Faith in the Valley: Lessons for Women on the Journey to Peace

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9780684850481: Faith in the Valley: Lessons for Women on the Journey to Peace

A gift edition of meditations from the inspirational speaker shows women how to look at their lives and determine if their own behavior may be the cause of their problems and how to build a new and healthier foundation for living. 25,000 first printing.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

With more than 8 million books in print, Iyanla Vanzant has truly established a dedicated fan base.

Iyanla's path to success took her through a multitude of life-changing experiences that shaped the profound insights she eagerly shares with others. A neglected, overweight, sexually abused child who was shuttled from one family to another, she became a teenage mother on welfare living in the projects of a major urban city. Vanzant took control of her life when she walked out of her second abusive marriage and entered Medgar Evers College in New York and then the City University of New York Law School. She moved to Philadelphia with her children and became a public defender for three years. Then she eventually became an ordained minister, who was committed to a message based on the principles of divine power and self-determination.

Iyanla combined her professional skills with her life's lessons and embarked on a writing and speaking career. Her mass appeal is evident in her overwhelming success as an author. In the Meantime was a #1 New York Times bestseller, where it spent 20 weeks on the list, and she has had numerous other major bestsellers. As a nationally recognized speaker she has sold out such prestigious venues as New York's Jacob Javits Convention Center, Nashville's Grand Ole Opry, Atlanta's Civic Center, and the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles. Vanzant is also familiar to the daytime TV audience from her role as a regular contributor on "The Oprah Winfrey Show."

Acclaimed journalist and producer Barbara Walters recognized Vanzant's extraordinary appeal, seeing in her a "breakaway talent" with the potential for huge success in daytime television. With Walters and partner Bill Geddie on board to executive produce, Buena Vista Productions to develop the show, and Buena Vista Television as distributor, the road to Iyanla was forged.

Vanzant has received numerous accolades for her work. In 1992 Los Angeles mayor Tom Bradley named October 21st "Tapping the Power Within Day" in honor of a workshop she presented in that city for African-American women. In 1994, the National Association of Equal Opportunity in Education, an organization comprised of the presidents and administrators of the 117 predominantly Black colleges in the United States named her Alumni of the Year. She also was awarded an "Oni" by the International Congress of Black Women as one of the nation's unsung heroes, and she served as the national spokesperson for Literacy Volunteers of America in 1998.

In 1999 she was listed among the 100 Most Influential African-Americans by Ebony magazine. Later that year, she was awarded the 31st NAACP Image Award for "Outstanding Literary Work, Non-Fiction" for Yesterday I Cried. She also earned her first Honorary Doctorate degree, Doctor of Humane Letters, from the City University of New York, Medgar Evars College. In 2000, she earned her second honorary degree, Doctor of Divinity, from the Theological Seminary in Atlanta, Georgia. In addition, Ebony has named her one of their "55 Most Intriguing People," Vibe magazine tabbed her one of "100 Leaders of the New Millennium" and Newsweek recently included her as one of the "Women of the New Century."

The mother of three and grandmother of four, Vanzant lives in Silver Spring, Maryland with her husband Adeyemi and Mr. Coco, their cat.

To learn how Iyanla can help you get started on your journey toward spiritual enlightenment, visit Inner Visions Worldwide, Inc., at

www.innervisionsworldwide.com.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter 1

The Valley of Light

Teaches us the lesson of stillness, through the imposition of a state of solitude and silence which forces us to take a look at ourselves.

Let us learn to be still and let the Truth speak through us: to be still and know that the inner light shines.

The Science of Mind

Life does whatever is necessary to mold us into shape and prepare us for greatness. It does not always look or feel this way. Instead, what we experience in life seems difficult, painful, unnecessary. Just for a moment, think of the stones which were used to build the pyramids and the gems which fashion the Crown Jewels. Imagine how the stones were dug from the quarry and then hammered and chiseled into shape. Realize that each stone or gem had to be perfectly shaped before it could be set in its appropriate place. Recognize that once the pyramids were built and jewels cast into the Crown, they have never been disturbed, nor have they shifted, fallen, or crumbled.

Somehow life teaches us to understand that God has a perfect plan for us; according to that plan, we must be molded and shaped prior to being cast into our perfect place. When we truly recognize that there is a master plan, we can welcome any tool that comes to prepare us to behold our perfect place. When we are shaped and molded by life according to God's perfect plan, the world is amazed and blessed by our beauty, and longevity.

Get prepared to be prepared!

Right where you are is where you need to be. Don't fight it! Don't run away from it! Stand firm! Take a deep breath. And another. And an-other. Stop beating up on yourself. Don't blame anyone else. Breathe. Now, ask yourself.' Why is this in my world? What do I need to see? To know about myself through this situation? Breathe again. Now, ask God:

Blessed and Divine Father/Mother, heal me of whatever thought or belief has contributed to the cause of this experience. Bring me the lesson of this experience lovingly and gently. Keep my mind and heart open that I may know the truth. Open my eyes that I may recognize your will. Thank you, God.

Now breathe. Don't you feel better already?

God is right here, right now!

Bad things are going to happen. Painful, ugly, frustrating events are going to take place. There is no way around getting your feelings hurt, having your ego bruised, your trust weighed, your heart broken. Life has its ups and downs. If you are hying, you are bound to trip or fall every now and then. There is not much you can do while you are going through your challenges and difficulties, but there is something you can remember that will make it a bit easier to bear.

The same God that was good yesterday is good today. The same God that loved you last week, loves you today. The same powerful, almighty, all-knowing God that saved you, comforted you, guided you the last time you needed it, will save, comfort, and guide you today. Bight where you are, in the midst of trouble, take a moment to be loved, comforted, guided, by the good God who knows exactly what you need. God is present. God's presence is called grace.

Live in the presence of God's grace.

When my husband left, I thought I had been a bad wife. Then my son went to jail, and I knew I had been a bad mother. When my best friend and my mother died, I slipped face first into being a bad person. How was I supposed to figure it all out?

All women fall into the valley. Some fall deeper than others. The valley is a lonely place. A dark and confusing pit in the center of your brain. You can't figure it out. You can't get out. You've got a black hole in your life into which everything you've ever really wanted seems to fall, into the valley. I once thought it was cruel and inhumane punishment; now I know it is a reward. The stronger and more gifted you axe, the deeper and eventually more rewarding is the valley experience.

We all have our lessons to learn in life. Most of us fail to learn unless we are in some kind of pain. The valley is your pain. The valley gets your attention. The valley lets you know what you are doing and why you just might want to try something new. The bad thing is that no one can warn you a valley is coming. You must pay attention to what is going on in your life! The good thing is that once you've been there, in enough pain, you figure it out. People begin to notice. "Hey, what's up with you?" "You look different." "Did you change your hair or something?" You haven't changed your hair, your mind has changed. You have learned a very valuable lesson. When you can't, FAITH CAN!

Faith makes the day and paves the way!

Dear Self, Guilt says, "There is something wrong with what I have done."

Shame says, "There is something wrong with me."

You can eliminate guilt by making amends for what you have done.

You cannot eliminate shame until you know and believe, "All that God is, I Am."

God is truth, mercy, wisdom, strength, forgiveness, peace, order, justice, and love.

What have you got to be ashamed of?

God is not ashamed of me. Neither am I.

You can't shrink into greatness. When you reflect on the things you have done and not done, there is a tendency to beat up on yourself. We criticize, judge, and condemn ourselves much more severely than the world could or would. In response to this self-flagellation, we shrink away from doing or attempting to do. You cannot shrink into your greatness! We must use our past as a road map, a key, that unlocks our capabilities by giving us understanding of our frailties. The past simply tells us what we can do, cannot do, what we need to work on or work out.

You must know every intricate detail of yourself. Your past is like an X-ray machine. Once you see what is there, don't shrink, shine! Now you know, which means you can take appropriate steps toward healing and correction. Don't fight with yourself! Accept who you are now and all you've done. Then give yourself a big hug and kiss. You've been through a lot. A little loving tenderness could be what you need right now.

I love to love me.

Repetition is the mother of skill. If you do something enough you get good at it. When what you are doing is good for you, it is pleasurable, and you want to do it often, getting better and better at it. However, when what we do is not pleasurable, we fight against it, resisting the discomfort, and avoiding the lesson we may need to learn.

When unwanted situations repeat themselves in our lives, there is something we have missed. There is a blind spot in our consciousness, something we can't see and don't know yet. Repeat performances of bad productions will continue coming up as an experience in our lives. We go through it again, again, wracking our brains, grasping at straws, trying to figure out how we got here and how we can get out.

Those repetitive issues which cause us displeasure are just like the things Mother told us over and over. We didn't want to hear them; we ignored what she said. In the end, we saw Mother's point. Finally, we realized, she only wanted us to be better; well, so does life. When you find yourself in the same situation repeatedly, do not fight against what you are going through. It is in your own best interest to look for the lesson and cultivate the skill, to do a new thing, in a new way.

I Am, I Am, I Am, I know I Am, learning something very valuable.

Little problems in life are like a pop quiz which will determine whether or not you are in touch with your feelings; whether you have learned to trust yourself or will continue to move along mindlessly in your old ways. Many of us ignore the little things, those uneasy rumblings, because we can't believe it is happening...again. We step willingly into bad situations, because we don't want to believe we could be "wrong" about them. Yet we readily believe we could be "wrong" about what we feel. If you don't believe yourself, when you don't trust what you feel, it means you are in doubt. Doubt will push you headfirst into a valley.

Sometimes an uneasy feeling will be the normal fear or doubt associated with doing things that are different or new. At other times, it will be life warning you to get still, pay attention, remember what happened the last time you didn't pay attention to yourself, and act accordingly.

Here is a clue about life's little warnings: monsters don't have shadows! You will never see the monster coming. It will descend upon you before you recognize it. If you are feeling uneasy for no apparent reason, it means you are being quizzed about something you are adequately equipped to handle, based on past experience. Whether you pass or fail the quiz is a reflection of how much you know about and trust yourself.

Trust what you feel!

When you get the urge to stay home, be alone, pull back, or shut down, it is probably your spirit urging you to take a rest. Do not ignore it! Honor yourself by taking some time out. Take a day away. There may be something very important going on within you that you need to know about. You must get quiet in order to hear it. The job will be there, and people will simply have to understand; what can be done today can also be done tomorrow. All duties and responsibilities can wait. Your spirit cannot!

I have often heard people say, "I need a break!" but they never take one. I know it is no coincidence when these same people break their foot or when their car breaks down, forcing them to "be still." Often we think there is something wrong with us when we "don't want to be bothered." So we keep moving and doing. Spirit knows what we need and provides it for us. Yet when incidents force us into a needed solitude, we reach outward rather than within. Rest, Stillness, Solitude, Introspection, Reflection, are spiritual vibrations. They keep us from breaking down, falling apart, and being forced into a living deficiency.

Today is a spiritual health day!

Dear God,

Today, I want to be still, to listen, to hear, and to know. Today, I want to see and know myself as a refl...

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