Hey there, Friend!
I have a feeling many of you may have heard of our guest who comes in at the #6 spot for our most-listened-to episodes of the Heal Podcast. She’s a known figure in the chronic pain and physical limitations world, keeping a blog, speaking at events when she is able, and writing profound books (The Scars That Have Shaped Me and Walking Through Fire) about her journey.
The reason I am grateful that you all loved her episode (Episode 55) as much as I did is because even with her platform for pain, Vaneetha Risner was the most humble, down-to-earth gal I’ve ever met. As we talked before and after the interview, she was genuinely interested in my life even outside of the recording, and I could not speak more highly of my interactions with her.
You always hope that the authors and speakers you admire for their work are the real deal when you meet them in person, and Vaneetha is absolute gold, friends! But, as we see in the Bible about the process of refining metals, it takes a long time and a lot of pain and surrender to become a pure gold. I know Vaneetha is still a person in progress (aren’t we all?), but God’s goodness oozes out of her because of how she has surrendered to knowing him better amidst severe sufferings and trials in her life.
Today, Vaneetha is happily remarried and ministering to people daily through her work. She faces Post-polio Syndrome, a disease characterizing those who have had polio earlier in life. Doctors have told her that her body will regress back to the symptoms and limitations that she had early in her life when she had polio. For Vaneetha, that means she faces physically regressing all the way back to quadriplegia. And yet, she faces each day with joy (and some coffee from her wonderful hubs!).
She can choose joy amidst these circumstances because she has spent a literal lifetime learning how to choose joy amidst pain. When she was an infant, she was mistreated for polio, ending with her as a quadriplegic and her spending years away from her family as a child in order to participate in physical therapy. She recovered amazingly, though her limp was enough to merit some bullying along the way.
Vaneetha had already proven herself an overcomer when she faced four miscarriages. In addition, her infant son was born with a heart condition, given a life-saving surgery, but then tragically died based on misinformation within his first few months of life (his life, while short, prompted a great legacy, part of which is demonstrated in Natalie Grant’s song, “Held,” written based upon his death).
If that weren’t enough, Vaneetha has also faced the unfaithfulness of her husband, forgiven him, faced adultery again, and then went through the painful process of her marriage ending. If you want to listen to someone who has walked through fire and seen her God carry her through the flames, then this is the episode for you. I know the grace of God in Vaneetha’s life, as well as the testimony of her dependence on him, will encourage you to ask God how you can life a life as faithful as Vaneetha’s.
Enjoy this episode, friends!
PS Check out Vaneetha’s new Bible study that she’s working on with Lifeway! So exciting!
Listen to learn more about:
· How Vaneetha endured the three terrible Ds: Divorce, Death, and Disability, and now has a stronger faith than ever.
· How Vaneetha faced the loss of her son, the loss of her current physical capacities that she worked so hard to regain, and the loss of her marriage.
· How you can walk through the fires of your life with faithfulness and come out “not even smelling like smoke.”
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· “My hope is that Jesus will never change and he will never leave me. If somebody is feeding me and I’m in a wheelchair and I can’t do anything for myself, God will never change. He will never leave me. I have seen him be faithful through my nightmares. That’s the beauty, from my perspective now, of being through my worst nightmares: my body failed; my child died; my husband left; my kids rebelled. Those were my nightmares, and they happened, and God was not just good – he was better than I imagined.” -Heal Podcast Episode 55
· “I learned that lament didn’t need to be transformed - lament itself was an integral part of genuine trust and worship.” -Walking Through Fire, p. 111
Links from our conversation:
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