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. 

Nothing is Wasted

I was newly married. Still blissful in our new life together.

Our little white house was perfectly decorated, like I had imagined. All of the presents from our wedding, were thoughtfully arranged in their new home. Ready for us to use them as we began our life as man and wife.

Just like my new house, my new marriage, to everyone else looked tidy and sweet. And it was sweet, very sweet. But marriage opened up more of my heart than I was ready to give.

Something special happened the day I married my husband, as it does on every wedding day. We agreed to a covenant relationship so precious, that like God walked down the isle of the split animals with Abram in Genesis 15, we walked down the center isle to one another before the Lord, too. In this beautiful covenant, we joined together as one. His beautiful life and mine were now joined together. And with the beautiful, came his messy too.

I clearly understood walking down the center isle meant I was agreeing to take his mess as mine, and I was okay with that. I love that man more than anything. He was the one I prayed for and dreamed about. But what I didn't realize, was that I was agreeing for him to take

my mess

as well.

This was something I wasn't ready for.

I married him, with A LOT of mess.  Many years filled with broken, hard, dark, ugly, and painful mess. I didn't realize just how messy my mess was, until we became one, and he saw it too.

Because my story shares other's stories as well, just know that the mess was bad. I hope one day, I'll be brave enough to share it, but now isn't quite the time. It was a lot to work through. And being newly married, I needed someone outside of my life to look in and help me see the gospel in it.

I found myself sobbing in my parked car after coming home from a session with a tender counselor. She spoke healing and redemption over my very hurt heart.

It wasn't something new. I had carried this pain for years. I learned to live with it. Operate around it. This pain, had become familiar to me. So familiar that I really forgot it was there.

Until then. When we became one.

It seemed to make it's way out, timidly, in the safety of my new marriage. When this gentle, kind man, that I now called my beloved, saw what I had walked through, the pain of those years couldn't stay hidden down in the depths of my heart any longer.

Not quite ready to walk in. I sat in my car. And cried.

All the years of hard, I had kept locked inside, found their way out of my heart, and landed as big drops of hot tears on my lap.

I remember crying out to the Lord, sitting in my car on that summer day, "Is all of this wasted? Are all of those years meant for nothing? Please tell me You will use this part of my story for some greater good other than mine. Because, yes, I love you more for those years. But please tell me they aren't just meant to be for me. Please don't let them be wasted."

Almost seven years have pasted since that day. I have watched a very faithful God take those years of ashes and turn them into something beautiful in the garden of my heart. Although they are not forgotten, He has taken those memories and replaced them with those of healing. He has used my precious husband to "restore to me all of those years that the locust had stolen" (Joel 2:25). And I'm learning that nothing is ever wasted.

The three years of infertility treatments. The up and down of taking hormones. The emotional rollercoaster I traveled every single month. Crying and begging Him for a baby. Finding myself heartbroken over, yet another, baby shower invitation or pregnancy announcement. The countless hours I spent on my face before Him. All of those days have not been wasted.

A friend's failed adoption, a widow's cries in the night, the single woman waiting for her beloved, bad test results, the unexpected bill, that hard child, and the rocky marriage. They are not wasted.

In all these things, He works. He loves us hard. It might feel as though it's only a big mess. Too big, too painful, and too ugly to be made beautiful one day. But He revives the hardest, darkest, and most painful moments of our lives. He uses them in our lives, to work for our good and His glory.

Somehow in His faithfulness and goodness, He reaches down and rewrites a story of grace.

Nothing is wasted.

Not one single thing.

"And we know that for those who love God

all things

work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28 ESV

*Thank you to

Rachel Ackerman Photography

for the photos*