New Year, New Habit

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October 4th, 2019 I took vows for my vocation as sister of the Fransican Oblate of Mount Carmel which so happened to be St. Francis of Assisi “ feast day”. It was the most exiciting, emotional, nerve racking day of my life lol. That is, the day I officilay said goodbye to the world and took on my new name and earthly garments… my habit

As a protestant growing up I was unaware of who St. Francis of Assisi was or the saints at large. I didn’t know very much about the “religious life” only what I had seen on TV, with nuns and monks. My dad however, is Catholic and upon me giving my life to Jesus he had mentioned to me that maybe I should join a catholic convent because I was so zealous for the Lord. Immeaditely I retored in my pride that the Lord was not into denominations and I didn’t need to join a covent to walk out my faith.” Oh my, how I reaked with pride and still do but the Lord is truly bringing me lower and lower in humility as he shows me the nothing I truly am. So now 2 years later, I have taken my religious vows and joined the order of one of the greatest saints, who would’ve thought… I know Jesus did lol. He is the only one who could’ve taken a fashion designer pursuing the world, success, honor, fame and put her in the most beautiful garment in all the world…a habit.

1 John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

You see St. Francis took those words quite literally, and all of God’s word. His heart burned to live out the gospel just as Jesus did and by the Lords grace he did just that. He was a son of a wealthy merchant who was also into the high life. He embarked on a military career where he wanted to become a knight. However, through a serious of illness which stopped this pursuit and 2 visions from God. The Divine intervened and he began to pursue the Lord and in a church looking upon a cross he heard Jesus say “Go, Francis and repair my church, which as you see is falling into ruin”. Francis immeaditely thought the Lord was speaking about the church he was in, St. Damaian which was run down. So he went to his Fathers shop and sold all the fine linens to get money to rebuild the church. The Father was irate, renounced him, beat Francis, took him to trial before the Bishop of his time demanding all the money back. The Bishop at the time told him to give his Fathers money back and that the Lord would provide for him to rebuild the church. At that point Francis, had a divine enlightened as the scripture from Matthew came to his mine “ Our Father who are in Heaven”. He renounced his entire family, father, fortune and realized now had a Father in heaven who would provide for him. He needed no connection with the world, he stripped off all his clothes gave them to his Father as the Bishop covered him and as he turned his back literally on the world. He then placed upon himself “ a brown potatoe sackcloth” as his garment of choice. To love our lady Poverty as our Lord Jesus did

St. Francis, heart burned to live the gospel out literally by these scriptures revealed to him by the Lord.

Matthew 10:8 Freely have you received freely give.

Luke 9:3 “Take nothing for your journey,” he instructed them. Don’t take a walking stick, a traverlers bag, good, money or even a change of clothes”

Matthew 19:21 Jesus answered, “if you want to be perfect, go, sell your possesions and give to the poor, and you will have treasures in heaven. Then come, follow me”

Francis took these words literally and lived out these scriptures unto his death which have impacted the church still centuries later. These same scriptures the Lord burned in my heart to take very seriously and literally. After losing my job, I began to give all my things away, giving to the poor and he desires for me not too charge any fee in anything that I do or give becaue I have freely reiceved. So coming to New Mexico I had no idea what the Lord had in store and didn’t know what to expect. However, it was after a month of being here that I learned Father and Mother Clare where Fransiscan and as we watched the movie “ Brother sun, sister Moon” about the life of St. Francis of Assisi my heart burned yet again. This is always wanted I wanted, or better yet what the Lord wanted for me! I just didn’t see any example in front of me to follow.

Now putting on the habit was a different story, when I found out that I would have too, or let me rephrase that. That I would get to wear the habit for the rest of my life as a wedding garment unto the Lord I was repulsed at first. I could live the life of a Franscican with the Lords help but, to really let go of the world in that way, I wasn’t sure I was ready for it. It took about 2 more months after watching that film then one day the Lord impressed it on Father Ezekiels heart that he wanted his bride in a habit NOW. No more waiting, not only that but, he wanted to give me a new name I was perplexed to say the least. After hearing these things which I couldn’t object too my heart was racing. I came face to face with the reality that maybe my heart was still in the world, I was so attached to my looks, my persona, and my name. My, my, my sheesh, does someone need to die to self or what lol. Immeaditly I told them I would adhere to the Lords request but, if they would give me a moment too to talk with him. So I ran to Blessed Mothers prayer tree and just bared my heart too her. I told her about my fears, anxieties, and once again what people would think. However, I told her if Jesus wanted this I wanted it too but please give me the peace and fill my heart to love the Lords will. She did just that as she always does!! Blessed Mother is the best, I found myself within an hour flooded with such peace , joy and even a new name. I heard in my spirit “ your name is Mary Elisha, Mary Elisha” so I sought the Lord on discernment and he confirmed that was him.

So on Oct 4th, which we didn’t plan for but Jesus did, I took my religious vows and made a professed my vocation as a third order Franscain oblate. Nana, died that day for the world and all of heaven too see as my witnessess that I indeed had renounced the world and had taken up my wedding garment from the Lord, my habit. An oblate is simply the noun tense of an Oblation which means: a thing presented or offered to God. So one who has made an offering of their life to God as a living sacrifice, picking up their cross daily and following Jesus. The grey habit is to signify “sackcloth” and the brown portion of my garment is called a scapular. It represents Our Blessed Mother who came to one of the Carmelite saints “Simon Stock” wearing the same habit in an apparition. She was wearing the brown scapular and holding a scapular that goes around your neck. Also holding infant Jesus who was wearing the same thing. The scapular represents our servanthood putting the apron on, washing the feet of all those we meet and a brown cord with 5 knots for our 5 vows. A vow of chasity (which is faithfulness to the Lord), a vow of obedience, a vow of holy poverty, a vow of substantial prayer and a vow of substantial solitude. Carmelites dedicated their lives very much like Prophet Elijah and Elisha in prayer and solitude.

I took off the old life, the old nature, the old creation which belongs to my former manner of life which was corrupt with deceitful desires and now have put on my new self, increated after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. I have been made new! My habit is a sign to my family, friends and the world that I no longer belong to the world nor love the world but have been sent as the Lords’s bride and disciple to serve, love, honor all in humility, simplicy and poverty.

I hope you get a “New Habit” this year too!

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-From Jesus With Love

Finally Tasting The Sweetness of The Hidden Life

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              Psalm 34:8 

Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.

Yesterday, was my 35th birthday and it was by far the best birthday I ever had because I had finally tasted the sweetness of the hidden life! The Lord had given me that rhema so many times this past year and the most painful times in my life. I struggled with that word and began to ask the Lord to please help me then to taste the sweetness because all I kept feeling was pain. You see too hide yourself in the Lord is one thing but, to be hidden by God is another. Many of us want to be in the public eye, want our world to surround around us, to be noticed, recognized, honored and esteemed by others. However, I now know the hidden life is where its at! Especially a hidden life in Christ where your virtues and gifts go unnoticed, people tend to think of you as insignificant and where you live a life in obscurity in the eyes of the world but, tasting the very real, sweet and physical presence and love of our Lord.  I was reading one of the holy books where it mentioned that “Jesus loved his life of obscurity more than he did his public life where he was known for the sign and wonders he performed”.

We live in a generation that despises obscurity and has such a compulsion to share everything. With social media everything becomes news, publicity, instant, such a strong desire to show others what is going on in our lives and we become self centered then God centered even as christians. Especially, if you are called to ministry there is such a tendency to want to expose yourself, promote yourself and your ministry. Rather, than allowing the Lord to keep you tucked away, hidden, in that dark room where he can process you, train you, teach you, grow you, stretch you and build you up. We can despise that hidden place the Lord calls us too because there you have no praise, no respect, no honor from men but, we have it from the Lord. Only if we would realize and desire that would be enough, only then can you tase the sweetness of the hidden life.

I struggled with that for a long while when the Lord called me to lay everything down to follow him. Every year he would continuously tell me to wait..wait…wait… and wait some more. I didn’t understand what it is I was waiting for as I began to take my eyes off of Him and look to others in comparison who seemed to be doing wonderful things for the Lord. It seemed he would continue to sit me on the shelf and push me back further and further. I now realize he was drawing me deeper and deeper to himself! Away from any creature that my affection will solely before him alone. Oh, how I have prayed that and desired that with my whole heart and this year he has cleaned the throne room of my heart where all that sits is him! Every birthday I would make it a big deal, throw big parties, have photoshoots, worship nights, dinners however, this year felt different. After going through one of the most toughest trials in my walk as I answered the call to a religious life as a Franciscan sister. Which cost me almost all my relationships, friendships, comforts and titles. I found myself truly now hidden in Christ and stripped of everything besides the lover of my soul. I found myself so full of peace, joy, contentment, hope and such great love words can’t even explain. The pain of having everything and everyone removed from me was so worth now having Jesus alone in the throne room of my heart and the center of my life. WHAT FREEDOM!!!

I had told him that I wanted to offer my birthday for those souls who were forgotten, rejected, abandoned, and felt so unloved. That all the consolations, gifts and graces he would give me for my birthday would be given to those souls instead . I prayed that he would make those in my community forget my birthday and I wouldn’t tell anyone as well. I deactivated my facebook so no one could reach out or would remember because I wanted to be forgotten and take on the cross of those who are forgotten.  I wanted my celebration to between me and Jesus hidden in his heart. What do you know, the Lord answers my prayer! lol.  I woke up that morning with a praise song on my heart as rushed into the pasture to our Blessed Mothers Praying tree to worship with the Lord and all the saints. I had the most amazing time ever!!! I found myself before the physical presence of Jesus as a priest I had my monstrance before me ( which is an open or transparent receptacle in which the consecrated Host is exposed for veneration)
 on some crates as I danced and worshiped all morning long with Jesus, the saints and the angels. I always have a playlist and ask holy spirit to pick the songs and he even played a birthday song which was so awesome letting me know how present he truly was. There were many times I broke down in tears, sobbing at God’s faithfulness in my life and his immense mercy towards me. That he had answered the cry of my heart all those nights, trials, battles, I would get on my knees asking him that I wanted more of him, that I wanted him to be my sole desire, that I wanted  to know his heart and be one with him, that I wanted to be filled with his spirit…. he has answered. As I was on my knees before His physical presence he had indeed given me himself fully, body, soul and divinity to me. That He had now come become my sole desire and affection after stripping me of everyone and everything all I had was him. In obsucrity, on my birthday, on my knees, with no one else around before Blessed Mothers sacred praying tree in the wilderness. I had finally found and tasted the sweetens of the hidden life!

So my dear friend, don’t despise humble beginning, don’t despise that hidden place the Lord has you in or is calling you into. A life out of the public eye in the wilderness in a retreat to the closest heart that matters. That of your Lord and Savior in complete obscurity to those in the world but, very visible, known and lavishly loved by the lover of your soul Jesus. There in lies true happiness, true joy, true peace, true purpose, true contentment and true sweetness!

 

 

“The hidden life seems gloomy to you because you have never tasted it’s sweetness”

-Jesus
(rhema word)

-From Jesus With Love

Too Be “Cooky” or “Cookie Cutter” …Following Jesus

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“I write straight with crooked lines, and each and every person is an individual. Different. Unique from all others. And therefore, there is no canned assignment. I don’t make cookie-cutter Christians—not at all! Each one of you are SO unique, and the missions I give are to fulfill their deepest needs and desires.

-Jesus (Rapture Update-still small voice youtube channel)

I lead a bible study group on Fridays and in a conversation my co -leader he plainly said “Nana lets be honest your walk with the Lord is a little cooky…your not a Cookie cutter christian” All I could do was laugh hysterically. Of course I am not a cookie cutter christian we were never intended to be and so when you find one believer on fire for the Lord completely sold out to live for him you get the terms “cooky”, “weird”, “too extreme” or the most popular “Jesus freak” which I welcome now with humility lol.

This has indeed been a difficult….. well to be honest walking with Jesus has been difficult but so rewarding. Just as he says “narrow and difficult is the way that leads to lift.. He calls us to pick up our cross and follow him. Which means to stray away from conformity and uniformity of even the “christian culture” which at times can be very difficult and painful.

I have found that in this generation so many times we have made “man” the standard of what a christian walk is suppose to be like rather than Jesus being the standard. May strive to be “the next” Smith Wigglesworth, Billy Graham, Joyce Meyer just to name a few rather than just being “YOU” so uniquely made and fashioned by God for a glorious purpose.  We have even coined the term “church culture” which comes with the impression that there is a certain ideology or look that others have to conform too and if they don’t. They just don’t quite fit in and many fear stepping out from the norm out of fear of ridicule, rejection and the scoffing that comes along with following a road less traveled…by Christians.  Now lets take a look at many leaders the Lord used that definitely would be considered “cooky” in our day lol

  • John the Baptist
    -This man lived in the dessert (which means he was isolated)
    -Ate only bugs (locust) and honey
    – Day and night he cried out before “religious people” which would be the church in our day to REPENT THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS AT HAND
    This is the same man the Lord called a prophet and said there would be no one greater than him! Wow!  Now he definitely didn’t conform to the religious people of his day

 

  • #1 is Jesus the Son of God
    – He was the messiah and savior of the whole world. The God of all creation but counted himself not equal with God and laid down his divinity which meant
    -He was born in  manager  around stinking animals not in a place with midwifes waiting on him
    -His appearance was so plain that he was overlooked all the time not having the latest fashion of his time, or having status
    – He had no place to lay his head having no home to call his home. When he easily could have established himself well. Materialistically, He forsook all those things to store his riches in heaven
    -He was rejected and killed by he religious people because he didn’t fit “the cookie cutter messiah”…they missed God

So even in these two examples above could be as Christians sometimes “we miss God”. When we limit him, put him in a box, limit what he can do and how he can do it to only what others have done before. Or better yet expect the Holy Spirit to move and direct in the same way all the time. Oh, how we have it wrong and how we can miss God and miss what he is doing in certain souls.  Were not meant to know or understand Gods ways with each person even though we try to figure it out. He indeed writes straight with crooked lines.  As Christians we were NEVER called to be cookie cutter but because of culture and the desire to be relevant  many have just followed….man which has quenched the Holy Spirit. However, he is always looking for those souls who will say yes to him. Yes to Jesus, yes to the cross,  yes to the crushing, yes to be detached from self, yes to being a laid down lover. Who surrenders fully to the Hand of God and in blind obedience abandons themselves to Gods providence, whatever that may look like so that he would get the glory. Looking ONLY to Jesus not their christian peers as to what is right and normal in the eyes of God. So will you break free from the culture, from the relevancy, from the conformity and say yes to being “COOKY” for Jesus..  Deny yourself, Pick up your Cross and Follow Him!

-From Jesus with Love

Living To Die…. Becoming A Laid Down Lover of Jesus

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(amazing photo credits: Kevin Carden Photography)

Unfortunately, the christian life especially in our generation has turned into giving your life to Jesus for what you can get rather than laying down your life for Jesus to become just like him. God calls us all as Christians to a higher purpose, a higher standard of living, and a higher standard of love if we would only yield ourselves to it. However, many times we hear the statement…”Christ died so that you may live” when in actuality “Christ died so that YOU may Die and HE may LIVE”.

Matthew 16:25
For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.

That’s truly is the call of any disciple of Jesus Christ. In scripture there were crowd of people who followed Jesus just for popularity or to follow the latest sign/wonder. Then their were many who called themselves disciples but fell away after his teaching became difficult or he asked more of them then they were willing to give. Hence the rich young ruler, or the young man who wanted to bury his father (Mark 10:17-27). Lastly were the 12 chosen disciples who were chosen by God to follow him all the way to their own crosses. Each giving their lives for the gospel and being martyrdom besides one, John. Interestingly enough when I gave my life to Jesus I told him with such passion and boldness that I was all in, I mean I told him not only would I live for him, give my life to him but I would die for him if it came to it. That I would never leave him and want to give all that their is for the sake of the gospel….pause ( doesn’t this sound exactly like what Peter said to Jesus lol…I am so a Peter I tell you)

Matthew 26:3-34
Peter said to Him, “Even if all fall away on account of You, I never will.” 34 “Truly I tell you, Jesus declared,“- this very night before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” 

So I stated this to the Lord boldly really believing I was called to martyrdom in the last days End times army. A soldier who would give her life up for the gospel and die for Jesus!!…sounds so heroic right lol Then the Lord plainly spoke to me last November with such authority and said “Nana I never called you to martyrdom BUT YOU WILL DIE THAT I MAY LIVE”. That statement alone shook me to the core when I heard the Lord speak those words to my heart he really meant it. Not sure which is easier dying in a moment of passion for the sake of the gospel or giving up yourself safe daily and dying to yourself. As you allow the Lord to continue to crush your pride, selfish desires/motives, reactions of the flesh, remove comfortabilities, and call you to a lifestyle of becoming just like him. As Paul stated

 1 Corinthians 15:31
Every day do I die, by the glorying of you that I have in Christ Jesus our Lord:
I have come to realize you can gracefully die that’s by you yielding to the Holy spirit in obedience and holiness or you can fight all the way as the Lord kills your flesh….yup sound about right lol. So what does a crucified life or being a “a laid down lover” look like? Is a bride of Christ who is completely dead to themselves, completely void of their own wants, preferences, opinions and completely abandoned to Gods will. A bride who rejoices in their suffering, trials, inconveniences, pains, tribulation and trials knowing that God has allowed it and if so will turn it for their good. A bride who doesn’t live for the earthly pleasures but lives for the rewards of heaven. A bride who wears a crown of scorn and contempt. Who is criticized, mocked, despised, rejected and persecuted for pursing righteousness, who is judged and misunderstood for walking in obedience. A bride who responds always in love, not defending themselves, not looking for the approval or moved by the criticism of others, one who is meek, lowly and little in their own eyes. A bride who yields his/herself daily in obedience to the Holy Spirit in every decision seeking only what will please the Father and no one else. A bride who is climbing the mountain of holiness with her beloved Jesus Christ picking up their cross daily and following him wherever he leads. That’s how the disciples of old lived their lives not loving it unto death and I believe that is how the Lord is calling his last days remnant church to return back too. Return back to hands not only open to receive from him but hearts that are fully surrendered with hands opened to be pierced to the cross with him.  Am I there yet no, but I have given myself totally to this call by the grace of God that I may be a living sacrifice for our Jesus. I hope you do the same too
(speaking to St. Faustina the stations of the cross)
Jesus:
Do you see these souls? Those who are like Me in the pain and contempt they suffer will be like Me also in glory. And those who resemble Me less in pain and contempt will also bear less resemblance to Me in glory
-From Jesus with Love