8/10/15, Night of Hope

Hi Everyone,

I hope that all is well with you. I have had an amazing week, and had to share it with you. A dream come true. An idol met. An incredible experience. Unforgettable moments.

It all began in a hotel room half a dozen years ago. In New York, while visiting my children, late at night looking for something to watch on TV, I happened across a preacher speaking on television, and watched for a few minutes to listen to his message. He was young, attractive, sounded intelligent, and I was impressed by how simple and clear his message was. It was a huge dose of hope, mixed in with common sense, and made faith palatable to people of almost any religion, or even none at all. I was enormously impressed, watched the whole show, and liked it enormously. The preacher was someone I’d never heard of (then), Joel Osteen. The message stayed with me for several days, I mentioned him to one of my daughters, who said she had read something about him in the New York Times. I left New York 2 days later, and was walking toward the gate at the airport, past the book store, when I saw his book on the bestseller shelves, and quickly bought one before my flight. I loved the book, and once again his strong clear message of hope, and how to lead a better life. EVERYTHING he said appealed to me and made sense. I soaked up the book’s message like a sponge. I can’t remember what was happening in my life at the time, but undoubtedly the usual challenges of being the single parent to many children, a major career with the pressure and challenges that entails, a recent embezzlement at the time, and the usual problems we all face every day, which can range from discouragement to occasional despair. I found the book, and Joel Osteen’s message helpful in a down to earth, warm, practical way, and it stayed with me. I applied the principles in the book to my life, and found that they had a strong positive effect. I’m a religious person so was open to it, but even someone not of a religious bent, or of any faith, would have found it appealing. Who doesn’t need a positive attitude about their life? My admiration for Joel Osteen began then.

When I got home, I looked up his other books on the Internet and ordered them all, and read them avidly, and loved each one. I read his new books as they came out and was never disappointed. I told people about them, and gave them to friends. If anyone was struggling with problems, and everyday life, I sent them one of Joel’s books. I read those I had for a second and third time. His stock in trade was hope, practical advice, and his positive attitude was contagious. If I was having a tough time with anything, kids, work, life, I grabbed one of his books and read it again, and my life seemed to improve immeasurably whenever I did. He had a smooth writing style, his sincerity flew off the page, and the books were not only helpful, but fun to read. And I was intrigued by his mentions of his family, all of whom were in some way engaged in their family ministry. He had inherited it from his father, his siblings and in laws work with him, his wife, and children, and his mother. And from a small church, he managed to acquire one of the largest buildings in Houston, where his ministry is based, and they moved to the Compaq Center in Houston, where his church, following and ministry grew exponentially. By then, he was far from unknown, and his books hit the bestseller lists every time. My only knowledge of him was through his books, occasional interviews, and his televised sermons when I saw them.

Fast forward the film to a few weeks ago when I learned that he was going to be addressing his fans and followers at AT&T Park, the baseball stadium in San Francisco, when I was planning to be in town. I bought two tickets immediately, and mentioned it to a friend who by some miracle knew his literary agent for his books, and then by another miracle, the wheels of destiny were set in motion. I mentioned in passing that I would love to meet him one day—-it was a dream, a wish, not an expectation, or even a wish I expected to be fulfilled. And within days I had a contact number for a member of his family who works for him. I called, with little hope that Joel Osteen would have either the interest or the time to see me during his trip to San Francisco. He was going to be addressing more than 40,000 people at the ballpark, and undoubtedly would have no time. I didn’t expect to meet him, only to see him from my seats in the ballpark. And then magic happened…..a call….telling me he would like to meet me too, and a meeting was arranged at my home, and it would be brief, because he had so much to do in his ministry (meeting other pastors and visiting the homeless) during his brief trip, and he also had to prepare for his show, which left no spare time for social pursuits. But he had actually agreed to come to my home for half an hour with his wife and brother in law. Amazing!!! I was in a total flap over it. If you had arranged for a flock of movie stars to come to my home, or a modern day saint, I wouldn’t have been as excited as meeting this man whose books I had devoured for nearly a decade, and who had kept me going and improved my life when nothing else could. (My favorite books of his were “It’s Your Time”, “Become a Better You”, “Every Day a Friday”, and one that I read every day, with daily brief entries called “I declare” that has become my spiritual food daily. All his books were dog eared by then from reading them so often, and even my dog had gnawed on several of them while I read them.

The Day came, and Joel Osteen arrived at my home for the promised visit with his wife Victoria, and brother in law, and it was one of those rare encounters when everything clicks, you know you have met kindred spirits and you will never forget the moment. Our exchanges were on every subject, his books, his ministry, our families, the way we each write, how much his books mean to me. He was modest and direct and as wonderful and inspiring as his books, his wife Victoria was warm and equally wonderful, and the brother in law interesting and personable too. They stayed for an hour and a half, and I was flying when they left. I had met my idol, and one of the few people I truly admire unabashedly and without reservation. And Victoria was as impressive as he was. I was deeply grateful for the time they spent with me, and they insisted on placing me in a box they had at the event, instead of the tickets I had bought.

Two days later, I went to the big event at the ballpark, Night of Hope, so aptly named, and I was treated like royalty, met by their security on the street, ushered to the box, the stadium was full, and the event began at 7 pm, and was opened by their children and a number of other singers and musicians, singing music they had composed. The Osteen children were as talented and impressive as their parents, though only16 and 20. The young people involved were terrific, talent abounded. Victoria did some speaking and ministry throughout the evening, with Joel accompanying her at times, (they make a dazzling and endearing couple), and his mother Dodie spoke about her recovery from terminal cancer 30 years before, and was a lively energetic intelligent woman of 81. Every member of the family was impressive. And the meat of the evening was Joel himself, with his message of hope, and assurance that with faith and the right attitude, one could overcome just about any obstacle. He convinced us all that no matter what our age or circumstances, there were still plenty of good times ahead, anything is possible, and hope is the key to a turnaround in our lives if we just hang on. Forty thousand people soaked up his message of love and hope like a sponge. Everything he says resonates and makes sense. I was as bowled over by the evening as I had been by meeting him, and reading his books before that.

The evening was everything I had hoped for and much more. I went with a friend, and we sat riveted in our seats for 3 hours without moving, or leaving for an instant, and the program unfolded smoothly. And I don’t think anyone was left where they’d been when they walked in. He exudes faith, hope, love, and the certainty of better times ahead, and assured us of our ability to handle whatever obstacles life puts in our path. And at the end of the evening, an immeasurable gift: I got to go backstage and meet Joel’s mother and sister, his children and a niece, I was warmly greeted and embraced by all, got to talk to Victoria again, and to Joel. I can’t begin to tell you what it meant to me, how wonderful it was, how kind they all were, how welcoming, how everything they are and believe in embraces you from the moment you meet them. Joel’s mother has written a book too, and Victoria, and they gave them to me. I spent an hour with them all, and hated to leave. And before I left, Joel had gone to shake hands with an endless line of his followers, who had been given the opportunity during the evening to contribute to an organization that supports children in dire need in Africa, and for those who signed up to help them, Joel took the time to thank them personally: He was planning to thank 5,000 people when I left and I’m sure he did. I have met many important and famous people in my life, but meeting Joel Osteen meant the most to me, I was deeply impressed and profoundly touched. He is life changing, in the best sense of the word, through his books, his preaching, and his ministry. I will remember the night, and meeting him and his family forever. They are all truly remarkable people, giving themselves to the church and ministry they serve. It was an honor to meet them, and Joel, and a remarkable gift. I was a fan before The Night of Hope, and am more so now. And I hope to go to Houston to see him and his family again, and see him preach at his home base, Lakewood Church. His doctor brother is part of the team as well, when he’s not in Africa, carrying out his own ministry. And two of his sisters have ministries as well. There is no limit to some people’s goodness and their talents, and dedication to serving others whole heartedly. Joel Osteen is one of those people, I felt blessed to meet him, to see him speak in person, and to be there at all.

I am infinitely grateful for this remarkable night, and for the blessing of meeting Joel and all of the Osteens I met. It’s impressive too that the entire family is deeply engaged in their ministry. And hopefully, I will go to Houston and see them again…..and in the meantime, I am grateful and in awe of having met him. It is rare that our heroes measure up to our hopes when we meet them. Joel Osteen was everything I believed him to be and more……what an incredible Night. Truly a Night of Hope, and I move forward now, with new energy, renewed faith, and a sense of joy over what a gift it all was. It was one of the best nights of my life,

love, Danielle

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29 Comments so far
  1. Lorraine August 10, 2015 6:41 pm

    Wow, your enthusiasm shines through. This was nice to read. The few times I have seen Joel speak on television, I enjoyed it. I think I am now convinced to start reading his books!!!


  2. Alexandra August 10, 2015 7:39 pm

    Just the way you feel about him, I feel about you. Maybe, one day, who knows, I will see you from a far and I will be as excited as you are now.

  3. Vanessa August 11, 2015 2:17 pm

    He is wonderful, and your experience with him makes me appreciate him and his ministry even more. I love his books!!

  4. sherry August 11, 2015 6:53 pm

    I arrived in San Francisco on my first visit on Saturday. Little did I know two people who I feel have had a huge impact on my life were in the same city. I have read all your books from about the age of 15 (I am now 46) and I discovered Joel’s ministry on a UK Christian tv channel about a year ago. May God purchasing the same city again one day and maybe even allow us to meet. Kind regards xx

  5. sherry August 11, 2015 6:55 pm

    Ooops.. Meant to say, May God put us in the same city… predictive text strikes again

  6. Moser August 14, 2015 9:59 am

    Heureux anniversaire, belle journée.

    Marie-Anne CH

  7. Samuel August 15, 2015 4:04 am

    Wow, so unbelievably well said. Joel and His whole family have been an incredible blessing to so many including myself. And as someone who has sold just a few less books than you 😉 – I know first had that he is as kind and generous to A-listers as he is to those who aren’t on any list. God bless you!

  8. Rob Scott August 18, 2015 7:51 am

    I agree that Joel Osteen leaves one with hope after listening to him as he speaks from his packed stadium.

    I think people got tired of that sin, fire and brimstone messages from some of the other denominations.

    Life is tough enough so people want to go to church to be uplifted and given hope rather than a message that we are all sinners.

    I am happy Joel seems to have soften his attitudes towards gays and lesbians by welcoming them.

    After all, we are all God’s children and we need to get past all the opposites and focus on unity.

    Truth, Wisdom, Love an Sincerity, to ALL Mankind.

    Rob Scott
    Chicago, IL

  9. Shirley Patrick September 10, 2015 8:29 am

    I’m so happy to hear my two favorite people met. I would love to meet you both. I have all your books and always waiting for the next book to come out. I preorder so I can get it as fast as I can.
    I loved your write up about Joel, I have his books also and give to friends & family to read. I try to catch his message on TV….

    I hope to too be in one of his services….and pray one day it will happen.
    I go to bed reading your book & Joels books..My two heros…God Bless you both..take care from a loving fan.
    Shirley with Mathews & Co…my Company which I love dearly also.

  10. Josephine S Chavez September 10, 2015 8:51 am

    Danielle, am so happy for you that you have discovered Joel Osteen…I have been watching him on Sunday mornings for the past years…I look forward to getting up early Sunday morning to watch him at 7:00 AM..He has changed my life with his messages. He has a way of making us feel so much better about ourselves by following his messages…I used to say that “I felt I was very healthy,” I now say, “I am very healthy.” We have to build ourselves up by saying positive things about ourselves…I could go on and on with all the good things I have learned by watching and listening to Joel Osteen every Sunday morning…

  11. Lekota Arnold September 10, 2015 9:24 am

    I hope it’ll be a great pleasure reading his book,his messages when he preaches are straight and clear but I haven’t knew that he was a writer too.

  12. Jyoti Dadel September 10, 2015 9:37 am

    U have described everything with a charm,vividness and of course emotions, which r an integral part of your books.Nothing is without a reason. God surely has a purpose and a plan in your meeting Joel Osteen.

  13. Kathy Gautreaux September 10, 2015 9:49 am

    My husband and I love Joel Olsteen too. We’ve been supporting him for quite a while with what we could. I have a couple of his books and a few of his CD’s which keep me absorbed when I’m driving. I love all your books and usually read them within 24 hours of purchase. I’m so glad you love Joel and so glad that he can comfort you with the different things in life you have to deal with, especially as the celebrity you are.

  14. delphine September 10, 2015 11:20 am

    So happy for you Danielle. God bless you. We all get a lot of strength by looking upto good people like Joel.

  15. Carol Fraire September 10, 2015 12:24 pm

    My husband and I listen also to Joel, he is so positive unlike other pastors I have listened to in the past. I have always wanted to attend a Night of Hope, but unfortunately live too far away from any of the events. I hear they are wonderful. Thank You for sharing your experience with us.

  16. Sara Coyne September 10, 2015 12:31 pm


    The way you write describes your feelings very well, you made me all excited to start reading Joel’s books.

    I guess mainly I want to tell you I feel the same way about you, you are my idol and favorite writer, and my special dream would be to meet you.


  17. Carol Boyko September 10, 2015 3:02 pm

    My husband and I have fown to Florida. Driven to New York City’s Madison Square Garden and then finally Boston ma. All to see Joel Osteen. We got to meet him and his family at a book signing and they autographed our books for us. He is truly awesome. You can’t go wrong following him. Also I just finished reading Undercover. You never dissapoint me either. It was awesome.

  18. Eunice September 10, 2015 4:54 pm

    Read in the bible the book of act of apostles 8-26-40 en thats what happened to u. Ur blessed beyond measure.

  19. Lisa September 10, 2015 6:31 pm

    As a recently single mom, when I could identify with your book , “His Bright Light”, I travel to Houston with a group of girls. The kindness love and message that church showed helped me through a roughy one. From reading your book, God already gave you the strength you needed to cope and encouraged you through the Osteens. Loved reading your blog.

  20. Lisa September 10, 2015 6:33 pm

    Siri doesn’t spell check !:)

  21. Wendy R. September 10, 2015 11:20 pm

    Joel Osteen is an amazing human being & so is his family. I also had the blessing of meeting him & Victoria at A Sirius XM event up close & personal. I also went last year to his New York City “A Night Of Hope” event. These experiences were such a blessing in my life. Thank you for sharing this Danielle Steel. God bless

  22. Jackee Robinson September 11, 2015 3:28 pm

    Wow, I’m so impressed that you got to meet Joel and his family. I have read many of his books and have his CD to listen to in my car. He has a wonderful gift that he gladly shares with all who wish to listen. Thank you for sharing your story with your readers!


  23. Cheri Downs September 13, 2015 2:35 pm

    Interesting read Danielle,
    I have read many of your books because I would get them for my mother as she read a lot in her later years…She would say, “you should read this you’d like it!” So I have read several on my own since her death last June… It was something we could do together, I could shop for the latest and it would be a gift she would always enjoy (those kinds of gifts were always hard to find for her, gifts she liked). I am so grateful that you gave us something we could do together and gifts that would please her the last few years…as there was much healing that I needed toward the end of her life…Thank you
    I have to say my greatest read was “Israel My Beloved” by Kay Arthur as it took me to the GREATEST BOOK the Bible and there You meet the Living God and His Son Jesus…That is what gave me hope, healing and joy, meeting and knowing HIM!

  24. tammy November 23, 2015 6:19 pm

    goes to show you, if your not a very well known writer/actor etc, you will never get to meet a person you have dreamed of! sad

  25. Jennifer January 20, 2016 2:50 pm

    Danielle. I know exactly what you mean about Joel’s warmth and sincerity. I have seen his Night of Hope 3 times in 3 different places and plan to make this year my 4th Night of Hope visit. When I met Joel at a recent book signing, something about the way he looked right into my eyes and told me that he would pray for me made me realize that wow this guy is for real. In the brief seconds I had to speak with him personally, I learned that he is a genuine soul and he made me feel special. God is good and I am so glad that a couple of years ago someone told me about Joel Osteen. I purchase his CDs and then pass them on to all my friends who I think can benefit from Joel and God. Joel helps me to keep my focus on God. God bless!

  26. Editha Sotto Vitto February 9, 2016 2:27 am

    Dearest Danielle,

    Your story is really incredible by the way im Mrs. Editha Sotto Vitto from the Philippines. Everytime i heared real stories about how their life change like what happened to my friend Joan Rama who accidentally listened to Pastor Joel Osteen here in the Philippines thru the Internet. Last year she was abled to visit Lakewood Church in Houston and be abled to mingled with Lakewood Church Families. I do really feel Blessed as if i am part of it. Your stories i really felt it too. God Bless everyone.

  27. Lydia March 3, 2016 4:20 am

    Danielle, I was excited to hear the my favorite author was able to meet! Joel! I just so happened to change the channel on the TV and have been watching him ever since. He is so inspiring and has changed my perspective on life just like your books. I love to read your novels because they are about real life situations that happen and give me a new perspective on life situations. I thank you both! Was able to meet Joel at Night of hope in Feb.and will never forget it! God Bless!!!

  28. Sylvia D Anderson April 27, 2016 5:28 am

    Wow!!! What an awesome story , remembering a personal story I remember reading about Danielle Steel it was very touching to hear how blessed she was, I know it was all the goodness of God our God is awesome and greatly to be praised; and Its true that Joel and Victoria are an awesome powerful couple who are used in such a powerful way by God!!! They are anointed by God and are a blessing to the body of Christ and those who adhere to his powerful message of our Lord Jesus Christ! Love and blessing to an awesome writer Danielle Steel. May the good Lord continue to bless you as you move forward in knowing Christ Jesus. Love and prayers Sylvia D Anderson?

  29. Antonia Adderly January 30, 2020 3:15 pm

    In your book, Blessing in Disguise, did chapter 15 refer to Pastor Joel Olsteen?