It’s been a privilege to welcome Anne Graham Lotz to this page over the years, so it’s a particular joy to have her daughter, Rachel-Ruth Lotz Wright, join her today as well. Anne and Rachel-Ruth may come from a well known family, but as you can see from this beautiful story, they’re passionately honest about their need for God’s grace! As they remind us, a witness that is lived can be even more powerful than one that is spoken. It’s a grace to welcome them to the farm’s front porch today….
While we need to speak up and share the truth, a witness that is lived may be even more powerful than one that is spoken.
It’s not just what you and I (Anne) say but who we are that catches the attention of those around us.
As you read Rachel-Ruth’s story, I believe this truth will be fleshed out in living color…
A common misconception about our family is that we all must be saints. In reality, we are all a bunch of sinners, often making mistakes and in need of discipline, correction, and grace.
One of the most powerful moments of grace in my (Rachel-Ruth’s) life happened after yet another knock-down, drag-out fight with my sister, Morrow.
Usually when one of us did something to upset the other, we would draw an invisible line down the middle of the bedroom we shared and forbid the other person to cross it—or else. The “or else” usually involved throwing things or hitting each other. Really mature stuff.
On this particular afternoon, I did something to push Morrow beyond the limits of her patience. She chased me out of our room, down the stairs, through the kitchen, and around the corner toward the back door.
Running for my life, I felt terror spurring me on. Still, Morrow was closing in fast. My memory of the scene is all in slow motion. As I rounded the corner, I could see the glass door ahead barring my way to freedom. I opened the latch as fast as I could, and in my adrenaline-fueled panic, I slammed it right as Morrow reached me.
What I hadn’t anticipated in that moment of victory was that the glass would shatter on impact. Into a million shards.
Much to my shame, I didn’t even turn around to look. I knew I was as good as dead. My mom and dad were so authoritative that George Washington, Napoleon, and General Patton all would have stood at attention and saluted if they ever heard their names called by either one.
In the wake of the shattering glass, my sense of guilt and the certainty of the dire consequences to come sent me running to the best hiding spot I could think of: the back-seat floorboard of my mom’s navy-blue station wagon. I roasted in the close confines of the stifling car. But I really started to sweat when I heard Mom calling me. Chills snaked up my spine, as if I were playing in some horror version of hide-and-seek.
My mom came into the garage, yelling my name. Eight years of obedience training had taught me to respond when being called.
“We deserve death for our sins, but God sent His Son to the cross to take away our sins and give us eternal life.”
I knew I had stalled long enough. I opened the door of the car and climbed out, my face on fire from embarrassment and shame. My mom said in a booming voice, “Go to your room!” If she said anything else, I didn’t hear it over the locomotive roar of blood rushing through my veins.
My parents must have known that solitude would give me time to think about my actions. I felt horrible as I wondered whether Morrow had gotten hurt. I also felt horrible as I wondered about the pain to be inflicted on my backside. I contemplated packing my pants with stuffed animals to cushion the sting of the spankings that were sure to come. As if my dad wouldn’t notice the shape of Peter Rabbit under my sweatpants!
Then I heard the familiar creak of our stairs, and I knew my dad was coming. I braced myself for the look of disappointment and the inevitable consequences. Dad came in and sat down on the edge of my bed, causing the springs to squeak. I remember the lights weren’t on, but the late-afternoon sun cast shadows across the room.
What happened next took me completely by surprise. “Rach, I want to teach you about grace,” my dad said. “What you did was wrong. You deserve to be punished and spanked. But instead of punishing you for breaking the glass door, I am going to take you to get ice cream.”
I felt like time had frozen while my brain processed what I was hearing. I began to cry. Dad went on to explain that his grace to me was a picture of God’s grace to us. We deserve death for our sins, but God sent His Son to the cross to take away our sins and give us eternal life.
“The magnificent thing that no human brain can ever fully grasp is how deep and wide is God’s love for us.”
When we place our faith in Jesus, we no longer live under the horror of knowing our sins are sending us to hell. Instead, because of His grace, we are forgiven and blessed, and we can walk in freedom.
I think that was the first time I truly grasped what grace is, and I’ve never forgotten it.
So many times we run from God. We want to hide because we know we are guilty. We are ashamed and afraid of the punishment that we surely deserve.
The magnificent thing that no human brain can ever fully grasp is how deep and wide is God’s love for us.
He knows where we are hiding and why we are hiding.
Yet He comes to us, wraps His arms around us, and extends His grace to us.
He wipes away our sin—forever!
Anne Graham Lotz—called “the best preacher in the family” by her father, Billy Graham—is an international speaker and the bestselling and award-winning author of numerous books, including Jesus in Me and The Light of His Presence. Anne is the president of AnGeL Ministries in Raleigh, North Carolina, and the former chairperson for the National Day of Prayer.
Today’s devotion is taken from Jesus Followers, the first book Anne has written with her daughter, Rachel-Ruth Lotz Wright. Rachel-Ruth serves on the board of directors for AnGeL Ministries, in addition to chairing the weekly prayer team that undergirds her mother’s ministry. Rachel-Ruth and her husband, Steven, live in Raleigh, North Carolina, with their three daughters.
An inspiring guide to passing truth on to the next generation, Jesus Followers gives us a delightful, rare look into the living rooms and prayer closets of this remarkable family. As you can tell from Rachel-Ruth’s story today, we have much to learn from the grace, humor, and example of these two women who seek to pass on God’s truth through word, example—and sometimes an unexpected, grace-filled ice cream treat.
[ Our humble thanks to Multnomah for their partnership in today’s devotion ]