The One He Loves


Growing up, my elementary best friend was our pastor’s daughter of a very large church. Everyone knew who she was and treated her special because of it. My best friend all throughout middle and high school had the best dad ever. He was a very prestigious and well known businessman in our area. He taught me what it meant to be respected by men, and he was the first inkling of what it could be like to be fully loved by a father. He taught me how to wash cars and that I should be treated like a princess. I’m so thankful for him.

But he wasn’t my dad. And if I’m honest, there were so many times I wished he was.  

A few months ago I had a dream that wrecked me to my core. It changed me forever. I’ll never be the same.  


In the dream, I was at our church that we attend now. Everyone was scurrying around, you could hear the buzz among everyone, because Tim Tebow was there. I remember not being too impressed. 

I have this thing with famous people. They put their pants on just like I do every morning, they’re normal people just like me, so I don’t get too worked up about them. It’s not to say the anointing on their life shouldn’t be honored, it definitely should. But for those famous people that are Believers, it’s just that, an anointing from God. He’s the famous one. 

Back to the dream, I walked in church and was running late (shocker). The only seat that was available in the entire church was the one behind Tim Tebow to the left. I sat down in the seat ready for worship. 

And Tim Tebow turned around to me and started talking, doting on me, saying all of the nicest things. He was treating me so special. I started to cry because what he was saying was so kind, but I had seen this before.  

He thought I was our pastor’s daughter.  

It was a compliment. I love our pastor, and feel very much like he’s a spiritual father to me. 

“Wait, wait, I’m so sorry. I think you’ve misunderstood. I’m not the pastor’s daughter,” I said.  

“I know, but your Papa’s. Your Papa’s daughter.” he replied.

In the dream, I ran to the back of the church where I normally worship and laid down on my face, sobbing, completely undone.   


I woke up from the dream crying. And every time I remember this dream, even as I’m writing this, my heart swells and my eyes fill up with tears. 

I remember Papa God whispering to my heart that favor follows me because I’m His. That I’m a big deal, because I’m His daughter.  

My best friend’s dad was great, but He doesn’t hold a candle to the Father I’ve found in God. That dream positioned my heart to not only receive from Him more fully but receive from others too. It marked me in a way that I’ll never be the same. 

I’ve been thinking a lot about John, the beloved. So many people poke fun at him, because he wrote those words about himself, “the one that Jesus loved.” But the more I think on it, the more I think we might could learn from him. 

John’s identity was fully established by being loved by God. The deeper I go into the heart of the Father, the more I’m learning that His love changes everything. And the greatest part of me, is that I belong to Him. 

I’m my Father’s daughter, the one that He loves.  

This dream I shared is yours too. You’re the one in the story with extra favor, that is spoken highly of, and doted on. Because if you are in Christ Jesus, you’re only identity, you’re true identity is established in the love of God. 

You’re the Father’s daughter, the one that He loves. 

Dear Foster Mom,

You do hard things. 

You stand in the gap for little ones in the hardest days of their lives. You're the middle mom, filling the space between brokenness and redemption. You love them as they are your own, expecting nothing in return. 

You constantly have people in your home measuring, inspecting, making sure it's "up to code." You deal with over-worked, under-paid, case workers that rarely see the actual heart beyond a name on a file. You get calls in the middle of the night, in the middle of work, in the middle of moments with your family, and you drop everything. 

Because there is a child who has been ripped away from the only familiar they've ever known. They've experienced trauma we can't begin to comprehend, and now they have no one. 

But you, sweet mama. 

You spend those first several nights, walking, bouncing, and praying the withdrawals end soon. You wonder when it was the last time they ate. How does this one fall asleep? Do they have a lovie? 

Your heart aches at the brokenness. 

But you don't just look from afar, you step in it, just like Jesus does. You're not afraid to get your hands dirty in their mess or stay up each night rocking, singing, and kissing that sweet one when you have to work the next day. 

You love because He loves. You've seen His worth. And even though this dear one has been forgotten, you know the Father hasn't missed one moment of their precious life. 

He matters to the Father, so he matters to you. 

I see your heart wilt when people say, "I could never do that, I'd get too attached." I also see your teeth clinch and your fists tighten because that comment infers you are inhuman. Do you have such a hard heart that you wouldn't get attached? Of course you get attached. But you also know this is Love, and Love expects nothing in return. 

Love does hard.  

So you make those sweet footprint projects, you take pictures to capture every moment you can, and you video those firsts, because he deserves for someone to see them. And you're there cheering and clapping and so very proud. 

Because right there in the middle, for these moments, he's yours. You treasure them in your heart, knowing the Father is watching too.

Months pass. This sweet one is apart of you. You're his mama. This is your family. 

And then just like that, his time in the middle, with you, is over. 

And you are heartbroken. 

Yet, unselfishly glad for him. 

Although you knew this day would come, loving, expecting nothing in return is painful. That's why there aren't many of you. Because what you do is hard. 

But sweet mama, He sees. 

He sees that dear one. He loves him more than you can even dare. He's watching lovingly as every detail of his life unfolds. And the time he spent with you, burned forever on his sweet life the love of faithful Father, the only love, possibly he will ever know. 

And that same Father sees your breaking heart. And I can't help but think how proud He is of you. Because what He wants most for you is to look like Him. 

And the way you just loved, is His spitting image. 

You'll always remember that precious soul. He made you a mama, and that is so special. But you'll soon start to remember the days before him, your heart will begin to heal, and before long, you'll get another call. 

Someone else will need you.

And you'll know this one too, matters to the Father, and they'll matter to you. So you'll stand in the gap again, being a middle mom, loving fiercely, expecting nothing in return. And you'll get attached again. Of course you will. 

But that's why they're aren't many of you. Because you do hard. 

And your love, foster mama, it's the spitting image of the Father's. 

*Photos by

Rachel Ackerman Photography