One of my heroines in the faith is Ruth Bell Graham, "Billy's wife". She represents to me so much of what I aspire to be - she and I, when she was alive, shared the some of the same theological leanings, and love of all things Scottish.
She, too, experienced a season when her family loved a prodigal - Franklin Graham, who as you know, has long since returned to his senses and serves his God legendarily well....almost as well as his father.
Our family went through a season when the path of one of our members seemed to be bent away from God. We each one grieved in our own way, as months and months went by. As of today, in this season, those days seem to be behind us, and our hearts greatly magnify the Lord. Every member of the family is walking with God - at differing levels of maturity, to be sure, but with steady intent. May it ever be so! Again I declare, before the outcome can be confirmed: grace will accomplish what the law could never do. My faith, also a gift from God, declares it to be so.
And so it is.
Ruth Bell Graham wrote volumes of poetry. She wrote verse after verse, as a way of processing her joys and her sorrows. I find that much of what she wrote moves me to tears...this wise woman walked the same road I am now walking. She knew the strain of ministry. She struggled with anger and depression and an almost empty nest and a prodigal son. She also knew the singing joys of hearth and home and mountain. She knew the serene satisfaction of a good, sturdy supper prepared with her own two hands, and a table lavished with pinecones for decoration, and roast chicken, and candlelight - even though only she and two of her children would be home to partake, that night.
Here are just two of her poems, from a little gem of mine entitled "Ruth Bell Graham's Collected Poems":
"It is a fearful thing to fall
into Your hands, O living God!"
Yet I must trust him to You,
praying your staff and rod
will comfort him in need
as well as break
in love the wayward leg. And yet I plead
"Deal gently with the young man
...for my sake."
Moses' wanderings weren't
all for naught:
wandering, he learned the
and later through this
his brethren from bondage to
the Promised Land.
If ever you run across a copy of "Sitting By My Laughing Fire", be sure to snatch it up, if not for yourself, for someone else, as a gift. It, too, is full of Ruth's vivid poetry. Do you know the mother of a wayward son or daughter? Get her a little volume of Ruth's poems. She will bless you again and again for the gift.