About the Author

Vaneetha Rendall Demski is a writer, speaker, mother, and follower of Jesus. She loves laughing, reading, coffee with friends and deep conversations…

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  1. I’m in the moment between. The dreams are almost all dead but redemptions rush is holding its breath. It feels like hope dropped into reverse as I stand believing, surrounded by leftovers. Thank you for this encouragement today!

  2. You write: Writing…is a way to encourage myself, remind myself of the truth, see God’s work in me. This is so true and the kind of writer I want to be.

  3. My dream was to study economy and become a banker. I got CFS at 17 instead.
    Thankfully my health improved and at 22 I decided to go Jerusalem, Israel. The plan was to volunteer for 6 months. Instead I met my husband on my first day there, he was sent to pick me up from the airport. We got married exactly a year after we met.
    It took me years to come to terms with not having a collage degree. But God does know better. And He doesn’t take something away and leave us with nothing. The women who was sure she’d be a working mom is now home with her baby boy and loving it. Even though I see myself as a crafter as well, I too have started to write. I love knitting and cooking, but I love helping people more.
    My God-given dream is marriage counseling.

    • I so agree, MJ. “God doesn’t take something away and leave us with nothing.” I am so thankful for the things He gives in their place. Thank you for sharing your story!

  4. Your writing has always been a blessing to me–first your Christmas letter that left me rolling on the floor every year, and now your heart-sharing ministers me regularly. Yesterday I read your post about Abraham’s faith, not in what God would do but in who God is. That very much helped me reach beyond my difficult and confusing circumstances to trust in our Lord who is completely good, wise, capable, and loving. I was then able to minister hope and encouragement to a friend who was also struggling. Thank you, for letting The Great Artist paint His majesty through your writing.

    • You are so welcome, Jean. What a comfort that we can trust our wise loving God even when everything is dark and confusing. He is always working, ESPECIALLY when we can’t see it. Thanks for writing.

  5. That was an incredible story, thank you for sharing. My dream is still somewhat in the inbetween…not sure where it is going right now. That was one of the most encouraging stories of a dream redeemed I’ve ever read. Thank you for writing this!

    • Laura, I know hard that in-between time is. It has often felt like an endless wait for me, but I find it is during the “wait” that I’ve grown the most. And even more, I’ve found that in the “wait,” God is preparing me for what He has next.

  6. As I see my marriage unravel and I prepare to send my only daughter off to college in 3 months, my life has changed drastically. No longer living life as a wife, parenting duties (save those on my knees) dismissed, I wonder what plans God has for me next. In between is so hard.

    • Kathy, I agree. Waiting to see what God has in store next can be so hard…especially when we are giving up things that defined us. But I’m thankful that God always has good plans for us…

  7. Thank you for sharing. My dream of having another child doesn’t seem possible right now. It hurts, but I know that God will use that dream and desire for good in my life somehow, some way beyond what I can see. Sometimes, though, waiting for that revelation from Him is trying, as I am impatient. I am working on anticipating His Will with great hope and excitement, trusting Him with my precious dream.

  8. Gloria Gaither says God is in the interruptions. At first I thought that meant He could be found to walk with me through difficult times, but now I realize He allows the interruptions to give me time and perspective to grow and experience His unfailing love.
    I had wandered into the land of “less than” in my walk with God. I let everything else get in the way, always knowing that God was there, but not living my faith in vibrancy or action. It wasn’t a crisis of faith in the sense of belief, but it was certainly a crisis of faith in the reality of indifference.
    One night as I lay in bed, trying half-heartedly to pray, I just said, “God, help me to find my way back to a stronger walk with you.” I can honestly say it felt more like a pep talk to myself than an actual communication with the ruler of the universe. How naive I was! How far I had wandered from that connection I had once so treasured. And how foolish in not really expecting an answer.
    A few months later God answered my prayer in the form of a diagnosis of leiomyosarcoma, a rare and aggressive cancer. Did He zap me with it? I don’t think so. Did He allow it for my good? I am sure of it.
    My early thoughts were, “God, if I have to go through this, help me to find a way to bring glory to your name.” He has honored that request over and over.
    I am also choosing to give up certain things. Scrapbooking is one of them. I decided that rather than sitting in a room alone, crafting those books, I should be out living and creating memories. Now if I could just wave a wand and that room full of supplies would just disappear….
    I have written extensively on Caring Bridge as I travel this cancer journey, and I have had the similar experience of feeling God’s nudging to write more. Your post is another one of those little affirmations. I don’t know what form it will take, but I am open to God’s leading.
    I’m anxious to read more of your writing! Thank you for the words you shared today, and may God continue to anoint your writing.

    • Oh Ruthann, I have no words to express how your comment moved me. Thank you for your courage in the midst of your pain. Your faith has so encouraged me today. Please write about what the Lord is teaching you through your journey. We all need to hear it.

  9. Thanks for sharing! Long story short, my whole life has been one health issue after another, I used to play soccer, and my dream was to eventually do that for a living, but, when I was 15, even though I’d had health issues all my life, I started having many more problems, that were debilitating, and caused much physical suffering, I have them to this day. But through having to quit what I loved so much, and what I thought was my gift, I found Jesus. I also found, the real gift He has given me. Singing, and making quilts. I never would have found these gifts if the Lord would not have taken away what I had used to do, and turned my eyes to Him. And I’m humbled to say, I know that He has used the gifts that He has given me to touch others. All the suffering I face every day, is worth it, because He gives sufficient grace for each day. Of course I have ups and downs, but when I struggle, Jesus picks me up, and ministers to my heart!

  10. Wonderful encouragement, Vaneetha. You are an inspiration. A bit different, but since my daughter was little (she’s now nearly 16), I’ve dreamed of her and me running hand in hand through a meadow in the Wisconsin hills. However, Rachel has global disabilities and cannot really run. But God has overflowed my joy with this young lady beyond my wildest imaginations. She is an incredible blessing and a testament to His love.

    • Julie- your daughter Rachel sounds like an amazing young woman. Your comment touched me, because my mom firmly believed that the Lord told her I’d be “whole” at 16, after I had contracted polio as an infant. She thought that that meant physical healing. But God’s meaning of “whole” was much more encompassing than my mom’s, since I came to know Christ at 16. So running with Rachel might mean something more wonderful than you think…

  11. I’m hoping and trusting to one day be able to proclaim like you, with fullness of heart, that God’s dreams for me are bigger and better than my own. Thank you for encouraging me as I wait on the Lord.

    • It was a process for me to say that, Rachel. I certainly didn’t feel that way for a long time as I felt my losses stacking up. But I’m thankful God is with us through the wait…

  12. I,m speechless with all that I’ve read here today! I also became ill at the age of 14, I loved working, my line of work was helping the Hispanics with diredtion in whatever they had trouble in, but now I’m fully disabled and I am waiting still to hear from God to see what is in store for me, but I’m 44 and still don’t know. Reading all these stories gives me hope and I am so greatfull! I will keep reading his word and praying until I receive his message. I would like to thank all of you for sharing your stories because I believe my Faith just got stroger!! Thank you all very much!!

    • Everyone’s stories, including yours Cynthia, have encouraged me so much. I am so thankful that God uses our struggles to grow us and point others to Him as we wait to see what He has in store for us.

  13. There have been sooooo many changes in my life that now at the age of 67 I just sit and wait. I have had a walk with The Lord that I thought would last forever ,now I find myself afraid to get too close, funny how life throws you curves. I write , sometimes , and those writings usually always end up ministering to me, they not writings I would think anyone else would be interested in , but I keep them. Filed away in a folder under the dresser. There is a lot of hurt in some, some reflecting in others, some joy and some happy memories. I wonder where I fit in , any where in this world , what my purpose is and does anyone really care. I had dreams once Big dreams I was so sure were planted by The Lord , those dreams no longer exist, and even though I know better I wonder at times , if maybe I have fooled myself into believing I could ever be use of God.
    so I sit and wait and wait, still trusting, still hoping. Am I afraid , you bet I am but I am hanging on, trusting there has to be more to my life then this and that it is still possible that God wants to use me, little old me. 🙂

    • I can only imagine how hard this has been, Judy. Its so difficult to see what God is doing when life doesn’t turn out the way we planned. I am so sorry for your pain, and thankful that you’ve been able to put your thought in writing, even just for yourself. I know God is using you…I will pray God will show you some of those ways…

  14. Beautiful!! Your writing is the Lord’s gift to you, yes, and oh such amazing blessings to so many…incredible! Thank you for making the time and for sharing your heart and life.

  15. Vaneetha,
    Thank you for sharing your story here today! I am struggling to accept the place that God has put me in life. I have suffered with chronic illness all my life. I don’t like to talk about it and have always felt ashamed that I could not keep up with others. Eventually I discovered what is wrong with me. I take courage and write this, I have P.O.T.S. typed Dysautnomia. (I faint from being upright for too long). How long it takes have varied widely over the years.
    Learning how to manage my symptoms and new medicines have made a tremendous improvement in my condition. I am in my 40’s now. (That is something else I can’t believe I shared). I am finally stronger, not normal, but closer, and I want my life back; the life I never had; the life I always expected to have. I want God to give me back the years that, “the locusts ate” (Joel 2:25).That looks to be impossible from here.
    My Dad is now old and in frail health. My sister is chronically ill. I have become the main care-giver. I was always supposed to write. I wrote for myself, but have been too insecure to share until I recently started a blog.
    I am reluctant to write about my health problems, loneliness, struggles and challenges. I was also bullied as a child, and learned to try to hide my weakens as much as possible. Now I find myself sharing my words and life as I never thought possible. I am afraid of revealing myself and regretting it later.
    Your words broke me through the wall I have built up to protect myself. You speak of how God has used the illness and limitations to lead you to the place where He could use you best. I have many time recognized how God has taught me many things through the illness that I would never have learned otherwise. My tendency is to focus on my self-sufficiency. God has literally knocked me flat on my back many times to teach me that He is in control. I have learned that I am nothing without Him. My whole life is centered around Him because I have learned that nothing else is as important. Yet I still struggle with wanting things my way. Progress, “imperfect progress” as Lysa Terkeurst calls it in Unglued, that is what I have made. Each day I learn more from my time in Bible study, prayer and sharing with you ladies here at (in)Courage. Thank you!
    With Trepedation,
    Amy

    • Thank you for writing and sharing your story, Amy. You have been through so much, and I can hear the wisdom from all your suffering. I am so glad you started a blog- I know the Lord will use it to encourage others.

  16. God did a total make-over on a dream of mine. Oddly enough, it involves writing.

    I always wanted to be a published author. I wanted to make both my mark and my living at it. So, I spent three years studying journalism. I loved walking around my college campus searching for stories and interviewing people. But when the time to commit to newsprint came around, I found that I didn’t want it. I didn’t want to have to leave my home or family at a moment’s notice. I wasn’t sure if I could cover painful events while maintaining a detached reporter’s eye.

    So, I decided I’d try my hand at fiction. I wrote one novel and entered it in a contest. Made it all the way to the semi-finals, and that was encouraging. Then I found that I didn’t have the patience for another work of that size. I couldn’t come up with any ideas that seemed worth pursuing.

    After a chronic illness diagnosis and a long battle with depression, God showed me that He did indeed want me to write, but, at least for now, it wasn’t going to be anything that the world would see as successful. He wanted me to write about Him, to share Him with others. This led to a renewed interested in blogging and the start of what I call my card ministry. I try to make sure that everyone I know gets a card on his/her birthday, because nobody should ever feel forgotten.

    I don’t make any money at blogging. The cards are very behind-the-scenes. I might never have a professionally published work to my name. But you know what? I feel fulfilled. The reach of some of my blog posts amazes me. I’ve gotten to encourage more people and share the Gospel with a wider audience than I could ever have imagined. God’s dreams are WAY better than ours!

    • Thank you for sharing that, Marie. Its surprising the impact our blogging can have. God has encouraged me countless times through other people’s blogs. Its amazing the way God can use us when we are totally open to His leading… His dreams are WAY better than ours!

  17. My dear Vaneetha,
    The other gift God gave you was your ability to be a gift to us….. your friends. Your writing moves us to look at our difficulties and illnesses in a different way.
    You are teaching us patience with what life hands us —- to hang on closer to God and look at our problems the way you are trying to handle yours. You are truly a beautiful person, and I know God loves you very much. My thanks, my prayers for you and my love.

    Anne

    As a former journalist and writer for many years, may I be bold enough to say I think you write beautifully !!!!

  18. Beautiful. I am so grateful that you are willing to share these lessons from God.

  19. Thank you for encouraging others in the midst of life in the real place! Hard, that is! Yes, we all have a story to share and in the telling of it, God works amazing things that will be glorious to see! I am sure your post today will encourage many to tell their stories to the glory of God with many ripples of blessings touching lives a plenty!! Thank you!

    • Its such a blessing to see the way God uses ALL of our stories to encourage each other. Thankful with you that “God works amazing things” that we will one day fully understand. Thank you for writing, Maria!

  20. My husband and I have recently been told by our doctor that we will probably never conceive a baby. The last two years of begging God to make me pregnant and receiving a No month after month, have been incredibly difficult. It is a grief that I wake up with in the morning and go to bed with at night. It’s a grief that no other person in my life can understand, and in fact I often have to spend an evening wrestling through the emotions that are triggered by a careless, hurtful comment from a well-intentioned friend or family member. I have been surprised by the joy of the unexpectedly wonderful things that God has been doing through this. The challenge is to REMEMBER — it’s easy for my mind to be clouded over with darkness when just that morning I had been struck by the joy of His hand in this. Posts like yours help me to remember, so I thank you for this.

    • The pain of waiting…with a “no” at the end is so hard. I am so sorry, Kristin. I am thankful that God is comforting you, surprising you with His joy. Praying you will continually be surprised with unexpectedly wonderful things!

  21. So many thoughts are tumbling around in my head as I read this. My first thought was “why didn’t she get the polio vaccine?!?!?!” (Does my nursing background show?) But then another thought floated into my mind: with having been afflicted by that awful disease, you came into a fuller understanding of how God works in your life. You made a blessing from what many would have considered a curse – quite a lengthy process, but all the more spectacular because you held on to your faith. Such an inspiration. Thank you for sharing a part of your story.
    If God took away my ability to scrapbook, I would be quite distraught! (I sound terribly selfish…)

    • Thanks for your encouragement, Shauna. It was through my polio that I came to Christ, so it was worth it a thousand times over! But I have to agree, giving up scrapbooking was a challenge!

  22. Vaneetha,

    I applaud you for taking what most would consider a curse on their lives, praying through it and having God turn it into a blessing. I know I would have been upset and not seen the good that could come from that.

    I love to cook and create beautiful meals for people. Just wish I had truly known that long ago & gone into that career path, instead of the one I did. Now I kinda feel stuck in a “job”-oh it’s ok, but I don’t feel I’m using all my God-given talents to their fullest. Don’t feel like I’m part of the team. Perhaps one day God will come and show me a way to use my talents better.

    I know if I am patient and diligent God will allow me to use my talents in some way.

    Please keep writing–We all have a story to tell in some fashion or another!!

    Blessings 🙂

  23. Thanks for writing, Beth. I’m thankful that God uses us wherever we are. Maybe you’re not cooking as a vocation, but that certainly doesn’t mean He’s not using your abilities now. God uses all of us in ways we will never know or see…

  24. From the time I was young, I have always loved fashion and style. I don’t want to say I’ve lived and breathed it, but it’s been something that has allowed me to express myself creatively. Especially when I was younger and painfully shy, I was able to express my personality better through what I wore than through my words vocally. That still might be true today too but I am much less shy now! For years I had not idea how my love of fashion could turn into something beautiful.

    As I was approaching college, everyone always said, “find a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”. The only career path that seemed like an option to make this statemetn true was fashion, since anything science and math related were out of the question. At this point I was obsessed with watching The Hills and The City (very unrealistic reality shows on MTV that showed the glamours life of Lauren Conrad and Whitney Port working in the fashion industry as PR pros, designers and magazine assistants). This was what I had set in my mind I was going to do, move to NYC and live our my dreams of working in the fashion industry.

    I received my two year degree from a local community college and then transferred to Florida State University where I majored in Retail Merchandising and Product Development. I thought this was the very beginning of my wildest dreams. It was not until I started my first semester at FSU that I realized my relationship with God was not in the right place. He completely broke me that first semester. I felt so isolated, lonely and further apart from God than I had ever felt before. My time away from home was where God completely wrecked me, broke down any chains and dreams and brought me closer to him. I’d never experienced God that way, but through all that pain he made something beautiful out of it! I would never in a million years take back all the hardships and joys that happened in those few years. My dreams of living in NYC were wiped away but not because God told me no,but because I just could not bear to live away from my family or in a tiny apartment and noisy city. I realized I treasured my family, quiet and relaxing Florida beach town and spacious living to much lol (after awful small college dorm living).

    As soon as I graduated college I moved back to my hometown and it’s the best decision I’ve ever made. I work at my church in the Publications department. Although it’s not particularly in fashion, I get to use my creative skills to pour into my church through design and writing. Two other things I enjoy doing! God used my wildest dreams to bring me closer to him. I still love fashion very much and have even bigger dreams for the future, but I know now that while it’s good to have dreams, they are sometimes diverted or altered to be used for his glory. For my thoughts are not your thoughts,neither are your ways my ways,declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts Isaiah 55:8-9. And with God all things are possible Matthew 19:26. His thoughts are higher than mine and nothing is impossible with God. These are the words I hold onto as I look to my future with hope and faith.

    • What a great story about how God used your dreams to bring you closer to Him. That’s what life is all about, really. Thank you for sharing, Katie!

  25. Dear Vaneetha,
    We moved to Michigan almost 15 years ago, I knew that move was part of God’s plan for our life, I was not prepared for being placed in a position of waiting. It was the first time in my life that I did not have a job, a place to go to fulfill my purpose for being. However, it was exactly where God wanted me to be, I needed to realize that I wasn’t my job but was instead His beloved. This might sound as though the process was a quick one, that couldn’t be further from the truth. I kept crying out to God to give me a purpose something that would give me a sense of worth, of identity. He did not answer my request, for 8 of those years I struggled trying to find the answer. Did you notice the word I? I was given the opportunity, through a Spiritual Formation group our Pastor led, to see my brokenness my need for approval, and praise. The past six year journey has been fraught with pain, joy, revelation, healing and a new appreciation for God’s love for me.
    I have just recently entered my 70th year and I desire to use my remaining years in ways that honor my God given gifts to encourage and grow others. I’m not sure just where this will lead, if writing is a way to share my life lessons with others then I ‘m praying that God will make that path very clear.
    Proverbs 3: 4-5 has been such a comfort to me. God does make our paths straight but, it’s always in His perfect timing.
    Thank you for being so very honest, transparent and real it gives us the courage to do the same.

    • Thank you so much for sharing your story, Cherie. I’m sure those 8 years of waiting for an answer were agonizing, but what a glorious thing He has done in you in those years of waiting. His timing is perfect, and I’m sure God will use your life and your story in wonderful and unexpected ways. It will not go unredeemed!

  26. I had a cough and getting choked on food, and having trouble breathing and had to sleep on six pillows in order to breath and I keep telling my family doctor something wasn’t right and that he needed to do an xray. But he didn’t he just treated me for a cold or other things. Then in July 25 2013 I was in atuo accident with my house a car hit us from behind real hard and my chest went fourer a hit the steer wheel. I was took to the hospital by alambus. The emergency room doctor ordered chest xray and I keep hearing them sat what is that several times. Then I was taken back to the emergency room and the emergency doctor came in and said you are badly bruise from the accident. He said the bad news was that they see something and couldn’t tell what it was so they did a Cat test. The doctor call in a specialist and he couldn’t tell what it was so he set up to do exposure surgery. So I went home and then three days after I went back and had exptory surgery and they removed the blockage
    Then two weeks after that I went back to the specialists and he told me it was a tumor and he had biopsies done and it came back. He as be if I was still having trouble breathing. I
    Said yes and that I had to sleep on six pillows in order to breath or sleep and that both of my legs hurt all t he time. He ordered a PT/Cat. The test results came back that they find more cancer and then they order a altursound and biopsy of my left lung. It showed I had three different kind of cancer in my left lung. Then I had to go see a surgeon. Then on September 23, 2013 I had surgery and they removed the top part of my left lung. The good news is that they got it all. Praise the Lord. He is good all the time
    Since then the Lord has been whispering to me and telling me to keep my eyes on him at all times. For me to pray every morning and ask him what He wants me to do for him today. Now I do this every morning. He has told me that He did not want me to work outside the home. He told me that He wanted me research work from home jobs that I can do from my computer and get paid for it. I have found some and they are really good. Keep me in your prayers while I wait for God to show me which one or ones he wants me to. God has already called me to write. He told me that He has special plan for be to glorify Him in everything He tells me to do for him every day

    • Oh Tara, you have been through so much with your health. As I am writing this, I’m praying that God will give you wisdom and joy in your circumstances. I’m thrilled that God has shown you that part of your purpose is to glorify Him in everything you do. What a great message for all of us!

  27. Oh Tara, you have been through so much with your health. As I am writing this, I’m praying that God will give you wisdom and joy in your circumstances. I’m thrilled that God has shown you that part of your purpose is to glorify Him in everything you do. What a great message for all of us!