Family Leadership



A Father’s Lead, a Daughter’s Vision
by Adrienne Carlson

I consider my greatest blessing in life to be the fact that I have wonderful parents, people who have nurtured and supported me throughout my life. If mom was the one who went out of her way to make sure we kids were loved and pampered without being spoilt, dad played a stellar role in helping me become an independent and responsible adult. He showed me the way and allowed me to take it without holding my hand too tightly; he allowed me to make mistakes and was always there for me when I failed without every saying “I told you so”; and he took as much pride in my attempts as he did my achievements.

I could say that my father had the greatest influence in my life, and as far back as I can remember, he was my role model. In fact, I wanted to marry a man who was just like him. While that did not exactly happen, dad has remained a part of my life even though I moved across the country following my wedding. And nothing reinforced his presence more than his words to me during the bleakest period of my life. 

My husband and I were ecstatic when we discovered that I was finally pregnant after 5 years of trying hard to have a baby, but our joy was short lived. The first scan showed that it was an ectopic pregnancy and that I had to undergo an emergency surgery to save my life. I spent three days in the hospital, crying and refusing food and company after my doctor told me I could never have a baby of my own for various medical reasons. Until my dad walked in, that is. He had flown across the country to be with his baby girl and to offer his support, as he had throughout my life. 

I cried my heart out in his arms, and as he held me, he had just a few words for me – in fact, it was the words of one of our favorite hymns. As he sang the opening bars of The Lord is my Shepherd, I felt my tears fall faster. But my heart was finally at peace. I knew that my father was the real shepherd here, one whom Christ had sent to soothe my ravaged body and soul. He would lead me out of this horrible experience and into the light. 

I went home with dad to recuperate and get some much needed rest. We went on long walks together and talked about life and everything else under the sun. I wondered how I would be able to go forward knowing that my dreams of motherhood had been dashed forever. But dad, in his infinite wisdom, counseled me and gave me a vision to look forward to – a life spent in the service of orphaned and abandoned children. 

Today, I am satisfied as a foster mother – I have not one but hundreds of children, all of whom I love to bits. I don’t cry when they leave me because I know they have found good homes, but I make sure that I enjoy every single moment I spend with them. They are God’s gift to me, the vision that kept my soul alive and well during those dark days. 

This guest article was written by Adrienne Carlson, who regularly writes on the topic of Christian college online. Adrienne welcomes your comments and questions at her email address:



Family Leadership

(c) 2009 Carl Caton

Family Leadership