Tell me about your upbringing.
RENEE: I grew up in a loving Jewish home. I remember enjoying Christmas carols and wondering who Jesus was, but in my house we were told that Jesus wasn’t for us.
JACK: Unlike Renee, my upbringing was quite turbulent. My mother suffered from emotional and mental problems that caused her to shelter me and be overprotective. The neighborhood children often laughed at me and pointed and said I was the one with the crazy mother.” My father kept us away from most social contacts and we never went to synagogue. By the time I was 13 we had moved to a different neighborhood and my mother’s condition began to stabilize. In high school, I did quite well in my studies and made many friends. Life seemed almost normal.
How did you two meet?
JACK: We met in high school and got married four years later. At first, all of the misery of the past seemed to vanish. We were happy together for a few years when my feelings of paranoia crept in, and I began to believe that my co-workers at the bank where I had a good job were laughing at me.
RENEE: Unfortunately, Jack was suffering from mental illness and our marriage only lasted two and a half years.
JACK: I became abusive towards Renee and begged her to divorce me. I didn’t think I would ever enjoy a normal life again.
Then what happened?
RENEE: After our divorce I married again, but unfortunately my second husband left me after our third child was born. I felt very alone and scared. I prayed and asked God for someone to come care for us. Little did I know how He would answer that request!
I got a job at a nursing home. There I met a beautiful young Jewish woman named Rita. She was full of God’s love and told me about Yeshua the Messiah. Soon after, I prayed and received Him and finally felt free.
JACK: As for me, over the course of the next 15 years I tried to work out my problems through psychotherapy. I had some Christian friends who took me to church. I remember feeling that I wanted the Jesus that they had, but deep down I struggled with guilt over being Jewish and considering Him for my life.
My despair deepened and one night in my apartment God reached down to me and I knew I needed to join a group of people who had faith. With little information, I was baptized into the Catholic Church. I thought I knew the Messiah, but I really didn’t…yet He knew me.
How did you two get back together?
JACK: Well, I knew Renee had gotten remarried and had three children—she often came into the shoe store where I was working. One day I called my ex-mother-in-law, just to re-connect with her and say hello. She told me that Renee’s husband had left her! Renee and I met after 22 years of separation and that very night we decided to re-marry.
RENEE: I told Jack that I was still Jewish and that I believed in Jesus. Jack told me he had become Catholic during the years we were apart. We were married again and soon began attending the Jews for Jesus Bible study in Skokie, Illinois.
JACK: With our new beginning, it seemed right to find a group of Jews who loved Jesus. At the study, both Renee and I were touched by the Holy Spirit and we came into a real faith together. Soon afterwards, we began attending a local messianic congregation and were baptized there shortly after, in 1984.
How has God worked in your (re)marriage?
JACK: Not only has God redeemed the years Renee and I lost, but we have been reunited in Him and have experienced healing. That truly is a miracle. The last 19 years together truly are evidence of His grace.
RENEE: My children from my second marriage also became believers in Yeshua and later, so did our grandchildren. And because our reunion was such a story, my parents turned to Jesus, too. We have had many trials and blessings these last 19 years, but I thank God for His plans and this beautiful life.
Jack, do you have anything to add to that?
JACK: Yes, the end is better than the beginning, and the best is yet to come!