Young women in Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains have been inspired to “let God do his thing” amongst all the challenges of lockdown.
After surviving another week of lockdown in the Greater Sydney area, a group of 30 women were able to gather to discuss faith, life and womanhood during the Diocese of Parramatta’s At the Well online gathering on Friday night.
During the evening, participants were able to ask questions about life, faith, careers and vocation to three guest panellists – Joy Adan, Danica D’Souza and Stephanie Musgrave.
One of the questions the panel was asked was how do they manage to balance their faith and living in our modern society.
Danica, a certified dietitian, explained that she felt she was living in two different worlds growing up, but that she is blessed to have found a group of Catholic women who can guide her through her struggles.
Joy, a mother of two and Content Journalist, worried about young women’s tendencies to compare themselves to others through social media, explaining that “if you are comparing yourselves to highlight reels, then it’s not a true comparison.” Joy also explained that she is passionate about encouraging women to understand that they are women of God, and to know that that doesn’t go away.
Stephanie, the Head of Primary at Santa Sophia Catholic College, Box Hill, told the young women that we are often taught that we are made in the image and likeness of God, but that it is hard to be an authentic woman if we are not “choosing ourselves first”.
“I am so much happier now because I was able to ‘choose myself’, and I can be the authentic me all the time,” she said.
The panel were then asked how they remain hopeful that their vocation is meant for them despite all the difficulties of lockdown.
Stephanie emotionally told the group that she was meant to be married during this period of lockdown, and that hope is something she clings to at this moment, but it has been challenging.
“During this time of lockdown, I’ve learnt patience and I’ve learnt to trust in God and the way that God loves me.
“God’s plans are so much richer than we can ever think of, and I know that’s what will get me through these times.
“God knows better than what I could ever plan, so I just need to let God do His thing,” she said.
For Danica, she also stressed having trust in God and being thankful for what is in front of her.
“There have been times when I’ve gotten angry with God, but knowing that I have people to talk to about my frustrations has given me hope.
“I’m reminded of a passage from Jeremiah 29:11-13, which says, ‘Yes, I know what plans I have in mind for you, Yahweh declares, plans for peace, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. When you call to me and come and pray to me, I shall listen to you. When you search for me, you will find me; when you search wholeheartedly for me’, and I’ve found comfort in that,” she said.
When asked how young women can discover their own uniqueness and beauty in our modern society, the panel spoke of the importance of reaching out to God to see their true beauty.
Joy explained that each of us has a legacy, whether we like it or not, but called on the young women to centre it on Christ. “We should want to turn to God and surrender to Him in our toughest times. God doesn’t change,” she said.
Danica said, “when we are younger, we tend to rely on what people think of you, but what’s beautiful is sitting with myself and with God and asking who does He want me to be. And this is something that I’m still discovering.”
Stephanie added, “being comfortable in being you isn’t something that happens overnight. It is something that you need to cultivate through prayer and formation…and having that wholehearted openness to God.”
Young women interested in further exploring their faith are encouraged to listen to the At the Well Podcast.
Recorded monthly, Joy and Qwayne Guevara, Local Engagement Leader, Catholic Youth Parramatta, give a feminine perspective on questions of faith and life, and continue the conversations sparked during the face-to-face gatherings.
You can submit any questions or contact the hosts through the At The Well Facebook group.
The At the Well gathering was held as part of the Diocese of Parramatta’s HOME Ground program.