By Emily Towle
‘Ok God. If you’re real, show me’, thought little 14 year old Emily, waiting patiently for a sign from God. In that moment, God made her a promise; that if she embarked on this journey, it would be the most fulfilling road she would ever walk…
4 years later, and my goodness has He gone above and beyond to keep this promise.
My name is Emily Towle, I am currently a Youth Ministry Officer at Mackillop College High School in Port Macquarie and I love my job. It’s not very often you hear those words coming out of an 18 year old. But yeah I love my job, better yet I am IN LOVE with my job.
In theses few short months since applying to be a YMO and getting to this point, I have learnt more about myself than I have learnt in my entire life. The whole ride has been a confronting yet an excitingly liberating journey of self discovery and self growth. ‘Thank you Jesus.’
So what’s it like being a youth minister during Lent?
Lent. The 40 day period of almsgiving, prayer and fasting. For many, this sacred time is a journey of internal growth, as they remain faithful to their fasting, committed to their prayer, and humbled in their almsgiving. But for others, including myself, it’s been a journey of a constant… ‘Tomorrow is a new day.’
When even considering what fasting I’d engage in, I struggled to commit to one choice. From going from giving up chocolate, to social media, to gossip…to taking up reading daily scripture, to volunteering. I couldn’t make up my mind. Which made being loyal to fasting extremely difficult.
Finally, I decided I’d give up something that was damaging my physical, emotional, cognitive and spiritual health. But unfortunately, I’ve come to realise that I have an apparent lack of self control. I quickly gave into temptation, almost two weeks into Lent. At which point I had two choices;
Give up and forget it.
Receive the grace of God through the Sacrament of Reconciliation and try again tomorrow, for the sun will always rise into a brand new day.
Choice number one seemed to be calling me much louder than I wanted it to. But as I have learnt, this job is not supposed to be easy, for the sake of growth I need to be challenged.
Admitting my failure was easy, it was building up the courage to admit it to God that took everything I had. But if there’s one thing I’ve learnt whilst being a YMO it is that you must never underestimate the power of a God whose promise is to make all things new. Since making the choice to receive grace, Lent has become a detour on my faith journey, but one which has enabled me to enjoy the view. A view I probably would have never noticed had I stayed loyal to my fasting. The view is the Mercy of God.
Now I am in no way saying that in Lent you need to give in to temptation in order to grow…I’m saying that being a YMO doesn’t automatically make me a perfect witness. But through the grace and mercy of our God, I was enabled to try again. And through this experience, I have rediscovered the true meaning of Lent; That the Son rises.