Youth Program Director Crisis

I am a cradle Catholic. I’ve always had deep love & respect for the church but I never understood any of its teaching. So, college happened & basically I was convinced I didn’t need an “institution between me and God”. Somewhere along the road I heard someone say that and it sounded good. In my 20s I experimented with drugs & by the grace of God I never got into heavy use, I was extremely sexually promiscuous & I actually enjoyed being used by men. I also drank too much my life revolved around the next party. Then I met my husband he was the complete opposite of everything & everyone I had ever known. He is a very simple man, country kind of boy & Air force. He lived a very simple life. He did not come from money. He was very responsible, and he did not sleep around or party. I spent the night with him the first night I met him, and yes, I slept with him of course. I threw myself all over him, I dont blame him for not resisting and basically I just never left. Literally, I never left his house. I never went back to my apartment. Now its 8 yrs later & we have been married over 5 years. My relationship with my husband changed me completely & he became my entire world, I was head over heels in love with him, but I had foolishly thought my husband could heal my hurt and fill my voids. Things quickly got ugly after the honeymoon was over & I was forced to turn back to God. It has been a slow learning process & I am still in the mist of it as our marriage is not at all healed, but what has come out of all of us this is my amazing rediscovery of God who I am now head over heels in love with. We were married in the church and went though Cana so he was familiar with the Church teachings but he was not Catholic. We separated for a while & during this time he started RCIA, which was a complete shock to me & it was my first awakening of God “checking me” It was then I realized I had to back off & let God do his work & that I was standing in the way.I eventually came back home & we had a beautiful day celebrating Easter &my husbands confirmation with friends & family. I thought everything was great & things were different, but little did I know it was just the beginning & I would be called & challenged to do more. While my husband was doing RCIA he would share what he was learning & I was shocked at how little I knew about my own faith. I felt silly & a little jealous that he knew more & I had been a Catholic all my life! This drove me to my own studies & for the past year I have been studying the Church teachings, the mass, everything I can get my hands on. I have this huge thirst for more & it grows & as does my love for God & our relationship which has strengthened in a way I could never imagine. Today my marriage is still pretty much miserable. I know I am being called to witness to my husband- to bring him to Christ, but it is so hard because hes such a jerk! I know I am going to have to humble myself in a way that Ive never done before & its going to take some serious fortitude but I am struggling. I want God to work in me, but my emotions take over all the hurt my husband has caused me comes flooding back in the moment he creates a new wound that I become crippled by my sea of pain and agony. I know God can heal me & I can overcome this, but this is where I am right now. I have been praying for the past 3-4 months for God to use me as his vessel to witness & for complete submission to do Gods will. We recently moved & I have made 2 very close friends who ironically are both ex Catholics. One is an angry ex Catholic who had an abusive father who was a strict Catholic & she cant seem to separate the church from the abuse she suffered. The other is just a Catholic who stopped attending church & following her faith. She expressed a huge desire to come back home to the church. Both girls have told me they feel God has put me in their lives. Anyways, Leah Dunham, does speeches over being modest & chasity & I thought oh that would be so cool if we could get her to speak at our church! So, 2 months ago I was sitting in the church parishioners office to inquire if they would be interested in Leah coming to visit our church & she told me there was no youth program. She asked me why dont I do it. I thought she was crazy. She told me there is plenty of money & I could create the program myself. At that time Father walked in & she blurted to him “She is thinking about taking over the non existent youth program” & I quickly retorted " Ya, but I’m not qualified, I have no idea what I’m doing and I dont know scripture well enough I have so much to learn myself I cant possibly lead others right now" Then I made the mistake of saying “But I have been praying relentless for God to use me to witness to others”. Father replied “well there you go, you know what you are being called to do, come see when you are ready” To be honest they scared me & I told her I needed to pray so I left & went home. I got an email from her a few weeks ago asking if I had made a decision and I said I had not and to please pray for me. Yesterday, my friend Susan had reached out to me again asking to go to Mass. I told her about how I was struggling with this youth director issue & she immediately got excited and told me she would help me do it! I feel completely backed into a corner, like I can no longer ignore God at this point. I have no idea how to do this or where to begin. I feel incompetent. I feel like I have my own issues & problems that I am in no position to lead youth. I only recently came back to my faith and still have so much to learn. I wonder if we will be the blind leading the blind together lol. Anyways, I am asking at this time for many prayers and suggestions, resources, advice, motivation, anything because I am scared.

if you are looking for a catechetical material I’m sure the priest could help you, and there are loads of home study courses you could use. There are also simple things that you can do, like talk about saints, cooking dinner, and just talking to them about being kind. i assume your parish has a ccd program? most of your youth group can just be catholic kids playing. just set a positive example for the kids and you will do great.

Don’t do it if you’re not committed, you don’t have to be perfect but you should put your heart and soul into it. Pray!

Thank you so much for your reply. I have been praying, thinking and talking to people and everyone keeps giving me the same feedback. I think I am making this into something bigger than it has to be. It really just needs to be a place for the children to come together,socialize and share fellowship. I was worried I would fail them and be inadequate, but being a friend is something that comes naturally as I am an extremely social person. I think I may be able to do this after all! I am feel much more positive already!

I’m actually kind of embarrassed I just put all my business out there like that, but all those issues are what’s keeping me from feeling confident in my abilities. Thank God for anonymity : )

Thanks again for your encouragement! : )

Thanks I agree which is why I’ve been holding out. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to commit out of fear of being inadequate.
I think I’m ready to do this. I sent my email today committing to the task. I’m excited and anxious! I have no idea how to entertain children or keep them off their iPhones. I will let God lead the way : )

Okay, so you sound like me during this year of faith - I cannot get enough Catholicism these days. Have you seen Fr Barron’s DVD series? Youth programs are primarily social. You can expect at some point a very bright, challenging kid will test you/your knowledge, but for the most part, you are the grown up, the expert. Acting like it will be 90% of your role. And otherwise, when you don’t know an answer, just admit that you need to get back to them. And then follow through. Be honest, real, and caring.

My kids are in middle school. We are encouraging their participation in the summer fun stuff (amusement park trips, service camp, bowling nights, and open center nights at the church). Parents can no longer just drop kids at the mall - our youth group is their social life. Its important and not typically about catechisis.

I can only imagine how much your husband will be amazed by your growth in your commitment to getting something as parish-changing as a youth program off the ground. You have funding, and you are being offered help - go girl!

Thank you so much for your inspiring words! It is the year of faith! Every time I remember thnis it shows me the power of prayer because I know I am direct result of thousands of prayer being said for faith. I am so humble and feel indrediblelg blessed to be on the receiving end of this grace. I hope I can bring my 2 friends home as well and of course my husband. I hope I can create something exciting for our youth where they can learn and grow in fellowship. I know God will lead me and I find great comfort in that. Thanks so much again. So you run a youth program too?

No, Honeybea, I’m sorry to have mislead you. I don’t run a youth program, but as a parent, I really rely on it as an important means for leading my children in a “sticky faith”. I want church to be more than Mass. We don’t go to Catholic school - and so we are left with Sunday Mass, faith formation class and the youth group. We so need dedicated adults to participate in our kids faith. So I’m cheering you on - but unfortunately, don’t have much more than encouragement to offer. And prayers - I will put you on my prayer list!

Thought I might add, I know about the challenges from kids because I’m a first year catechist. I jumped in wholeheartedly, while I’m not feeling ready, because there was a great need in our parish. It isn’t easy. I’m learning as I go, with each week getting better. I’m enjoying it tremendously. It was a leap of faith to be sure, but I’m glad I’m off on this journey. I’m teaching my daughter’s class and while she moves on next year I’m going to stick with the grade I am teaching because I like the subject matter. I hope to serve as a catechist for many years, God willing!

What an amazing story! I have heard from many, many people who got involved in ministry in their parish simply because they were the one standing around the parish office. :wink: That’s the way it goes sometimes. As they say, God doesn’t choose the qualified, He qualifies the chosen. :slight_smile:

I would encourage you to reach out to your archdiocesan Director of Youth Ministry. For the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, that contact info is right here:

archgh.org/OACE/

I’m sure Mr. Johnson would be more than happy to answer any questions you might have and help you along the way. You are not on your own. There are people there to help.

HoneyBea, the Lord will give you the courage and knowledge and any other graces you need to do this. Ask him for his help, and then trust that HE will deliver what you need when you need it.

I can tell by reading your post that you have a great deal to offer, particularly to teenage girls. Your past puts you in a very unique situation of understanding troubled girls…the inappropriate ways they seek out love…and the realization that what they are really looking for is God.

God bless you in this endeavor. I am praying for you. You might also consider posting a prayer request in the Prayer Intentions forum.

Y’all are awesome! I’m new to this forum, but I can already sense what a great group this is. Thank y’all!

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