Safe Place with Ruth Graham

My car is old – 13 years old…216,000 miles old…it has a cassette player old…. Things are beginning to break down. For instance my CD player is broken. I loved to listen to audio books as I trek up and down the Interstate but my player eats the CDs. I did finally discover that if one got stuck and I pushed eject and grabbed the CD with needle-nose pliers, I could retrieve the CD! You can’t do it while you are driving – it takes 2 hands!

The rubber gasket around my sun roof is finished but it isn’t leaking. The plastic tray in the back where I put my groceries is broken. I kept the different pieces as they fell off. The A/C is broken, sort of.  It would work for a few miles then turn hot. I turned it off and waited several miles and turned it back on – cool air would flow! Not a good problem this week in the heat as I drove to NC to be with my father.

I love my car…but it is telling me something. It is time to retire it. I plan to give it a good home but I admit, I am sad. This car is the only one my grandchildren have known… It took me to Philadelphia when my daughter called to say there was something seriously wrong with her new-born. It took me to my Mother’s funeral. It picked me up at the airport more times than I can count.

In other words, I have memories with this car. It’s like a member of the family. I’ll get another one and make memories with it. After all, it is only a thing. But have you seen car prices?!! Even used ones…


Aging….is not for sissies! Things begin to leak, bulge, droop, sprout, wrinkle … Unfortunately things don’t fall off – like weight – but seem to hop on for the ride! On top of it all, things don’t work like they used to or if they do work, they ache! Reading glasses are a necessity to do the simplest things. Younger people treat me like I’m old – but I don’t feel like I should be old. Memory begins to face challenges… No. Aging is not for sissies.

But we will all have to deal with it. Either the aging of our parents or our friends and ourselves. Age is part of life. It keeps marching toward us whether we like it or not. No potion, lotion, capsule or surgeon’s knife can prevent the inevitable. And I can’t just go out and buy a newer model. I am what I am and where I am.

But I am glutted with memories. There is value in my years. And the best antidote for age is attitude. Youth seems to be attracted to  gratitude, enthusiasm, joy.

I have a friend who is the most negative person I know. They are afraid of dying. They are afraid they don’t have enough money. They are afraid they will be left all alone. They are afraid their health will fail. They are afraid they’ll have to be in a nursing home. They are afraid! And not enjoying the life they have left. It is so sad. I can be serif of this person has it was of another, “She dies at 35 but we buried her at 75!”

Having been to India this year I can make a long list of things to be grateful for! Just having clean water…my own space…plenty of food…

Yes, as we age, there are unpleasant things we have to deal with. What will my attitude be? Face it with good humor and grace? Or grumble and complain? I have a few friends with whom I compare aging notes – that’s one way you can tell you are getting older. You conversations are peppered with tales of ailments and doctor’s visits!

But there is more…so much more. Grandchildren! (Mine will all be here this 4th of July. That will provide some fireworks!) Friends who are traveling the same path. Life’s work and encouraging reports of what God is doing around the globe. Stimulating books and conversation over good coffee. It’s OK to take a nap in the middle of the day. I no longer feel I have to “measure up” – I am free to be myself – and I like myself! I don’t have to have all the answers – I just know the One Who does.

The SCOTUS has ruled on same-sex marriage. They are in favor of same-sex marriage.

I want to remind everyone that SCOTUS is NOT the SUPREME court – God is. And He is not in favor of it. Millenia ago God declared marriage to be the union of one man and one woman. He has not changed His mind as some would suggest.

The 5 men that sit in Washington have shaken their fists in God’s face as has our nation. No nation, or person, has ever gotten away with that. God always has the last word.

There are absolutes in this world. The SCOTUS cannot change them. Nor can POTUS. God’s word and laws are eternal.

We must not call wrong, right. We must not tamper with sacred laws.

It’s not a matter of being a homophobe or racist or a bigot. It’s not a matter of condemnation. It is a matter of holding onto the truth with conviction.

We need to pray as never before. Our culture and society is crumbling before our eyes. All we have to do it look to what happened to Rome as they began to call evil good and wrong right…

I’ve been reading through the Bible this year and over and or again the people “did what was right in their own eyes”. God judged them but when they repented and turned from their evil, He forgave them. Oh, may it be the same for America!

Let us repent and seek forgiveness from the Almighty God and Creator, the one who loves us enough to die for us. He is faithful and just to forgive. It’s not too late.


I heard on the news this morning that we forgive to be free from the hurt an injury. I heard we forgive because God commanded it. I heard we forgive in order to move on from the tragedy.

All that is true but it isn’t the real reason to forgive. The real reason and basis for forgiveness is to reveal the character of God. God is all about forgiveness – it is His nature. The precious people from the AME in Charleston are showing us an example of the character and nature of God. If ever we saw it on display, it was last night.


But, please let us remember, forgiveness is a process. These folks made the choice to forgive now it has to be worked out and lived. It does not meant they won’t get angry, have feelings of revenge, weep, scream…they most assuredly will. But they won’t stay there. The grieving process will begin. It is messy – even for the Christian. But it is healing.

The pain is real. The loss is immense. The grace of God works in and through it to bring God glory. That is what those precious people did last night – glorify God. Our ultimate purpose is to glorify God.



Rachel Dolezal didn’t identify as a white…so she chose to become black. But, in reality, she couldn’t become black. It is something you are or are not. I was born white with white parents, siblings, cousins, grandparents. I am white. No matter how hard I try, I can never be anything else. Rachel changed her hair, deepened her skin color, associated with blacks and their culture, studied African-American studies. She passed herself off as a black woman and was quite good at it – she fooled a lot of people. But she is still a white woman. No matter what. Her natural parents are white.

The former Bruce Jenner didn’t identify as a male. He faked it for a long time.

I am sure there is a great angst in pretending you are something you are not. You must always worry you will be “found out”. Is it worth it.

Recently, someone asked me why I was so transparent I replied, “If I tell on myself then no one can tell on me.” I don’t want to be blindsided by my own sin and faults – and they can show up at the most awkward times! I just find it easier to be honest. Less stressful.

That’s not to say I tell everything I know. Somethings don’t need to be shared. I have seen people try to be honest but tell way too much and the listeners became uncomfortable.  I cannot tell another person’s story – that’s their’s to tell. I get so annoyed when someone comes up to me all excited with someone else’s news…be it good or bad. We should only tell on ourselves. I can only tell on myself – no one else.

So…telling on myself makes life a lot simpler. Yes, I do open myself up to criticism and misunderstanding but I don’t have to pretend to be something I am not. Poor Bruce and Rachel – the years they pretended and where did it get them? Rachel has become a joke and known as a liar. I am distressed for her parents and family. Bruce has become a hero to some – not to me – and is making a large fortune off of his situation. But the story isn’t finished. I suspect he will not be a happy person, content and fulfilled.

I am not sure if it is a “fad”, a trend…but what happened to contentment? Content with race, gender, size, shape, family…somethings we can change. If we don’t like our job, or size, or income we can work to alter that, within reason. God made us as we are and put us where we are. He has a purpose and that purpose is to bring Him glory wherever we are. The Apostle Paul told us, “holiness with contentment is great gain.” (1 Tim. 6: 6) He also told us that  he had learned to be content. (Phil. 4:12) Hebrews tells us to be content with what we have (Heb. 13:5). The Hebrews reference is to material things – but the other references are not limited.

God says He wants truth in the inward parts – down deep where no one sees – but God. King David prayed that God would keep him from hidden faults. Transparency is freeing. It is also God’s desire for us. I don’t think we need to worry about being trans anything. Let’s be content and grateful for what we do have and who we are.


PS – I know these matters are complicated. There are pathological, psychological, sociological issues involved. But there are spiritual issues, too. We make matters worse by compounding them with sin.