Saturday, June 16, 2007
Ruth Bell Graham
There have been so many eloquent things written and words spoken about Ruth Bell Graham. I haven’t anything more eloquent or different to write, but because she has meant so much to me I felt I just had to write a little something.
I came of age in the sixties, a time when women seemed to want to change all the rules and redefine so many of the things I held dear. Aspiring to be wife and mother just didn’t seem lofty enough – after all, we were told, we could be anything we wanted to be. So I thought I had better want to “be” something. I knew I didn’t want to be a teacher, so I decided Social Worker sounded like a lofty enough goal. I even convinced myself the Lord had called me to it.
After one miserable year at college, I knew He hadn’t. A year later I was married and blissfully happy doing exactly what I had always wanted to do. Had I been born a generation earlier, I would have fit in perfectly. As it was, I found myself a bit of an anomaly. Everyone else was going to college, starting careers and becoming an activist of one sort or another. Free love was the thing – not marriage.
One day I picked up a little book written by Billy Graham’s oldest daughter Gigi, who happened to be exactly my age. It was a book about “home” – the home in which she was raised and the home she and her husband were establishing. I inhaled that book like a fresh breath of air. It was through that book that I discovered Ruth Bell Graham. She became for me a wonderful role model. Of course my own mother was the one who first modeled Godly womanhood for me, but here was someone “famous” whose life was exactly what I wanted mine to be.
Much has been said of Ruth Graham as wife and mother. She was an amazing woman. I wonder if she knew how she encouraged young wives and mothers by her practical, observable love for the Lord – lived out as she steadfastly supported her husband and cared for her family. I read everything of hers I could get my hands on. I have quoted her so many times. Her love of the word, her practical wisdom, her wonderful sense of humor, her love of adventure – all inspired this young wife and mother to draw closer to the Lord.
I feel as though I have lost a dear friend. I’m sure there are thousands and thousands who feel the very same way. Her life is a tribute to a heart sold out to God, to a life lived in surrender to His will, to a deep, abiding love of God. What a glorious legacy she leaves to her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and to those of us who watched a life lived to the fullest.