The Scars That Have Shaped Me: How God Meets Us in Suffering by Vaneetha Rendall RisnerThe Scars That Have Shaped Me: How God Meets Us in Suffering by Vaneetha Rendall Risner

The Scars That Have Shaped Me: How God Meets Us in Suffering

byVaneetha Rendall Risner

Paperback | March 31, 2017

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Twenty-one surgeries by age thirteen. Years in the hospital. Verbal and physical bullying from schoolmates. Multiple miscarriages as a young wife. The death of a child. A debilitating progressive disease. Riveting pain. Abandonment. Unwanted divorce.

Vaneetha Rendall Risner begged God for grace that would deliver her. But God offered something better: his sustaining grace.

In The Scars That Have Shaped Me, Vaneetha does more than share her stories of pain; she invites other sufferers to taste with her the goodness of a sovereign God who will carry us in our darkest of days.

Title:The Scars That Have Shaped Me: How God Meets Us in SufferingFormat:PaperbackDimensions:200 pages, 8 × 5.25 × 0.42 inPublished:March 31, 2017Publisher:Cruciform PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1941114296

ISBN - 13:9781941114292

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Joni Eareckson Tada




You formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:13–14)


1. The Scars That Have Shaped Me 1

2. The Wounds of Bullying 5

3. Is God Really There? 9

4. Burying a Son 13

5. My Failing Body 19

6. A Crumbled Marriage 25



Look on my affliction and deliver me, for I do not forget your law. (Psalm 119:153)


7. Lament: Beauty from Bitterness 33

8. Crying Out to God

9. Has God Forgotten Me? 45

10. Talking Myself through Suffering 51

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? (Psalm 42:5)

11. How to Pray When Life Falls Apart 57

12. When Disappointment Comes 63

13. When the Detour Becomes the New Road 67

14. Shattered Dreams and Shaken Faith 71


How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? (Psalm 13:1)


15. The Agony of Waiting 77

16. Begging God 81

17. Unfulfilled Longings 85


I am afflicted and in pain; let your salvation, O God, set me on high! (Psalm 69:29)


18. Dependence 91

19. Why Doesn’t God Heal Everyone? 97

20. Wheelchairs and Worship 103

21. When the Pain Never Ends 109


I am in despair. I looked for pity, but there was none, and for comforters, but I found none. (Psalm 69:20)


22. What If the Worst Happens? 115

23. The Loneliness of Suffering 121

24. The Comfort of Others 127

25. When You Struggle to Believe God Loves You 133



Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning. (Psalm 30:5)


26. The Lens of Thanksgiving 139

27. Ever on Display 143

28. Grace Always Heals Deeper 149

29. Suffering Is a Gift 155

30. Sustaining Grace 161

31. The Staggering Promise of Heaven 165

Editorial Reviews

“The Scars that Have Shaped Me will make you weep and rejoice not just because it brims with authenticity and integrity, but because every page points you to the rest that is found in entrusting your life to one who is in complete control and is righteous, powerful, wise, and good in every way.”—Paul Tripp, pastor, author, international conference speaker“I could not put this book down, except to wipe my tears. Reading Vaneetha’s testimony of God’s kindness to her in pain was exactly what I needed; no doubt, many others will feel the same. The Scars that Have Shaped Me has helped me process my own grief and loss, and given me renewed hope to care for those in my life who suffer in various ways. Reveling in the sovereign grace of God in your pain will bolster your faith like nothing this world can offer, and Vaneetha knows how to lead you to this living water.”—Gloria Furman , author of Missional Motherhood and Alive in Him“When we are suffering significantly, it’s hard to receive truth from those who haven’t been there. But Vaneetha Risner’s credibility makes us willing to lean in and listen. Her writing is built on her experience of deep pain, and in the midst of that her rugged determination to hold on to Christ.”—Nancy Guthrie, author of Hearing Jesus Speak into Your Sorrow“I have often wondered how Vaneetha Rendall Risner endures suffering with such amazing joy, grace, and perseverance. I still don’t understand that, but this book has given me a new glimpse into her world and into the character of our loving God. Raw, transparent, terrifying, and yet amazingly hopeful, The Scars that Have Shaped Me can provide strength for the journey regardless of your situation.”—Brian Fikkert, co-author of When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor…and Yourself“It’s hard to find words to express how vitally important Vaneetha’s testimony has been in the shaping of my life and faith. She has walked uniquely hard roads and ventured into deep spiritual waters, yet always welcomes fellow travelers like me. These pages are full of vulnerability and hope, rooted not in optimism but in the real-life experience of God’s faithfulness in suffering. It is truly oxygen to get a glimpse of God’s face through Vaneetha’s eyes.”—Christa Wells, singer, songwriter“When I’m in a hard place and needing to draw deeply into God, I want to hear from someone who knows and understands. Someone who’s been there. I can think of no better voice than Vaneetha Risner’s. In both the sudden crisis and the long, relentless daily struggle, Vaneetha’s insights have been purchased in the fire of adversity. So I listen. She leads through a door that comforts my soul and straightens my spine—I am in her debt. You will be, too, as you drink deeply the wisdom she has to offer.”—Paula Rinehart, author of Strong Women, Soft Hearts and Sex and the Soul of a Woman