• DANCE IN THE RAINLife is not about waiting for the storm to pass; it's about learning to dance in the rain.- Vivian Greene

joni+

Her earrings catch my attention.

They are hammered gold, with crinkled edges that flash brilliant. I am captivated. I’ve heard about these earrings.

They were once smooth and square, polished and perfect. She treasured them, an unexpected gift from a friend. But she inadvertently dropped one on her office floor, impaling it on her wheelchair tire, the crunching sound betraying the damage.

A jeweler told her that he couldn’t fix it. But he could make the smooth one match the other. It was a risk, but she decided to trust him.

In the back room she heard the sounds of hammering and grinding. Did he know what he was doing? But he returned with a matching second earring. Marred and mangled. But strangely magnificent.

I stare at these earrings. They are exquisite. From my vantage, they are not marred at all. Quite the opposite, they look like the work of a skilled craftsman. The hammering has produced something breathtaking.

The lesson is vivid. I don’t want to struggle, to take the hard road, to be bruised. I’d prefer an easy, smooth life. But it is the pounding that produces character, character that reflects light. As I see the twisted gold shimmering, I am amazed at the beauty from what has been battered. 

As we talk, my gaze shifts from her earrings to her hands. We’re having dinner and I’m watching her eat. This is not idle curiosity; I know with post-polio that my arms are failing and I too may struggle to feed myself. She frequently needs help and must be content with the way others help her. How they cut her food, what they put on her plate, when they can attend to her needs. View full post »

  • February 28, 2014 - 8:19 am

    vasanth - Inspiring blog Vaneetha. Thanks.
    It seems like “life happens” and unfortunately sometimes it is not what we would choose. But our response (with God’s help) can bring him glory, and make us a beautiful encouragement to another facing a similar situation. The deepening of our capacity for empathy and love and forgiveness is indeed the main benefit of our pain – and that does make for a richer life in the final analysis.ReplyCancel

  • February 28, 2014 - 8:32 am

    Kathy Van Til - “Strangely magnificent.” Yes.ReplyCancel

  • February 28, 2014 - 10:31 am

    Kristin Hill Taylor - Oh yes. This: Giving up my right to have something exactly as I want can be an act of worship. –> Yes, this is a reminder I hold close. I’m vising you from Emily’s link up; glad I linked up beside you. 🙂ReplyCancel

    • March 1, 2014 - 10:11 am

      Vaneetha - I keep reminding myself of that too, Kristin. Thanks for reading!ReplyCancel

  • March 3, 2014 - 10:51 am

    Val - What a touching story. Thank you for sharing you heart and for being so transparent!
    ValReplyCancel

  • August 5, 2014 - 1:55 pm

    These legs are made for walking | Even Rocks Cry Out - […]  I love this blogpost, “There are more important things in life than […]ReplyCancel

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terrapin+

photo courtesy of Jonathan Davidar

I enter the crowded room and cringe. I’ve made a mistake.

But it’s too late to run away.

So I take my seat at the front.  I’m a panelist in a Q & A session run by my former MBA program. As the oldest member of the panel by a decade, I feel senile. The crowd is young and trendy, eager to impress us with their insightful questions.

All I can think about is my out-of-style clothes. I wish had listened to my daughter’s parting comment and worn something more fashionable. Or at least not screaming middle age.

The moderator gives a beautiful presentation on the school and the program. Ignorant of the latest buzz words, I understand only half of what she is saying. But it sounds impressive. Besides, she’s immaculately dressed.

Afterwards, the participants have the opportunity to ask questions. Half the hands in the room shoot straight up. It’s going to be a long afternoon.

The first and most basic one: “What are all of you doing now?”

I am completely unprepared for this query. It’s unclear exactly what questions I am prepared to answer if this has stumped me. Apparently none. Obviously I hadn’t thought this whole panel thing through very well. They expected us to say something. Something intelligent. Or maybe insightful. At the very least, intelligible.

I’m in serious trouble. My clothes are the least of my worries now. I’m assuming “pass” is not an acceptable response to the first question. I’m wondering if I can fake an emergency phone call. I’m hoping I’ll never see these people again. View full post »

  • February 21, 2014 - 6:46 am

    Derek Riley - Most of us will not change the world, we are were not made too. I am to change and be a blessing to those around me. Thank you for your honesty.ReplyCancel

    • February 21, 2014 - 8:37 am

      Vaneetha - I agree, Derek. Only the Lord can change the world. Besides, I’m still working on myself! Thanks for writing.ReplyCancel

  • February 21, 2014 - 8:59 am

    Renuka - I do not know about changing the “world”…but you have certainly had a tremedous impact on my life… in more ways that you will EVER know!ReplyCancel

  • February 21, 2014 - 9:41 am

    RuthAnn - Was waiting for this post! LOL!
    Reminds me of one of my favorite Pooh quotes….”“It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like “What about lunch?”ReplyCancel

  • February 22, 2014 - 5:25 am

    Yavette - Thank you so much for God’s truth in this post and the wonderful comic relief that had me laughing too early in this morning. A great way to start a day: With the LORD and laughter!ReplyCancel

  • February 22, 2014 - 6:50 pm

    Anne Mercer - Vaneetha, you are precious. I have sent your blog to several of my close friends and also to my niece. I gave them a brief history of you and told them how much we Mercers love you. You are showing the Lord to many people who don’t know him well. Keep writing !

    Blessings !!!!
    AnnieReplyCancel

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suffering in a storm+

photo courtesy of Jonathan Davidar

I can’t carry my plate to the table.

Last month the plate posed no problems. But with post-polio, things can deteriorate rapidly. And they do.

The doctors told me this would happen. But at the time, I was a young mother and there were other things to worry about. I assumed the real struggle would be decades away.

I was wrong. The struggle is here now and it’s a daily fight. For a decade, I could talk about post-polio, write about it, and even philosophize about it. But now, as it’s happening, I’m angry.

I sit at the counter, tears streaming down my face. I scream into my empty house, “God, how could you do this to me? Don’t you love me? I’ve been faithful. Doesn’t that count for something? Why don’t you fix this?!”

I finish my tantrum with God, and sink into self-pity. I decide that God has never done anything for me. That God answers other people’s prayers but not mine. That everything in my life is awful. That God doesn’t care about my pain. And that my suffering is meaningless.

Of course, these are the lies of Satan.

I wish I didn’t listen to them, know them by heart, repeat them almost instinctively.

I wish in the heat of battle, when life is falling apart, my first response would be grace-filled. Patient. Christ- like.

I wish that I would savor the sweetness of God’s sustaining grace, and never question Him again.

But unfortunately I still struggle.

I close my eyes and breathe deeply. I need to repent. To heed Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones advice: to stop listening to myself, and start talking to myself. To remind myself of the truth.

On the back of an envelope, I jot down what I need to say to myself. Seven things I need to do. View full post »

  • February 14, 2014 - 9:29 am

    Kathy Van Til - Van, I appreciate your sharing right in the midst of raw suffering. It’s good for us to show each other the struggle to believe what we believe.ReplyCancel

  • February 14, 2014 - 9:32 am

    Sue Koehler - Thank you Vaneetha.ReplyCancel

  • February 14, 2014 - 9:53 am

    Joy H. Reinicke - I googled “number of perfection.” Was delighted to find my memory has not completely left this half a century+ brain of mine. One of the link options stated that 7 is the number of spiritual perfection. So I reckon these 7 truths to speak to yourself…and me…and so many others would be that which could perfectly and spiritually speak into our souls those truths which the Father would have us set our minds to dwell upon. Thank you.ReplyCancel

    • February 14, 2014 - 10:52 am

      Vaneetha - Thank you, Joy. I have to constantly remind myself to set my mind on these truths. But when I do, it changes everything.ReplyCancel

  • February 14, 2014 - 11:45 am

    Jennifer Morgan - Love you friend:)ReplyCancel

  • February 14, 2014 - 9:54 pm

    Elise Demboski - You are a light that continues to shine brighter and brighter! Thank you for sharing your story, your struggles and your faith. Although God has not healed the pain of your post-polio, he is definitely working miracles through it. Love you so much!ReplyCancel

  • February 18, 2014 - 10:52 pm

    jenny Jensen - Love this Van! Thank you for sharing!!!ReplyCancel

  • June 20, 2016 - 12:59 pm

    Erin - I know this post is a few years old, but I have been reading through your blog posts and wanted to tell you how much I needed to read this today. I have been in the midst of a battle with physical pain that seems never-ending, and I have been struggling to fight against self-pity and feeling so very weak, especially because what I’m going through pales in comparison to what others have suffered. This was just the reminder I needed today to seek the Lord. Your list of things to do to talk to yourself are things that I too need. I praise the Lord for you and your ministry. Thank you so much.ReplyCancel

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bithday table+

photo courtesy of Jonathan Davidar

My mom isn’t swayed by numbers.

I am.

Last week she mentions that people will miss her Bible study because of the snow. I sympathize. It’s hard to prepare a lesson all week only to find out that just a handful can make it.

Mom laughs, “Actually, I’m fine having a small crowd. I know that God has appointed who is going to be there. I remember teaching Sunday school classes when only one child showed up. Those were always my best lessons because I could focus on one person. Besides, some of Jesus best sermons were given to an audience of one.”

I’m ashamed.

I think about the times I’ve been disappointed because only a few people have shown up when I’m speaking. Somehow I place my value in numbers.

It’s all about pride. Thinking my time is too valuable to be wasted. Thinking it’s all about me.

As I reflect on the ways God has used me, I am reminded of an unforgettable encounter, over 10 years ago.

It’s a cold night. The rain is coming down in sheets and I’m leading a Bible study at a neighbor’s house.

I’m annoyed. Partly because I don’t want to go out in the wet weather. And partly because the rain will keep others from coming too.

Karen opens the door and I duck inside. Her house is warm and inviting. There’s coffee ready and we sit in the living room, making small talk as we wait for others. I keep glancing at my watch. No one else has come. View full post »

  • February 7, 2014 - 9:03 am

    Amy Duncan - Thanks for sharing, Vaneetha!ReplyCancel

  • February 7, 2014 - 10:47 am

    Jennifer - Thanks for the reminder that God often works when we’re not expecting it and in ways we wouldn’t have anticipated. He’s God and he knows what he’s doing!ReplyCancel

  • February 7, 2014 - 11:13 am

    David - Thanks for the reminder, I really needed that!ReplyCancel

  • February 8, 2014 - 12:44 am

    Jjenny Jensen - Such a great post. Thanks Van!ReplyCancel

  • February 8, 2014 - 12:37 pm

    Jen - I just found your blog through Desiring God, and just today by reading through your posts you have brought so much encouragement to my heart. I have been physically suffering for the past 5 months, and have wrestled and prayed, and will continue to pray. But I just felt compelled to comment, thank you. Thank you for sharing your hearts struggles, sufferings, and joys. It reaches, and encourages, and redirects my heart to His. Please continue to share your insights into suffering and joy.ReplyCancel

    • February 8, 2014 - 4:59 pm

      Vaneetha - Jen, I know how hard it is to find joy in the MIDST of deep suffering. Its much easier in retrospect. Keep pressing on…I know God is honored as you keep turning to Him in this.ReplyCancel

  • February 12, 2014 - 10:19 am

    Brenda - Read ur post on desiring god blog. I have a child with multiple medical conditions and your post spoke so powerfully to me. I have been asking for deliverance and I have not fully appreciated His manna for me. Thank you for the wonderful reminder.ReplyCancel

    • February 12, 2014 - 1:12 pm

      Vaneetha - Brenda, I can only imagine how difficult that is. Praying for sustaining grace through this season. I’m so thankful for manna!ReplyCancel

  • February 13, 2014 - 9:32 am

    Binsy - Hi Vaneetha. You have a beautiful blog here. Your love for God as well your passion for His will is very evident. Thank you for sharing yourself with us. I am praying for your healing.ReplyCancel

    • February 13, 2014 - 11:01 am

      Vaneetha - Thank you, Binsy. For your prayers and your encouragement!ReplyCancel

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