Awake, Inc.

ABOUT Penelope Batts

This section is supposed to be about me, and as much as I want to introduce myself, it is impossible without introducing you to who I am in Christ.  This brings me pause.  I am overcome with the gratefulness one has, when receiving a great and unmerited gift. My true identity is now in Him, which He powerfully developed through many means, one being my childhood.  

My family is best described as a Kaleidoscope of personalities, saved and unsaved people brought together by God for my good and blessing.  I am who I am, because of them.  Some of my own [six] children might have something to say about that.  It might not be all that complimentary.  While I certainly have my regrets, I also rejoice at the truth of Christ, to whom I now belong.  I am new again, born again and sanctified daily.  I am now able to combine a healthy remorse at my past with a comforting humility that surrounds me like a warm blanket, reminding me of who I could still be without Him.  

An awareness of one’s sin allows a reserve not to judge others in theirs.  People who have fallen deeply will understand that this is a gift beyond them.  One cannot help but be humbled with such a past, for truth compels humility.  It is not a matter of sanctimonious self-righteousness, it the precious result of sanctification. Therefore, I dig, I seek and I follow.  [Pro. 2:1-4]

I looked for the understanding that would have preempted much of my foolishness, as well as my vulnerability to the foolishness of others. Through His “amazing grace” I am led to continue this new life and identity. 

Hmm, well I did not start out dreaming of doing what I am doing.  I hoped to be a dancer and musician.  I dearly love these things today, yet providence and pain divinely destined another path geared at producing a surrendered soul.  And so, having made an abundance of poor choices, both relationally and behaviorally, I came to the irrefutable conclusion that left to myself, without the grace of God, I was the poster child for “clueless."   I do not make these observations tritely. For this realization also brought me merciful relief.  In fact, my freedom took flight after a healthy distrust of myself combined with my deep need of Him. So, to say, “He has all the answers,” is an understatement. He has prepared for me, what I could not see or hear, think or do.  [1 Cor. 2:8-10]

Folks express this common sentiment, but from different perspectives. One, by those content with a socially acceptable conviction and well-chosen "one-liners."  Another, by those of us who have actually discovered the depth of this truth juxtaposed against the deception of our own self-sufficiency. 

I could also characterize myself as having come from a typical broken home, In fact, more broken than most, when I consider the children's home, foster home, receiving home and stepfathers.  Lest you think ill of my parents, I’ll stop you right there.  Discernment provides the wisdom to understand that generations of people influence who we become, regardless of their walk with Christ.  It is one of the secondary means God uses to invoke HIS divine plan for our lives.  

Father’s choices compromised his health and ended his short life.  Mother, suffered and slaved.  Learning from her choices, she also presented an example of resolve and focus, regardless of circumstance.  How grateful I am that God allowed her to be my mother; how grateful still, that I was divinely empowered to love her and not judge her choices.  How grateful I am that she had the grace to forgive my times of dishonor and judgment.  We are rewarded with a love for each other, without holding "accounts."       
True is the verse, "perfect love casts out all fear". [1John 4: 13-18] My faith is defined by a reverent gratefulness. 
Only by divine grace am I able to apply this in all of my relationships with a resulting power beyond myself; all of it evidencing HIS glory.   

I was being prepared, though I never saw this.  Even from the womb, I was being prepared.  Sooner than most, I learned to get along with another sibling, my twin brother!  I was being prepared to understand, learn, and then share what I had learned.  

Of course, learning to surrender can be a slow process. I was given my own 45 year, "season in the desert."  There, I had to replace sinful confidence with the boldness that only comes with an identity in Christ.  I saw that the madness and stupidity of relational nonsense could be minimized, if not prevented.  [Eccl. 7:24-25] I had to replace harsh attitudes toward those who complained too loudly about their pains with compassion. 
Then, compassion for those who sin or suffer combined with passion.  Why?  I saw that Christ was astoundingly, frighteningly, and awesomely real.  He has an identity plan that begins with an intimacy in 
Him.  I finally understood the profound difference between a "socially acceptable conviction" and a true intimacy with Him that takes me into His confidence. It’s the difference between a religion and a relationship. [Ps. 32; Pro. 3:32]

Through failures in my marriage, mothering, and relationships, I was learning these things.  Experience married a heart-change that gave birth to a drive beyond me.  Now I wanted to know everything God had to say about this life and this heart.  Now, I was driven to discover who I really am, In HIM!  So, you see, I am getting to know who I am too.  

ABOUT THE WORK - Formation of Awake

Now, about the work.  Initially our work was born out of a family crisis; then grew to encompass other relevant areas of relational dynamics.  I was led by God and through His Word, to discover and recover from the patterns of abuse and Domestic Violence that had defined my life. I also needed to understand patterns in my own behavior that may have justified or enabled abuse.  I wanted to understand everything about this situation and my life from God's point of view.  I no longer trusted any of my own perceptions.  I also had to shift from a world of coping to a conquering world. Victory really is in Jesus.

Yet, this path is an individual's own. Even in marriage, I learned that my husband's process of change was his alone. He had rights to his choices and the consequences of those choices, as do I.  That reality freed me up to focus on setting loving boundaries that allowed me to love him from a safe distance or for him to change and recover, should he decide to accept the  "mission."  Firing myself from being my husband's Holy Spirit, I focused completely on my own "logs."  In the process, I learned where I was at fault and where I was not. 

During this time of diligent reading and studying, which happily continues to this day, I asked everyone I met if they knew of a bible study or a Christian program that would address the minutia of relational dynamics found in marriage. I had read books and listened to tapes and heard of marriage retreats, yet none of them got real with the issues.  My problems were unrelenting and raw.  I needed training to match.  I needed more than what I had been taught on headship and submission.  That “one size” did not fit all.  There had to be more to it than just submit to everything. THERE CERTAINLY WAS!  GOD HAD PLENTY TO SAY AND IT CHANGED MY LIFE.  Submit..."as is fitting unto the Lord" was given added relevance.  I discovered that I had to use the whole counsel of God's Word. However, I did not feel qualified to teach about this, so I continued to ask around.  Yet, the answer was always the same, "Sorry, NO!" 

Though a marriage license only requires two warm bodies and blood test, God has shown me that marriage also requires wisdom, knowledge, and relational skills.  [Philippians 1:9-11]
It is one of the most rewarding relationships you will have, yet it can be dysfunctional in many ways.  God's grace allowed me to apply my mind to study as if my life depended on it. In fact, my life did depend on it.  I would have a PhD. by now if the course loads were offered anywhere.  I hope that it will be some day. 

Therefore, when we moved to our new church home, God's providence opened opportunities for us to serve the leaders on serious cases.  Women needed information. Men needed support as well.  I was asked to bring the notes and writings I had done over the years to share with them.  A class was born. 

During this time, I would revisit my support group in Cherokee County, Ga.  One of the women asked, "Why don't you come up with a name?"  I knew on the way home what that name would be, "AWAKE."  I gave it this acronym, AQUIRING WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE EXCELLENTLY!   

God's providence also brought others to come along side me in my work.  Deedee Morton was the first woman I met who encouraged me to write more.  She organized my thoughts into a wonderful little booklet for the women in the class. Ingalill Atala was my second student.  Her encouragement and skill led me to break my staunch refusal to learn about the computer.  She also formulated a business plan, starting me on an official path.  Less than three years later, I had a website and finished four books.

Now I am working on my 8th book. I am teaching classes to women, men and clergy, planning or speaking at conferences and events, producing brochures and branching out into the local high schools.  Case Planners, Books, and Manuals are available to Christian churches of all denominations to shepherd hurting families in any kind of crisis.  I served on two DV (Domestic Violence) Task Force groups in my community, serving on the Faith and the
Fatality Review


Now what happened to my husband, John?  Well, he chose to accept the "mission.” Ita Dore’ of Cherokee Center for Change worked with us both, literally changing our thinking about many things.  It took filtering through countless LPCs to find her.  Years later, I cannot find another better in the field. 

John has such an amazing testimony.  You can obtain a copy of the DVD on this website.  With God's grace, he initiated his own program and stuck with it to this day.  During his intense study and recovery, he wrote two books called, "The Call of Husbands" [Book One and Two] as a curriculum for his men's class of the same name.  We have a completely restored and happy marriage that gave birth to this work.  Together, we are helping others to achieve freedom from needless oppression.  

Yet, the greatest focus of our work is not about Domestic Violence or family conflict.  It ended up being exactly what HE intended, a focus on having an empowering relationship with HIM.  We learned, then taught others, not to make the trial the focus. Doing so ends up giving the Enemy's work the glory, by default.  Our standard line is to "Put the trial [once safety is in place] on the shelf and put a bandaid of justice on it. [Meaning that won't act, until you learn the proper and safest way to address things.] Then, go get God."  Without wisdom you don't have the tools and skill sets to reconcile or resolve the matter.  HE provides such in abundance.  [Pro. 1:7; 2: 6; Jm. 1: 5]

Putting the emphasis in our studies on learning and loving HIM, addresses the antics of sin without giving it undue attention. Rather than being defined by wounds and anger, we are refined and empowered in HIM. May our testimony and tools inspire you in your own journey.

Blessings, John and Penelope