Seven years ago I was sitting in the Denver International Airport, waiting around for my plane to begin boarding. I arrived a couple hours earlier than I needed to, so I had a bunch of time to kill. I went into my suitcase and pulled out my copy of She Calls Me Daddy by Robert Wolgemuth and started reading.
10 minutes later I had tears streaming down my face.
There I was sitting in the middle of an airport with hundreds of people walking by me and I was crying like a baby.
You see, 7 years ago, Faith Sophia was a newborn. And I missed weeks 7 and 8 of her life, as I had recently enrolled in the Doctor of Ministry program at Denver Seminary and had two weeks of on-site classes to complete.
Missing weeks 7 and 8 of her life wouldn’t have been that big of a deal, but in many ways I missed the first 6 weeks of her life as well. Even though I was at home for those first 6 weeks, I was too busy writing papers and doing research to enjoy my baby girl.
One quote that hit me hard in chapter 1: The greatest challenge you’ll face as a father of a daughter is to keep from being distracted by the day-to-day stuff — the little duties and challenges that can easily capture a dad’s full-time attention. (p.9)
The author wrote those words for me. In my quest to become Dr. Kopp, I was distracted by “day-to-day stuff” of reading and writing. I was captivated by the pursuit of my degree instead of being captivated by my baby girl.
So there I was sitting in Denver’s airport reading about the powerful role a dad has in his daughter’s life and I felt God whisper to me, “Dan, you get one chance to raise this little girl. You get one chance to pour into her. You get one chance to show her what it means to be cherished. Dan, you missed the last 2 weeks of her life because you were 1,000 miles away but in many ways, you missed the first 6 weeks as well, even when you were under the same roof. Don’t miss the next 18 years.”
From that point forward, I began waking up extra early to work on my homework so that I would get in my “school time” before going to work instead of doing it after work. I knew Kellie needed a husband and Faith needed a father in the evenings.
Fast forward to 2010. I withdrew from Denver Seminary after being 2/3 of the way toward my degree and advancing to “candidacy” status. I felt God calling Kellie and me to plant The Eastside Vineyard Church and I knew I couldn’t be a church planter and a husband and a father . . . and a student. Something had to give. The choice was easy.
It came down to this — I wanted my daughters to know that their “daddy” loves them more than I wanted to be called “Dr. Kopp.”
Fast forward to present day. I am blessed three times over as the father of Faith, Evelyn, and Elizabeth. It truly was a Happy Father’s Day this past weekend.
And I hope they never get too old to call me daddy.
***This Sunday we are launching an all-new six-week series that runs from mid-June thru the end of July. Simply titled “The Holy Spirit.” Digging deep into who He (not “it”!) is and what He does (or *should* do) in our everyday lives as followers of Jesus. My sermon this Sunday is titled “The Missing Link.” June 22nd. 10:30am. More info at tevchurch.org***
June 22 – The Missing Link