Just ahead of Mother's Day, Anne Graham-Lotz, the daughter of evangelist Billy Graham, has reflected on the faith and witness of her own mother, Ruth Graham.
"Besides her sparkling wit, her commitment to world evangelism, her devotion to my Daddy, and her fierce loyalty to her children, the legacy that stands out above all else is the legacy of God's Word," Graham-Lotz wrote of her mother, the daughter of a missionary surgeon.
"She loved it!" the author and founder of AnGel Ministries continued. "She spent hours reading and studying it. At the end of her life, she was still memorizing passages from it. As a result, hers was a life well lived. Because she didn't just obey God's Word, she increasingly grew passionately in love with the One who is revealed in its pages."
Graham-Lotz said her mother's legacy is summarized by the inscription she wrote in the flyleaf of the Bible she gave to daughter on the day she was baptized.
"It was a navy blue Scofield King James Version that I treasure to this day," she reflected. "The inscription reads, To Anne, (Who on this January 13, 1957 publicly took her stand for Christ, her Savior.) We give this Book, your one sure guide in an unsure world. Read it, study it, love it, live it. In it you will find a verse for every occasion. Hide them in your heart. We love you. Mother."
Those words, Graham-Lotz said, were inscribed both on a page and on her mother's life.
"Their meaning is her legacy that ripples throughout my own life, my family and my ministry," she said.
Graham-Lotz encouraged mothers to ask themselves: "What can I do today to make sure that I leave a rich spiritual inheritance for my children's children tomorrow? What will be my legacy to those who come after me?"
Billy and Ruth Graham wed in 1943 and remained married until her death in June of 2007. According to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Ruth sometimes shared in her husband's travels, accompanying him to Guatemala in 1976, where a 7.5 earthquake killed 12,000 and rendered a million people homeless.
Billy Graham considered his wife his greatest spiritual adviser. "When it comes to spiritual things, my wife has had the greatest influence on my ministry," he said.
He later said, "Without Ruth's partnership and encouragement over the years, my own work would have been impossible. We were called by God as a team."
Together, they had five children: Gigi, Anne, Ruth, Franklin and Ned .
Graham-Lotz once said of her parents, "They set the tone for our lives by the way they lived theirs. Their depending on God was obvious-Mother's light would be on late at night and early in the morning as she studied her Bible and prayed. And Daddy, even though the world acclaimed him as a great man and so many sought him for advice, would still get on his knees and humbly ask the Lord for His guidance. Through all of this, we learned that seeking God was not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength."