Happy Monday Beloveds,
I have been so busy taping more episodes for Iyanla: Fix My Life that I am going to share yet another excerpt from one of my books, Acts of Faith as today’s Monday Matters. This book is my homework assignment that I am sharing with the world. It represents all that I have learned about and grown through. I believe it has affected so many people so deeply because they are in the same life classroom in which I once sat. People want to give me the credit, but I know the success of Acts of Faith has nothing to do with me. It is the result of so many people being willing to attend life’s school. It is the outgrowth of so many of us being willing to learn and to find a better way of living. It is an answer to the silent prayer so many of us have uttered: “Oh God, please help me!” Acts of Faith has been an anchor, a rock and a guide to so many people because God always answers our prayers.
And so it is…
Like the late fall day, I was feeling dreary. Yes, it happens sometimes. Even to me. We all have those days when we feel down, ugly and totally alone. In those times, we need something, some little thing to pick us up and make us smile. For me, on this day, it was a telephone call. A woman in Louisville, Kentucky, had lost her only son tragically, to senseless street violence. She had been in a suicidal state of depression for more than a year. A friend brought her a copy of Acts of Faith. They read several pages together. The woman then devoured the rest of the book on her own. Within days, she was feeling much better. Within a week or so, she was going out again. A month after she first read the book, she bought 100 copies and stood on a street corner in Louisville, handing them out to people on the street. At first, people were leery, but they accepted the gift. One of the people who received a copy was a disc jockey. After reading the book, he began to read it on his radio show. Within a few days, Louisville had Acts of Faith fever. And that’s not all.
I was giving a lecture in Washington, D.C. A woman came to the podium to give her personal testimony. She told us how she had been awakened in the middle of the night by a fire raging in her home. She and her family escaped but they lost everything…almost everything. The day after the fire, she sifted through the rubble trying to find salvageable items. As she stood where her bedroom once stood, she saw a bit of purple peeking out through the burned wood and ashes. It was her copy of Acts of Faith. The night stand that she kept the book on was gone; the bed that she sat on to read the book was burned to a crisp. Miraculously, except for a few singed areas on the cover, her copy of Acts of Faith was intact. She dropped it in her purse, carried it everywhere and continued to read it faithfully every day. Within a few months, she and her family had moved, into a brand new home. She says she never leaves home without her singed copy of Acts of Faith. And there more.
I was at a book signing in Maryland. Although exhausted from traveling, I was trying to “look pretty” and pay attention to the people in line. One by one, folks told me about their experiences with the book an about how many copies they had given away as presents. I listened, smiled and tried not to yawn in their faces. The 199th person in the line was a young man. When he stepped up to the table, we exchanged a brief glance. He handed me his book and told me his name.
I smiled in response. Suddenly, he bent down and whispered “Thank you,” and began to cry. When I reached out for him, he dropped to his knees, put his head in my lap and began to wail aloud. He told me that one night he called his best friend to say good-bye. He had decided to kill himself. His friend begged him to wait, he would be right over. The friend showed up with a hot bottle of Seven-Up and a copy of Acts of Faith. Together, they read the book, drank the hot soda and cried. The young man was thanking me for saving his life. I told him, as I have told so many others, “Don’t thank me, thank God. All I do is show up and look pretty!”
It seems like just yesterday that this little purple book showed up in my life and created so many miraculous and blessed changes. It has been used in classrooms, at funerals and weddings. It has become a standard gift for birthdays, Christmas, Kwanzaa and graduations. Mothers give it to their children who are leaving home to go to college. Fathers send it to their sons in prison. It has been quoted nationally and internationally. It is used as the source of inspiration to open and close meetings. Tulani Jordan-Kinard, an alumnus of the singing group Sweet Honey in the Rock, has written a song in its honor, which she plans to record. Acts of Faith is more than just a book. It is a process. It is a tool. It is a gift from on high. Since its publication, many people have called and written to testify about how the “purple book” has changed their minds and lives to such an infinite degree that I am humbled to be associated with it. I truly believe that Acts of Faith is a gift from God and message to the world that, no matter where you have been, what you have done or how difficult your experience have been, faith is the “breakfast of champions.” Since the original publication of Acts of Faith, many doors have opened to me. For this, I thank God. I also thank all of you who were at the door to greet me.
Many people have commented on how the book always seems to give them the exact message they need on any particular day. They want to know how I accomplished that. How did I know what they needed? The truth of the matter is, everything you need, I need. Everything that you have gone through and are going through, I have gone through and am going through. I wrote Acts of Faith in one of the darkest times of my life. There was not one single area of my life that was not being challenged. I wrote for you what I used and what I needed to get through the darkness. I wrote about the things I needed to learn and practice. I wrote about the experiences that, although difficult and painful, had taught me the most valuable lessons. You see, I truly believe that there is only one Mind and one Life. That is the Mind and Life of God. In that Mind and in this Life we all have the same experiences at different times. We respond to our experiences according to what we believe. Through our experiences we learn, grow and embrace new beliefs. When we do, it is our responsibility to the Mind and the Life to share whatever we know that could in any way help someone else.
Iyanla Vanzant is the best-selling author of five books on self-empowerment, personal growth and spiritual healing, with the most recent book being Peace from Broken Pieces. As the founder and executive director of the Inner Visions Spiritual Life Maintenance Network, she conducts workshops, seminars and lectures nationally. Drawing from her own experiences of family dysfunction, abuse, and poverty, Iyanla encourages us all to look at ourselves, laugh at ourselves and then take the necessary steps to heal ourselves. Her practical message is based on the principles of universal law, self-determination and the power of Spirit. You can learn more about her work at www.innervisionsworldwide.com.
Iyanla has recently appeared several times during Oprah’s Lifeclass webcast segments. You can view the classes here: http://www.oprah.com/oprahs-lifeclass/oprahs-lifeclass.html She also recently appeared on Super Soul Sunday with Oprah, speaking about what she had to go through to get to where she is now. You can view these segments here: http://www.oprah.com/own-super-soul-sunday/Full-Episode-Oprah-and-Iyanla-Vanzant-Soul-to-Soul-Part-1-Video
Iyanla has a new show on the Oprah Winfrey Network called “Iyanla, Fix My Life!”. To learn more about it and apply to be on Iyanla’s show and have her help you, please visit http://www.oprah.com/ownshow/index.html?team_type=HarpoStudios