It is a week of thankfulness. My Facebook newsfeed has been flooded by everyone’s “22 Days of Thankfulness.” And, it is tradition with my family to sit around the dinner table and talk about what we are thankful for over the past year. Typically, overwhelmed by God’s goodness, I am the one who always lets my emotions get the better of me and a river of tears start to flow. Some of my favorite memories have been around the Thanksgiving table with family and friends. Our house was always full during Thanksgiving. But tears or no tears, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.
As I was getting ready the other morning, I was wondering what I am really thankful for this year. Many things ran through my head – another year in the NFL, Corey’s unconditional love, my dream come true of living in San Diego, my family, my new house, my brother being safely home without a deployment. But, there was one thing that stood out among all the others.
I have always been outspoken about the struggles of growing up as a “Graham.” As a teenager, the last thing I wanted to be was a “Graham.” The pressures, the pre-conceived ideas, the scrutiny, and the struggles, all seemed too much to me at the time. Many times, I just wanted to fit in as a normal kid.
Of course, as I have gotten older, I have realized all the good things that come with the name. I have realized what a privilege it is and how good God has been to me and my family. This year, I can truly say I am thankful for being a “Graham.” I don’t say that in an arrogant way. I’m truly grateful for the legacy my grandfather and grandmother – Billy and Ruth Graham – have left behind.
Just a few weeks ago, I was able to visit my grandfather in his home in the mountains of North Carolina. I couldn’t help but notice the Scripture that was printed on his wall. How could I miss something which seemed to be about 300-point font? It was his memory verse. Memory verse? The man is 94 years old and has spent his entire life sharing the Gospel. Hasn’t he memorized enough? And in the bathroom? Can’t we at least take a break there? I would imagine that of all the people to whom the Lord would say, “well done, good and faithful servant,” Billy Graham would be one of them. Wouldn’t you think at 94, he could take a break?
As I was kneeling by his bed, I asked him about the verse on his wall, and he slowly started to quote Galatians 6:14 to me. I can honestly say it was one of the most precious moments I have spent with my grandfather. He didn’t know how much the Lord had been impressing on me to memorize His words and hide them in my heart, because one day I will need them. The Lord, in many ways, has been warning me, and I had been ignoring Him for a long time. At 94, lying in his bed, my grandfather challenged me in my faith. It is a moment I will never forget.
The legacy I am thankful for is the one my grandparents left to their family. They have shown each of us how to live with a personal, intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. The Billy and Ruth Graham the world has seen is the same we saw at home. And, for that, I am thankful.