Giving Back by Yvonne Lehman


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GIVING BACK

by

Yvonne Lehman

 

My writing career began over thirty years ago after a difficult experience that led to my learning about the Billy Graham School of Christian Writing in Minneapolis, MN. I was “led” into writing, which marked an entirely different world for me that I had not imagined.

Through the years I thought my main purpose was writing novels. However, after founding the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference (with the help of the Billy Graham School Dean who volunteered to be my emcee and get faculty for me—knowing how inept I was at that time), I was privileged to direct the conference for 25 years. After turning it over to someone else and starting a smaller, less-demanding Novel Retreat, I realize that God’s mission for my life had been that conference.

Although I’ve been successful in having 57 novels and 8 non-fiction books published, my greatest delight is now looking back and realizing the difference that writers conferences make in a writers life. I could not have realized the extent of it over thirty years ago.

Those realizations prompted me to volunteer some of my Saturday mornings for giving tours in the Chapel at the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove, Asheville NC. I wanted to show my appreciation for what Billy Graham and his organizations and employees have meant to my life and the lives of others.

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On June 1, as a volunteer I was invited to attend the dedication of Ruth’s Prayer Garden, honoring the memory of Ruth Graham and her legacy of prayer. Over 150 people attended, outside the chapel, facing the beautiful garden. Will Graham, her grandson and Franklin Graham’s son, spoke about the three gardens of the Bible: Eden, Gethsemane, and the new in Revelation. We sang her favorite song, “In the Garden.”

This was printed on the program:

Ruth’s Prayer Garden…

Consists of two tiers. The garden is planted in large

sweeps of woodland shrubs and perennials, with large

open areas for ground cover. Almost every plant in

the garden blooms in one way or another.

The garden is meant to provide a place of solitude

and beauty for the purpose of personal reflection,

prayer and worship.

As you stroll through the garden, you will see a mix of

perennials and roses, planted in front of the chapel in

the English style of perennial gardening. The colors and

textures of the plants contrast and soften the stone of the

chapel and are intended to be a small replication of the

great gardens found around churches in England.

The variety of plants also reflects the botanical tastes and

interests of the Bell family as well as the Grahams. Many

of Ruth’s favorite plant species are included in garden

including daylilies, daisies, coneflowers and roses.

Being a part of that occasion, aware of the overwhelming beauty of such a place, all of God’s creation really, thinking of the lives changes through the ministry of Billy Graham, and Ruth Graham’s ministry of prayer, I felt honored to be able to volunteer a few hours. The first time I entered that chapel, gave a tour in that gorgeous place, feeling the spirit of the Lord in a special way, I knew I was receiving more than I could ever give.

 

I can only thank God for the awesome privilege of being loved by Him.

My heart sings the words of a song we sang that day as I walked through that garden:

When through the woods,

And forest glades I wander,

And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees,

When I look down, From lofty mountain grandeur

And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze,

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, To Thee,

How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

 

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About Vicki Hinze

USA Today Bestselling and Award-Winning Author of 40+ books, short stories/novellas and hundreds of articles. Published in as many as 63 countries. Featured Columnist for Social-IN Worldwide Network and Book Fun Magazine. Sponsor/Founder of ChristiansRead.com & CleanReadBooks.com. FMI visit www.vickihinze.com.
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3 Responses to Giving Back by Yvonne Lehman

  1. Karen Sawyer says:

    Lovely post. This makes me want to visit the garden. Thank you, Yvonne.

    Like

  2. Roxanne says:

    Great post. Reverent. Peaceful. Sweet.

    Like

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