Published October 18, 2017
Carol Lee Stock
“Don’t Waste Your Life.” It’s the motto Carol Lee Stock (’14) lived by long before she read the book of the same name. At the age of 17, she dreamed of graduating from college and becoming a missionary. But by her 20s, that dream seemed elusive.
Although she professed Christ as a child, a turn of events in her 20s, challenges of an alcoholic husband, subsequent divorce and single parenting to three girls all contributed to insecurities and perceived lack of service to God. However, as she looks back on those difficult times, she sees God’s hand in it all. In those years, she raised her girls, cared for elderly family members and served others. Through it all, God was lovingly drawing her back to Himself.
As she began considering a return to higher education at the age of 66, regular travels on Route 81 brought Clarks Summit University to mind. She decided to visit the school at 9 a.m. one Monday morning. She enrolled within the hour. Stock entered the accelerated master’s degree program and earned both a Bachelor of Science and a Masters of Arts in Biblical Studies in less than three years.
As a student with many years of life experience, Stock credits the guidance and patience of instructor Diane Lytle as the reason for her success in learning to navigate the technology for online education. Although the Roanoke, Virginia, resident originally desired on-campus learning, she grew to love the convenience of online learning. “To think and research in the quiet privacy of my own home presented far less distractions to deep studies,” she explains. This online learning option was invaluable in developing the skills she would go on to use in serving Jesus Christ.
In another obvious hand-of-God moment, at age 69, Stock was in need of both housing and employment, with little time to find either. A conversation with a neighbor brought Roanoke Rescue Mission to her attention. She applied online at midnight, was called for an interview the next day and was hired immediately. “I knew right away that this is where God had been leading me all along,” she admits. Her dreams as a
17-year-old to attend college and be a missionary were fulfilled over 50 years later.
Stock became a supervisor and now serves as a case manager at the Rescue Mission. Her past gives her empathy for the women she serves. Her education gives her a springboard to encourage those women to pursue their dreams—at any age. Serving God by serving others has always been her goal, and her education at Clarks Summit University is enabling her to do just that.
Stock now urges those who are pursuing dreams later in life to “jump in and begin doing. Start with one course first; enjoy the process. Share your joy and enthusiasm as you prayerfully seek the Lord’s guidance and blessing. Then use it to give Him the glory!”
Julie Wilson (’96, ’18) is a Communications-Writing major from Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania