Safe Place with Ruth Graham

Safe Place with Ruth Graham


posted by Ruth Graham

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.



Good Books

posted by Ruth Graham

There are two new books I’d like to recommend! First a disclaimer: both are written by friends!

Your Sacred Yes, Trading Life-Draining Obligations for Freedom, Passion and Joy by Susie Larson.


Killing Cows, Six Sacred Cows Keeping You from A fully Satisfied Life by Tony Ferraro.

Both are excellent. They can be ordered on Amazon.

I love Susie’s “Faith Declaration”:

I declare in the mighty name of Jesus that I am an anointed, appointed child of God! I am filled with he Holy Spirit and empowered by His love. I walk in the Lord’s presence as I live here on earth. I have eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart to do His will. I refuse to throw my yes around like it doesn’t matter. It is a gift, and my time is a gift. God invites me to walk with Him and do the next thing He gives me to do. I am loved, called, and fully equipped to live he powerful life God has assigned to me. I refuse the rat race because God has called me to the sacred race. And I will run with holy passion and conviction.


That is just a taste of what is inside her book!

There are 6 sacred cows Tony tackles in his book. Three of them are Judgment, Culture and Fear. You have to buy the book to learn the other three!

Tony says in his book, “Satan desires to separate us from God and from our community. He can do this many different ways, but one key strategy is in the name of “righteousness”. In this case,  by “righteousness” I really mean self-righteousness. Satan will convince us that we are operating on a higher plane and with the clearest point of view. Subsequently, we act alone and without community, precisely where the enemy wants us.”

I recommend both books highly! Enjoy!

Also, Phillip Yancey’s newest book: Vanishing Grace. Talk about “a safe place”!


Keeping Up Appearances

posted by Ruth Graham

How many people in recent years have been felled by a hidden sin in their life? It wasn’t bad enough to have their sin, mistake, crime found out but they compounded it by trying to cover it up. Presidents, Governors, Senators, pastors, sports figure, leaders of all sorts…TV personalities… Often the crime is not as bad as the cover-up – though the crime is pretty bad…the explanations, stories, lies, excuses are pathetic.  The latest is Dennis Hastert. But he is just one of so many. His crime was 30+ years ago. I can only imagine the fear of being “found out” he carried for all this years. And after all of that he was found out anyway. In actuality, at this point it is the cover-up, not the crime, that has put him at odds with the law. Certainly it wasn’t worth it.


I hesitate to jump in too early because we don’t know what the situation was but at this point, it looks bad. I do have questions as to the timing of the revelation. Why now? Who is behind this? Politics is a very dirty business. (I am very sad about it. He had seemed to have such a clean record. He served at a difficult time. He had a good reputation. A good legacy… so sad… I do pray for him and his family.) I believe him to be a Christian so I assume he has asked for and been given forgiveness by God and others.

Although we, and I include myself in that, try so hard to look like we have it all together and have a handle on life…we don’t. All of us are broken but we work so hard to keep up appearances. We wear our masks – some decorated quite elaborately and expensively but they are just masks, soon to expose us for what we are – pretenders. Why do we pretend? We are afraid. Afraid of what? People won’t like us or find us deficient.


I’m not sure how many of you watch the BBC/PBS show by that name, “Keeping up Appearances” on Saturday night. Set in England, the main character tries so hard to be what she isn’t (a member of the upper class) and hide the things she is (a pretentious ordinary housewife)! She gets into all sorts of predicaments – it’s quite comical. But it is so true of human nature! We want people to think well of us. Sadly, we pretend to be what/who we are not. Richer than we are, more educated than we are, more popular than we are, busier than we are…the list is endless. How many of us are really comfortable in our own skins, if we really think about it? It is sad. We envy and try to emulate those around us that seem to have more than we do in a variety of areas.


How many times have we driven by a shabby house only to see a brand-new Mercedes out front? I remember looking for a house in Florida years ago…often the downstairs was furnished but not the upstairs! The family couldn’t afford to furnish the whole house but didn’t want people to know! So sad.

To live authentically is freedom. To be who you are inside and out. (I’m not going to comment on Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner at this time.) It is easier to be authentic. It does take energy to cover shame. But shame is a lie. We don’t have to live there. We can be free. And it is so much easier to tell on ourselves rather than have someone rat us out! The Bible tells us to “confess your sins to one another and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” (James 5:16) So true. Find someone that is safe – someone who is authentic (Willing to confess their sins to you) and begin to confess even your darkest secrets. You will find it painful at first but so liberating!

You will no longer be afraid of being found out, of the other shoe dropping, nor will you have to keep up appearances!







Sexual Abuse

posted by Ruth Graham

So much rain! I am sure the dear folks in Texas wonder if it will even stop. Maybe they are identifying with Noah by now. If only we could send some of that rain to California where they are suffering a record draught.

The devastation in Texas and Oklahoma I see in the news is heartbreaking, not to mention families that lost loved ones. I lived in Texas for 6 years and I know how fast flash floods happen. Actually, my husband got caught in one coming home one afternoon. It was frightening.

My prayers go out to those trying to clean up and sort through the wreckage. It sounds like a very redundant thing to say, but, water is so wet. It gets everywhere. It’s not like dust that can be  vacuumed or swept. Or fire that turns it all to ash, as bad as that is. Water just seeps in and destroys. And if things are not properly dried out, mold and mildew develop – the devastation will continue. It’s a mess.


Events like this are overwhelming. My prayers go out to those having to deal with their loss and the clean-up.

Another loss this week that has saddened me…Josh Duggar. My oldest granddaughter has watched that show for years. It is a wonderful reinforcement of the values my daughter holds dear and tries to teach her children. A refreshing TV program against all the trash that fills the airwaves. (Not that we agree with everything the Duggars do but it’s a whole lot better than the Kardashians!)

I don’t know of the details of Josh’s transgression. But I do know sexual abuse has to be dealt with swiftly and thoroughly. I understand his parents trying to protect him and the others involved as well as the TV show – they are celebrities. And a when something like this happens you want to keep it a secret. Cover it. And there are Bible verses one can quote to support that line of thinking. But it is dangerous. We are as sick as our secrets.


We try to build safe places on shaky foundations.

Abuse indicates a deeper issue – a root cause. I am not a psychologist or counsellor but I do know this sin has tentacles that if they are not cut off will create havoc for years to come. I am concerned for his wife. Yes, she knew about it before the marriage but we tend to see things through rose-colored glasses when we are newly in love. Now that the secret is out and there is job loss and a tarnished reputation the stress will be more than enough on the marriage and the family.

Just like Texas and Oklahoma it will be a messy clean up. It will take long time. It cannot be rushed. It takes professionals who know what to look for and what to clear away. It takes understanding people to come alongside to help. The Duggars had a flood hit them. They tried to stem the tide and hold back the waters. Their efforts were not sufficient. More damage was done…but the story isn’t over. God is in the restoration business.


We need to pray for them.

Yes, sin was committed. A horrible and devastating sin. But it doesn’t have to destroy lives, yes, scar lives, but not destroy. And scars don’t heal. But they can be testimonies to God’s amazing grace. Sin doesn’t have to win. By God’s grace and mercy, can sin be forgiven. Lives rebuilt. And I pray all that has begun.

I pray for the victims. That they have or will receive professional counseling – not just quoted Bible verses and prayer by a pastor. They need an expert counselor who knows the psychological damage done but also knows the healing power of God.

Sin is an opportunity to give and show grace. Let’s be people of grace as the process continues. God created out of chaos back in Genesis chapter 1 – He is still doing it today! Amen!


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