Delilah is the most listened to women on radio, with over nine million fans tuning in to her show. She’s been on the air for over 25 years, and her shows are heartfelt, warm and often hilarious. It’s no wonder that her listeners feel like they know her personally, and that she’s become one of America’s most beloved radio hosts.
However her fans don’t know everything about the woman behind the microphone. Delilah has lived an extraordinary life – one full of trials, faith, adventure and heartbreak. She recognizes that God has blessed her many times over, even through the dark moments. Delilah also is unafraid to speak bluntly at times about the need to put faith into action in ways that push past empty, selfish pursuits to bless others.
A Broken Family Unit
Delilah grew up in Oregon as the second eldest of four children. Her passion for radio began in middle school, and in seventh grade she landed her first on-air job after winning a speech contest which was judged by two men who owned the local radio station. Her motivation to learn the radio business was also a way to escape her dysfunctional home.
Her father was very strict alcoholic, and her mother had issues with codependency. On the night of her high school graduation Delilah came home an hour past curfew, where she found her suitcase waiting for her on the front step. She enrolled in community college and worked part time at a radio station. Delilah soon married George Harris, but her parents quickly disowned her when they found out she had married an African American man.
Delilah, then 24, gave birth to her first child – Isaiah. Shortly after the birth of her son her marriage to George ended. A few months later, her older brother and his wife were killed in a plane crash on their way to visit her and Isaiah.
Later on, Delilah met a man named Douglas who was involved in her church’s youth ministry. In 1996, they married and had a baby girl named Shaylah. Although Delilah was finally at a happy point in her life, she longed to have more children but had trouble conceiving.
So she and Douglas decided to adopt three kids from the foster care system. Then Delilah found out she was pregnant. “I went from having two biological kids…to having six children in one year,” she said.
The next year, she and Douglas separated and divorced in 2001. Delilah was heartbroken, and feared that her failed relationships were disappointing God. She eventually came to terms with the divorce, and believed God knew she did the best that she could in order to keep it alive.
Delilah is now a single mom of 13 children, 10 of whom are adopted. One of her adopted sons, Sammy Young Dzolali Rene, died on March 12, 2012 of complications from sickle-cell anemia. Delilah adopted him a few years prior, but previously he spent most of his life in an orphanage in a Ghanaian refugee camp.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t the only loss Delilah would have to go through. In 2017, Delilah went through one of the hardest tragedies of her life when her son, Zachariah, took his own life. She told her fans that Zachariah "was being treated, counseled, and embraced fiercely by family and friends while battling depression for some time now." She also wrote that she would be relying on her faith to get her through the grieving process while taking time off to process this loss.
Her experience with the foster care system in America led her to found Point Hope Foundation, a voice for forgotten children. Delilah used Point Hope to promote adoption and fostering and to provide life-sustaining water and food for impoverished communities in Africa. Delilah started the nonprofit because she knew God had blessed her with the resources to do so.
Living Out Her Faith
Despite all the ups and downs of life, Delilah stayed true to her Christian faith and realized how much God was providing her with. She regularly shares her faith with her fans on the radio and hosts prayers. Her go-to verse, 1 Corinthians 13:13, reads: "There are three things that last forever: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love."
Delilah understands that not every fan of hers lives out their Christian lifestyle like she does.
“I think the reason most people don’t live out their faith is very simple: selfishness. If you are doing anything that God has called us to do, in His word, or through the Holy Spirit, it’s to love others. That’s the greatest commandment: to love others and treat them as you would be treated. So whenever you do anything in the course of a day that is not in the fulfillment of loving others, then you’re being selfish. If your efforts, energy, time and finances are not being used to fulfill the greatest commandment—to love your God to love others as yourself—then you’re being selfish.”
Delilah, despite all that she has gone through, still leans on God to get her through each day, and chooses to share Him with others.
“It is my job to love people as Christ tells me to. I don’t have to agree with your decisions to love you.”