I never met her in person. Yet I felt I knew her.
Ruth Graham has been an inspiration to me since I first set up housekeeping as a wife almost 35 years ago. Married to the world’s most well known evangelist for 64 years, until her death on June 14, Ruth Graham was a shining model of a Christian wife and mother.
And, thank God, Ruth Graham was, also, human. Thank God, she had a sense of humor. Once, I lost my temper, jokingly confiding to a friend, “I’ve never considered divorce, but murder…well?” Later, I read where Ruth had also made the same statement (of course, in jest) to former first lady, Barbara Bush.
Why do we often put famous godly people on pedestals? We think, surely they never get discouraged—-they never have a sarcastic word come out of their mouths. Never struggle with any of the same thoughts that try to nest in our minds? But they do.
Ruth Graham was also blessed with a sense of humor. And she was transparent. She was real. I’m sure her sense of humor came in handy raising five children. Most of the time, she did it, alone, as her husband was away, preaching the Gospel. She been a breath of fresh air to any mother struggling to raise their children, alone. Or to any mothers left behind while their husbands are off to war. Her beloved Billy may not have been gone all those years fighting in a physical war, but as he broke down the strongholds of evil, he was definitely on the front lines of many a spiritual warfare.
She’s that ray of hope and well of encouragement to any woman who’s cried herself to sleep over a rebellious child, or wayward grandchild. Yes, she’s been there, wearing out her knees in prayer.
Personally, she’s given me hope. We do share something—the heartache of a prodigal child. Yet, when I see how she never gave up, but trusted God when well meaning friends must have surely hinted to her to, “give up”, she hung on to her faith in God, trusting in His faithfulness and sovereignty. Ruth Graham thundered heaven with her prayers for her oldest son, Franklin, when he rebelled against God. Thank God, she did or the world would not be blessed by his ministry. Today Franklin is President and CEO of Samaritan’s Purse, which ministers to the needs of the poor, sick and suffering in more than 100 countries. Franklin has also led crusades worldwide, as an evangelist for his father’s evangelical association.
When the skies were dark in my life and I wondered if my prayers were all in vain, I kept hearing your name, Ruth Graham. My friends reminded me, “Keep on praying. Remember that godly mother, Ruth Graham. It’s not over yet.”
She’s had to share her husband with the world, but did it with grace and humility. Her husband refers to his wife of 64 years as his greatest soul mate.
We stand by your side, Billy Graham, as you mourn your loss. Our prayers go with you.
And, thank you, Ruth Graham, for your life, for your excellent example of what it means to be a Christian woman, as well as a godly wife and mother. For 87 years of a life well lived for your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
We’ll miss you, Ruth Graham.