Remembering my Dad

Remembering my Dad

I'm so thankful for the man that GOD chose to be my earthly father. I wish I had had more time to get to know him as a person. He died young ... just 60! Twelve years on earth less than I have had to this point.

Here are my reflections of my dad from a post 2 years ago. I hit a grief that caught me by surprise:
An Unexpected Grief, first posted November 2016…

There I was, sitting at the stop light. All of a sudden, an overwhelming grief ... not primarily for my mom who died an exact year before, almost to the day. No, for my dad ... who had died in 1983 right before Thanksgiving.

But why am I grieving now ... why this year, when I hadn't thought of him at this time other years?

I tried to track my train of thought and realized that my thoughts had gone from grieving over my mistakes in my parenting to the difficulties in my own childhood home.

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A Spiritual Father: Abide in Christ in Faith-filled Surrender

A Spiritual Father:  Abide in Christ in Faith-filled Surrender

How do I abide in Christ? How do I live the Christian life if it's by faith and not about "doing?" What is faith? These were questions that circled around, on and on in the midst of my confusion...that is until I "met" Andrew Murray.  Actually, I had read him early in my Christian walk, but that was during the time that "faith formulas" and "to do lists" and "theological systems" were more the answers to my quests than was Christ Himself (although I didn't realize it at the time).


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A Spiritual Father: Bread for my Soul's Journey

A Spiritual Father: Bread for my Soul's Journey

One of my spiritual fathers was still alive on this earth when I first "met" him. Henri J. M. Nouwen (January 24, 1932 – September 21, 1996) was a Dutch Catholic priest and writer who authored 40 books on the spiritual life.

Our "meeting" came in two ways. A mentor friend of mine pointed me to Nouwen's classic work, The Return of the Prodigal Son. This is an amazing book based on meditations on Rembrandt's painting by the same name. (See my previous post for a favorite quote).

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A Spiritual Father: a Modern-day Prophet

A Spiritual Father: a Modern-day Prophet

My husband John and I were students at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago in the mid-1970's.  It was during our student days at Moody that we were introduced to A.W. Tozer.  My impression of Tozer at that time was that he was a somewhat controversial Chicago pastor of recent years who had a unique gift for being very sound biblically but at the same time shaking up the conservative evangelical "troops." I bought a set of his volumes entitled, The Tozer Pulpit and enjoyed his fiery words.  He said such things as...

One hundred religious persons knit into a unity by careful organization do not constitute a church any more than eleven dead men make a football team. . . .

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Spiritual Fathers: Dead and Alive

Spiritual Fathers: Dead and Alive

I am writing to you, fathers,because you know him who is from the beginning. 1 John 2:13,14 ESV

Since the month of June is Fathers Day month,  I'm thinking about spiritual fathers.   I've been blessed to have some.  My life has been forever enriched by being "spiritually fathered" by these people of God.

So this month, I would like to share a few of them with you. But first, let's think together about "spiritual fathering."

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Remembering Stone #5: The Sovereign God

Remembering Stone #5: The Sovereign God

Beginnings and endings, starts and finishes, twists and turns and even turn-arounds. That’s life, isn’t it? And that was true for me in those two years at the University of Arizona. Lots of twists and turns:

  • East Coast to the desert Southwest

  • Roman Catholic to Evangelical Protestant ( the entire time a true believer; a Christian no matter the church)

  • Student nun (“novice”) to a single college student, and eventually engaged to be married

Each of these changes have produced multiple stories. But since these “stones” (as my brother Conrad calls them) are describing my spiritual journey, I will stay focused. Back to Tucson and the University of Arizona …

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Survivor Guilt: Some random thoughts and a "Worker's Prayer"

Survivor Guilt:  Some random thoughts and a "Worker's Prayer"

Waking up in the morning a week after the Dayton tornadoes, I heard the Small Voice that I have come to know and love and long for …

You are suffering from Survivor Guilt!

Aha! that explains it … the anxiety, antsy-ness, irritability … the wanting to do something … but what? So much devastation in our communities, but not us!

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A SAINT ... no longer a "Sinner" because of HIM

A SAINT ... no longer a "Sinner"  because of HIM

Until you rest in the finality of the cross, you will never experience the reality of the resurrection, which is Christ living in and through you.
Bob George, Growing in Grace

Thank you, Patterson Park Church choir, for amplifying two favorite passages of Scripture with this often forgotten hymn.

Glory to you, O our God and Savior!

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"For Such a Time as This" ... for Dayton and Beyond (nothing is too small)!

"For Such a Time as This" ... for Dayton and Beyond (nothing is too small)!

Dayton, OH experienced 15 tornadoes rip through our area on Monday night. To say we are all speechless is an understatement! But it is amazing to see people coming together in beautiful and sacrificial ways to help each other recover. Some of those amazing people who have jumped right in to help are our son and daughter-in-law, Jeremy and Cortney, and our grandsons Evan and Carter. But they are not alone. Many of their friends with their children have joined in wherever needed.

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The Importance of Dad

The Importance of Dad

In the human family, it is the father who affirms us as male and female and as persons. It is the masculine voice we are listening for at puberty and thereafter, that time when we are separating our sexual and personal identities from that of our mothers. But when we’ve failed to get the needed affirmation, we can rest assured that there is available to us the healing needed … in the Presence of God the Father, when we learn to listen and obey Him, we are affirmed as real men, real women, real persons … God the Father, who has the Power of Being, heals and affirms us.

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Children Incognito!

Children Incognito!

Last week, John and I were near Charleston Falls, a beautiful park north of Dayton. We hadn’t been there in years. But since my physical therapy session placed us in the area, we decided to stop and hike a bit “for old times’ sake.”

When I entered the park, I immediately thought of a significant incident in my life with God that took place there. I first wrote about it in 2011 but decided to share it again. I don’t know about you, but I am always refreshed to revisit my need to walk in dependence with my Abba Father God every day.

So beloved siblings in the family of God, fellow children incognito, read and know you are loved and cared for.

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Remembering Stone #4: The Gospel of Grace

Remembering Stone #4: The Gospel of Grace

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. …

 It is so amazing how the twists and turns of life are used by the Spirit of God to direct us according to His path. This is exactly what happened as I left the convent and went back home to Edison, New Jersey at the age of 21. And this is where I pick up my story …

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Abiding Today!

Abiding Today!

It was 30-plus years ago now that I "discovered," as if for the first time, that I am a branch...a beloved one at that, but just a branch...in the Vine, the Father's true Vine, that is. And I love being a branch, because a branch doesn't have to be smart or strong.  All a branch has to do is what Jesus told His disciples just hours before His death on our behalf. And what is that something? Let's take a look as Jesus tenderly prepared His beloved disciples for the days ahead by following His walk through a vineyard on the way to Gethsemane.

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Remembering Stone #3: The Holy Scriptures

Remembering Stone #3: The Holy Scriptures

Oh, how I love your instructions! I think about them all day long. Psalm 119:97 NIV

I had grown up with the belief that the best thing to do for God was to become a nun and dedicate my life to serving Him. In fact, my mom raised us kids believing we should all become nuns or priests. It wasn’t until later in life that I realized that some of her zeal in “encouraging” us in that direction was very likely a result of her difficult marriage to my dad who “abused” alcohol more and more as the years went by.

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Remembering Stone #2: The Holy Spirit

Remembering Stone #2: The Holy Spirit

… So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.” Luke 11: 13 NLT

After our three and a half years in Tucson, another geographic move directed my story at the beginning of my fourth grade school year. Being so far from family had been difficult especially for my mom, so my parents packed up our family and moved back to New Jersey.

I remember the week-long trip on Route 66 in our green Plymouth sedan, now with 5 kids in tow – 3 girls and 2 boys. It had been a “fruitful time” in Arizona for our growing family. After a few months of staying with my paternal grandmother in inner city Newark, my parents bought a three bedroom house a few blocks from St. Matthew’s church and school out in the “suburbs.” (A few years later, we made a move to a new home right next to the church and school.) 

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The Emptying of Motherhood

The Emptying of Motherhood

Motherhood is filled with emptyings -- from the emptying of the womb in childbirth to the emptying of self in child-raising to the emptying of the nest, the ultimate goal. The stripping is hard, every step along the way.

And eventually, it may mean being alone on the day when moms have always been lauded and honored. This happened to me early on in the empty-nesting process. It could have shattered me were it not for my Abba Father's loving gifts to this hurting mama. 

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"Eulogize" your Mom While She is Still Alive!

"Eulogize" your Mom While She is Still Alive!

eulogy  noun, plural eulogies.
1. a speech or writing in praise of a person or thing, especially a set oration in honor of a deceased person.
2. high praise or commendation.

Caring for our treasured loved ones is at the heart of “family” in the purest sense of the word.

However, we often forget that true caring can be much deeper and more needed than merely physical care, as critical as that is.  There’s a caring that touches heart and soul…one that meeting physical needs approaches, but a caring that perhaps only loving words can reach.

We busily go through our lives, often thinking many kind thoughts and feeling loving, appreciative sentiments for our loved ones, but not stopping to put words and voice to them…nourishing the soul of ones we love.

Rather what do we traditionally do?  We wait until the person has passed away to express those words, words that deep down she may have been longing to hear.    We give those golden words to others in the form of a eulogy, either formally or informally delivered, at a funeral or memorial service.

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Remembering Stone #1: The Will of God

Remembering Stone #1:  The Will of God

may he equip you with all you need for doing his will….
My story begins on the East Coast in the city of Newark, New Jersey. Janet Gale Renner (me) was born to Conrad Charles Renner and Jeanette Agnes Galuszka at St. Michael’s Hospital on June 16th, 1947. 

Born just after the end of WWII, this firstborn girl of eventually seven spent the first five and a half years in Newark. There I attended a half -year of kindergarten before our family moved to Tucson, Arizona because of my dad’s health.

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Remembering Stones: Reflections on a Life Being Lived

Remembering Stones: Reflections on a Life Being Lived

Live while you are alive.  (Patch Adams)

Each of us has a life … the life we were given.  We didn’t choose our life.  But I guess the issue is,  “Are we living while we are alive?” Or, are we waiting till “things settle down,” or, “we lose ____# pounds,” or, “the kids grow up,” or ????,  or ????, or ????.

“Things settling down” was always my trap in my early years of adulthood. But things don’t ever settle down, do they? Not for long anyway. They just change. And then the cycle begins again, and so then we never really embrace the life that is ours. So this is what I eventually realized: I need to …

live the life I have, not the one I wish I had.

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A Restaurant, a Railroad, and a Resurrection: Theo's Story

A Restaurant, a Railroad, and a Resurrection: Theo's Story

I have a new, young friend. His name is Theo. Theo is 19 years old and special. Theo is special not just because he has a special way of thinking and seeing the world,  but because he is an amazing person.  Theo is smart, friendly, and interesting. And I like him a lot.  And I think Theo likes me too. In fact, he says I’m his favorite “Babci” (my Polish grandma name) because our grandson Evan is his best friend. 

I haven’t gotten to know Theo very well yet, but I have discovered that Theo loves people, biking, and trains. And one day around the holidays, I was offered the opportunity to experience all three with him.

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