The Fran McDonald Tribute – by Julie Johnson
It was most likely January of 1974 when I first met Fran McDonald. I moved in next door to her when my husband and I married. It may have taken her an extra day or two, only because it was Christmas season and I’m pretty sure she was quite busy cooking goodies and “JESUS-clausing” all over the place. She always seemed young to me. Pondering back, she had such a love for GOD, Word, family, and people. How could she not stay young?
The Passion Translation words it this way – John 1:4 – A Fountain of Life was in HIM, for HIS life is light for all Humanity.
Fran was an elite carrier of HIM. Not everyone achieves this level of Christlikeness here on earth. Let’s apply that verse to Fran – a Fountain of Life was in her, for HIS light was in her, and she was a light for all those around her. I looked up the meaning of her name. It means triumphant. How fitting! She had many rough patches through the years. That is something we all remember well – the strength with which she walked triumphantly through them all.
When she decided it was time to relocate her residence to heaven, I was given the privilege of saying goodbye, (temporarily). At this time, she was under hospice care in the loving home of her children, surrounded by her family. I will be forever grateful they allowed me to visit her there. While there, she said, “I have something to ask you, will you do it? I want you to speak at my service.” My answer to her, “I will do anything you want.” Inside I’m saying GOD, only YOU, but I will be the mouthpiece. We said our good-byes.
Fran’s GOD Story as told by GOD – Eulogy shared by Julie Johnson
Many were privileged to have the friendship of Fran McDonald. How do you condense those memories into a few words? You can’t. How do you fully communicate her total faith in, and dependence on GOD? You can’t. Her story begins with the story of Job, which probably sounds strange, but hear me out. How does Job’s story come about?
Job 1:8 – Then the LORD asked satan, have you noticed my servant JOB? He is the finest man in all the earth, a man of complete integrity. He fears GOD and will have nothing to do with evil.
Throughout the years, there have been a select few people GOD could trust with more responsibility, as an example for others. Fran was one of those GOD could trust. So many lives were blessed and taught by her example. She was steadfast – her roots of faith well grounded – she didn’t budge or waver. The source of this quote is unknown: “happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if only one remembers to turn on the light.” Fran kept her light on.
Fran didn’t just make friends with you. She made friends with your family, your other friends, and if given half a chance, their friends as well. She was there for the good times, the celebrations, and also the hard times, in sickness and in health. She didn’t just marry joy. she became a part of all our lives. She married the community. Seriously, whether you were family or friend, we all heard her say a time or two, “I know you didn’t ask for my opinion.” And you knew you best buckle up and get ready. You were about to get it! We thank GOD for that. We all need people in our lives that will hold us accountable, and not allow us to be less than what GOD has called us to be.
Fran was young at heart. She had all the fun new styles, a new craft or project going, while still maintaining a spotless house and having time for a cup of coffee, and always a piece of cake or a slice of pie to go with it. Yet in all of that she never patted herself on the back.
When one of Fran’s many friends was going through one of those rough patches, Fran made a cute, cheerful, flower arrangement, with the most pitiful, saddest looking hound dog figurine you ever saw, and an inscription that read, I may not look like much but I’m faithful! You had to laugh when you saw it! She made sure it was all about being a blessing to someone else, never about herself. When Fran had to give up the crafts and projects, and trade the latest shoe styles for what she called her old lady shoes, that didn’t stop her. I answered the phone one day. She knew I had been sick. She said “I’m outside, I’ve got you some soup, but someone will have to come out and get it.” It was one of her bad RA days. She said, “I can’t make it in for a visit.” But she made soup!
Some people are called to the out-front, suit and tie, microphone ministries. We thank GOD for all of those. I never heard Fran speak with a microphone, but her message was loud and clear. Fran left the spotlight to others. She was content with under-girding from behind the scenes. A truly powerful intercessor. She kept the next-door prayers going on, and up, with our son and his family. Her prayers and witness impacted my life and my family personally for three generations. We need more people like Fran in this world, now more than ever.
As I thought back over how she touched so many in our community, I was reminded of a story. There once was a farmer who grew prize-winning corn. Each year he entered his corn in the state fair where it won the blue ribbon. One year a reporter interviewed him and learned something very interesting. The farmer shared his seed corn with his neighbors. The reporter asked, why do you share your prize seed corn knowing they will be entering theirs next year? The farmer replied, don’t you know? The wind picks up pollen and swirls it from field to field. If my neighbors grow inferior corn, it will degrade the quality of my corn. If I am to grow good corn, I must help my neighbors grow good corn.
GOD established seedtime and harvest. HE expects us to sow HIS love and HIS goodness into the fields around us. Fran did just that. Fran loved her GOD, her family, her friends, and she loved and cared about the harvest field. I truly believe GOD honored her faithfulness to HIM with an abundance of blessings back upon her own family. She loved them so very much. She was so thankful for their godly homes, marriages, and beautiful children. Never did she doubt how much they loved her in return. Always telling everyone how good they were to her. She knew she could retire to heaven and leave the good work she began in all of your capable hands.
What she called her “old-lady shoes” left some mighty big imprints around here, and on all our hearts. She walked out her faith. For years I visualized the faith heroes in Hebrews 12 watching us. and encouraging us not to give up and quit. Fran will always be a faith hero to me. Remember, her name means triumphant and victorious. That’s how she left here. She was not defeated. She finished strong.
We have all been through rough patches. They are never pleasant. GOD never once said we have to drag through the dirt, weak, weary, worn out, defeated. How can we be defeated when JESUS has won the victory over death, hell, and the grave? Fran is in those heavenly grandstands cheering us on. May we all focus and finish strong!