Friday, June 20, 2008

Journey to Salvation: Part Four

Journey to Salvation Part Four
If you missed Parts one through three, start at the beginning with...

So I began seeking Him frantically.
I wanted more of this Jesus—now.
I went on a mission to find a church where I could be fed, and through a course of events orchestrated by the Lord-- I found my church.
I began making sure I was in the presence of other people who were also seeking Him, and also those who have known Him for a long, long time.
I fostered new relationships within my church in a short period of time. He knew exactly what I needed, and who I needed, and He so beautifully placed them in my path.

In the meantime, I was continually being fed through Joel Osteen. His messages continued to bring me hope and encouragement, and I was able to face my days armed with the word of God.

I learned quickly that my all-Catholic family was not as excited as I was about my newfound faith in God.
And that the women at work probably wouldn’t respond to my love for the things of God they way I would like them to.
So I was content in sharing my faith with only those I knew I would get a positive response from.
I was three in one---the church Maria, the family Maria, and the work Maria.

All the while, I was attending my church—alone.

My husband was happy for me, but he wasn’t interested in learning more about the things of God. (He’s promised me he’d write a joint blog soon so he can share his testimony with you!!)
In the fall of 2005, we traveled to New York City to meet Joel Osteen, per my husband’s idea.
And I got the opportunity to share what an impact his messages had on my life, and that through my daughter’s disability, and his guidance, I found the Lord.

I wept like the crazy fan at a Beatles concert as I spoke to him.

I wept because I am overwhelmed that through his obedience to the Lord, I found Jesus.

I wept because if his messages were not simple and understandable, my husband would have flipped the channel, and I may have never come out of my funk.

I also wept because he taught me that I could find beauty in the ashes of my life.

So I cried, and he was ever so gracious to my husband and I.

And for the past five years, I have to honestly say that I still pick and choose where the “church Maria” is allowed to come out.

Until October of 2007 when 60 Minutes did a segment on Joel Osteen’s Ministry.
And during the most watched piece on 60 minutes to date, my crying face was on national television thanking Joel Osteen for all that he does.

CHECK IT OUT HERE: (Maria is at a booksigning at approximately the 7 minute mark)

You see, they were taping my conversation with him in New York City in 2005, and I had no idea.

It was a BIG “Ha Ha!” moment from God.

He must have been thinking, “ You don’t want to tell people you know me and how I’ve changed your life? Fine. I’ll put your face on national television with Joel, and that will take care of that!”

And it did.

The cat was now out of the bag.

I got phone calls and e-mails from friends and family members that had no idea I had a personal relationship with Jesus.
Because I never told them.

And since October 2007, 60 minutes has aired that show two more times, and the phone calls continue to come in.

He is constantly stretching and challenging me, and I love it!

Maria and her family reside in NE Ohio. She and her husband are the parents of two. Their daughter is a person with hemipelegic cerebral palsy. Because of her experiences, Maria provides parent-to-parent support for families involved in her local early intervention program. Her gift for writing has come directly from the Lord since her daughter’s diagnosis. She writes a monthly column entitled, “Special Parents, Special Kids” for the Mahoning Valley Parent magazine in Ohio; and has expanded into Parent magazines in parts of Pennsylvania and West Virginia. She is also a contributing author at Maria is very passionate about getting the word out to special parents that they are not alone in their journey of raising their special child; and that they were chosen by God to parent their children. Maria welcomes comments and communication as well as invitations for her to speak to your group.

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