“When I first started Young Women of Grace, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Fortunately, I was lucky enough to be in a group of girls that I was somewhat familiar with, but it helped us get a little closer because we were eager to grow more in our faith, especially as young women living in this generation. Probably the neatest thing about the program was the fact that inserted in the book were stories of real female saints that overcame incredible hardships. Personally this is striking because it shows how powerful women can be especially with the help of God.”
If you’re thinking of starting a group, or are already facilitating one, remember that the Young Women of Grace Development Team is here to help you with anything you might need, from how to get a group started to ways to keep your meetings interesting and fun. We’ll help you every step of the way! Just email email@example.com and let us know how we can help.
It all started on October 9, 2015, in Irondale, Alabama, the home of the Eternal Word Television Network. I was at the Network with the co-developers of the Young Women of Grace Facilitator/Teacher Guide, Mary Dillenback and Susan Jacobsen for a few days to tape shows about our new program. On the final day of our visit, we were getting ready to do a “live” show which meant that the audience would be able to call in and ask questions about Young Women of Grace.
Spare time is a hot commodity for most teen girls. They cherish it and like to spend it doing fun things like chatting on social media, playing sports, and hanging out with their friends. The last thing they want to do in their off-hours is take another class. So if you’re interested in facilitating a Young Women of Grace group outside of school, here are a few tips to get you started.
The following testimony is from Nicole Marshall, who addressed teens at the Young Women of Grace Dare to Prepare Advent Retreat which took place on December 8 at St. Joseph’s Church in Coopersburg, Pennsylvania.
Back by popular demand, the Women of Grace® apostolate is joining hands with popular Retreat Facilitator Carol Marquardt to offer women a powerful weekend of healing and revitalization on January 19-20, 2019 in Tampa/Oldsmar, Florida.
“Create a clean heart in me, O God.”
Imagine for a moment that your heart is like a chalkboard filled with writing. It’s covered in words and smudges. What do the words say? Now, erase those words; spray a cleaner on it and wipe away the smudge. And all of a sudden, it’s spotless. Oh, how I wish I could purify my heart that easily! But, I can’t. I cannot erase painful memories and the fears of letting others see the real me; I can’t wipe clean the scars that have toughened over the years; and I can’t break the chains that sometimes suffocate the life out of me.
But, God can. He can renew my heart in an instant (although we don’t normally see purification happen that fast in our human idea of time.). God has to work on us— He strips away layers like an onion, and every layer beneath has its own work to be done.
I remember recently when my spiritual director told me that God had to do some work on me, and that it’s going to hurt. But He always uses the most gentle means possible. And it’s true. The last few months are a testament to His gentleness and charity. He has really purified my heart in ways I couldn’t imagine, although He has asked some things of me that really hurt. Surrendering can be really painful. But, I know it’s necessary. I know that heart He holds so dearly in His hands has needed some work; and I know when He’s done with this big phase of operation, it’ll be ready to experience all life and love have to offer it. And I can’t wait for that day.
Is it time for you to let God do some pruning? Tell Him you’re scared, but know that He won’t do anything unnecessary, and He will give you what you need to endure it.
“With age-old love I have loved you.”
I don’t know about you, but I love romance. Poems, letters, sweet messages— I’m a romantic at heart. I love love; I always have, and I can guess I always will. When everyone else complains about Valentine’s Day, I swoon over it…hearts everywhere! Indeed, Song of Songs is by far my favorite book.
When I read my readings for the day, this line went straight through my heart like an arrow. The love I desire so strongly in life is all mine, and it’s all yours; He has loved each of us from the beginning of time. He loved us into existence, and His love never ceases to exist. And it won’t. Ever.
Our love story is my favorite. He has unconditionally chased my heart for as long as I have been a thought in His plan; and giving Him my heart was the best decision of my life. And in doing so, I was free to live fully, knowing He would keep it safe and only give it away when the right person asked.
So go ahead- give Him your heart. Let Him mend the scratches, heal the wounds, and protect it. Watch your heart in His perfect hands turn into something so beautiful. And know that He, the owner of it, will keep an eye on it til the end of time. He will never stop chasing you. So stop running. And fall into His wide open arms.
“Jesus made the disciples get into a boat.”
Notice in the reading from the Gospel of Matthew today the first line: “Jesus made the disciples get into a boat.” MADE. He made them get into a boat. He didn’t “ask” them to; He didn’t “suggest” it or “highly recommend” it. He made them. And what happens next? He goes to pray, then He walks on water, and then commands Peter to get out of the boat, in a storm, and walk to Him. And Peter starts to sink. God knew that Peter needed to be tested in faith. And so do all of us. God causes, or allows, things to happen in our lives that test our faith. These moments are HUGE opportunities for us to stay focused on Him and to show how faithful we are; yet, when they happen, we also start to sink and start screaming, “Lord, save me!” Currently, God is giving every single one of us an opportunity to show Him whether we are faithful, or are not faithful.
The question is… will you look Him in the face, keep walking towards Him, and grab His hand? Or will you close your eyes in fear and sink?
“That you should put away the old self of your former way of life, corrupted through deceitful desires…”
I love the idea of each of us having this “best version” of ourselves. In fact, in everything, there is always a “best” or an “ideal”. The problem, though, exists in thinking that anything beneath our “best” or “ideal” will ever bring us as much joy. Think about it- our best… our so-called ideal life is really the life God intends for us; it’s this daily effort to live according to His call and His will. Anything else (meaning, anything less than what He wants from us) is simply not ultimately what He longs for us to have or to be. So in reality, our best version is simply striving to be all He calls us to be. Our best is His will. And it’s never too hard because He doesn’t call us to do things we cannot attain. So, as a result, we each are called to put away the parts of us that aren’t of Him. That old self, the one that isn’t our ideal version, the corrupted nature and the sinful desires, needs to be transformed into the self He has created from the beginning- our best.
Tonight, ask Him to strip away all the corrupt parts. What lies beneath is so beautiful…because, well, it’s your best.