Shows Main Idea – Vaneetha Risner, author of, The Scars That Have Shaped Me, details the suffering in her life, and how the Lord has sustained her through it all. The doctors misdiagnosed her with polio as an infant, which led to 21 surgeries before her thirteen birthday. These events were the beginning of a life of pain and disappointment: quadriplegia, divorce, and the death of her son. Yet, through it all, she is a shining testimony to the power of God that every person needs to hear. I had the privilege of interviewing her for our Life Over Coffee podcast.
Enjoy Vaneetha’s Resources:
Watch the Vaneetha Risner Interview
- What does Veneetha mean?
- Some of our listeners do not know you, so would you mind giving us the highlights of your journey with suffering? It’s like “skipping a rock across a pond” from birth to now, which will form the backdrop for our conversation.
- We have two types of listeners, and both of them are suffering. Some are angry because of the disappointments. And some are learning to trust and rest in their suffering, i.e., Julie—one of our team members who received an ALS diagnosis a couple of years ago.
- What is your advice to the person who is wrestling with disappointment and is not trusting and hoping in the Lord?
- What is your advice for someone like Julie? Her body is weakening by the week, and she’s experiencing diminishing physical ability to do basic things like walking, typing, eating, etc.
- What would you say to the caregivers of those sufferers?
- Talk to me about the “sovereignty problem.” I’m talking about coming to learn that God is sovereign, but He does not change your situation. What are some things you’d like to say to those who are experiencing unchangeable circumstances?
Quick Thoughts from Your Book
I am going to quote you (from your book), and I would be grateful if you could tell me what you think.
- “The detour you are on is actually the road. What a horrifying thought.”
How would you help a person who did not like the detour?
- “I was lonely for years. I longed to remarry, but I didn’t want to admit it to anyone. Not even to myself. I didn’t want to pin my hopes on something that might never happen. And if I never remarried, I didn’t want to look like I had wasted my life, hadn’t trusted God, and couldn’t be content. I’d be pitied by others and embarrassed for myself. I didn’t want that.” How did you work through this?
- “I was operating quite well on self-sufficiency until about 15 years ago, when a diagnosis of post-polio syndrome abruptly ended my romance with autonomy.”
- “Self-sufficiency and independence are part of the American way. They allow us to provide for ourselves with relatively little uncertainty or inconvenience.”
- “Everything is needful that he sends. Nothing can be needful that he withholds.”