Beloved friends and family of God,
As the year draws to a close, I am struck once again by how much our family depends on your prayers and how grateful I am for each one of you. I have a bit of good news to share and want to give credit where credit is due: your prayers, Mike’s team of regular helpers (aka “miracle workers”), and Mike and his God-given, indomitable spirit—to God be the glory!
Mike recently underwent another round of neuropsych testing, and the psychologist reported gains in processing speed (thinking faster), sustained attention, visual/spatial thinking, and visual reasoning. Those who see Mike regularly often remark on improvement, so “hard data” confirming their observations is a real encouragement. Dr. M attributed the progress to a routine of mental and physical exercise, made possible by our incredible group of helpers. When she said that she wished all of her clients had the kind of support system that Mike has, my heart was bursting with pride and affection.
Reading 1 Peter this morning reminded me of the amazing circle that surrounds us, from the “regular” and “sometimes” folks who come to our home to the “invisible” friends who pray and write checks. Peter writes, “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins” (4:8). Ed Clowney, in his commentary, talks about this love as “… something that is stretched or extended. The love of the saints keeps stretching, in both depth and endurance. Our love, kindled by God’s love, is stretched by exercise.” What an apt description of Christ’s body caring for the Francis family as we look back on the past 30 months!
The apostle Peter continues, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (4:10). I love this!—that the many ways that we serve each other are manifestations of God’s beautiful and unlimited forms of grace. Here Clowney adds, “The rainbow colors of spring flowers can only suggest the richness of the gifts of God’s grace.” We Francises experience this diversity of grace daily, given by the people who work with Mike on singing, art, swimming, vocabulary, exercise, emailing, Scripture memory, or just plain fun. It extends in yard and fix-it help, massages, and a myriad of other acts of kindness, including your prayers and the anonymous gifts that help to pay our bills. We can never thank you enough for the ways that you obey this Scripture. Mike says, “I’m just amazed at how much care is being shown to me and our family. I feel like gratitude is my basic feeling right now.”
- Ongoing needs: wisdom and encouragement for all the helpers; our children’s needs (Luke and Lydia will graduate this spring, Maddie’s continued work with Reformed University Fellowship); Mike’s increased cognition and reduced pain, and his full and complete recovery; and our financial future (read more here).
- MikeMarathon.com: for many readers to be encouraged in the faith and for me as I learn new skills (like uploading podcasts to iTunes!).
- Mike: besides his daily prayer ministry, please pray for opportunities for Mike to live out 1 Peter 4:10 by using his gifts to serve others as a good steward of God’s varied grace.
Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:20–21)