A Poem by Ruth Bell Graham on Motherhood

As Mother’s Day approaches, we take a look at a poem written by Ruth Bell Graham on motherhood, as well as reflections from Franklin Graham on his mother.

“I’ll never forget the first time my mother heard me preach. Standing at the podium and seeing her in the shadows, I realized just how much that moment represented an answer to her faithful prayers.

To follow in my father’s footsteps, I had to go through my mother’s knee prints.

Even in my rebellious years, I never doubted that Mama loved me unconditionally. I knew she prayed for me earnestly. She knew when to lecture me, when to punish me and when to hug me.”

-Franklin Graham on his mother, Ruth

from Sitting by My Laughing Fire by Ruth Bell Graham

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  1. Cheryl Morocco says:

    Thank you for this wonderful poem! Ruth Bell Graham is such an inspiration to all of us as mothers. God bless her memory!

  2. shirley hunt says:

    Very beautiful poem.

  3. mike ottih says:

    Dear Franklin Graham,
    You are always inspiring in your boldness, courage and most importantly honesty. May Jesus complete the work he started in you. Amen
    Hearty cheers!

  4. Amanda J Graham says:

    Oh how wonderful, supportive and strong your mother was. She so selflessly shared your father and family with us sinners so that we may be saved through Dr Graham’s evangelism. Thank you for your mother and father and may God bless them both and your whole family for the sacrifices you have all made. It has saved so many. Peace be with you and God bless you all.

  5. KIM BURTON says:

    How very lovely of a poem.

    Miss Ruth was wise beyond her years, a beautiful woman of God, faithful wife, and delightful mother.

    Thank you for sharing this.

  6. Rick Braswell says:

    Thank you so much for making this poem available.
    My mother went to be with Our Lord Jesus in heaven in 1986.
    I am now 72 and still miss my mom. Wonderful mother, precious memories, loving and merciful God.

  7. Joel Caplan says:

    Mothers who know where their help and their childrens’ help comes from, are the greatest gift a kid could ever have!
    My mother told me something maybe twenty years ago…that when I would come home from my late-night carousing and collapse on my bed in a drunken state, she would tiptoe into my bedroom, fall on her knees by my bedside and cry out to God, “Lord, save my son!”
    Mom has been gone now about two years, at ninety seven years of age. Her son (me) has been endeavoring to follow JESUS for over forty six years. I am sure there will be a glorious reunion in Heaven one sweet day!
    Thank God for a praying mother!

  8. Mary Dickie says:

    Thank God for women like Ruth Graham who prayed and set an example for us to follow Jesus.

  9. Ruth Ann new VANDERSTEEG says:

    Thank you for sharing this encouraging poem. I too have 5 children and praise God they are all grown and serving Him.
    I am truly celebrating this Mother’s Day, so grateful for God’s amazing grace to me.and my family.

  10. Janet M. Reynolds says:

    I have followed Billy Graham’s ministry since I was a young child and am so glad to be able to continue seeing and experiencing the richness of the family legacy today.

  11. Babs Fry says:

    I’ve always wanted to visit the Library. Now more than ever. I plan a trip for later this year.

  12. Annaleisa McCurry says:

    This is a beautiful tribute to Ruth. She was a wonderful wife and mother as well as spiritual leader. I’ve been reading Billy Graham’s autobiography, “Just As I Am” and am deeply moved at the sacrifices Ruth made while Billy was away. I’m truly blessed to have had this insight on the family.

  13. charley clark says:

    What a great lady. I have always been amazed at the deep faith of Ruth Bell Graham. I thank our Lord for Ruth and Billy Graham, and I pray for Franklin and BGEA daily. Charley Clark

  14. Carol Hughes says:

    Wish I could read poem. Print so small, and no way to enlarge.?

    1. bglibrary says:

      Hi Carol, we are sorry the print is too small to read. Here is Ruth’s poem:

      Five I have:
      each separate,
      a soul
      bound for eternity:
      and I
      – blind
      leader of the blind –
      groping and fumbling,
      casual and concerned,
      by turns…
      undisciplined. I seek
      by order and command
      to discipline and shape;
      (I who need
      Thy discipline
      to shape
      my own disordered soul).
      O Thou
      Who seest the heart’s
      true, deep desire,
      each shortcoming and
      each sad mistake,
      nor let our children be
      the victims or our own
      unlikeness unto Thee.

  15. M. Marie Arrington says:

    I love your Mom’s poems, reading them on the back of your Decision Magazine as I receive it each month.

  16. Janet Hardison says:

    I love the poems from Ruth’s attic, wonderful woman.

  17. Gloria Fender says:

    A beautiful poem! So true, and from a Christian wife and mother that did a wonderful job on both.

  18. Theodore Hemenway says:

    I pray that more families have a mother like her. Her love, devotion and patience is an example to all mothers.

  19. Lynn Kelley says:

    We are so blessed by her legacy. I’m so thankful to the Lord for this family’s example and genuine faithfulness.

  20. Ify Emmanuel says:

    Lovely Poem.
    I love the Graham family.
    God bless and keep you all.

  21. Princess Williams says:

    Had I been as talented, I could have claimed these words for myself. How fortunate for us that Ruth Graham was able to express herself and leave us this legacy. I’m sure it touched other hearts, as it did mine. Thank you!

  22. June St. James-Pfouts says:

    Our children never outgrow their need for a mother’s prayer. As long as I have life on this earth, prayers for my long grown “five” will continue. Tonight I am adding Ruth Bell Graham’s prayers from her heart for her “five” to my own. God Bless her family who remember with love and appreciation their mother’s prayers that have shaped them into the remarkable people they have grown to be.

  23. Richard Diaz says:

    I feel like I’ve gotten to know Ruth Graham from her poem’s… I always look forward to them… PTL!!!

  24. Nell Jo Horsley says:

    I have followed Billy and Ruth Graham during all their ministry.
    They have always inspired me to be a better Christian, a better
    mother and a better wife. I have prayed for them a thousand
    prayers. I still have all the Christmas cards and books Billy wrote.
    I thank our Lord for them. I miss them.

  25. carolyn garner says:

    being a “mother” is an awesome responsibility….May the Lord perfect me, His daughter, so I may lead my children to walk in God’s perfect will. This is what I understand was Ruth Graham’s prayer for her children. What a blessing she was and is!

  26. Cindy Silvey says:

    I am a Discipleship Coach with BGEA! What a great ministry and I love working with the precious souls God has entrusted me with.

  27. Geri says:

    Your mother was a beautiful song that your father listened to endlessly. They were the greatest couple to me.

  28. Nancy Ferrer says:

    Such a wonderful mother and teacher for you Franklin and all your siblings! And for us mothers too.
    God bless you and your wonderful family Franklin!!

  29. Sharon says:

    I love this poem. Ruth Graham had a heart that belonged to the lord. It is quite evident in her poem.

  30. Elaine Burnette says:

    Every time I go to the Cove one of the first things I do is
    go to Ruth’s Attic. Everything about her was so inspiring.,
    even her wonderful sense of humor. After reading
    Franklin’s book “Rebel with a Cause” I have learned to try to
    keep mine also.

  31. Viola Mack says:

    An awesome and attentive woman of God that knows her family, and didn’t mind sharing them with the world after the shaping instructions from God.

  32. Carol Davis says:


  33. Renee says:

    God bless you and your whole family. Your dad Billy Graham save me when I was 15 years old. I’m now going to be 60 in a couple weeks. No words can express the gratitude and thankfulness of my heart. You guys are my Guiding Light.

  34. Penny Mac says:


  35. Millie Leone says:

    Ruth Bell Graham was a woman who loved the Lord & Billy Graham! She was a child of God, wife, mother, & grandmother….she was a blessing!

  36. Diana Hetrick says:

    Nice poem.

  37. John K Walton Sr says:

    I have followed Billy Graham for many years, and have read some of his books and articles. A few months ago, although I was raised in the first baptists church of Philadelphia Ms., I rededicated my life to Christ again watching one of his programs on TV.
    I am a 75 year old male, living with Alzheimer’s in a memory care facility and dealing with a wife who treats me like a 10 year old child. Thanks for your prayers over the coming months.

  38. Becky Johnson says:

    Thank you so much for continuing in your father’s footsteps, and carrying the message of Jesus Christ.

  39. Sunday Uloh says:

    Hello pastor, thanks for curling out mum Ruth’s lovely poem. I’m from Nigeria. I have one lovely friend over here whose life was equally impacted positively by BGEA. We call each other BILLYCHILD. I was an ardent listener of the Hour of Decision radio broadcast in the 80s and 90s. Please keep the good work on, we are praying for the entire team over here.

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