CHRISTINANEVER underestimate the difference you can make in someone’s life.

It’s one of the few guarantees we get.

An open heart + a willingness to dive deep into the life of another = God’s love made visible.

What does that love look like?

To me it will always wear the face of a shy teenager who showed up at our door one fall day with a bag of puzzles and board games. Christina had never worked with children with special needs before, but she’d read about our daughter Ruth in the newspaper. And she had the heart of a diver — willing to go beneath the surface of what she saw, a frail three-year-old who couldn’t talk or walk who sat buckled in a wheelchair, to find what lay hidden beneath.

Christina patiently read books. And pushed strollers. And fed spoonful after spoonful of chocolaty pudding and slimy Spaghettios and bits of buttery toast. She held bottles. And small hands. And won the hearts of our whole family by her kind gentleness while also caring for our three (and then four and five!) other children who were all small and needy at a time when my husband, Dana, and I were so needy too.

So needy for helping hands.

So needy to know we weren’t alone.

So needy to know God hadn’t forgotten us while we were walking down the long, difficult path of parenting a child with more needs than we could possibly meet alone.

Ruth loved Christina. Our whole family did! So much more than the “babysitter extraordinaire,” which I only half-jokingly called her, Christina became the big sister who came at least once a week to love and play with and show the face of God to our family.

Three years ago, when Ruth died, Christina was still there. She helped clean our house before the funeral and took our other kids ice skating and watched them in the painful months and years that followed, so I could curl up like a potato bug with my grief and know that my family would be okay when nothing else was.

We reach for all kinds of things in life — work and strive and invest in our jobs and ambitions and dreams.

Maybe we’ll get what we’re working for.

Often we won’t.

But nothing — NO THING — done to serve others is ever wasted.

What others? Those too loud neighbors. Or that weird kid who shows up at your door asking to play. Or the  people sitting so stiffly in church on Sunday morning, they couldn’t possibly need your help. You, know: All the People Your Life Intersects with Every Single Day but you don’t have the time or energy or willingness to see and know. Everyone hurts. Everyone has needs.

When Christina read about Ruth in the paper, she could have forgotten all about her. Instead, she went out of her way and embraced our whole family.

Now she’s reaching out again,  this week boarding a plane on her third trip to Uganda, where Ruth was born, to spend a month reading and feeding and taking walks with the seventy children waiting for families at Welcome Home Africa, our daughter’s former orphanage.

Is she nervous? Yah.

Will she miss her family. Definitely.

But, she’s willing to dive deep anyway and show these children God’s love.

What does that love look like to you? And who is someone you can show God’s love to this week?