“I really didn’t know anything different than spending a whole lot of time in the church. I remember being a kid and watching my grandfather in the pulpit and thinking he was a rock star. It made going to church that much more fun.”
Popular news anchorwoman Gretchen Carlson shares her inspiring faith journey and how her grandfather greatly impacted her life. She recounts personal memories from her memoir .
Growing up in Minnesota, Gretchen reflects on her upbringing in the church and the positive influence her grandfather made along the way.
“When I would go up for communion I would sit down or kneel down and he always would come past, and when he would do the communing with me, he would rub the side of my face. I always got tears in my eyes when he did that – it was almost like his special little way of showing me that ‘You’re my girl.’”
Her grandfather didn’t grow up with much, but after a special encounter with a football coach, his life completely changed around. Gretchen reflects on his earlier years:
“I just had this wonderful relationship with him and I respected him so much, because he grew up on a dirt floor in southern Minnesota and had nothing. Of all of his siblings, he was the only one to go past seventh grade.”
“One day he was helping the janitor in the church for a job and the high school football coach from Red Wing saw him and he said, ‘Have you ever played football?’ My grandfather didn’t even know what it was. The coach said, ‘Well, you’re playing football!’ So he lived with that coach during his high school years, it give him the opportunity to actually go to high school. Through that, he got a football scholarship to go to Gustavus Adolphus, and after that he decided to dedicate his life to Christ – because he met that man while he was in the church.”
Not only did her grandfather begin to follow Christ himself, but he eventually led thousands of people in the church.
“Here’s somebody who has picked himself up from nothing and made himself into this amazing man. Then, he takes our church from 800 members when he started to 8,000, making it the second largest Lutheran Church in America at that time.”
Gretchen has been grounded in her faith since a young age, and the positive impact her grandfather has made in her life speaks volumes.
“I learned from him, not only religion as a foundation in my life, but I learned: When you work hard at something, you become successful. That perseverance is something that I’ve carried through with me my entire life.”