Monday, June 2, 2008

Happy Birthday Maria

Today is Maria's birthday . . . Happy Birthday Sista!

Maria and I have known each other for many years. We are backyard neighbors and just within the past 2 years we became close friends. Our children have played together since they were in preschool but at the time their friendship started both of us were in our own worlds, our own 'funk,' . . . lost, unsaved, and wandering around searching for a greater meaning and purpose to this thing we call life.

A few years ago, when Maria's son was having a birthday party, my daughter graciously invited our family to the party. A party at Maria's is like being in the movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, the Italian version. Of course, Maria insisted we come and little did I know that day would change the rest of my life. Maria and her husband had just returned home from a trip to New York City. I began asking her about her trip while we were there. She told me they went to see Joel Osteen. Hmmm . . . I had no idea who she was talking about. At the party she showed me his book and I sat on the couch and leafed through the pages. She sensed my interest and the next morning she showed up at my door with a set of CD's. She was a little nervous handing them to me. I think she thought I would think she was 'crazy.' On that particular day I had to drive to Cleveland so I listend to them on the way. I was sobbing! And sobbing! And sobbing the whole way there and back! It was the first time someone told me that God loves me unconditionally. It was the first time that someone told me that God created me to be me, not what and who everyone else wanted me to be. And it was the first time that someone told me that God created me with a plan and a purpose in mind. I was loved, created by the master designer, and I had a purpose! And so I the journey out of my 'funk' catapulted to a new level and God gave me an amazing friend to walk with!

So today I thank the Lord for Maria! She is an amazing friend, sista, confidant, worshipper, mother, and wife. She is also a gifted writer and singer. Her voice can light up a room!!! We are still waiting to hear some of those songs she is keeping all to herself. She is honest and to the point, always knowing the right time to offer words of encouragment or an 'italian' jolt back into reality for me.

Today's your day Maria . . . enjoy!!!


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