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March 4, 2021 1:00 am
Can God truly take the hardest things in our lives and do something miraculous through them? Yes! On FamilyLife Today, join hosts Dave and Ann Wilson as they talk with author Vaneetha Risner about the devastation she faced in divorce and how God used it to bring about something more wonderful than she could've ever imagined.
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As a divorced single mom with post polio when he theorized or knew that being on a dating site was like looking for the proverbial needle in the haystack well when her needle. Joel showed up and started to show some interest. She wondered did he really understand what he was getting himself into, and asked him 70 times. He finally said.
I know it has polio as I know that you can be and might be in a wheelchair might be a quadriplegic is one of us conducive disability and I can't just have felt what I love about you. He said was this his family life today. Our hosts are David and Wilson about the pain. You can find us email@example.com you're a great story today. Joel and the Reisner's love story how God brought the two of them together. Wonderful stay with us and welcome to family life to.
Thanks for joining us. I just feel like we got to have this conversation right here because all week we've been hearing about.
One of the hardest journeys. Anybody knows ever been a hammer right suffering has been incredible. So you're hoping just what were you here now is there is a happy story here that we can zero in on but he theorized her joining us again on family life today. Welcome back think he expected anything, is the author a book called walking through fire. We talked about polio. This week we talked about the death of a child this week. This carriages we talked about the death of a marriage this week. Infidelity in the marriage relationship. We haven't talked about the fact that last night before he went to bed. You had a square of dub dark chocolate was here so I did not bring that to me this is you do every five nights I haven't had you need to incorporate filled it up today with little chocolate pie but we will dive into after all that you had gone through with medical challenges and the loss of a child in the death of a marriage and your husband moving out your know a single parent with disabilities trying to survive. At some point in this journey you said I'm going and put a profile on them online dating site did you say it sounded like a nightmare to meet me after I was divorced. She said not to think about getting me again thank I know how to meet anybody honey and she said thing and not really thought it was a lot of psychos on their there's normal people at SOC. She worried about you.
She wise loved our family. I liked being married and I also had post polio and the Chris didn't know what I was in a day is going to take her mom said that was part of it but they said they needed that I like being married and might just need to try some really weird to me less weird than going places and looking to see if people warning light all about like looking at people's hands like I do little creepy it's a little easier and an online site and check in on everything is did you pick out match.com or Christian mingle.com. What would you do is on Christian mingle and then I got on eHarmony okay and for me that when I really get right because you tell a lot about yourself harmony that was now working for me for a while.
So after two years two years on guys did you know are your girls. Now my daughters was in college through my estimate was at home and it was just a lot of trudging through seven profiles and thinking.
I mean, some people who can't spell and some very interesting people. Let's just get a day to get the kids that he was as sweet, loving man, he likes this just have to know if this happened to you during your online dating experience. I had a guy come up to me at the church one Sunday a widower who had gone on a dating site and he said I met somebody to tell me about her and so he starts describing her. She's almost 30 years younger than him.
He shows me a picture. She's very attractive woman I said was the it's the age thing, he says.
She says that's not a problem for her. Like my spider senses and I went home I googled made December online dating just to see what popped up and all of a sudden I saw there are people on these online dating sites who are looking for lonely widows and widowers for financial yeah.
And sure enough it wasn't long into this relationship to my friend at church got an email saying my mom is in England she's about to die. I'm due to inherit a whole bunch of money but could you lend me the money for the airplane ticket and he he recognized this was a scam. Thanks for just scaring all of our online warning people. There are folks at did you experience anything like this at all 20 years younger than me, was after me you were just getting course, did you have two or three months correspondence with some people that I got to know and went out with salmon refinement really had the dap that I was looking forů Like a lot of people were just in a very different place spiritually so two years in be a point where I'd say that's exactly where I live. So I just said I'm going to deactivate from everything that I'm on eHarmony to deactivate that the weight eHarmony wise back then they would be five little slots telling you what had happened with people you had my sweat so my profile right when I was going to have deactivate it, said Joel has uploaded new pictures each slot, said Joel has uploaded new pictures find myself narcissistic to see what this doll is all about. So I click on Joe's profile and you seem like a guy, which is the first question on eHarmony wise what you most passionate about and John answered and passionate about Jesus Christ because there's nothing else to be passionate about ways. A lot of people said I member country guide and family order so as not really sure about missing people I met with Joe. He was so clear on he states he talked about his late wife and how she was just this amazing influence in his life and so thinking why Joel a blessing so many new pictures pictures but I didn't think anything else about it and then afternoon I think I got from Jamaal, and I was like my work so I smiled and started said it all started. EHarmony has kind of some set questions that we went back-and-forth on those and then the first free answer question we can ask anything you want. I asked her your favorite authors and pastors and was my favorite question because that really showed what this person was about and who was my drink. You'll know what you said the :-) my profile because I had looked at his profile and he thought, here's what I have to wonder if in the back of your head you had any little voice saying to you right this is foolish because I I'm disabled with post polio. Who's going to pick me out of the eHarmony lottery. Yes, I totally did said that when I was in counseling after my has been left. I remember saying what's the point of being on a dating site and mean, I've got to everybody else out there and she just said with dap is cannot see past all of that is with me. I was joking around with a friend of mine who wrote a book on online dating. The ground woman's guide to online dating for Christian women and we were joking about it because I told her well. The thing about having a disabilities it cuts through the really superficial people.
The people that are just looking for an L modeling to get time. People with real depth are the ones that will got somebody with a disability and she laughed and said is that great great news for the rest of the Joe straw his favorite authors and pastors wherein he said John Piper, Paul Tripp and Kevin to young and scared me theologically were on the same page. I was writing then for desiring God and I had nobody that knew anything about anybody. Beyond that, really popular TV preacher type things really meant a lot to me and say we need to start a corresponding and within the first I think 10 days. We'd exchange 40,000 words. So we've written a book well together that you had seen it just had not seen each other and even before we started talking on the phone and then the weekend before we met, I saw my sister and she told me you can marry this guy even met this guy and she said I know but you can marry too good to be true. Were you scared.
Was there part of you like. Could this be happening could not believe it. Like Joel was everything I ever thought I wanted.
He was so kind and so deep in Joel's a widower and was just so caring of his late wife and before we even met. He made me call his late wife's best friend and said you need to talk to her first set and he said I'm not coming to meet you because I could be anybody like something on the Internet could be anybody and you need some kind of verification. So ask her anything you want and just talking to her I fell in love. It's all before I saw you look like Brad Pitt you girls think they scared were they excited excited but I think they weren't sure at first you know when you get through trauma like that. It's hard it's hard for them to trust and I think they were worried for me.
They were excited for me, especially Katie Wood wanted me to start dating. And yet, when it becomes a reality. There is a house.
This can change our life and so I think they were excited but hesitant and great for me but letting Joe what did your ex-husband think when he heard you were on a dating site on the treatment somebody and what he married died. He was married by then and he was really happy for me.
He really felt bad about the way things had gone and really cared about me as a person, so he was really really happy for me and sent me a text. Probably a week or two before I met Joel and said I keep praying for you Joel 225 that the Lord will restore the years the locust has eaten and was really me and then after I met you. All we have to get to the meeting about that. So did you. Where did you meet okay we met in Raleigh at my house so Joel drove from Knoxville which is where he was living to Raleigh and we went to dinner the first night you feel like you're in high school and all my friends wanted to meet our pastor is to have coffee with him and his wife and he's like now. I called to cancel and he said coming over to you most important question you ask what you will hear more like a blue flowered silk shirt and gray flat.so I wouldn't know what he will.
You said you were in love with him before you. Yes.
So when he shows up. Did you like going to do us harm like that first night he was saying hotel that he would kick he came over and we are going to get a Tom and Carol's. Our pastor's house for dinner and I said we could hurry hunting for desserts. I said we have to hurry getting dinner ready and I wanted to put on the table that were in her lead time for candles and was like for candles.
He was basically telling me now. Not that interested in tired so after church I think just drive straight home and I was pretty sure we were. He will want to be friends as we can, but that was so sad that night and then the next day he said I can't wait to see again, and when can I see you in yes we saw each other almost every weekend after that and you talked openly about your disabilities what that could look like and what that could mean yeah I asked him 70 times. He finally said stop I get it. I know what post polio as I know that you can be and might be in a wheelchair might be a quadriplegic but he said as long as one of us can do stuff get a disability and I can't do stuff we can get somebody to do that but what I love about you. He said was you are not what you can do is huge for me after you have just even with the post polio realizing I can't do what I want to do. I can't serve people. And yet Joel really reaffirms that it was me having been married to somebody you thought would be faithful. You thought you knew who they were when you got married.
It didn't work out here meet Magana go.
She seems wonderful. But what if little voice ring in the back your head and so I would just pray like I had to show me like Joel is too good to be true to show me was reassuring talking to his late wife's best friend somebody that really knows the person when it's online. I think it's a good idea to have some way to just kind of connect with a real person really helped me. She said Xarelto I mean, he walked through his late wife's cancer with her by her side every minute he was incredible and said she said he knows what suffering is and he knows what he's walking into and just having that reassurance was huge to me. How did you propose we were at my sister's house and Joel pretended that he didn't have the ring, but he actually did more sitting in the dining room after Thanksgiving meal and everybody's got off the sun and then Joe said book were doing in our marriage counseling the meaning of marriage. Maybe we need to go look at that all back there and talk about something okay there and then I turn around and Joel is on one knee with that diamond ring and believe it is pretty incredible sounds around with my whole family. So how long from the first smile on the harmony to the ring first smile was end of June and the ring was Thanksgiving so how long. From Thanksgiving to the altar that was in February said three months. Quick yes, but you know what to click when you been through what you've been through and what was going to make friends who just recently got married there online meeting to their wedding was about about a four month period and their older there both widows is maturity to that love that you know what's ahead really kind of marriage on September I met him in person in July and was ready to walk out on September so the effect of the proposal you blinded your two families that had entered daughter to just incredible. I feel like Joel has laid down his life for them and he has been so thoughtful and kind. He I don't answer the phone when my girls call sometimes but Joel always ties it doesn't matter what he's doing and he does that for all four girls.
He's just very caring and have and I think they really feel loved and feel known and I think that's really important. Is there anything you deserve this yeah think you I would love it.
One time somebody is good for marriage is been hard. You go kill everything you had to have some adjustments that you had to make things in the first six months to your marriage were going all I didn't know you did that or you thought that or you acted this way, so most things just took you want. I mean every relationship there's always that you are waiting for him to see how perfect right away given lessons on epic only.
Always, even mundane things like how you hang your towels and there's always this adjustment with people on. I think we all think of ourselves first and how we do it and I tend to think the way I do it is right is blending families is always challenging, and yet the Lord we been able to really pray about and and talk things through. And I really appreciated that. But never a did I make a mistake, moment, not one second with always talked about this week polio post polio death of a child loss of a marriage and fidelity.
Good for you. I mean all of us are kind like I'm glad Joel 225, you taste a little bit about some of the years that the local city you've seen God restore him. Yes, I'm thinking back as I read your book.
At one point he said to God, you must hate me like that's a low point when you feel like God must hate you, recalling your time in the car listening to worship music and feeling God's presence feeling like he's holding you when you feel now I feel like God is taking me to really dark places.
That is never left me in a think about some 23 now.
I walked in the valley of the shadow left, I will fear no evil for you are with me and I feel like God is been with me through the valley of the shadow of death, and it's taught me not to be afraid because I think that's what we all think about suffering is where Frank were afraid that the next phone call is can it bring us something that that destroys our world, and it may destroy our physical world that it's never going to take away the love of God and it will never take away the presence of God and it will never take away the purposes of God in our life because those will all stand forever, and I feel like I've seen juvenile is the most incredible gift that if God had not given me. Joel would still be as good and I was still left out as much because God is giving me himself than anything in this world wasn't sure you know when were walking down to the studio and you had said you drink too much water in the airplane. I watched your wheel you toward the bathroom and I thought what a picture not only of sacrificial love, but of the of the picture of Christ, of a man loving his wife like Christ loved the church and you know what things you said I don't know if you wrote it in the book and I don't know if I missed this, but you said in one of the messages I watch you said God will take the hardest things in your life and do something breath taking in you and through you, as I've listened your story last couple days like that's what I'm glad we got to fill this part is thank you for being here. I hope people will get your book and read your book and grow and learn to ask a favor before you) will you pray for listeners that are just struggling listening we just come to you in hard.
We acknowledge that life is hard. Just in the midst of the isolation and the loneliness and the pain that is overwhelming at times.
Learn you know when we collectively cry, and yet father we know you are good.
We know that even in this painting you are drawing people to yourself. You are showing us who you are and that life with you is incredible that you give us much more suffering than you could ever take away because he gives yourself and that's what we're created for and I just pray for everyone listening here that you would try near to the Lord as they open the Bible that you would, life that you would speak to them that you would show them that they are not alone and they never will be, and that he will laugh them in this life and you will take them to the next life with no not one moment do we need to be with you and I pray that toilet sink into people's lives that there is nothing to fear because you will be with the Lord. We love you and we thank you for all the things you've done in our lives. The things we flaunted and the things we haven't because we know that you will use them all for our good and for your glory in Jesus name like you been with us. Thank you and I want to just encourage her listers were making beneath his book available this week to any of you who would like a copy. Any of you and support the ministry of family life with a donation form on the family life to the.com to donate or call one 800 FL to date to donate but need this book is called walking through fire, a memoir of loss and redemption and as we've said this, we could to beautifully written memoir, it will be encouraging to you to read it. Get a copy of the book when you donate to support the ongoing work of family life to what you're really doing is investing in the marriages and families of the hundreds of thousands of people who are listening every day to this program on the air of the station via podcast all around the world. People streaming online people asking Alexa play family life today so many ways that this program is connecting with people and you make that possible when you donate, so thanks in advance for your donation and we hope you enjoy beneath the writer's book walking through fire. Again, you can donate unwanted family life to the.com or you can call 1-800-358-6329 2000 F as in family L as in life and in the word today.
You know most of us have not gone through the kind of life challenges that beneath the who shared with us this week, but David Robbins personal family life is here with us today and David all of us have experienced challenges in life and there's a purpose for about, you know these last few days to help give new meaning to the words in James one, when James says consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance and let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything I family life.
We are all about helping people grow more into the likeness of Jesus as you pursue the relationships that matter most in your life.
But we all know that pursuing those relationships in our lives always occurs in the context of a lot of pain and brokenness and confusion and perhaps doubt that we deal with in everyday real life. Thank you so much for listening and putting up are already on your relationship with God and with your spouse.
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Keith Lynch hosts David Mendelson on public opinion. We will see you back tomorrow for another family life family like to use a production of family life of Little Rock, Arkansas ministry help for today hope for tomorrow