EAST TEXAS (KYTX) -- He's an advocate for orphans, known around the world. Jim Daly, president of Focus On The Family, is heard by millions each week on his radio program.
He recently made a stop in East Texas, sharing his personal story behind his passion for helping children.
"We can't control today," Daly said. "We can't control our future."
Speaking at Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler, Daly talked about his childhood.
"I had the normal dysfunctional family," he said.
Living in California, Daly's parents divorced. His dad moved away while his mom remarried. Jim was 8 years old at the time with four siblings.
"This is Bixby Elementary in Long Beach, California," he said. "This brings back lots of memories both good and bad."
Things went from bad to worse when his mother became ill. Six weeks later she died. His brother told him the news.
"I remember I clawed his forearm so hard I drew blood," he said. "I remember him just letting me squeeze him and I remember that was the day everything changed."
After his mother's funeral, their step dad abandoned them. They watched as he drove away.
It was March 1971. All five children were then placed in foster care.
"I love that scripture that says, 'God is close to the brokenhearted and saves those crushed in spirit,'" he said. "There's something that happens in this life when you're at the last rung of your rope. God will meet you there. That's what encouraged me as a kid."
Jim would often sit on a hill at school and cry, wondering if it could get any worse.
"Being crushed," he said. "The loneliness of it. I felt that so desperately. Just being all alone and having God step into my life at 15. It was just a wonderful transformation for me."
Jim began to rely on his faith.
"I was just a faithful little boy," he said. "I had ultimate trust that God was in control and I never really lost that even through desperate times."
Jim said he learned a lot from what he didn't have growing up and it's made him the father he is today.
"So what I try to tell my boys, literally is, 'everyday I'm proud of you, I love you, I'm your dad and I'm here in your corner,'" he said. "And I think that's a representative, a reflection of God's same statement to each of us."
As for regrets in his life.
"Not a single thing," he said. "You know my siblings and I, we've all said if we had to go through all of that again in order to find Christ, which all five of the kids have, we'd gladly do it even though it's been rough, but you know this life is not about being easy and it seems that God uses the broken things in this life to turn us toward Him. If we are willing and open to his instruction."
Today, Daly encourages people to reach out to children without parents.
"Thank you for hearing God tug at your heart, to stand in the gap and do what he's asked us to do 47 times," he said. "Take care of the widow and the orphan. God Bless you guys."
Since our interview with Daly, his family has grown from two boys to four. He and his wife are in the process of adopting two boys, ages eight and nine and just yesterday, those two boys actually came to live in their home.
We wish them the best.