Ruth Bell Graham

Ruth Bell Graham and her children

“Marriage is the union of two good forgivers.”

This is one of the first quotes I ever read from the hand of Billy Graham’s wife, Ruth Bell Graham. I so agreed with her. In marriage, we repeatedly have the opportunity to practice forgiving and being forgiven and allowing love to cover a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8).

Ruth Bell Graham is one of my heroines of the Christian faith. Although I never met her or heard her speak, she has taught me a great deal through her writings.

She was born in June of 1920 to medical missionary parents who were serving in China.

Being the wife of the famous evangelist Billy Graham made it sound like she should be a wife and mother who had it all together. So I appreciated the truthfulness and realness with which she wrote. Because of her husband’s work and travel schedule, Mrs. Graham was alone back at home raising their five children, four daughters and a son. In her book It’s My Turn, she includes this vignette.

“Without fixing my hair or pausing for makeup, I hurriedly pulled on my bathrobe, lifted Franklin out of his bed without bothering to change him, and set him in the high chair. I proceeded to set the table hurriedly for breakfast so the children would not be late for school.

“That morning, every time Gigi opened her mouth to say something, Bunny interrupted. Finally, in exasperation, Gigi slammed down her fork.

“‘Mother!’ she exclaimed. ‘Between listening to Bunny and smelling Franklin and looking at you, I’m not hungry!’”

Ah, yes, real motherhood in the daily trenches!

Her comments on meeting Billy Graham for the first time at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois:

“She’d heard about this new student and his fiery preaching. That Sunday morning, she heard him praying during a prayer meeting.

“There is a man who knows to Whom he is speaking,” she thought.

Another quote of hers that makes me smile: “I’ve never considered divorce. Murder, yes, but not divorce.” Her children continue in Christian ministry and include Franklin Graham who is president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and of Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief organization and Anne Graham Lotz who founded AnGeL Ministries and is the author of 11 books, of which her best known is Just Give Me Jesus.

Ruth Bell Graham went to be with the Lord on June 14, 2007, at 87 years of age.

Because He first loved us and He has given us godly women to be examples for us,


From “Ruth Bell Graham: A Life Well Lived” by Kristen Driscoll


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