Ruth Graham's been through the fire, says it's time for honesty
The daughter of the Rev. Billy Graham shares what it's like to watch her famous father grow older -- as well as the heartache she has endured -- and challenges us all to be truthful, no matter who we are
Recently she was at her father’s bedside after he fell at home and had to be hospitalized. Has it been difficult watching such a great man, who she still lovingly calls “Daddy,” retreat from public view now that he has slowed down – and is well into his 90s? Does she ever wish she could miraculously restore him to the fiery young preacher who filled stadiums worldwide for 40 years?
“I told Daddy not too long ago that I am much more warmed by the embers than I ever was by the fire. I hate to see the physical
disabilities that he has endured, but I have enjoyed this special time in his sunset years. He is not as distracted. He is gentler.
“He’s always been a wonderful person. It was hard for him that Mother went first, but God knows what He’s doing. Always before, we kids went home to see her. If he was there, that was well and good. But now that she’s gone, we go home to see him. And he loves it. And I love being with him.
“I remember one day when I was really beating myself up and taking responsibility for my marriage falling apart – just pouring my heart out. Daddy said, ‘Quit beating yourself up. We all live under God’s grace and we just do the best we can.’
“Whenever I go home, there’s always a bouquet of flowers in my room with a handwritten note that reads, ‘Welcome home. Daddy.’”
What has she learned through her personal ordeal?
She says she will never again attempt to live up to other people’s expectations. “For years, I was very good at fooling myself. I don’t know if I fooled other people – I certainly never fooled God.
“I have realized that I have an audience of One. As long as He’s happy with me, then that’s OK. You can’t please all those other people anyway. There’s always going to be somebody who doesn’t think you measure up.
“At each stage as I went through this, I knew I loved the Lord. There was no question of that. At each stage, He has taken me deeper. And I don’t like the fact that the deep things of God are taught in suffering.
“As a result, I know God’s grace in a way that I never would have otherwise. I’m learning to tell myself the truth. “