Husband & Wife Articles


Persevering Through Transition

‘Your will, not mine’ is tougher to live than to say

By Tom Wehner

For some, it’s exciting. For others, it’s daunting. For everyone, it’s inevitable.

However we feel about change, it is often in these times of transition that we are called to rely most fully on God. Times that we need to repeat to ourselves the words of the prophet Jeremiah: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (29:11).

Tom and Lynn Wehner with their daughters Allie, Leah, Julia and son Zachary.

Tom and Lynn Wehner with their daughters Allison, Leah and Julia and son Zachary.

Yes, God knows the plan, and we don’t. That’s where the daunting part comes in. But, if we allow him to do so, God uses these periods of transition to refine us. Right now, our family, like so many others, is currently making our way through the annual springtime sprint into summer vacation. With our two eldest home from college, our foursome is now a sextet again — and our home has gone from a low hum to a constant buzz. As our 10th- and fourth-grade daughters complete their year-end studies, alongside lively rehearsals for a summer musical, our college-sophomore son launches into his summer employment to earn his share for the year ahead and a semester abroad.

And to raise the bar dramatically this year, we have a freshly minted college graduate who will be making a far greater transition than summer break provides. The same girl I vividly remember watching climb the giant school-bus steps is now in the job-search market, venturing out to pursue what God, in his Providence, wills for her future.


We are ever being led forward. However, being prone to woolgathering, I tend to replay notable events of my children’s lives and discuss it with the family when we break down the day’s events in after-supper conversation. It’s constantly amazing to me to see the growth in each of them.

And it’s impossible not to see the Holy Spirit’s hand in it all: He played a big role in my wife and I becoming more responsive and responsible Catholics, as we have worked to raise our children in the midst of the world’s crazy pace and often warped ideals. It often has been the ongoing affirmations from the Holy Spirit that have helped me to focus my attention on my responsibilities as a husband and father and spiritual leader of my family.

But what about those tumultuous times of significant change, when extra trust is the order of the day? Like when our family picked up and moved to another state in 2005. The change was professionally and spiritually rewarding for me because I was departing a position in the secular press, where I had spent the first 25 years of my career, for the blessing of the National Catholic Register. (I remember one friend exclaiming at the time, “You’ve been delivered!”)

Personally, however, the change was a mixed bag for all of us. After 12 years, we were leaving a town with a vibrant parish and school and so many wonderful friends for a new home where we knew next to no one. And yet we were given the grace to keep taking deep breaths and trusting in God’s will, not our own. He allowed us to see his perfect plan for our lives — even if only in hindsight. After some disappointments trying to change jobs and get out of the secular media, I had expressed my angry disappointment with God, but somehow found the strength to add, in resignation, “Father, if you want me to remain at this job and be a leaven, I will.” Almost overnight, I found myself at the Register. Your will, not mine, Lord.

Change is inevitable. But if we remember the promise — “For I know the plans I have for you” — it will also be an opportunity for us ever to listen, trust, and grow.

Tom Wehner is managing editor of the National Catholic Register newspaper, published by EWTN.