It is the first day of winter, here in New Zealand, June 1.
I am sitting in my new office, quite mesmerized by a scene I have looked at a thousand times, but has new meaning for me today.
Today also is the day, that Jo’s second book in her series, Journeys of the Heart, is released. It’s a page turner that had me quite heated up several times, and had me wiping my glasses even as I edited it!!
Today is also the day that my two published books are featured in a nationwide catalogue, that goes to all the Christian retailers around our nation. That has been quite the surprise!
But also today, I was asked something that really struck me: how is your heart?
The mere thought that anyone would ask me that, is Heaven on earth to me! I am such a passionate heart girl, that is indeed where I meet with Abba and Yeshua, and yet it’s a question that we as the body of Christ, very rarely ask each other.
So today is beautiful. Not because good things are happening, because actually, behind the scenes, things are mad – but today is a good day, because it is crowned with loving kindness and tender mercies.
The goat track seemed incredibly narrow and full of hoof marks. It didn’t offer the sturdiness of a footpath with any kind of secure railing or steps. No, this track was hewn from many a goat and ensuing animals that had walked carefully up the path towards the peak of the mountain.
Claudine looked at the peak. It beckoned her, called to her in the deepest part of her heart. She pulled her cloak closer, pulled on the hood and took a sip of her water bottle. Her nerves were frayed, tripping and falling all over this track, but in her mind, she focused on the love of The One.
His eyes were flaming fire, his skin as cut diamonds. His face radiated a warmth that could flood the whole universe, and yet He gleaned all that love on her. So broken, so wounded and yet, so whole in His presence.
He looked at her and motioned for Claudine to come closer.
She fell down in front of him, not able to withstand the glory that radiated from him.
His hand touched her and slowly moved down her arm to her hand. He gently lifted her, and she smiled at The One. She glanced at his very eyes, which just a moment before had been like a flaming fire, but this time they were human. They were moist, and a single teardrop fell from His eye. She reached over, and ever so tenderly, without fear, wiped the tear from his face.
‘Claudine,’ said The One, His voice breaking, ‘will you sing for me?’
She looked at him, and without thinking, her voice rose to a note she’d never been able to sing on the planet earth. She took both her hands and tried to cup this giant face within them, and looked straight into his eyes. Her heart was bursting and love was emanating from such a deep place within her that she wondered if this did come from her, or elsewhere?
He wept. He wept more and more. Then silence.
‘Many are called, few are chosen. Even few still want to come and be with me. They want my presence, to a degree. They want to hear my heart, hear my secrets, to a degree. But I have been here since time eternal, and not many have wanted to come and BE with me. Many are so terrified of coming through the dark clouds and seeing me for who I am. And yet, I am always here to welcome my children, every single one of them – if only they would come.’
Claudine looked at The One, and with a heart of deep compassion, she looked intently at him. ‘You are terrifying to me. And yet you are my true comfort. You are lost in the world of religion, fighting, factions, denominations, debate and terror. So many don’t come because they have believed the lies of the enemy of our souls, and they seem to believe that there is a formula that must be heeded to enter into your presence.
I know very little of you. I just know I deeply love you and nothing satisfies my heart more than singing your praises and being your daughter. Papa and daughter. Claudine and Yahweh. Is there anything greater? I don’t think so….’
He looked at her. He smiled, and fractals of light shone through into other dimensions. She startled a little at the bouncing of this light show, and then she and The One laughed and laughed.
‘Will you come again?’ The vulnerability and innocence of Him seemed so out of place, and yet she knew, He of ALL creation was deeply emotive and true.
‘It would be both my honour and my pleasure to come and spend more time with you in this way.’ Claudine stroked his cheek again. How she loved Him so. Not in the ways of earthly love and pleasure, but in the way that her whole being was surrendered to her Creator. There was nothing, not even in her brokenness that she wanted more than to lavish her entire soul upon The One who gave her life, and INDEED saved her life.
It was a paradox. The One who created all of life, gave his only son, and has made a way available to all, he longed for her? His vulnerability, his depth, his kindness – and yet this is the one who judges the earth and directs the stars? How could this be? And yet how could it not be?
Claudine opened her eyes. She was back on the single rocky goat track, but this time her heart was elated! She had met with her Redeemer in the most profound way – what in the stratosphere would happen next?
This is a sneak peek of my upcoming sequel to Mirabelle, called Claudine.
She picks up the golden quill, a mighty theme upon her lips. As she writes the words upon the parchment, she is surprised at the letters forming and flowing so fast. As she utters the sounds of Heaven, all Creation listens: what Decree has the Lord spoken unto His willing Servant and Handmaiden? What mysteries will He expound through her mouth and the quill of her writing instrument?
She stops and waits as she hears the Lover of her Soul, whispering words of passion and grace into her heart. Will she dare write them down, only to be scorned and ridiculed, yet again?
Yes! For her Love has spoken His word into her, and through her this word will become flesh! He has come and dwelt among mere mankind – can you not hear, nor perceive it? Can you not taste and see for indeed, the Lord our God, He is good!
Come to the river and drink of water that you may never thirst again. Come and eat of the bread of life, and behold you will never hunger for mere food again! Come to the waters, replenish your soul. Come to the tree of life and eat – for then your healing shall break forth and your soul shall exalt in the Lord your God!
Come, dance and sing! Lift up your voice! Come magnify the Lord with me! Come, bring your timbres, your harps and your instruments! Come and make a melody, for the Lord is here in our midst!
With every message that goes unanswered, every email that no one seems to respond to, excuses made and heartache booming in my soul – there you are. For the longest of times, you have stood by me, loved me, helped me, cherished me, made me laugh until I cried and been with me. You believed in me when everyone gave up, you cheered me on when I made the smallest of steps, and now here we are. I cannot remove the pain of the past or the wounds of such terror, but I can be a safe place as you are to me. I can love you, as you have loved me. In the darkest of souls and the deepest of nightmares, I will stand with you as you have stood with me. I adore you. I love you. My sister and trusted confidante. And so I dedicate this poem to you, My Dearest Friend.
Ancient Ruins, 2002
I walked through the ancient ruins today
And saw some ghosts of yesteryear
I looked through the brokenness and found
You were still sitting amongst the mess
Won’t you come my way sweet child?
And walk into the fresh air,
Breathe and let the sun’s rays warm your body
Let the light fill your cold soul.
I wandered around and saw many things
Images I recognised from years gone by
I felt the pain, but it was no longer mine
I let it go, many moons ago
I saw things that could have haunted me
And walked all through the mess
But nothing can touch a heart that is now
Wrapped with grace and armed with forgiveness.
I left the Ancient Ruins today
My heart completely in one piece
I took back my inner child and now – she’s safe again in me.
I wrote a blog once about de-masking and becoming real. Foolishly, I deleted it. I then went on and deleted all of my blogs. I did print out some of them, but The Mask was not among them! There had been much ado about something or rather, and I felt unsafe blogging. Oh the foolish actions of someone who was too scared to stand and face the very truth that she longed to convey. However, after letting go of some people and opinions, I realised it was time to reflect back and write from the heart, once again.
You know, it’s never too late to take a stand and show the world the true you, the one that has all the sags, bags and wrinkles but knows enough to be sure, and enough to remain humble.
I got confused by someone who used to tell me, that to the public, they would wear a mask. It just didn’t sit right with me. There was always conflict with them, it was never plain sailing. Speaking one thing to one person, yet saying something entirely different to someone else. Keeping their cards very close to their chest, and yet demanding an audience and trying to have a perception of authority and wisdom. It never worked for me.
I learnt through some very troubling times, that if you indeed are going to wear a mask, then you had better be prepared for the eventuality that it will be ripped off someday. And you had better pray that the Lord does it gently and privately, so as not to seem like a public spectacle or debarcle.
You see, if one is truly authentic and living in the light of God’s love, there is absolutely no reason at all to wear a mask anymore. Who are you trying to hide from and who are you trying to fool? Those with a sense of discernment and any sense of true perception, are going to see right through it, and if they have enough mettle, they will call you on it too.
There’s something about turning fifty, or even just a few weeks beforehand, that made me question alot about my life and come out from behind my self-imposed mask.
I decided to stop dying my hair. I realised there are just some foods I can no longer eat, even though I like them. I have come to love my stretchmarks, they are my badges of pregnancy and carrying such great blessings. After years of of trying to gain my pre-Sammy body, I’ve come to realise that rounded and larger is good too. I love my wrinkles, they show I have lived. I really adore my laughter lines, because my goodness there is still so much joy to share in! I have come to appreciate my boobs are saggy, but they have fed and nurtured my kiddos. I’ve also come to appreciate that I am going through major hormonal changes (menopause) and the greatest gift I can give (apart from nutrition) is love and kindness towards myself. I have found walking my beloved beach to be such a tonic of healing and health, and I have found my love of dancing again!
There are those who want to label me a worshipper, a prophet, an author, a publisher, a this or a that. But what I know for sure is that I am a Watchman and I call out what I see. I am not popular, I never have been and don’t aspire to be. I am not a great Beauty to the world, but I am to my husband and children. I am not a Rockstar, but I love my singing voice – because these days I have come to appreciate I sing for an audience of One. I don’t have anything to prove with my writing or my blogs, I just write what I sense the Lord telling me too. I feel such great sadness and joy within the same moment, and realise that is how the Lord made me, and I know how to manage those emotions now. I see the world and life very differently to a few years ago, and I’m not afraid to live it.
We live in such unprecedented and tumultuous times, we don’t know where or when the next disaster will be. But we know the One who calms the seas, brings Shalom (peace) to the raging heart; gives us joy for sadness; a song instead of a dirge; provision from Heaven; parts the sea of troubles for us to walk right through; hope for the nations and love for all mankind. His name is Yeshua (Jesus) – He alone is our Salvation, our Rock and the strong tower of our Defense, AND the name above ALL names – including Covid-19! We serve a Mighty God who knows the end from the beginning, who writes OUR names upon His hand, who loves us so completely and delights in us abundantly.
I love this time of life, and have continued to embrace all the changes. There is so much to be thankful for, so much to be excited about and so much yet to do.
But the one thing I know for sure, unequivocably and indeliably – you can’t do any of this from living behind a mask!
I existed before time began
I was present when Creation spun into being
I was there before the foundation of the world
I AM the Ruach, the wind, the breath…
I delight to make chaos beautiful
And all things new
I delight in your brokenness
For I alone can fix you and make you whole
Your ‘self serving’, your way
Your belief that ‘I can do anything’
Just look in the rest homes of the Elderly
And you will see that you cannot….
You cannot control what I AM has made
You are but dust and atoms
Gloriously formed within your Mother’s womb
I know you so intricately
Lay down your Self, your soul and all her wounds
And watch as I AM breathes on your mess
Watch as I AM makes all things new and beautiful….
Your times are in I AM’s hands
Delight in I AM and know that I AM God!
Trust in I AM simply as a little babe in arms
I AM has carefully placed you in the palm of our hands
And I AM will make you new
So arise Beautiful One and look to see
Your Ruddied Lover, I AM dancing upon the hills
Running to your rescue
To find you and bind your wounds
Together we shall ascend Mt Zion
And I AM will teach you our ways
Come away…..come away with I AM…….
We found our seats on the back of the bus and off we went. The roads in Nazareth are interesting to say the least: not at all designed for large wide buses, but cheers to the bus driver, he did well, I never did catch his name!!
Neil settled himself in and looked up some articles online, then proceeded to start teaching different ones some Kiwi speech and much to my horror, Kiwi Slang….oh man, I didn’t know if that would go down well on a Christian Tour. I shouldn’t have worried 🙂 From the getgo, some of us were laughing and having a great time. Yishay was doing his best to narrate through his microphone, but I do believe a number of us were far too busy chatting and getting to know one another to hear his narration.
Listening to Americans trying to do Kiwi accents always brings a smile to my face!
El-Ahawat. What the hell was this place? It’s a line in the old testament, that seemingly had some relevance to Sardinian architecture. Someone really should have gotten a machete (I would have!) and chopped some grass down. People were tripping over alot, and it was difficult to figure out where we were and what we’d come to see. Neil picked up a stone and underneath it was a piece of handle from an old jug. That came home with us. Yishay had been talking about finding the hole where one of the gates hung – Michael found the other one! It was interesting hearing and learning the context of this archaeological site, we’re very glad we got to go there.
Meal times in Nazareth were wonderful. Sitting and sharing stories and learning from others like Carol & Jerry, Anne, Val, Phil, Charlotte & Michael were amazing. Neil and I always asked how and why people came on the Skywatch tour, and every answer was different. Being in the presence of someone such as Jerry, was amazing. Though quiet and unassuming, what he did have to say, at times had me in tears…..
For Neil and I, one of the absolute highlights was the four wheel driving to Gilgal Refaim. We absolutely loved the crazy roads and bumping along – and keep in mind Neil once had broken his back and is not supposed to be walking – so no complaining thank you! Part of the adventure is being able to go with the flow and expect the unexpected. As an ex farmgirl, I relished having the wind blowing through my hair, being thrown around and reconnecting with a part of myself that had laid dormant – the Adventurous Sandi 😉 I sat opposite Pat in the jeep, and she commented that perhaps today she shouldn’t have used any hairspray…. 😉
Again, to look eye level, Gilgal Rephaim was just a jumbled up bunch of stones with long grass that needed said machete! I didn’t want to go down into the Death Chamber, so Neil did and videoed it. For me, it was just lovely looking around and seeing all the archaeology that hasn’t been touched. There was another mound in the distance that seemed to be relevant, but we didn’t go there. Maybe we should?
I’m super glad that we’ve been to Banias Springs before, because we only got fifteen minutes this time. I’ve written about this in my book, it was a place that impacted me deeply back in 2013 on our first tour. There is so much to see, but we hardly saw anything this time. I look forward to going back and climbing the rocks up into some of the other sites up there. I’m told that the whole of Mt Hermon has many archaeological sites that only get visited by hikers. I also know that some people don’t like Banias Springs, and that’s fair enough. However, I take the view that Yeshua redeemed everything. Hearing Derek (again) speak on the importance of Peter, the rock and his revelation of who Yeshua is, right there in the very place that it was spoken and revealed, is important. As Carl Gallups says, context is key!
One place that I don’t particularly like, as you have to pay to pee, and it’s so utterly trite and commercial, is Yardenit. I didn’t like being hearded into the dining hall and all that business, but I got a chance to spend time outside quietly with Anne. She and I got a chance to share and that for me was Heaven. Thank you Anne for holding my hand and allowing my tears to fall <3 Being present to watch a few people be baptized was lovely, and kind of odd when they all stayed in the water and swam around! Great times 🙂
I witnessed something that didn’t happen on the first tour – people caring for one another. I am an unusual creature in that dry heat makes me come alive. However there were a number of individuals where the intense heat impacted them greatly. I loved watching some of the younger ones walking with some of the slower ones and showing care, that really blessed me. Having Deborah with her nursing background, and Michael with his military background, was invaluable and such a blessing. I didn’t hear people whining, whinging or complaining, and for that I am super grateful – that happened alot last year. What did shock me was an elderly couple (from our tour) in Jerusalem, were having trouble walking on the old cobblestones down a steep road. When I offered to help them, the man yelled at me, repeatedly. That gutted me, and it took Neil praying over that for me to let it go. The man never apologised, so I would just glare at him for the duration of the tour.
My kids tell me my glare is killer – that’s the point 🙁
For me, the Dead Sea Region is the place where I came alive – big time 🙂 The place where I would stand on the balcony and marvel that across the Dead Sea, was the Abarim Range – Jordan. Part of the land that originally was given to Abraham. Part of the land that one day will be restored to Israel. I had learnt after having our DNA tested, and developing a Family Tree, that we descend from the Tribe of Benjamin, and here I was smack bang in the middle of it all! Spiritually speaking, this is part of my heritage. No wonder I felt so ALIVE there!!
It was at the Dead Sea that my silent prayers came true – just to dance, and enjoy ourselves – and so we did! My husband has never danced in public with me – well he now has 😉 Spending time with Charlotte, Michael and Taylor, letting our hair down and enjoying Shabbat evening – that was Heaven on Earth to me 🙂 It was at the Dead Sea we got to spend some time with Val, one of our Brits from the Motherland, and hear some of her story.
And then of course, going back to Qumran. I thought at this point I was going to self combust…….oh my Gosh!!
How ridiculous for a sink hole to open in the road in which we were going to drive, and cut off any opportunity to go to Qumran. How about NO! And yet after prayer, miraculously, we were off to this magical and mysterious place.
The place has changed dramatically from when we visited there in 2013. Back then we were given the sanitised version of what this was all about, and taken into the building where alot of artifacts and scrolls are on display. There is so much untold and untouched history here. You can feel it. Meeting Jim Barfield, albeit so short, was incredible. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to walk all around, and it seems to be fenced off where we walked in 2013, but I think that will inevitably change.
This here, is the very reason we came back to the Skywatch tour.
God still hasn’t finished writing that chapter on our scrolls yet.
Photos and content copyrighted by Sandi Wilson 2019.
And so here we are celebrating you, the wonderful glorious young woman Stephanie Dannella Alexandra Hornell!
What a privilege and honour to be your Mumma, to be your friend and rival Unicorn admirer in this life!
I’ve wanted to write about you for the longest time. but I couldn’t find the words.
Today the words found me….
I can’t remember life too much before you, it simply doesn’t seem worthwhile to do so. You were the prayer most deepest in my heart, the cry of my soul, the longing for the greatest and hardest job ever – Motherhood. I didn’t want a great career, loads of money or even a husband actually. All I every truly desired deep in my truest soul, was you. When I discovered on my 22nd birthday that you were there inside of me, well I think you know I felt, and still feel to this day. As a person who cherishes words and likes to express them, Steph you left me speechless.
I think most people know you took a VERY long time to arrive (52 hrs peoples!) but when you got here, the rejoicing was endless. Uncle Tony doing his version of an Indian Rain Dance; Aunty Caroline holding you and smiling deep into your eyes; Nana just dying to get hold of you; Poppa holding you and singing; your Dad just overwhelmed and me……..looking into your dreamy eyes and feeling whole for the first time in my life. Knowing that I did something right, and you were IT.
I remember that evening, being surrounded by eleven people around my cubicle in the hospital, just mesmerized at this wee baby, and my how you slept. Six hours straight, and I just didn’t want to sleep because I was so afraid that you were a dream. That if I woke up, you wouldn’t be there. And there you were, and here you are now.
I’ve watched you grow up and marvelled at different aspects of your personality as you grew. Your only dolly that you really loved, you renamed Ashley after your baby cousin, and that dolly is still in this house. You were more of a matchbox car girl, playing out in the mud and being a racecar driver! You were certainly far more interested in burning ants outside with a magnifying glass, than being inside and raiding my make up cupboard – that delight went to your sister 😉
I would scratch my head and throw my hands up in the air when you had dismantled something YET AGAIN to see how it worked, and then struggled to put it back together! That’s been the mainstay in your life – your mind and your inner workings are still such a mystery to me, but I behold that gift with great majesty and wonder.
Then when things like puberty hit and your body started changing, that was such a hard time for you. Horrible comments from family members about weight etc, they were arrows in your gentle sensitive soul. The nastiness of some around you have weighed heavily on you, but somehow you manage to rise above it and still remain so beautiful, whilst I’m wanting to lop off their heads and tell them to sod off! You have known great rejection and abandonment in your life, yet I’ve never seen you reject a single soul.
Loyalty and faithfulness are big for you, and I so deeply apologise that others have not honoured that within you. I again, have stood by and marvelled at how others could treat you so badly and then smile at your face 🙁 I only know that in time, they will reap what they have sown, and that their own pain has clouded their own beautiful souls.
I have witnessed your unconditional love towards your siblings – all of them – and your love runs so deep, you had their initials tattooed on your wrist. I didn’t understand at the time, but I do now, and that you did that to physically show your love towards them blesses me immensely. Your Mumma is so proud darling <3
Your head wobble thing you do, your sass, your individuality and knowing who you are deep inside – these are things that I couldn’t teach you, they are what life has taught you. Your humour and quick wit are still a wonder to behold – who knew I would birth a frecken comedian?!
You bring so much love, so much goodness to our world, and I’m so blessed to have been the one to raise you. I don’t take my job as your Mother lightly, I never will. You were the greatest gift I had ever received and every day I am so grateful you are here. Your being, your soul, your heart, your talents, your goodness, your grace – they bless this world and we are surely all much better individuals for knowing and loving you.
My girl – my first True Love, I honour you today with all that I have, and thank God for the woman you are: Stephanie Hornell.