I have a lot to learn about parenting, but if there’s one thing that I’m sure of, it’s Taco Fridays at the middle school.

Friday, I hop in the ol’ minivan, grab a twelve-pack in the drive-thru, and pray hard for the conversations I’ll have. You can learn a lot in thirty minutes at the middle school lunch table. You can learn even more when tacos are present. Heh. They talk about last night’s football game, their math assignment, and how bad the cafeteria food is. And they don’t stop talking, because someone is actually listening.

And then there’s this boy I’ll call Max.

The first time I met Max, he walked up to me with his sparkly brown eyes and thanked me for his taco. And then he hugged me out of the blue, and next out of his mouth – like it was no big thing – he said, “I’m adopted, you know.” And before I could even get a word in, he proceeded to talk nonstop to me for that entire thirty minutes. He said a lot of stuff in that time, but what he really meant to say was…

“Do you see me? My story looks different than yours, but am I worth loving anyway?”


It was 2010, and I remember the Haiti earthquake like it was yesterday.  Pictures of the broken capital city flashed across the screen, and I was affected deeply. I had been there in college. I’d walked the streets. I’d fallen in love with the people, and I’d cried out to God on their behalf over and over again. And now – all these years later – I was a mom, and I couldn’t look away from their deep brown eyes. Orphan eyes that spoke of their hurt. Their unimaginable loss.

And I wanted to save the world in that moment.

Max had that same look in his deep brown eyes. He was no longer an orphan, but his words and his telling eyes were still filled with void.

He headed back to his table – you know, the one where he sat completely alone – my heart now connected to him in an overwhelming sort of way. I asked God right then how I could be a difference-maker in his world. How I could show Max God’s love.

Because I might not be able to reach the entire world, but I can reach one.

As I read through the pages of Esther, I am astonished at how God’s providence lights every single twisted turn. A beautiful girl is orphaned, and her cousin steps in to care for her.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. ~ James 1:27

A hand extended.

A selfless act.

A step of faith. 

An intentional decision that said to one orphan girl, “Your story looks different than mine, but you’re absolutely worth loving anyway.” Little did Mordecai know that, when he reached out to meet the needs of one, he would end up impacting an entire nation.

You know when God just keeps putting something –  or someone – right in front of your face and you can’t ignore it – them – any longer?

Well, in my life – in this season – his name is Max.

When I asked the Lord how I might make a difference in Max’s life, in my small faith I honestly didn’t think it would amount to much. But just in case: every Taco Friday – before the boy ravagers dove to the middle of the table and let loose on the coveted brown box, I intentionally saved one taco just for Max. And because God sees that boy down deep and knows that his soul needs fed more than his belly, He didn’t stop there.

Just last week, He moved Max into a house right on our very street.

I sit here shaking my head with a grin on my face because I can hardly believe it myself. Yet I shouldn’t be surprised. Isn’t that just like God?

To take our loaves, fish… and our tacos for crying out loud… and turn them into something so.much.more?

A hand extended.

A selfless act.

A step of faith.

Even when that faith was much smaller than it should have been.

Sunny skies and seventy degrees found me with windows down, music blaring, and my singing uninhibited in the ol’ minivan on my drive home last week. And then he saw me.

“Hey, Jack’s mom!”

But what Max really meant to say was…

“I’m here. Can you see me? My story looks different than yours, but am I worth loving anyway?”

Right on my street. Right in front of my face once again, begging to be loved. And in that moment, I was reminded that I too had been adopted. No, not by an earthly family like Max, but by a Heavenly Father who saw me in all of my sin, and who reached down and loved me anyway. And if Jesus could have whispered to my heart right then and there, I think He might have said something like this:

“Whitney, I see you. I know your story looks different than mine, but don’t you see… that’s why I came. Now go and reach out to just one in my Name, and watch what My power can do.”

Tell me, who is in front of you… just waiting to be seen and to be loved with the love of Christ?

Your child… who wants you to look away from your phone and into their eyes and really hear what they have to say?

Your friend… who longs for someone to ask how she’s really doing?

Your family member… who can’t explain her emptiness, yet knows there’s something so much more to life?

Your husband… who craves your smile, your respect and the affirmation that you once gave freely?

The widow. The orphan… who desperately want to know that they’re not alone in this world?

The lost soul… who will never feel whole until she’s introduced to the One who sees and knows and loves perfectly, no matter what she’s done?

 The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. ~ Matthew 25:40

A hand extended.

A selfless act.

A step of faith.

Will you be the one, in Jesus’ name? Because you never know when reaching one might just reach the world

At His feet,



*LET’S TALK: Is there someone that God has put in your path, waiting to be seen? What first step can you take to reach out to that person with God’s love this week?

Week 2 Challenge: Who is the one you can reach out to this week? Find ways to be intentional and extend your hand, step out in faith and serve like Jesus.

Memory Verse

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