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09-27-2005


Life According to Ruth Graham

 


She grew up in the shadows of famous parents—parents who have reached millions with their gospel message. She has witnessed the conversions and seen the heavenly light that has followed her faithful parents. But for Ruth Graham, third daughter of Billy and Ruth Graham, life has not been served on an elevated, angelic platform.

“In every pew, there’s a broken heart,” says Graham, conveying that everyone, despite his or her upbringing, has a story.

Graham’s story is one of despair and triumph over a multitude of misfortunes. Three failed marriages, an unwed pregnant teenage daughter, a son who abused drugs—all experiences she offers to her own audiences. On this night, standing before a gathering at University of the Cumberlands, she stands with unashamed confidence as she peers over the group, speaking of the trials of life.

This crowd, comprised of many students, faculty and surrounding community persons, congregate to glean a message of hope from a woman who is real and optimistic, yet famous. Somehow this familiarity does not distract. Her well-known last name fades to the background and someone else emerges. It’s as if she could be anyone: a coworker, a neighbor, a friend—not the daughter of a man regarded as a spiritual leader.

Even with her father’s resemblance in her features, Graham proves she does not need the prominent name to be relatable. Her message is her own, not a mimic of evangelistic sermons or messages centered on what life was like as a Graham. Instead, she shows how life as a Christian can be messy, real.

“Ruin is not where God stops, it’s where He begins,” Graham says, with an air of empathy, sincerity.

While watching her profess how God has restored her life, it is easy to believe God works in all situations—even messy ones.