At 9 years old, I declared to my mother I would become a medical researcher and find a cure for arthritis.
At 16 years old, I told myself and everyone else I would be a doctor, either a pediatrician or an OB/GYN.
At 17 years old, I looked at Catholic colleges and universities with good acceptance rates into medical schools, while at the same time making terrible grades in my AP Chemistry class.
At 18 years and 2 weeks old, I chose the University of Dallas, knowing it would challenge me academically more than any of my other choices.
At 18 years and 2 months old, as I selected the courses I would take, I failed to enroll in any science classes.
At 19 years old, I declared myself a Politics major.
At 20 years and two months old, while working on a political campaign, I met Josh.
At 20 years and seven months old, Josh and I began dating.
At 21 years old, I spent three months in Washington, D.C. working for a non-profit organization.
At 22 years and 1 month old, I graduated from the University of Dallas with a degree in politics and set out for a new job in Ohio.
At 22 years and 6 months old, I headed home, glad to be closer to my family and Josh. Shortly thereafter, I began a job as a secretary for a small business.
At 22 years and 7 months old, Josh and I were engaged to married.
At 23 years and 1 month old, Josh and I married.
As is evident from this timeline, I gave little to no thought how my vocation would impact the rest of my life. Like many girls and young women, I had a nebulous idea I would marry and have children sometime. I thought it would be very convenient to not have children until after graduating medical school, but beyond that, family life did not enter into my plan.
Aunts, uncles and grandparents loved to ask about my future plans. They all had plenty of advice and ideas about how to prepare for college and a career, but no one asked me, “Karyn, how are you preparing for your vocation?”
Is this issue not just as important for young people? Preparing for religious orders or married life is so much more than safeguarding virginity. It is about building a relationship with God, acknowledging His control and His wisdom, especially his superiority. Where can young people possibly go wrong in fostering that kind of relationship?
I know. It’s a little weird. I can’t just ask my cousin “did you ask God what He wanted you to do with your life today?” while she’s in the midst of deciding which prom dress to wear. I can tell her, though, that the most important part of her prom dress is whether or not she would be comfortable standing before God and her future husband in it.
If God had not put Josh in my path that summer, I would have still needed to rely on His strength and grace for the uncertainty in my career. There are untold challenges which lie ahead for any person and any marriage, young or old. Learning to rely on God’s time and plan before marriage or holy orders is like earning straight As in high school—the options open are vast, but not nearly as scary. God will guide us to Him.