As a young boy, Jim watched his parents struggle deeply with their marriage.
Jim Daly and his four siblings were terrified of their father, who was an alcoholic.
“I remember that one night I was about five when it all broke loose,” Daly said.
“[My father] had a hammer, and he came into our house drunk, and he was pounding this hammer on the floor…saying, ‘I’m going to kill your mother.’”
That fateful night, the police arrested Jim’s father. Unfortunately, it was only the beginning of his story.
“I think I’ve lived in just about every family type you could live in,” Daly admitted.
“Traditional family with a mom and dad, single parent mom, stepfather, foster care, single parent dad…and at the very last year of high school, I lived on my own.”
His mother, who struggled with the thought of raising five children on her own, soon remarried.
Hank, Jim’s stepfather, loved his new wife, but “he did not like the kids,” Daly remembered.
When Jim’s mother died of cancer, Hank sold everything in the house and abandoned the five children.
Four of the five Daly siblings, including Jim, were placed with a foster family. It wasn’t a good life, so when Jim heard that his father was back in town, he was eager to reconnect.
But his father’s alcoholism drove the remnants of the Daly family even further apart. Jim never saw his father after that.
“It was a couple of years later that I really felt it…when I sobbed and realized what I had missed not having a dad,” Daly admitted.
Jim and his siblings struggled through the next several years on their own, navigating the foster care system and branching out to live on their own. When Jim was fifteen, he was living with his older brother but missing the stability of a full family.
His life was changed forever when he encountered Jesus at a Christian football camp.
“I accepted the Lord that night,” Daly said. But although his soul was changed, he still felt lost without the security of a family.
“I had to manage having literally no boundaries…and trying to find my way as a Christian with no real parental authority,” he remembered. It was difficult to navigate his new life without the examples that parents could provide.
Gradually, other Christians began to mentor Jim, and he realized that God still had a plan for his life — even though he’d suffered immensely as a child.
“I just started talking to God and I felt what He was saying to me was, ‘Hold on, don’t lose hope…something’s going to be there.’”
What God had planned for Jim Daly was beyond his wildest dreams! As a young man, Jim married a wonderful Christian woman, Jean, and the couple had two sons.
But the biggest surprise came in the form of Jim’s career. He found himself the president of Focus on the Family, a ministry dedicated to supporting families for God’s glory.
“Focus on the Family is a reflection of what we believe to be the recommendations of the Creator Himself, who ordained the family and gave it His blessing,” writes the ministry.
Focus on the Family exists to “[share] the Gospel of Jesus Christ with as many people as possible by nurturing and defending the God-ordained institution of the family and promoting biblical truths worldwide.”
It’s the perfect place for a man who understands the pain of a broken family and has a passion for building strong families.
As the president and CEO of Focus on the Family, Jim now has the opportunity to provide struggling families with encouraging, Christ-centered resources that can help them rebuild relationships and strengthen bonds.
Focus on the Family offers resources on marriage, parenting, and family faith journeys. These resources include podcasts, books, radio shows, and blog articles that address family-centered issues from a Christian standpoint.
The ministry also offers programs that equip families to consider adoption, speak out on the pro-life debate, handle mental illness, and live for God’s glory in everyday life.
Marriage is an issue that’s close to Jim Daly’s heart, and under his supervision, the Focus on the Family website writes clear, Scripturally-based articles that address important topics about marriage, sexuality, and spiritual intimacy.
“In the beginning, God created the family,” Daly asserted, and he does his best to honor the importance of the family in his leadership of this ministry.
More than anything else, Jim wants Focus on the Family to strengthen families and protect children everywhere from feeling the pain that he did in his youth.
“I am living proof that no matter how torn up the road has already been, or how pothole-infested it may look ahead, nothing…is impossible for God,” he proclaimed.