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About the Episode

In this episode of the Hope + Help Podcast, host Christine Chappell interviews Vaneetha Risner about her book, Walking Through Fire: A Memoir of Loss and Redemption. Some of the questions addressed in this interview are:

• What are some of the questions, fears, or doubts about God we might wrestle with while walking through layered losses?
• How might well-intended encouragements be particularly unhelpful or hurtful to those navigating layered losses?
• How does biblical lament transform the way we engage God in the midst of loss?
• How might someone process the loss of identity they may feel as a result of their suffering?
• How might we think biblically about coming to accept continual loss?
• What can personal devotion time look like during spiritually dry seasons of loss and suffering?
• What does it mean for suffering to be a “gift” that we “steward?”


About the Guest

Vaneetha Risner is passionate about helping others find hope and joy in the midst of suffering. She is the author of The Scars that have Shaped Me: How God Meets us In our Suffering as well as Walking Through Fire. Vaneetha holds degrees from the University of Virginia and Stanford University, and is a regular contributor at Desiring God. She and her husband, Joel, live in Raleigh North Carolina and have four daughters between them.


About the Book

Walking Through Fire: A Memoir of Loss and Redemption

The astonishing, Job-like story of how an existence filled with loss, suffering, questioning, and anger became a life filled with shocking and incomprehensible peace and joy.

Vaneetha Risner contracted polio as an infant, was misdiagnosed, and lived with widespread paralysis. She lived in and out of the hospital for ten years and, after each stay, would return to a life filled with bullying. When she became a Christian, though, she thought things would get easier, and they did: carefree college days, a dream job in Boston, and an MBA from Stanford where she met and married a classmate.

But life unraveled. Again. She had four miscarriages. Her son died because of a doctor’s mistake. And Vaneetha was diagnosed with post-polio syndrome, meaning she would likely become a quadriplegic. And then her husband betrayed her and moved out, leaving her to raise two adolescent daughters alone. This was not the abundant life she thought God had promised her. But, as Vaneetha discovered, everything she experienced was designed to draw her closer to Christ as she discovered “that intimacy with God in suffering can be breathtakingly beautiful.”


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