People I want to be like

Ruth Bell Graham

It wasn’t until I started working at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association that I learned about Ruth — what she was like and how people remember her. She was, among other things, a mom of 5 (OK, I don’t want that part), an inspiring friend to many, a writer and a goofball. As the wife of Billy Graham, she took charge of the household when he was away, not just telling her kids how to live a life of faith but showing them. She played pranks on them. She was strong, bold, humble and encouraging.

After years of marriage, someone asked if she had ever considered divorce. “Divorce, no,” she said. “Murder, yes.”

Ruth died in 2007. Here’s what Billy had to say about her:

Whenever I was asked to name the finest Christian I ever met, I always replied, “My wife, Ruth.” She was a spiritual giant whose unparalleled knowledge of the Bible and commitment to prayer were a challenge and inspiration to everyone who knew her. … Ruth also was a wonderful mother. Her task wasn’t easy since I was away from home so much, but she handled our children with both great love and wise discipline. She felt it was her calling, and without her willingness to bear the major responsibility for raising our children, my work simply would not have been possible. … She also was full of fun, always ready to play a joke on someone. Our children all knew that life was never dull with Ruth around!

He called her “very sweet and very gracious and charming.”

Ruth is buried on the grounds of the Billy Graham Library. Her humor is even evident in her headstone. It says, “End of construction. Thank you for your patience.” 🙂

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