One day last week, I picked up a first-grade duo after they had finished lunch.  One of the students had the hiccups – adorable.  He quickly informed me that having the hiccups meant he was growing.
“Then why do I still get the hiccups,” I asked.  “I’m all grown up!”
He thought for a minute and then asked, “How old are you?”
“I’m 29.”
“Well,” he said with all of his 6-year-old confidence, “Maybe you’re still growing.”

Oh, you precious child.  If you only knew how true that is.  But we’ll get to that in a moment.

First, let’s examine how much growth this young boy has made on his own in the last year and a half.  At the beginning of kindergarten, he was quickly identified as a 4-year-old that was having some severe speech delays.  He had excellent language skills: he readily and eagerly told you about everything he knew, but understanding him was a different task altogether.

And in his brief time being enrolled in speech intervention, he has made so. much. growth. He mastered stopping fricatives (namely, /f, v,/ and “th”), velar fronting (no more “I dot a tat and a dod”), and liquid gliding (catapiLars Love Leaves!) in record time.  We’re currently working on mastery of /r/ and suppressing that frontal lisp.  In fact, he actually told me “Maybe you’re thtill growing, Mith Emily”.  Again, adorable.  But there’s a time for these cutsie speech patterns to fade away.  They’re not so cute after a certain point.  And if you have no idea what I’m talking about, here’s a helpful resource.

I wish I could take full credit for this child’s progress – believe me, I would make him a poster child for my career – but I simply cannot.  This kid was primed and ready for school.  Anything I taught him or his teachers taught him was quickly absorbed, sponge-style. I am so proud of you, little one.  Never stop hungering after knowledge.  Never lose that precious spirit of yours.  Being open to growth at every corner is a valuable skill.

Which brings us back to his hiccups.  I was surprised by how much his words affected me.  I am still growing.  Is it so obvious that even a 6-year-old can point it out?

I moved to a rural mountain community in early Fall of 2012 because my husband (outstanding and inspiring sculptor, Dustin Farnsworth) received a 3-year residency at Penland School of Crafts.  Miraculously, a contract speech therapist position was available and waiting for me.  This move began a world of changes. From May to August 2012 I
accepted my first SLP job,
graduated with my Master’s,
moved home with my parents,
started waitressing again,
got engaged,
planned a wedding,
stopped waitressing again,
got married,
moved to Penland,
set up a home, and
started my first career job.
All within about 8-10 weeks.  Oh. My. Goodness.

Needless to say, I have been growing.  However, it wasn’t until recently that I really saw the direction I was growing.  God has pulled me closely into communion with Him.  He is challenging me in new ways and teaching me more of myself.  He has told me that my true identity lies not in my job, or my wifey status, or even in my silver and gold friendships, but only in Him.  I am His beloved child, His daughter.  He wants me to love Him more than anything else and depend on Him for my joy, my peace, and my prosperity.

This isn’t a blanket command, though.  It’s not Him saying, “Love Me above all, … ok bye.”  No.  He is cradling me through depression and fear.  He is telling me that because I am His, no harm can come to me.  I am desperately loved and He is working all things for my good (Romans 8:28).  Because I can trust in his promises and His plans for me (Jeremiah 29:11), then I do love Him above all.

So, I trust Him (hic!).
I cling to Him (hic!).
I believe Him (hic!).
And every day I continue to grow.