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The Scars That Have Shaped Me

How God Meets Us in Suffering


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.


  • Vaneetha writes with creativity, biblical faithfulness, compelling style, and an experiential authenticity that draws other sufferers in. Here you will find both a tested life and a love for the sovereignty of a good and gracious God. John Piper, Founder & Teacher,
  • The Scars at 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
  • 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
  • When we are suffering signifcantly, 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
  • I have often wondered how Vaneetha 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
  • 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 re 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, Strong Women, Soft Hearts
  • In the unfathomable logic of God’s wisdom, this faithful woman with increasingly weakening physical strength has, of all the people I know, the most secure grip on God’s steadfast faithfulness and reliability. Her faith has helped me weather the storms in my own life, and the words in these pages will do the same for you. Vaneetha Risner is the real deal. Margot Starbuck, Author of The Girl in the Orange Dress
  • 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
  • In The Scars that Have Shaped Me, Vaneetha proves to be an able guide who can lead us through the valleys of tragedy and hardship with both grace and truth as she unveils the brilliant and redemptive power of God in the darkness of human misery. As her friend and pastor for many years, I can personally testify that the paths on which Vaneetha will lead the reader she has faithfully walked herself. She invites us all to see God’s sovereign and good glory in times of testing and struggle. Tom Mercer, Pastor, Raleigh, North Carolina
  • The Scars That Have Shaped Me accomplishes the nearly impossible: Vaneetha tells her story of suffering—which has been, and still is, large—without drawing us into her pain. Instead, by grace and wisdom she guides us to find the way through our own sufferings into the heart of God. Somehow she lays out her story of gut-kicking suffering while captivating us with her experience of the goodness of God in the midst of her pain. The result? Our hearts are emboldened to trust and submit to Jesus. Her book is a gift to those who suffer, and to those who walk alongside them. Sally Breedlove