“What I have learned from all of the difficulties in my own life is that human beings have very thick skin. I call that skin, spirit, our Highest Most Powerful self. Spirit is the key to everything we desire. It is our weather-proofing, our Teflon, our line of credit that assures if we just keep putting one foot in front of the other, one day; there will be a miraculous payoff.” — Iyanla Vanzant
Iyanla Vanzant was born in Brooklyn New York as Ronda Eva Harris. She is an inspirational speaker, New Thought spiritual life counsellor, award-winning author of five New York Times best-sellers, lawyer, ordained minister and television personality (used to be a frequent guest on the Oprah Winfrey Show) currently residing in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, United States.
In the year 2000, she was named one of the 100 Most Influential Black Americans by Ebony magazine which said that “Her books, lectures and television appearances have made her a multimedia high priestess of healthy relationships.” Her books include Acts of Faith, One Day My Soul Just Opened Up, Value in the Valley, Faith in the Valley, and In the Meantime.
She is an honorary member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and facilitates workshops nationally with a mission to assist in the empowerment of men and women.
Praised by Los Angeles mayor Tom Bradley as “an inspiration to all women,” her stories of personal struggle and victory as a battered wife and teenage welfare mother have touched millions. In building a life of transformation on the foundation of her troubled past, she has become a standard bearer for the power of forgiveness and love to heal. She has been awarded an “Oni” by the International Congress of Black Women as one of the nation’s unsung heroes.
In 1998, she served as the national spokesperson of Literacy Volunteers of America. In 1999, she was listed among the 100 Most Influential African Americans by Ebony magazine, and her debut spoken word album hit the Billboard Gospel Chart at Number 1. She has been awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters degree from the City University of New York and an honorary doctor of divinity degree from the Theological Seminary in Atlanta, Georgia.
Iyanla Vanzant once stood in the bedroom of her then recently deceased daughter with a pink, pearl-handled pistol in one hand and prescription pills in the other; mulling over the decision as to the “best” way to finally end the pain.
Nevertheless, Iyanla Vanzant is still alive and has a testimony to share.
From leaving The Oprah Winfrey Show to the cancellation of her own television program; the downward spiral didn’t crater with the death of her daughter at the age of 31 to a rare form of colon cancer — on Christmas Day, no less.
Iyanla remarked, “watching them put my daughter in a box and throw dirt on her let me know I could deal with anything.” The reality though was that things were to get far worse for far longer before they would get better. There was still an unexpected divorce (by way of email), loss of her house and tremendous trouble with the IRS still on the way. The fact that neither the pink, pearl-handled pistol nor the prescription pills won out is nothing short of amazing.
It’s one thing to read the book of Job; it’s another to live it.
In her new book, Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You’re Going Through, Vanzant displays the scars of her life with an authoritative honesty, in the hopes of helping someone who might travel a path similar to hers, hurting unceasingly and hoping for help seemingly never on its way.
Iyanla Vanzant is alive and well; today her testimony might bring tears to your eyes while also forcing you to question the depth and resolve of your own faith and relationship with the Lord. At the same time, she offers neither an excuse nor appeal for pity on her behalf.
Iyanla in her book, tells the truth about the moments of her life leading up until now, from the death of her mother, being raped by her uncle and the pathologies set in motion by both.
She has literally touched the lives of countless people. Below are some of the feedbacks that people have left on her YouTube videos:
My God… so enlightening. It is so important to be clear in life on “who? you are”. If not, people will tell YOU who YOU are and you? will find yourself going down a path of someone’s else’s vision and not your own….I needed this…
So very powerful as always! Thank you for continuing to offer transparency and what seems like unfiltered insight? into life. Much? appreciated!
I cried from 0:11!!! OMGOODNESS!! Let me testify!!! I AM? ETERNALLY GRATEFUL? FOR THE LIFE LINE Iyanla carries!!!
Powerful… and?? I still heal! Thank you.
An amazing woman! Thank? you for being you!?
You have been my Spiritual God Mother every since I read, “One Day My Soul Just Opened Up”. Your spirit? has followed me since then. Thank you Great Mother. Eye love you.
Real? talk!!! Thank you for simply being real, human, honest.
Thank? you for your strength,it out shines so much pain in the world and within all.
Watch and listen to Iyanla’s messages in the five-part YouTube videos and be touched, be inspired, and hopefully be changed!