Not every little girl can say she met her dad while her parents were dating, but I can.
My dad was 28 and directing an ‘Up With People’ choir when he met my 17 year old mother. This was long before there were reality shows about teen moms on MTV. My mom’s brother played in the band so she decided to tag along one night. That’s when she met the man who would completely change the course of her life.
He was smitten. I remember being told they saw each other a couple more times and was introduced to me. At first he thought she was babysitting. By the time she told him she was my mom, it was too late. He was in love with both of us and like any love story worth telling, the odds were stacked against them.
My dad was a Vietnam vet and a high valued target for a lot of good Christian girls from his church. He led songs at the small Pentecostal church he was raised in, and dating an unwed mother was NOT how the church leadership thought he should be conducting himself. To top it off, my mom was raised as a Mormon and their faiths were a huge problem for both of their families.
Instead of running from scandal, my dad stood up to his church leadership and continued to date my mom even though it meant he wouldn’t be allowed to lead songs in his church anymore. He endured the whispers behind his back from those whom he had respected deeply. Ultimately, he found another church that offered him grace and allowed him to continue to minister in his calling.
And along the way my mom saw a man who wouldn’t run from trouble, but would stand and fight for her and her baby even though it would cost him his reputation. Along the way she saw the love of Jesus in my dad and found Him to be irresistible. She fell in love with both of them and never looked back.
By no means is this the end of their story. Parents threatened to disown, and an elopement was inevitable. But most important, a disgraced young woman was given a second chance at redemption. A little girl was given a father. And the heavens roared in victory over the thwarted plan that the enemy had meant to devastate us.
I have NEVER once had to question whether or not this man who I share zero DNA with loves me or not. Not once. He is a constant reminder of God’s grace and mercy in my life. He is the only earthly father I’ve ever known and I owe everything I am to his relentless love for our family.
Dad, if you happen to read this…I love you. I’m so thankful for you and how you let Jesus live through you. I want to be as brave as you have been. Your love for us changed everything. I am forever grateful.
Happy Father’s Day, Daddy.
Your Little Girl