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For Your Marriage

Josh and Stacey Noem have been married for almost 20 years and have three children in middle school and high school. They blog about parenting and their adventures as a family.

There Is a God, and I’m Not Him

We’ve been sharing the news of Stacey’s new job with friends and family these past few weeks. When we tell folks we’ll be moving at the end of February for her to start her faculty position at Notre Dame (I’m so proud of her!), inevitably the question gets asked of me, “What will you do?”

The short answer is, “I don’t know.”

We’ve been job-sharing for so long that it will be strange to be working in different contexts. My immediate task will be to help the family get settled. We have to get moved in to a new dwelling and get the kids enrolled and involved in their new schools. There will be a million small tasks to tend to in the first few months of the transition.

Soon enough, though, we’ll be officially “settled.” Certainly by the fall I’ll have time open up when Simon starts first grade at the same school as Oscar and Lucy is going to her Montessori school for a full day. I just don’t know what I’ll be doing with that time.

We’ve discussed it—at length—and we agree that our family is not ready for us both to be employed full-time. There will be periods of time during school breaks and summers when we want to be at home with them. They are only young once, and we have a high priority to maximize that time as a family.

At the same time, I have been rigorously developing myself as a campus minister for the past seven years. I wonder if those gifts and skills could be put to good use somewhere.

I think I’ll be living with big questions for the better part of the year ahead: am I called to give the bulk of my attention to family life (which could give me more than enough to do)? Am I called to use my talents as a lay minister in the near future, and if so, where and how? Are there other opportunities for creativity that might emerge in an opening like this?

For me, just identifying the questions is helpful, even if answers are not readily apparent. I expect the answers to come in God’s time, which means that things will unfold and become clear when the time is right. No amount of worry or stress will change that.

Being Notre Dame fans means that we have line-by-line recall of the football movie Rudy. In one scene, a priest tells Rudy that in three decades as a religious priest, he has come to know only two incontrovertible facts: “One, there is a God; and two, I’m not Him.”

The only thing left to do is to trust, which means that I’ll have to learn to live with ambiguity. Currently, I do not find this ambiguity stressful, but it is not exactly comfortable either. One certainty I do have: something will turn up. God has something in mind for me, and it will ask me to use my gifts to serve others in some way—that will be true whatever I do, in our home or outside of it.