“Stoll-en” Moments: Graduation Brings Change

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This is the first installment of “Stolle”-en Moments, a monthly series of articles written by BCM/D Executive Director Tom Stolle, where Tom shares his heart as God leads him.

Tom Stolle

Tom Stolle serves as the BCM/D executive director.

Earlier this month, my family celebrated my son Jimmy’s graduation from the Sussex Consortium. What does Jimmy’s future look like? Shelley and I don’t exactly know. We know he will receive adult day services. We know he will utilize assisted public transportation. We know he will have the opportunity for employment, exercising skills he had developed.

My wife, Shelley, and I also know Jimmy is forced to step out of his comfort zone. No longer will he be in the care of teachers, therapists, and others that poured their life into him in a safe, controlled environment. The reality of this change concerns Shelley and me. Our son is vulnerable. We want to protect him. We also want the opportunity for him to grow, to be all that he can be.

Graduation. I’ve thought about what it means. We think of graduation from something like high school or college. But what are we graduating to? What are we being prepared for?

I believe graduation points to what we are being prepared for….what comes next. Change comes, and that’s how growth occurs, and God wants us to grow.

Change can be scary. There is so much we don’t know. When we face the unfamiliar, it’s uncomfortable. We make more mistakes.  Through that process, though, we learn and grow. My son Jimmy will learn and grow.

Jimmy Stolle graduated from the Sussex Consortium in Delaware earlier this month. (Photo by Becky Thomas)

Psalm 25:9 states this about God: “He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.”

Are you encountering change in your life? Is it scary? Is it change that you want to make, or is it change that is forced upon you? In all circumstances, God is with His children. God guides, directs, provides, and loves.

I think about Jacob’s son Joseph who had change forced upon him. His own brothers plotted to kill him, threw him in a pit, sold him into slavery, and he ended up in a foreign land. But the Bible says in Genesis 39:2, “The Lord was with Joseph.” The Bible also says that Potiphar saw the Lord was with Joseph, and he entrusted Joseph with oversight of Potiphar’s home and all that he possessed.  Perhaps Joseph thought, “The past was bad, but things are pretty good now.”

More change was forced upon Joseph. Falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife, Joseph was thrown into prison. Again in Genesis 39:21, the Bible says, “The Lord was with Joseph”.

Ultimately, God prepared and positioned Joseph to save a nation.

Sometimes we look at circumstances and/or our limitations and think things will never change or things will get worse, all the while forgetting the biblical principle that we are God’s children and God is with us.

You know your present. You live in it. I know my present. I live in it. What we don’t know is our future. However, as God’s children, we know God holds the future.

I believe God is constantly preparing His children for what is coming. When we celebrated Jimmy’s graduation, we celebrated a milestone, and we made the most of it. In spite of all of the uncertainty in our minds about Jimmy’s future, at that moment, we celebrated, laughed, and shared precious time together with family and friends, and it was good.

Celebrate the things in your life that have been accomplished. Celebrate the blessings that God provides. God is teaching and growing all of us. He has a plan and a purpose for all of us. When change comes, if it’s welcome or unwelcome, know that you are God’s child and He is with you.

The BCM/D Family made a video to congratulate Jimmy, Tom, and Shelley — watch it below!