His legacy and accomplishments are impressive. His character and wisdom like no one this world will see again. He has sold millions of books, and preached the gospel t more than two billion people. But, to me, the most important role he played was that I got to call him Daddy Bill.
Growing up as the granddaughter of Billy Graham was a privilege for many reasons, but the greatest was to have a behind-the-scenes look at a man who had a very public platform. There was no difference between Billy Graham and Daddy Bill. This was a man who would field calls from the president before coming to my elementary school Thanksgiving day program. He was very present as a grandfather and led me to believe for more than two decades that I was his favorite. (I would later find out he told all the grandkids that.)
Whomever was in his presence felt like the most important person alive, and that is because to him, in that moment, they were. It was such an honor to watch firsthand the humility of a man that had been given such a large audience. From his finances to his interactions with women to the way he treated the bellman with the same kindness and respect as foreign leaders, my sweet grandfather was a man of character and integrity that served as an incredible example to me.
My grandfather was also very naive at times to his influence. At his core, he genuinely did not believe himself to be of any more importance than another. While attending his presentation of the Congressional Medal of Honor, the crowd listened to the impressive and grand accomplishments of my sweet Daddy Bill for what seemed like an hour. He appeared almost confused as to why this fuss was being made for him, and upon being handed the medal claimed that it would be placed at the feet of Jesus with all of the other accolades of his life. And this was his heart through and through.
It is no secret that our country is in a sad place today. A place I do believe would grieve the heart of my grandfather, because I believe it grieves the heart of our Lord. I want my heart to break for what breaks His.
Politics are polarizing and personal and largely why my grandfather stayed out of them. My grandfather believed that his role was to preach the gospel to the Right and to the Left. He called on evangelists to stand in the middle and build a bridge to both sides, so as to have the largest audience to hear the good news of the gospel.
In 2018, my sweet 99 year-old grandfather went Home. For years before that (including during the 2016 election), he was bedridden and suffering from hydrocephalus. Our visits consisted of quietly sitting with him holding his hand while he lay in bed. On the occasion I would find him awake, he would smile, say hello, squeeze my hand, and always tell me he loved me before falling back into a peaceful sleep.
I am aware that others have spoken about my grandfather and some have even spoken for him. I believe strongly that my grandfather’s ministry that spanned decades, along with his character and actions speak for themselves. I believe that assigning feelings to a man who is not here to agree or disagree with those assignments is dangerous.
I am asking that his legacy stand for itself. I am asking that the men and women who have revered and respected my grandfather and his ministry over the years, look at his life. Do the words and actions of Billy Graham’s life align with those of the current president?
I believe it is dishonoring to speak on my grandfather’s behalf to justify and legitimize my own political stance. What you will see from me is a continual pointing of people to his words and his ministry when he graced this earth. I will also continue to point people to the words and ministry of the King of Kings when He graced this earth and beyond.
And yes, I will pray for our president as I believe scripture calls us to do. Lastly, I will strive to honor both my grandfather and my Savior as I seek to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly.