Ruth Bell Graham

Tough and Tender Moments

Life hasn't always been easy for spunky Ruth Graham. Yet the wife of evangelist Billy Graham finds her life a constant adventure. Here's why.

This article originally appeared in the November/December 1991 issue of Today's Christian Woman.

Ruth Graham squeals like a child on Christmas morning. "You found it!" she exclaims, as a friend hands her a roll of tape. "Wonderful!"

Noting my confusion, she explains, "It's for repairing my Bible. I can only get it in England." Then Ruth Graham shows me why it is so important. She opens her Bible to a page that is nearly worn through from use. Notes are scattered in the margins. The edges are ripped. "With this special tape I can repair the pages!" she says, her face glowing over her treasure. Ruth Graham's Bible is her most precious possession. It has been her comfort, companion, and consolation through a life that many would call difficult.

In many ways, Ruth Bell Graham is a study in contrasts. There is a sophistication about her that makes it easy to understand how she fits in comfortably at White House dinners. She is fully versed on world events and well read in many areas. She is also childlike at times, a practical jokester who delights in pulling pranks on "people who take themselves too seriously." She was well into her fifties when she first hopped onto a motorcycle. In her sixties, she suffered a series of injuries when she tested a glider she had rigged up between two trees for her grandchildren.

Ruth lives in a rough-hewn house decorated with antiques and elegant touches she's done herself. She opens the windows to catch the mountain air and worries little about temperature controls.

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