“You’ll understand when you become a parent.”
It’s a line many of us have heard and likely brushed aside at some point growing up. But no matter how cliché it sounds, the saying is true.
Cissie Graham Lynch, daughter of Franklin Graham, knows firsthand. On September 29, 2013, she and her husband Corey welcomed their daughter Margaret MacRae Lynch to the world, and parenthood became a reality.
“I don’t think we’ll understand our parents’ love until we’re a parent ourselves,” Cissie said.
“I remember one time holding Margaret and thinking of every time I’ve rolled my eyes at my parents, every time I was disrespectful, or I talked back or disobeyed,” she said with a laugh.
“I’m so thankful for parents who were patient with me over the years,” Cissie continued. “And most importantly, who set such a wonderful example of God’s love.”
Celebrating her first Mother’s Day, Cissie only hopes to be that type of example to her little one. She said at first she “didn’t know if it was the right time” for her to become a mother. It would mean less travel with her dad and other things she enjoyed doing.
But she understood Margaret was God’s blessing, and He had a new assignment for her: motherhood.
“I’ve never really understood the sacrifices of parents that they’ve made until now that I’m a parent,” Cissie explained.
“My little girl has rocked my world beyond my imagination, but it’s been a really neat experience and given me a better understanding of [God’s] love for me,” she added.
“Margaret … she’s given me nothing, but I have this unconditional love for her, and I would give my life for her.”
Now, Cissie realizes her “biggest, somewhat scary job” is being able to explain God’s love to Margaret.
“Everywhere she turns, she’s going to see a world that mocks God and His love,” Cissie said. “I have to go back to Scripture and teach her the truth.”
As his youngest child and only girl, Cissie says it’s been great to see her father interact with Margaret. Sometimes, he even takes to social media to show off photos of his newest grandchild.
Last year while pregnant with Margaret, Cissie joined Franklin Graham on a trip to the Holy Land that she says is “forever embedded” in her heart.
“To experience a trip with my father, just the two of us, before my life was going to change dramatically was a special time,” Cissie said.
One of the most memorable moments was visiting the exact place where her father accepted Christ and heeded to the call God had on his life.
“Right there where he changed his life, that set the pace for how he and my mom were going to raise their children,” she said. “He set the example to me and my brothers of what it really means to be obedient to God’s calling on your life.”
Giving birth to Margaret has also strengthened Cissie’s relationship with her own mom, Jane.
“I really now love my mother more than I could’ve ever thought of loving my mom,” she said.
“With my mom, her ‘no’ always meant no and her ‘yes’ always meant yes,” Cissie recalled. “God’s Word doesn’t waver. And she set that as an example with me that her word did not waver.”
The responsibility of raising a child and “leading her in the way she should go” has changed Cissie in ways she never imagined.
“Now, I have such a sense of just wanting to tell her and to teach her about Jesus,” she said. “In every decision I make, I always want to make them honoring the Lord, and it’s a way that I can teach His ways to Margaret.”
Cissie learned early on to enjoy the little moments with her daughter, “because I know that this stage of my life will be over so soon.”
“Life goes by so fast,” she said, directing her words primarily to new moms.
“Sit back and give God the glory, really praise Him even in the moments that we’re tired and frustrated and we seemingly don’t even know how we can survive the next day in the chaos of motherhood,” she continued.
“Every day, give Him the praise for the goodness in life.”
Photos courtesy of Cissie Graham Lynch and Franklin Graham.