“The Bible, in one sense, is a family tree with deep roots,” Franklin Graham continues. “This is where we go to learn about ourselves and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Franklin recalled a visit with his paternal grandmother on his 29th birthday, one month before her death: “I remember wanting to do something special for my birthday,” he states, “so I went to Charlotte to spend a few hours with my grandmother. I never visited her that I didn’t get at least a brief Bible lesson. She was a biblical quote factory, billowing forth Scripture. She reminded me of the great heritage we have in Christ and compelled me to be faithful in telling people around the world what Christ has done for us.
“I had grandparents who made an impact on me in a positive way and as a grandfather myself now, I realize the importance of setting an example for my grandchildren by loving God’s Word, obeying it daily, and boldly proclaiming its truth.”
No Place Like Home
Morrow Coffey Graham, mother of Billy Graham and known to many as “Mother Graham,” was born in 1892 and died in 1981 in the home her husband, William Franklin Graham, Sr., built on the Graham Dairy Farm in Charlotte, N.C., when Billy was a young boy.
Today it is located at The Billy Graham Library and open to the public. Over a half million guests have walked through this home and have sensed the presence of the Lord as stories are told of Morrow Graham’s love for family, and especially of her devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ and her love for the Word of God.
Visiting the Graham homeplace, one may just hear some firsthand stories told by a “fun-loving, ebullient women with a laugh as big as her heart,” says Billy Graham. Her name is Rose Adams, an 85-year-old volunteer at the Library. Of particular interest, Rose Adams, author of the new devotional, was caregiver to Morrow Graham in the last years of her life.
“I shall never forget the first time I saw Mother Graham in 1958 at the Billy Graham Crusade in Charlotte, N.C.,” Rose states. “The sweet countenance of this petite woman crowned with white hair looked like an angel. Never did I dream that I would have the privilege of caring for her 20 years later. In return you might say she cared for my soul; for our days together seldom passed that I didn’t sit at her feet and learn from the wisdom she deposited in my heart from the Holy Scriptures,” Rose writes.
The devotional is a compilation of journal entries from Rose to Billy Graham, sharing with him what she learned from his mother—short but thought-provoking lessons from the pages of all 66 books of the Bible—each entry ending with an insightful reflection from Mr. Graham about his mother and lessons she taught him growing up that followed him through nine decades of life and seven decades of public, worldwide ministry. The impact of a Christian mother, indeed, is inspiring.
A Special Bond
“The uniqueness of the book is that it speaks to young and old alike and exemplifies what is missing in today’s culture,” says co-author Donna Lee Toney, “and that is the younger learning from those who have walked a few more miles, which adheres to the Apostle Paul’s instruction in the Book of Titus that older women should teach younger women good things. This was the special bond these two women shared. Mr. Graham told me that his mother and Rose discovered together that the Lord Jesus Christ truly is the all-sufficient Comforter.”
“In recent years,” Billy writes, “as Ruth and I grew older, we both learned something about caregivers. The most effective and loving are those who have already walked a few miles through the valley. Ruth and I always enjoyed hearing Rose recount some of these special moments.”
Jennifer Lyell, executive editor for Broadman and Holman, told the editors of Decision Magazine: “When I met Rose earlier this year, she took me through Mother Graham’s home and as I connected with this remarkable story, I was struck with the power of Titus 2:4 personified in the moment. What Mother Graham had passed on to Rose, Rose was now passing on to me. These treasured moments will touch the hearts of many others as they tap into the insights of Morrow Coffey Graham.”
That passing of truth is captured in the book’s preface, as Rose states, “When I arrived at the Graham home in September 1979, Mother Graham welcomed me as a friend, not a caregiver. I embraced her not as an invalid, but as a mother and a teacher. I often thanked her for the impact she made in my life but she was always quick to say that every time she opened the Bible, she herself entered the classroom under the professorship of the Holy Spirit.
“These nuggets of truth from Morrow Graham were used to personally tutor me as her resident student in what I called Mother Graham Seminary. I am grateful to Billy for asking me to share these memorable and personal thoughts from his mother, who taught me how to praise through pain; how to be strengthened in sorrow; and how to lay hold of Christ’s promises.”