Ruth was born on June 10, 1920 in China and she was the second of five children to medical missionary parents. She saw much suffering at a young age and came to understand the world’s greatest need is to know Jesus.
When she was 13, she was sent to “foreign” school in Korea which is now modern day North Korea. She finished high school in North Carolina while her parents were on furlough. She then went on to graduate from Wheaton College in Illinois. I believe being away from loved ones all those schooling years prepared her for what was to come in her life.
She always intended to become a missionary herself.
She assumed that meant she would end up an ‘old maid’ ministering to the people of Tibet. She did, however, give some thought to the kind of husband she might consider. Here’s what she prayed for: “Lord, he must be so tall that when he’s on his knees he reaches all the way to heaven. His shoulders must be broad enough to bear the burden of a family. His lips must be strong enough to smile, firm enough to say no, and tender enough to kiss. His love must be so deep that it takes its stand in Christ and so wide that it takes in a whole lost world. He must be active enough to win souls, big enough to be gentle, great enough to be thoughtful and his arms must be strong enough to carry a little child.”
That’s a pretty tall order and her missionary plans did in fact change when Ruth found a man worth marrying named Billy Graham. She wrestled with her growing love for the ‘preacher’ as was his nickname or following her own missionary call. She may not have lived a life of being a missionary herself but her role was to raise her children who are now all in ministry and to support the world’s evangelist and America’s ‘pastor’ in his missionary endeavors to save the lost.
Her life was not always easy as Billy could be on the road for months at a time. She, however, was a behind the scenes individual and was okay keeping the homestead’s fires burning while he was away. She was a prolific author and poet herself but also helped research for Billy’s books and sermons.
The take away from Ruth’s life is that God can redefine what you think your calling is and still align it with His purpose for your life.
Also, it is never to late to live that purpose out.
He does have a plan to use each and everyone of us to help each and every one in the world come to know the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
We all can’t be Ruth’s or Billy’s but we can be who God created us to be knowing we all have our part to do to help this generation be challenged with the gospel truth. That is how to…
when you hear your own bell and follow God’s leading.
Ruth would have been 99 today and on the 14, it will be 12 years since her passing. Take the lessons her life taught and hear the bell in your life.
*hear the bell is a little play on words – first referring to Ruth’s maiden name and the 2nd represents choosing to follow your calling and purpose. Just as Ruth struggled to align her life mission of full time missions versus getting married, we can learn so much by her life and example. Go learn more and let us know what you learn as you look up more on her life or read books she left behind as a legacy. Hear the bell or should I say rather heed to the bell.
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