Book Review “The Hidden Life Awakened” | Martha Tate, LCSW

The Hidden Life Awakened
By Kitty Crenshaw and Dr. Cathy Snapp
Book Review by Martha Tate, LCSW

When Betty Walthour Skinner was 42, her doctor told her, “You have a hole in your soul.”

Clinging only to her faith and a glimmer of hope, she journeyed from desperate clinical depression to wholeness and profound wisdom-well before anti-depressants and mindfulness were mainstream. Emerging science now affirms that the organic path Betty traveled in the following decades has the power to heal the broken body, mind, and spirit. By changing her thought patterns, Betty changed her life. – Excerpted from

“The Hidden Life Awakened is a work of love, revealing the many facets of this remarkable woman: her life story, her insights and guidance, and her beautiful poetry. Betty Skinner will touch your heart in profound and healing ways.” says Gerald May, PhD., Psychiatrist and author of Dark Night of the Soul; Addiction and Grace; and The Awakened Heart.

Betty Skinner was a modern-day Christian mystic whose life story shows us how an ordinary person can evolve through a life time of dedicated spiritual practice from the depths of despair to the height of spiritual joy, love, and wisdom.

95 years ago, Betty Skinner was born into a genteel Alabama family whose social standing was prescribed and girls were expected to be pretty, steel magnolias devoted to the social graces of pretty dresses, lovely parties, donning coquettish smiles and shunning any kind of work. Her sociable mother fit the mold perfectly and expected Betty to do the same.

Trouble was, Betty didn’t.

She hated those pretty dresses. Betty preferred the company of her introverted father, the only parent who truly understood and valued her.

They were made of the same cloth.

She loved him with her whole heart and with him she felt seen and accepted. He was the sponsor of her true-self.

Betty’s mother was relentless in her campaign to train Betty out of being herself.
Betty adapted as best she could.

She did what we do. She built a false self in attempts to please and win the affection she craved.

Thus was the formation of her false-self.

Betty’s grandmother, Nannie, was a quiet, unassuming woman who was deeply in love with God. She was Betty’s spiritual mentor and guided Betty right into the heart of God.

Betty’s God-self was formed.

Betty’s early life was shaped in the conflict between these different aspects of herself. It was a shaky foundation. One that could not cope with the subsequent suicides first of her father and years later her beloved brother. Over time, Betty buried herself in her false self and, though she appeared successful and accomplished to the world, internally she was slowly collapsing into depression.

Finally, at the age of 42 she checked herself into a psychiatric hospital and began her decades long healing journey.

Through years of Christian contemplation, study, prayer, mediation, walking and developing healthy life patterns, Betty healed.

She says this about her journey; “I had to learn to trust the darkness of new birth. I didn’t always see it, but new life was being birthed; it was underneath the darkness and the pain. But trusting this ground underneath, I began to find so much hope that there was no longer the need to run or the possibility of hiding. My real work was to stop my resistance and be willing to go through the pain of inner death before the end of my physical life. What was dying was my false-self. What was being birthed was my true-self.”

Betty Skinner died this year, 2022, having birthed her true-self through realization of her God-self.

Her message to each of us is this:
“The wondrous reality is that you are a marvelous spiritual being freely embodied with the Holy Spirit and the power to transcend yourself and perform miraculous acts of love and courage and creativity.” HLA

Kitty Crenshaw and Dr. Cathy Snapp, co-authors of The Hidden Life Awakened, were mentored by Betty Skinner throughout their young adult life and ensuing decades. Together they bring Betty’s life and teachings to us in this uniquely designed book. Each chapter weaves together the story of Betty’s life, poetic illuminations from Betty, and a summary section by Dr. Cathy Snapp which teaches us the science underpinning the practices that led Betty finally to her desired state:

“Healthy body. Serene mind. Powerful spirit.
Created in love and recreated in mercy.”
Dr. Paul Tornier


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