Introducing Vaneetha Rendall Risner

Would you like to dance?
Perhaps you have read Vaneetha Rendall Risner’s articles at her “Dance In the Rain” blog or as featured at Desiring God? If not, then the best way to introduce our readers to her writing ministry is to let her speak for herself. We are honored to be able to syndicate Vaneetha’s articles here at CMC. – Moe Bergeron

Before I introduce myself, I have a confession to make.

I’ve never danced in the rain. I rarely even walk in the rain. I don’t actually like rain.

Rain makes my curly hair even frizzier, and I just can’t go there.

vaneetha rendallI also hate getting wet. The feeling of being soaking wet and still having to function makes me crazy. I was deliberately and mercilessly drenched at the Roman Rapids in Busch Gardens by friend who will not be mentioned and I’ve never forgotten it. Then and there, I vowed never to do that again. That was more than a decade ago.

Lastly, I don’t dance. For many reasons but mostly because I have no rhythm. If you picture the worst dancer you’ve ever seen, double it, then you’ll have me. Enough said.

Vaneetha's Blog pageSo you may wonder about my “Dance In the Rain” blog title. It seems crazy that I chose it but I did have a reason. My life has often felt like a raging storm. A hurricane without an end. And yet God has given me joy in the midst of it.

Here’s a bit of my story.

I contracted polio as an infant and spent much of my childhood feeling like an outcast. I lived in and out of hospitals for years, trying to fit in to both worlds. On the outside I looked like the good girl, ever wanting to cheerfully please, but inside I was a mess. Insecure and bitter, I never felt that I belonged anywhere.

I grew up going to church yet it never meant anything to me. Church was filled with hypocrites so I fit right in. Though my parents were true believers, their faith was irrelevant to me. Religion was for other people.

But when I was 16 years old, I met Jesus. And that changed everything.

I started reading the Bible and praying, wanting to serve God with my life. And I assumed serving Him would be easy. After all, I’d been through a big trial already. Surely I wouldn’t have to go through anything else. Wasn’t that in the Bible somewhere?

Things went smoothly for a while. I went to college, worked for a few years and went to grad school where I met my husband. I had a fulfilling career and two beautiful daughters, Katie and Kristi. I felt that I was deservedly enjoying the perfect Christian life.

But somewhere in the next dozen years, my amazing life unraveled. I buried an infant son due to a doctor’s foolish mistake. Then debilitating pain led to a diagnosis of post-polio syndrome that will eventually put me in a wheelchair, with ever diminishing use of my limbs. And then my husband left us and moved away, leaving me to care for our two adolescent daughters by myself. Losing my child, my health, and my marriage almost made me lose my mind
It was crushing. After each catastrophic event, I wondered if life would ever be good again. If I’d ever laugh again. If ‘d ever adjust to this new normal.

Yet because of Jesus, I do laugh. A lot.

vaneetha rendall andHe has carried me through the darkest of days and given me hope in the pouring rain. The One who holds the universe, holds me tenderly. He has taught me that joy and gratitude are choices. They are independent of circumstances.

My life will never be perfect. When my current storms blow over, I expect new challenges will take their place. But God’s faithfulness will remain constant. For it is unchanging.

In February 2015 I married Joel, an incredible man who is the answer to countless prayers. God has indeed brought beauty from ashes and turned my mourning into dancing.

But regardless of my circumstances, God’s love and companionship will always be my greatest joy. For His love is better than life.

And through the raging storms and the intermittent drizzle, I’m learning to dance in the rain.

Figuratively, of course.

Learn more about me at Desiring God.

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About Vaneetha

Vaneetha underwent 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. We encourage you to visit and comment at