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Carolyn M. Soto Jackson and Carolyn Marie Photography

Houston, TX

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Growing up, I quite often asked my mom, "What does the word, _________ mean?" It would be a random word off my vocabulary list from school and over the course of a couple of years she caught onto my laziness. 

 

"Angel, go look it up." she would say. With an exaggerated eye roll, I would. Remember back then, there was not Mr. Google. You had to go to your trusty little dictionary and look that bad boy up. 

 

One day I caught on to her game, and I began conveniently leaving my school issued dictionary at ... well, school. 

 

"Mom, what does the word, _______ mean?" 

 

"Mijita, go look it up." 

 

And with a deviant look, I shot back with, "I don't have a dictionary."

 

In the meantime, my birthday was soon rolling around. I began about two months beforehand, begging for a pair of very nice earrings. Unbeknownst to me, one could not 'just write a check for it' if the money was not actually in the bank. I begged, pleaded, kept my room as clean as possible (for at least two days) and kept my grades up. 

 

Eventually my birthday rolled around; wishing, hoping and praying for a little black box with my shiny, new earrings. Instead, my mom gave me the heaviest "pair of earrings" wrapped in a Merriam Webster's Dictionary package. I was shocked, no appalled. I could do nothing more than stand there with my mouth gaping wide open, fighting with all my might to say, "thank you" and to be excused to go to my room. This is where I threw the dictionary across the room and sobbed myself to sleep. 

 

That ugly, brown dictionary sat on my desk for months on end, not even cracked open. Every time I would open up my mouth to ask my mom the meaning of a word, she sent me to the "BEAST". Other than the beautiful inscription inside the cover from her (which at the time I did not care two cents about) I wanted nothing more than to shred that monstrous book. Months turned to years. Over time, I had long forgotten about those earrings and I am sure I asked for something less expensive the next year around. However, on my birthday a couple of years later, she asked me to bring her the dictionary. 

 

 

 

Embarrassed, I brought her the brand, spanking new dictionary I had not even taken out of the box. She asked me to look up the word, "earring".

 

I said, "Mom, e.a.r....

 

"No, mijita, I want you to look it up." 

 

Without argument, I thumbed through the "e" section of the dictionary and right there on page 396 laid a crisp, flat $100 bill. 

 

I instantly fell into tears because of how ashamed I felt. Though it was not her intention, my mother pulled me close, hugged me, and told me how proud she was of me for being honest. I never did purchase those pair of earrings but I learned a couple of very valuable lessons that day. 

 

One, people who love you usually do not let you get off easy. And two, those people that challenge you are those you want around for a very, long time. 

 

God frequently does this as well.

 

God's intention for us is to dig into his Word and find treasures we did not even know existed. He has written beautiful messages in His Word for us to get lost in, learn from and most importantly hopes it will encourage us to ask Him questions.

 

God wants this relationship with us. Our Heavenly Father yearns for us to trust Him and to read His Word, and encourages us to reach out to Him and say, "What does this word mean?"

 

He delights when we begin an adventure through rabbit trails of love. He enjoys watching us  thumbing through pages, connecting verses and finding little treasures here and there. 

 

Though we may ask for something we believe to be what we want or is most important in the moment, God has something FAR better just a few pages away. 

 

We can either get upset, sulk and pout because we did not get what we wanted (or how we wanted) or we can keep digging until we find something priceless. 

 

 

 

For me, that ugly, hunky, brown dictionary still resides in my bookshelf, where hundreds of other books rest. I eventually began a love for reading, learning about words and what they meant. This too has spilled over to my Bible readings. My inquisitive nature looks up words I have not ever seen before and all I can do it giggle when I realized my mother knew exactly what she was doing. 

 

For those of you who get bored reading your Bible, read a small chapter at a time, if that does not work, try one verse. If that does not work. Pick out ONE WORD and look it up. I guarantee even if you choose one, single word from the Bible you do not understand, you will be given far more than a hundred dollar bill worth of riches. 

 

 

 

Thank you Father for sending us the right people who encourage and love us, even when we do not see it. Thank you Father for you continued mercy and grace while we kick and scream, trying to convince you our way is best. Thank you for guiding our steps, each and every day. Lord, I ask for a touch from You so we have no other option but what to diligently chase after You. Thank you Father for revealing all the beautiful messages You have provided in Your Word. In Jesus' Name, Amen. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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