Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Legacy of a Pack Rat by Ruth Bell Graham: A Book Review

A Glimpse into What Ruth Graham Learned as a Child of God


For a long time I thought of Ruth Bell Graham simply as Billy Graham's wife. I knew she was the daughter of medical missionaries and had spent her childhood in China. Other than that I didn't know much about her until I started to read her books. I'd like to share one of them with you here: Legacy of a Pack Rat.

Legacy of a Pack Rat by Ruth Bell Graham: A Book Review
Image Courtesy of Pixabay, edited in PicMonkey


Those of you who know me probably know why I had to open and read this book. I'm a pack rat. This was one of the books that I've had around the house I'd been waiting to read. I'm trying to read through these piles of books now so that I can pass them on. I won't be passing this one on just yet. It's a keeper.

If you've ever kept a journal or made a scrapbook, you know that only what is significant to you goes into it. Much of this book is treasured memories. Some of it is Ruth's original poetry. You will also find quotes from others which she wanted to preserve and keep handy to read over and over. As I read the results of Ruth's collation, I got a great deal of insight into who she was.

One portion I especially appreciated was Chapter 42: "Bible Study for Tough Times." These are suggested passages to read followed by some of Ruth's thoughts on persecution, affliction, and God's sovereignty and sufficiency.

Some anecdotes in the book are humorous. Some thoughts she shares are inspired by her Bible reading. Many stories are about her interactions with her husband, children, and parents. All of the stories, meditations and poems leave me with something to ponder after I read them.  One example from Chapter 43 shows how a barracuda gave Billy Graham more energy than he knew he had.

Legacy of a Pack Rat by Ruth Bell Graham: A Book Review
Image of Barracuda Courtesy of Pixabay. TExt added with PicMonkey


The Perfect Book for Small Bits of Time


This book offers inspiration in short doses at times when you may need it most. Only a few minutes for a morning quiet time when you're still too tired for real Bible study? Reading a bit of this book will speak to your spirit and keep you going until you have more time and energy.

Are you sick in bed or in the hospital and can't read anything heavy for encouragement? This book is just right. It's also good to have beside your hospital bed for family who are keeping vigil when you are sleeping after surgery. It's perfect for reading while you are in the ICU waiting room awaiting your next visit with a family member who is in critical condition. You can also take it to a friend who is in the hospital for surgery or to recover from an illness.

Keep it by your own bedside and read a short chapter before you close your eyes. That can help focus your mind away from problems or pain that may be keeping you from falling asleep immediately.

I carry it with me now when I know I may spend time waiting anywhere. It doesn't require long periods to finish a section, since chapters can be less than a page to five pages in length. Most chapters are a page or two. I used to keep my Kindle in my purse for these waiting times, but then I often find I don't want to put my book down and tackle my to-do list when I get home. Instead I want to finish my book. Legacy of a Pack Rat is easy to pick up, read, and put down when you need to do something else.

Who Will Get Most Out of This Book?


I would say that Christians or those who believe in God will benefit most by reading this book. Ruth Graham knew what it's like to be a young mother with several young children and a husband who is gone frequently for long periods of time. So she understands the pressures of other young mothers. She also understands what missionaries face as they work in other countries and cultures. She understands what it means to be very busy and very tired. She understands being under pressure. Her book speaks to those at any stage of life from teen to old age.

Legacy of a Pack Rat by Ruth Bell Graham: A Book Review
Photo  ©Barbara Radisavljevic, Poem  © Ruth Bell Graham


This book offers food for thought in the form of humor, poetry, inspirational quotations, stories from the mission field, stories of returning prodigals, and more. She deals with hard topics like death, persecution, church problems, suffering, and forgiveness, interspersed with humorous anecdotes, reflections on prayer, original poems, and inspiring family stories.

Many of these stories may also be interesting to those who are not yet believers. Some may help a seeker move closer to faith. But I recommend the book most to those who already desire to walk closely with the Lord and lead lives that are very busy and/or who struggle with physical or emotional pain. 

The other two books you see below offer more insight into the life of Ruth Graham. Two of her children, including Franklin, were prodigals at one time. In Prodigals and Those Who Love Them, she reveals her heart as she waited for them to come home spiritually and explains how the experience helped her learn to rest in God's sovereignty. In Footsteps of a Pilgrim, Ruth reflects on her life both as a child in China and as a wife, mother and grandmother in the United States.

You can buy Legacy of a Packrat and the other books by Ruth Bell Graham at Amazon by clicking a link below or you may find them on eBay for less. 





You may also want to read my review of Billy Graham's book, Facing Death and the Life After.


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

6 comments:

  1. I have read many books by Billy Graham, but I have never read one of Ruth Graham's books. This does indeed sound like the perfect nightstand book. I like the idea of having short chapters so I can read a story from beginning to end in a short period of time. I know a little bit about Franklin Graham's story, but I would love to read about him from his mother's perspective. The Graham family has certainly helped a lot of people and changed a whole lot of lives. I truly admire them all.

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    1. What I like about Ruth's books is that she doesn't try to paint her family as ideal. She tells it the way it was. But she also shares stories of events that only touched her family, or that she heard from friends.

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  2. Excellent review of Ruth Graham's book, Barb. Love the way you presented the images you used in this article. And Ruth's poem about tears is wonderful. Thank you for introducing me to this book.

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    1. That poem was the shortest. But all of them are short in length and deep in meaning.

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  3. Oh Barbara, this is so "right up my alley". Thank you for a great review and I love that I can read snippets of it when time permits. I've had some really wonderful "pack-rats" in my life, so I just know I will love this too!

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    1. The snippets are also good to reread later. The more we experience in life, the more meaningful some of these stories will be.

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