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My Father’s 95th Birthday!

We celebrate my father’s birthday on Thursday, the 7th. (I’ll post my personal pictures at some point.) There is to be a big party Thursday night in Asheville but there are several parties ahead of time – and one after – he’s going to be partied out! But you don’t turn 95 every day! For him, he may just as soon have a quiet day but I know he loves the excitement and attention, at this age. At one time in his life, he told my Mother about another occasion, “I dread looking forward to it.” Have you ever felt that way, just so tired, pressed, that it sucked the joy out of life? I think Daddy felt that way far too often. When you think of all that he carried…the schedule, pressures, decisions…

I will go to Asheville for the festivities. I have heard that there are between 600-900 guest invited! I don’t think that’s just family! Although we could have that many if we added all the cousins, and all the “second removeds, 3rd removeds” (I don’t follow how that works…) and great-grandchildren and one great-great!! In other words there are a lot of Grahams. By in large, we are a nice lot! There are some I’d rather not go on vacation with but we all seem to have a good sense of humor, love the Lord and are busy contributing. Some I enjoy, some I don’t. Typical family.

We do not sit around praying and reading our Bibles all day. We don’t wear halos. We are really rather ordinary but have an extraordinary relative. That does not make us special – it just makes us different. And Daddy is extraordinary because he has followed God’s call on his life in a single-focused way. Everybody has that opportunity. Most of us slip along the way – I sure did. But my father gave me extraordinary grace. To each one who has slipped, he gives grace. We have had divorces, affairs, unwed pregnancies, drug abuse, jail time…not a pretty picture except that God’s outrageous grace has been our comfort and His faithfulness, our security.

And look at God’s family! What a messy lot we are.

My father is loved around the globe. But nowhere as much as at home. (I think that is a tribute to my Mother. Had she been a bitter person… But no, she was a loving, joyful lady who saw her supporting role as important as his.) His family loves him. He is “Daddy” to his children and “Daddy Bill” to his grandchildren. We will celebrate him and in our memories, my mother. He wouldn’t be who he is without her. He misses her terribly and probably it is exacerbated by any celebration where she is absent. They will be reunited soon in an even greater celebration.

Any celebration we have here on earth is but a shadow of what is to come!! All of glory is ahead!

19 replies
  1. Laura Brown
    Laura Brown says:

    You being real keeps me reading. I’m real too. A bunch of pieces put together, some good, some bad, some ugly. Broken over the grace we’ve received. LB

  2. Angela
    Angela says:

    What a wonderful blog post. Happy birthday tomorrow to your dad, Ruth! I know you are all missing your mother. You wrote a beautiful tribute about both your parents. We are not perfect christians but God’s grace is great. Enjoy your celebration.

  3. Nkr
    Nkr says:

    What a joyful occasion! Thank you for sharing your sweet thoughts with us. Thank you for being real, with all the messes and missteps, and showing the love and grace and acceptance and forgiveness from your family. What an example of our Heavenly Father’s never ending love for us.

    Have a happy week as you and yours celebrate!

    Can’t wait to see those pictures!

  4. Lyn Cameron
    Lyn Cameron says:

    I have said so before and I will say it again – I love you honesty. The Preachers I like and love the most are those who share their need for Grace – not just saying it but telling of instances – not pretending that they have it all together – your Father was due for a visit here in New Zealand and I was to be one of those who was to help with counselling and feeling so inadequate – unfortunately he took ill and the Billy Graham Crusade was cancelled – 1996 I think it was. Then when my husband and I lived in the States I so hoped we could get over your way and that never happened – tell your Dad happy Birthday from me and I hope you all get to enjoy the celebration – I know how he feels – sometimes the party is for others and not for the one who is having the Birthday! I dare say it will be on TV and I will get to see it when it makes it over here. God Bless you Ruth and your Dad and family

  5. Bette Statham
    Bette Statham says:

    Thank you so much for the love your entire family has shared with us all. I never had the pleasure of meeting him but I’m thankful to be able to spend eternity with family because of him. Tell him Happy Birthday from a pastor and his wife from Remlap, Alabama.
    PS. We love Him and Asheville!

  6. Kristi
    Kristi says:

    Enjoyed this blog so much!!!! Have a great time with your family. I lost my mother 3 years ago and I know exactly what you mean about feeling her absence during celebrations.
    Ruth, you are such a blessing to so many – thanks!!!! Can’t wait to see the photos.

  7. Bob
    Bob says:

    Have a blessed day Dr. Graham , you were a great influence on my father in 1955 in your time in Scotland for which I am so grateful and as a result have many happy memories . God Bless you and the Graham family .

  8. Lisa
    Lisa says:

    How sweet that it’s your dad’s 95th birthday and he’ll be giving our nation the best gift they might ever receive in the form of ‘My Hope’ beginning Thursday evening.

  9. Joyce
    Joyce says:

    Thanks for sharing, I was about 15 and a student at Washington College Academy when
    we came across the mountain on our school bus the ” the Blue Goose” to hear your
    dad at a crusade in Ashville. This was in the 50’s. Your dad is remarkable and I hope
    he has a wonderful birthday.

  10. Carline Montreeuil
    Carline Montreeuil says:

    Happy Birthday to pastor Graham, he is a man of God. The hymn “just as I am” has connected me to your dad. Through his ministry he really encourage people to receive Jesus just as they are. Thanks for sharing, have a great festivities!


  11. Lydia
    Lydia says:

    We celebrated at home last night marking your dad’s 95th birthday and all that has been done through him in our life time – How thankful we are for the Lord Jesus who continues to share His good news through willing messengers! Hope you have a wonderful time at this special occasion for your family. Love, Lydia B

  12. Dale Sipple
    Dale Sipple says:

    So lovely- thank you. I watched your father’s film, The Cross, a few times.AMazing! Godly man so given to God and God’s call, so full of integrity.What a light in the world.God bless him in this95th year. And thank you for coming to Brockville, ON. God bless you and the whole family. I love reading your blog. Dale SIpple

    Sent from my iPad

  13. Greg Lam
    Greg Lam says:

    I really like reading your blog and I am extremely glad that your Father is still able to spread God’s word through “My Hope America” at the age of 95. I was privileged to hear him speak at your daughter’s graduation ceremony from Fort Defiance because my cousin was in her class and love to hear his message of the cross.

    Blessings to your family.

  14. Pamelyn
    Pamelyn says:

    I recently started following your Blog because I am finding so much encouragement from reading your book, “In Every Pew Sits a Broken Heart”.

    I grew up as a Preacher’s Kid and can so relate to how you describe your family! We didn’t “sit around praying and reading our Bibles all day…(nor did we) wear halos”.

    Birthday blessings to your Dad.



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