transitions, graduations, and change

Volunteering at Laremont School PTO Fundraiser
 
 
Change can be scary.
Messy.

And not conducive to a type A personality like me.

So needless to say, I have been wrestling with my emotions as I transition at work. For the past decade, I have had the honor of walking through countless transitions with students.  And in a few weeks, I am finally “graduating.”  In the midst of my personal transition, I have been thinking about all the lives that have intersected mine.

Goes kinda like this. We get a batch of freshman in.  They are so little. The boys have baby faces and skinny limbs. I can look them in the eye.  The girls are deathly insecure in their own skin, but come off as overly confident.  They run in pairs or packs like little puppies.

They are cautious. With me. With one another.
But we spend time together anyway.
We share a conversation or two, some laughs and a campfire.
And then slowly, it happens.
I am their leader. They are my students.
I fall in love with this awkward, gangly group of misfits.
I watch them make a host of mistakes that they could have avoided if they just would have listened…..
But that isn’t how we learn, is it?
So, I love them anyway.
Watch them grow and mature.
Cry a bit when they disappear.
Cry a bit when they come back.
Celebrate wins, grieve failures.
Together.
And then slowly, it happens.
Friendship.
They discover where the line is, and stand right on it.
Some cross over it.
Some dangle on the edge of it.
Apologize their way back to the right side of it.
They ask questions. Good questions. Deep questions.
I try to point them to Jesus.
I meet their parents.
And really like them. We realize we are on the same team.
Boys now tower over me in men’s bodies.
Girls are beginning to understand the power of theirs.
They love. They serve. They give.
They eat my food. Play with my kids. And TP my house.
And then slowly, it happens.
We become a little family.
They complain. They act too cool. They break down.
They endure pain.  Real pain.
They get their first battle wound from the world.
And their second and third.
So I sit with them. I walk with them. In the silence.
I speak light into the dark corners, cause they can’t quite see past it, yet.
They are busy constructing their first alter.
They decide if God is who He says He is.
Even when they don’t feel it.
And then slowly, it happens.
They are my sons and daughters.
They keep me young.
I help them grow up.
I laugh with them.
I am challenged to be better from them.
I mess with them.
I cry with them.
I hold them.
I punch them.
I call them out.
I thank them.

I tell them who I see them becoming.

And then before I know it, it happens.
I graduate them.
It’s hard loving teenagers.
It’s hard letting them go.
And then, it happens.
I get a new bunch of misfits.
The last four years, this particular group of misfits have stolen my heart.  These men and women have given me more stress and more joy than I can express.  I think the WORLD of them. They are not the next generation of leadership. They ARE leaders.  They are world changers.
I am going to miss them.
But before I know it, it happens.
They come back.
They are young adults.
College students.
Married adults.
Parents.
And youth leaders.
And I am still, watching them grow and mature.
Transitions are messy.
Oh, but there is such beauty in messy things.
March 1 will be my official last day.  Transition day, actually. I have the opportunity to stay at Immanuel in a new position that I am so excited about.  Thank you to Josh, for believing in me and giving me opportunities to grow in this position.  Thank you to all the leaders over the years, I love you all like family. You all teach me so much about servant leadership.  And, to my decade of misfits, thank you for allowing me to be a part of your story. I am humbled and honored.
And before you know it,
transition happens.
-STEFANIE
What transitions or changes are you facing in your life?

 

I would love to hear about them! Post them here or on Facebook!
#transitionsonboycelane

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