My Father’s Example

By Elaine Knudtson


Today, September 17, 2018 is my father’s 88th birthday.  I am grateful to have him alive and available to counsel, encourage and pray for me and my family at any time of day, throughout the year.  God gifted me with a man after his own heart.  “The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; yes I have a goodly heritage.” Ps. 16:6

Many people have an aversion to calling God their heavenly father because of the failings of their own father.  For me it was just the opposite.  My dad helped me to know the meaning of discipline when he held me accountable for standards that kept me safe—like not crossing a major road with my tricycle when I was three or breaking my brother’s kite when the wind had destroyed mine.

He taught me that “to whom much is given, much will be required” (Luke 12:48)  in his leadership and generosity towards Centre Street Church throughout the years.  He was there for the church when it had 50 members in a community hall, through the transition to a megachurch with multiple campuses and thousands of attendees.  He gave his finances and his time to the Lord’s work by teaching Sunday School, serving on council, and praying for and mentoring pastors.  After his retirement he took on prayer ministry as an outreach.  Dad has spent a lifetime in prayer and meditation; he is the first one I call when there’s a need.

When I needed counsel and wisdom as I went through school, he shared his viewpoints and allowed me to dialogue until I was satisfied with the conclusions.  Navigating science, world history, politics, and social norms from a Christian perspective while engaging with new ideas and alternative truths was challenging, but he gave me permission to think.  Ultimately, I learned never to fear the truth because all truth is God’s truth.  He reminded me that with rights comes responsibility, that government cannot legislate morality, that the natural world is not all there is, and that some questions will only be answered in eternity.

Dad showed me how to be more tolerant without sacrificing personal convictions as the values of society have confronted the church with an influx of seekers and new believers.  He has watched it evolve and grow through the decades and has embraced every new member with grace and love, even if their backgrounds were very different from his own.  He never dismisses or condemns; he listens and adapts, even if it means challenging long held views.

20180624_161455He demonstrates patience and humility by caring for my mother and lovingly supporting her, first as a homemaker in the early years, and now as his best friend and companion throughout retirement.  To watch the former chief of staff of the Calgary General Hospital hold her purse and offer his arm so she can walk up the stairs is a model of love and servanthood.

He showed me mercy when I failed to reach my own standards of perfection and lost my way in my early twenties.  He knew when to correct and when to encourage.  “A bruised reed he will not break” (Mt. 12:20).  He offered me a safe haven when I felt hopeless and alone, and gave me the means to finish my education so that I could provide for my young family and restore my self esteem.

He showed me that the best support is a listening ear, an encouraging word, and a grateful heart.  Dad understands that the faithfulness and love of God is enough to carry us through the darkest night, whether it be emotional, physical or spiritual.  The response is always the same, “God is good.”

My dad often speaks of the impact his grandfather had on him in shaping his view of the faith.  My great grandfather, Ole Carbol, stood as an example of God’s faithfulness through adversity.  He passed that on to my dad, who is now a great grandfather to my grandchildren.

I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God. . . , 10 showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments. Deut. 5:8,10

May we remain faithful.


Front:  Elaine (Anquist) Knudtson on Amelia (Rude) Carbol’s knee, beside Ole Carbol.

Back:  Ruth (Borg) Anquist, Ken Anquist, Nels Anquist, Ruth (Carbol) Anquist


The fourth, fifth and sixth generations of Ole Carbol.


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Paul was a preacher and teacher until he retired in 2015. He continues to write and listen to what God is saying to him in the ordinary and extraordinary things of life. Elaine was a public school teacher and administrator until she retired in 2018. She is using her retirement to reflect on God's work in her life and to share insights with her family and friends.

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