging story. It is certainly evident that it’s not only your story but God’s story. You can see that throughout the book. To listen to our full Facebook Live Interview click here.
You can also hear more from Kim and her daughters at Beautifully Broken x3: beautifullybrokenx3.com