Well, here we are still in some kind of lockdown – in my case, Level three. I think it’s day 63, but don’t quote me!!
We’ve been keeping in touch with Dad via phone and Skype. He is so delightful!! He’s been wearing a cap that isn’t his, but he’s just so darn proud of it 🤣😄 Funny thinking my Dad goes ‘shopping’ in his own ward!
We sing Frank Sinatra songs, I reintroduce him to my husband and children, and he tells me what he’s currently eating. When I tell him he is my father and I am his daughter, that means nothing to him. He smiles. It’s ok, we’re used to that. He thought being a Poppa was a hoot – albeit he has no frame of reference for that either…
Having spoken with his doctor, I was surprised to hear that Dad has been the happiest he’s been in years. He’s joining in with activities, he’s put on weight, and he’s just had his vaccination. A far cry from the man who was rushed to hospital just three months ago. It’s all a bit odd really 🤔
In navigating the highs and lows of yet another lockdown, I for one am so darn thankful that Dad is safe and healthy – and I look forward to my next Skype with him.
I was sitting thinking about many things that have transpired lately, and then suddenly I remembered the beginnings of this journey, and why I started this blog. Today is the seventh anniversary of this little journey….!
I never had the intention of writing for anyone, or to anyone. That the Lord sees my words and knows my heart, is a no-brainer. I wrote originally, to allow myself the space to process, grieve and make peace with some harrowing events that happened upon myself and my family.
That was back in late (our Spring) 2014. I wrote about my daughters, Stephanie and Julianna both leaving home within the space of ten days. I wrote about Julianna’s pyschotic breakdown. I wrote about Dad’s entry into the world of Dementia and the journey I took with him. I wrote poetry, and about my relationship with the Yeshua, and of course, I wrote about my beloved Israel. All of this I did openly, without apology and without shame.
Now, what a terribly different story. Because I am an author, there is an expectation. Now, I am supposedly writing as I apparently have an audience. I write because I am supposed to. I write because I feel obligated too. I am apparently meant to keep people up to date with the goings on surrounding our publishing business and the like. Why? Even typing those words in italics, makes me cringe. Who cares if I’m an author, who cares if we have a publishing business? I am in reality, just Sandi – isn’t that enough?
The pressure I feel to release something – anything actually, is palpable. Yes, I have followers, and yes I do have some kind of small influence (mainly on Instagram), but I never asked for or wanted that. I wanted the freedom of expression. A place where I could share the joys and sorrows of this human existence, wrapped in the tendrils of faith, hope and love.
What I want, is to be able to freely share my heart on here, and release it into the ether, if I so choose.
So today, I choose. Today, I just want to express some of what I am facing and sensing, and to do that without judgement or fear.
I have so many threads running through my mind – which one do I pull upon?
So many dreams that hurtle to the ground at a resounding force of violence and ferocity. How do I proceed?
A heart pounding, beating for the ONE and yet so entrenched in the myre and clay that surrounds me. Of whom do I seek? Flesh and bone; spirit and life?
Insults, injuries, sickness devours my mortal soul. Wounds gaping and screaming to be heard, but nonetheless no voice to voice the pain or roar as the lioness I am.
Demons come and choke at my throat causing my breath to skip a beat, and words to be gurgled in the darkness. Breathing becomes shallow as rasps shudder my body and heave from my exhausted mouth.
I see you. You accusing spirit, I hear your words, but will not allow them to take hold. I blame no one. Words are spoken, opinions given, but it is not my desire to take offense – you cannot make me, accuser, even though they tantalize generously.
I rest. I pray. I give my burdens up and onto the Hands of Grace. I sleep.
Fitting dreams of lands I do not know. But we are there. Helping those in need, offering solace and practicalities to those pilgrims running for their lives. I see a great city fall. A nation besieged. A terror group overtakes another nation and causes great war.
My dreams exhaust me…
Opinions, opinions, opinions everywhere. Clawing at me, beseeching me to listen to yet another great fear wrapped up in another person’s lie. I shall not succumb. Truth is weighed up against the collective opinion, and is left wanting. I need only THE truth.
We pit one against another. We no longer walk in love and grace. Us against them. Me against you. The world has gone made. Good is now evil, evil reigns supreme in the hearts and minds in the citizens of this world.
Wonder – where have you gone? Wonder of all that is good, beautiful, true and lovely. I hear the distant sound of Louis singing about this ‘wonderful world’ but somehow it seems a bittersweet memory?
The threads are interwoven, they speak all so loudly, clamouring for my attention immediately. But I will not give over to the balls of messy threads, the odd lengths, the knots and ties, the unevenness of the mat, nor the colours bleeding into one.
I choose to look instead, at the Tapestry being woven throughout this life, and marvel at the beauty that comes from pain, devastation, love and truth.
The marvel that is Yeshua living in and through me.
Galatians 2:20 TLV. “And it is no longer I who live, but Messiah lives in me. And the life I now live in the body, I live by trusting in Ben-Elohim—who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”
I have had the most intensive, remarkable, gorgeous, stunningly beautiful weeks, here in this new office space. I knew I was about to enter a new season, and I knew I needed to be surrounded by a lighter atmosphere that would help inspire a deeper sense of creativity, but I never envisioned THIS.
“What is THIS,” I hear you asking? Quietly and ever so shyly, I can only say, “Him.“
The One. Yeshua. Lover of my soul. Keeper of my heart. Him. Divine truth. Divine creativity. Playfulness. Beauty. All that is Good. All that is Holy. Abba Father. Holy Spirit – Ruach HaKodesh. Him. The I AM. Him.
The One my soul has longed for and not experienced, in the longest of times. And yet, He chose this time to meet me and adorn me in His loving Grace. Yes, Him…..
Those of you who knew me pre 2011, would have remember how different life was back then, for me. You would remember someone who lived in two very different worlds, and who had two very different lives.
One world was where I existed with Yeshua. In divine intimacy. A student of love, of the Word, of mysteries and wonder. Someone whom had been romanced, courted and taken into a world that was so extravagant and other-wordly; one can’t describe in terms magnificent enough, all that Yeshua shared with me.
The other world, was this one. Tough, mean and brutal. Always struggling to make ends meet. Failing dismally at being the woman of God I thought I was supposed to be. Pressure; never ending cycles of poverty, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Alongside uprooting me from the place I thought I would be forever, and away from my spiritual parents and home church; this world was hard. Living up here in Snells Beach (in the beginning) was like mourning every day. The wonder, the exuberance, the love of life and the peace I encountered, were all gone. It was just me and my three kids. Until. Until a man came along and swept me into a world of dreams that were foreign to me. It was all so wonderful, but where was Yeshua now?
My deepest desires had come true. My hearts cry and been heard by my Abba, and here was the man I was destined to be with – although our path has been fraught with trials and tribulations that many wouldn’t cope with, we found our way, together and with the Lord.
I sit here now, elated and yet wounded. Deep sobs have wracked my body for weeks now. A repentance that is so soul shattering, and yet in the shards and fractals of light, I am experiencing Yeshua again, outside of time and space, and in the arms of an ever loving Abba.
How did I get it all so wrong? How did I go from the deepest of intimacy, from hours spent in His word, to dealing with mental illness, dementia, autism, dyspraxia, anxiety, marriage, separation, illness, fatigue and simple exhaustion?
Where was HE in all of this?
That’s the joy in this great tale – HE was always here, beckoning me, calling me. Giving me dreams in the deep of night, giving me hope in the early morning shards of light that would fall upon my face. He was here speaking through His word still, calling me through creation. The kereru that would fly over and sit upon the palm tree, so I could watch in wonder. The miracle of seeing a butterfly EVERY DAY for two years. The tui that come to our tree, and sing with their two voice boxes. The love of three beautiful children who have filled this house with untold hours of joy, raucous laughter, magic and delight. The husband who delights in me, who speaks so much love into my soul, who cares for me so tenderly. Yes, I am blessed and I know He has been speaking.
But until recently, it had been through others, and not face to face like it used to be.
And now? Now when I sit in my yellow chair, His presence comes and I am undone with wonder. I joy in Him. I delight in Him. I minister to Him, as I was created to do, and I worship Him in spirit and in truth. I meet with Abba and ask Him what very few do, “How is YOUR heart Abba? How can I minister to you today?”
“Take me past the outer courts Into the Holy place Past the brazen altar Lord I want to see your face Pass me by the crowds of people The priests who sing your praise I hunger and thirst for your righteousness And it’s only found one place
Take me in to the Holy of Holies Take me in by the blood of the Lamb Take me in to the Holy of Holies Take the coal, cleanse my lips, here I am Take the coal, cleanse my lips, here I am.”
I know a tiny snippet of where this journey is taking me, however I also realise that it is different to times in the past. Imprinted on my heart and mind are the magnificent verses from Isaiah, that I am now starting to live. Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it spring up; do you not perceive it?”
He is SO good. So very, very good.
Him. My everlasting love. Ishi. My beloved kinsmen redeemer. Him.
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.
One little known fact about me, is my passion for dance. I grew up doing what was termed ‘creative dance’. I loved movement, challenging my body, trying to do new things, albeit slightly difficult due to being born with my hips twisted. Dance was something that enabled me to express myself. Watching shows like ‘Solid Gold’ or ‘Ready to Roll’ and seeing the latest dance moves, was a quiet passion of mine. I loved it when Mum and Dad would go and milk the cows, and I would turn up my favourite music loud, and dance my brain out!
Then I met a friend who equally, loved to dance! Ah the magic of sharing that passion with someone!! She was far more flexible than me, but she had a way of both challenging and helping me to bust out, as much as my body would take. We often would dance all around high school, and when there was dances, it was nothing for us to be the high kicking sisters of soul!
But then dancing in general, changed. It was less about moving and expressing yourself, and it became more seductive and sexual. I didn’t like that much. The images I saw on tv were less and less desirable for me to mimic, and yet still….still I wanted to dance. Going to nightclubs was my favourite thing, not for the alcohol – which helped with me shyness – but more for the ability to just lose all sense of control on the dance floor and leave it there.
And then something happened. I’m not entirely sure what, but somewhere along the way, through different things I experienced, and traumas that I had to deal with, the dancing stopped.
Becoming a Christian, then moving back home for a while, was wonderful. I would dance and sing on the lawn, and all through the paddocks, until the sun went down. I was dancing and singing for my King. No one else. I was so alive, so fully present, so complete. But then that too stopped. I got married, and then became a Mum, then full time ministry happened. Dancing stopped, and seemed to be frowned upon back in the early 90s. Along with it of course, all secular music left the building, and I became one of ‘those’ Christians who only listened to Christian music, read Christian books, watched Christian tv and movies – I became very dull indeed.
So much of the passion and fire that lighted my soul, remained simmering away, and occasionally a Christian artist would put out a funky song, so that at least the old hips could swing for a few minutes! But then, it would all be put away again until…..Riverdance!
My God! And I really mean My God! When I saw that show on VIDEO, I thought I was going to combust!! I knew I had Irish heritage; and boy I just couldn’t get enough. My girls were kindergarten and school age, so any moment I could, I would put on that video and dance my brain out again 🙂 But the magic appeared, when the segment of Flamenco Dancing started up, courtesy of Maria Pages, a beautiful Spanish dancer. I thought I’d died and gone to Heaven. She twisted, turned, stomped, smiled, looked pained and impassioned, all at the same time – and I had finally seen something that resonated so deep within me, it never left. When I was taken to see the show live, my knees wouldn’t stop shaking. Several of us went to the back of the theatre and busted out!
A number of years later, and more trauma to add to the mix, I found myself wanting to seek out proper Flamenco lessons, here in New Zealand. It was nigh on impossible to find, so I allowed a friend to convince me to join her for Belly Dancing lessons. Turns out I wasn’t so good at rolling that belly, but I sure did try. I so appreciate the form and passion for which they dance, but in the end, it just wasn’t me.
More time passed, and I realised through life and experiences, that I had started to distrust my body. I couldn’t dance, even if I wanted too. I longed to move, I longed to feel that fire, passion, creativity and freedom again, but I just couldn’t express it anymore. I live in suburbia, and I just can’t express myself the way I want or need too. I need open air and space, and that eludes me.
I’ve also come to realise that through different traumas that I have walked through, I have completely lost confidence in my body, and indeed feel like trauma is trapped within me. In my imagination, I am stomping my way through a magic dance routine, but my body just can’t seem to do it right now. I’m not sore or in pain, and age shouldn’t be a factor, but in my mind, I just feel so boxed in and caught in a fishbowl existence, I just can’t seem to conjure anything up regarding movement, now.
Interesting that back in 2019 at the Dead Sea, I was dancing down the hallways, dancing down at the Shabbat celebration, and we even got Neil up dancing away, shaking his hips!
I’m praying that as I identify the traumas and the toll they have taken on me, that Abba Father will allow me to dance before Him again.
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.
I remember so well the mornings you would whisper to me and awaken me at 3 am. I loved being woken by you; the sweet aroma of love that enveloped me as you took me through your Word and uttered your divine mysteries into my heart. As I look back at the things I wrote, I am aware of your presence, your calling, the hope I had – that now seems so shaky.
The cares of life, the pressures of the daily routine I fall into, the raising of children, the businesses, marriage and all its woes – where did WE go Yeshua?
I remember walking along the country road and hearing you speak so clearly to me. The dreams you would share with me, the laughter that would easily enrapture my soul. I think of the time you called me by my special name, a name only we know, and how in love I felt with you.
The times I would come and minister to your heart, as you had done to my broken one, and yet you seemed so besotted with me too. It’s a love story that is better than Disney or Hallmark, and yet I’ve settled for those love stories too now.
The worship that would flow from my mouth, emptying my soul into the ether as you showed me a new facet of your being. How I miss you!
I sit on the carpet and weep now, such deep anguish in my soul – without words, they seem utterly meaningless, just guttural noises and tears falling out of me.
I remember those times I would pray and ask you to hold me as I slept, I needed you and your comfort so desperately. And now, I have a physical husband and we watch endless TV series.
What once was a thriving love relationship based on your Word, your Presence and your Worship, has been replaced with many many programmes that fill the mind, scare the soul and leave the heart deeply grief-ridden and empty.
Walks that used to be two-way conversations, seem to be replaced with work. Or should I say, plug up the ears and listen to yet another podcast that will invariably dull down my pour neglected heart?
Being misconstrued as something that I am not, and yet being fully unable to be the real person you have created me to be.
Longing for you, and yet when I don’t get the response needed, just plop down and dismiss it all as emotionalism…..hoping it wasn’t, knowing it wasn’t, but in this current climate that I live in, your Presence isn’t necessarily a necessity….
Yeshua, how I need you. I realise how desperate my soul has become. I have all that I ever asked for and yet my soul feels dead. I find wonder in the dance, the hope, the dream and the memory. But I need you more than I ever have!
Looking back into diaries that stretch to twenty-five years, I went through a bad marriage, separation, divorce, rape, being a single mother, various diagnoses, depression, anxiety, poverty, debt, spiritual abuse, fractured relationships, reconciliation, different churches, different doctrines, and so the list keeps growing. But you were the One who was my main staple in all those times. These past ten years, there have been sporadic moments of you and your mystery, but they didn’t last long. It would be easy to blame my husband, children, business and the like. But the truth is, I haven’t needed much of you for the physical necessities like I used to.
Believe it or not, the truth is, I need you more than ever as we approach the end of days here on earth.
You are everything.
It just took having everything on earth to know how desolate I am now.
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!
I have quietly sat back and watched happening around me, things that don’t shock me anymore. They don’t worry me like they used to. They don’t make me upset now. Why? Because I am USED to it.
When you live in this little village of a few thousand, which is rapidly growing, you get to understand and DISCERN things at a deeper level. You understand that it’s not personality conflicts or clashes; there are principalities and powers at play, here in this little paradise.
A number of years ago, the Lord told me that I would encounter a particular ‘spirit’. He assured me it wasn’t IN me or operating THROUGH me, but that it would manifest all around me. He would use all of this to firstly; teach me, and then secondly; write about it in an allegorical style. I am currently doing that.
What makes me stop and pause, is the Body of Christ, in this area. I’ve never witnessed such lies, division, deception and dishonour. I watch others build their own little Kingdoms, and I watch further yet, the Hand of the Lord intervene. I see different ones around, wearing instead of armour, a breastplate that is wonky, full of holes and slipping off. I see helmets hanging down people’s backs and blasted with what looks like dynamite. Such mental anguish within these ones. I see many walking around with their swords, dull and unused. I see shoes that are worn out and hanging together by a thread. I see belts of lies instead of truth, and paganism and other gods, tightening their grip around these Saints.
My heart doesn’t break for these – it wars! Like the Warrior Princess, there are times that my Saviour leads me into warring in prayer and declaration; destroying the works of the enemy. Then there are times, when I step back and listen. Times when I stand and watch – oh how I have watched for over a decade and seen beautiful people turning proud and ugly. Beautiful on the outside and glaringly ugly on the inside.
Abba Father has shown me the rotten foundations, the chasing out of the Prophets, from this very village. He has shown me the Religious ones, who harken to a strict set of rules and know nothing about His abundant grace. He has shown me the gems, which society overlooks. He has shown me His heart, and how He grieves over the factions, divisiveness, disunity and pain with the Ekklesia; but oh how He roars!
Will we awaken to His roar, or will we keep on the path of the familiar?