Wait, what did she just say?
A few weeks ago, driving in her car with her daughter Margaret in the back seat, Cissie Graham Lynch had a mother moment that brought her to tears: A revelation that there can be a profound connection between her 4-year-old daughter and her famous 99-year-old grandfather, who passed away on Feb. 21.
Cissie had her SiriusXM radio dial locked in to the Billy Graham Channel (145), listening to her late grandfather preach, a comforting experience, especially in light of his passing.
Out of nowhere, Margaret piped up with the urgency that only a 4-year-old can muster from the back seat.
“Mom, mom, Daddy Bill is talking about sin,” Margaret said.
Instantly, Margaret had connected her great-grandfather’s words to the ABC Gospel (an easy and fun way for children to memorize 26 scriptures) that she had just started memorizing that week at the request of her grandfather (Cissie’s father), Franklin Graham.
“A—All have sinned and come short of the glory of God,” Margaret recited Romans 3:23.
Instantly, Cissie’s heart swelled.
“I just started crying,” Cissie said. “Here I am, listening to my grandfather and his great-granddaughter is learning God’s Word. And she makes the connection of the two. And you see at that young age at 4 years old, that seed is being planted.”
It’s a seed Cissie had planted in her own heart at a very young age, watching her parents and grandparents seamlessly incorporate Bible reading and memorization into their everyday lives.
“I have great memories growing up with my dad always having the Bible open in the mornings,” she said, “and my mom always having the Bible open in the mornings.
“Even in their older age, I remember my grandmother (Ruth Bell Graham) memorizing Scripture that would’ve been in like 200-point font so she could see it. The same for my grandfather. He would have Scriptures that were printed out in huge font.”
Galatians 6:14 could often be found in big letters on the walls of Billy Graham’s Montreat, North Carolina, log cabin home: “But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”
Throughout her life, Cissie always knew there was real value in Scripture memorization, but it took being a mom for her to feel the depth.
“As a mother—this year—that’s the prayer for my children,” said Cissie, who also has son, Austin, who is almost 2. “That I would be able to teach them to know what they believe and why they believe it. And to hide Scripture in their heart.”
Because deep down, she knows that one day, it will be more than just memorized words. It will be needed artillery.
“I was praying over her the other day, when she faces life’s toughest critics or situations or Satan comes to attack her, she’ll be able to recall these Bible verses that have been hidden in her heart since she was 4 years old,” she said.
But when her father, Franklin, challenged all of his 12 grandkids to learn the ABC Gospel, Cissie didn’t think her 4-year-old had enough maturity to start memorizing.
“I kinda put it aside, I thought my child isn’t ready for that,” Cissie said. “She can’t read or write yet. We’ll do that in a couple years.”
Then one day, Cissie saw Margaret’s eyes glued to her cousins reciting verses to her father and thought, why not start now?
And sure enough, a few days after that first SiriusXM connection in the car, it happened again. This time, it was the letter C. “Come to me all who labor and are heavy-laden and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
“And what Bible verse was (Billy Graham) talking about that day? The same one. And Margaret says “Mom, Daddy Bill. And she quoted the Scripture two times.”
For any parent, these random vignettes are certainly heart-warming and Instagram worthy. But while Cissie felt like sharing this with her world, it was a still, small voice inside her that made more of an impact than all the social media likes and comments.
“As a mom, when life is hectic and life is crazy, you’re screaming at your kids, you’re disciplining them, and your house is a mess, you’re picking up toys over and over, there are days you failed as a mom,” she said. “Did I discipline too hard? Or I didn’t do this right or do that right.
“But God gives us little glimpses in life, saying, you’re on the right track, mom. You’re doing the right thing.”
>> The Billy Graham Channel (145) is back on SiriusXM May 25-June17. Read how God has used the channel to spread the Good News.