How Ruth Graham’s Daughter Learned to Depend on God

By   •   June 16, 2023

The Ladies Tea at the Billy Graham Library was part of a daylong celebration of Ruth Bell Graham's legacy of faith.

Vibrant floral colors and lacy hats filled a sunny room at the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Friday as women gathered for a Ladies Tea. The event was held to celebrate the life of Ruth Bell Graham, and her eldest daughter Gigi shared family stories and a message inspired by her mother’s legacy.

With an arbor of pink flowers and dangling teacups behind her, Gigi Graham was introduced as “the child that Billy Graham loved the longest.” The lively chatter and clanging of utensils hushed as Gigi began to speak about her upbringing.

“My mother was a hoot,” she chuckled, highlighting her mom’s witty personality and knack for pranks.

She shared about Ruth’s childhood in China as the daughter of missionary parents in China—and the courage instilled in her from a young age.

These ladies were some of hundreds at Friday’s sold-out Ladies Tea, which brought women together to remind them of God’s faithfulness.

Gigi also told how her mother dealt with loneliness much of her life—like when she attended a Christian boarding school in North Korea. Little did Ruth know that her time in North Korea would open a door years later for Billy Graham to share the Gospel there.

“God sees things ahead of time that we are not even aware of,” Gigi reminded the women, encouraging them with God’s faithfulness.

She also opened up about her prodigal son, who once came home—much to her dismay—with his ears pierced. Grandma Ruth, on the other hand, sent him a box of earrings for his birthday, demonstrating to Gigi how to love her son rather than judge him.

“Lots of people are craving love and don’t know they are craving God’s love,” Gigi said. “Go out of your way to love people.”

One woman in attendance, Tammy LeGrand, explained that she is at a point in her life where she really needed a reminder to love people where they are.

“I am very, very inspired by today’s message,” LeGrand said. “It was very timely—definitely a divine appointment.”

Gigi challenged the crowd to focus on Jesus Christ above all, recalling that her mother was, “totally dependent on the Lord Jesus Christ. … He was everything to her.”

She recalled how much Ruth loved studying the Bible and found comfort and wisdom in its pages.

Ritty Warren attended the Ladies Tea with five other women from her church’s Bible study group.

“The devil wants us to look around at everything that is happening and take our mind off Jesus,” she said. “[Gigi’s message was a good reminder to] focus on the person of Jesus Christ.”

Sporting a blue feather hat, Annis Pulley leaned on her walker as she explained how a friend surprised her with tickets to the annual event. She’s been several times in the past. “It always opens your heart and gives you a new look on life,” Pulley said.

“My prayer [is] that [these women] would be inspired, of course, but also encouraged,” Gigi shared. “There is not a single thing that anybody in that audience could come up and tell me that would shock me. … We are all basically the same and that is why it’s very important that we depend on the Lord.”

Do you have children? Bring them to story time at the Billy Graham Library on June 27.