The Hidden Life Awakened (pg3)
All right, Lord, I’ve been reading about what a good Christian should do and how I should live my life, but I want to say to You that it’s not working for me. You promised me joy, You promised me peace, You promised me wholeness, and I’m not experiencing any of this. My life is a total disaster. There’s got to be another way. I do not doubt Your promises, but I don’t understand how to find them.
From the depths of our common humanity, this cry of the heart emanates and resonates. Whatever our given lot or chosen path, we have a deep sense that there must be more to life than we are experiencing. And there is so much more. There is treasure hidden within our soul; it is our true self – the person God perfectly and wonderfully created in His image to love and to do His work in the world.
Betty W. Skinner, wrote those words in 1968. Unbeknownst to Betty, a spiritual revolution was brewing within. She was forty-two years old, a mother of four, wife of a very successful businessman and community leader, suburban socialite, Sunday school teacher, civic volunteer – and crippled by debilitating depression.
In 2007, I was forty-four years old, a mother of four, wife of a beloved chaplain and community leader, Discipleship Coordinator for the Children’s Ministry at church, a daily journal-keeper, a budding writer, a weekly Bible study teacher – and I, too, was crippled by debilitating depression.
With my beloved dream life having recently eroded, I smiled on the outside, but felt deep pain within. I shuffled through the motions, a wife, a mom, a believer, but inside my heart felt lonely, intensely heavy and strangely hollow. Few words shed light in my inner darkness, until I met Betty’s voice on the first page of The Hidden Life Awakened. Captivated by her deep spiritual journey, a special friendship started blossoming between Betty and me. As I read about Betty’s suffering, unbeknownst to me, a similar revolution was brewing beneath my skin.
In a season of deep darkness, I felt known, accepted, and supported in the midst of my silent suffering. Though I am an undiagnosed dyslexic, just like Betty Skinner, I devoured this holy book, hour after hour, page after page, as new life and my true self quietly awakened into the endless Love of God.
This beautiful poem she wrote in her later years is a gift of sweet hope to us all.
It’s different now from then
When fear and darkness reigned
And I was framed in pain
My soul starved
All spokes turned inward
The hub was gone.
You looked with love upon me
A gaze which blazed its way into my heart
A thread of hope illuminated my darkness
Such mercy slowly set me free.
Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God. He is your life. (Col. 3:3, MSG)
May this profound Mystery awaken each one of us…. Sue
Sue Allen is a daily blogger (SueToYou.com), a trained spiritual director, a team member for our Awake To Wholeness Women’s Retreats, and a board member of BWS Ministries, a non-profit charity formed to carry on Betty Walthour Skinner’s lasting legacy.
Have you also felt known, accepted, and supported by Betty’s wisdom in the midst of your own season of silent suffering? If you feel drawn to share your own story of spiritual revolution, please feel free to correspond with Sue personally and privately at firstname.lastname@example.org.