The Prison of Offense

I had carried that nasty offense spirit around with me for a long time. Many of us have or do carry the offense spirit around and look for ways to be offended. We may see somebody’s Facebook status and think that it is about us, or we will look and see a group going out to eat and they didn’t invite you. Remember, sometimes you’re not invited so you won’t steal the attention.What will happen is, that offense spirit will try to come in.

The little foxes spoil the vine so if you keep finding yourself getting offended time and time again, you have a problem. The enemy can’t touch you but where the enemy gets you is by those doors that you have left open in your life that you never took care of. Maybe it was you being raised in a family that made you feel like you were the black sheep of the family, and maybe that is carrying on in your life and now you are attracting what you are, not what you want.

I’ll never forget the Holy Spirit trying to heal me from that offense spirit. I remember I got asked to sing a solo at church. I was feeling like I made it because my whole life I was one of those people who didn’t want to put anybody out or ask anybody for anything. I didn’t want anybody to feel obligated. I didn’t feel worthy enough for people to do things for me, and so I would never ask for anything. I thought I had made it in church after a standing ovation after my solo because people pleasing had wrapped me up. People pleasing had taken everything from me. All I wanted was people to approve of me.

After I got through singing, I went down to the front row and while I was worshiping, I heard “Psst” and I continued to worship, and all of a sudden I heard it again. By then, I knew somebody was wanting my attention so I look to my right and there was an usher.

I’m screaming on the inside and all I could see in my mind was this usher with this scowl on his face looking at me. I’m sure he did not have a scowl on his face, and I’m sure he wasn’t being rude and was being as polite as all get out but because I was so insecure and feeling unworthy, the enemy was keeping me bound by this feeling of insecurity and lack of unworthy that at that moment the enemy used that usher. I turned back again and he was motioning me to come over there. I started screaming on the inside again. I had felt like all of the lights in the church shined on me all at once in that moment, and everybody in the church was staring at me. This usher was just doing his job. I realized that this was my problem, not his problem. In fact, God used this.

I scooted to the end of the row and he said to me, “We need your seat. Somebody else needs your seat.” I’m thinking, “You asked me for my seat out of all the seats in this church?” Do you know what my flesh heard? My flesh heard there is somebody more important than you. That is what my flesh heard, but that was not true. What was happening was because the enemy couldn’t keep me bound in any other way, the enemy was using this insecurity, feeling of unworthiness, and feeling of lack to cause me to stay hostage in any way he could.

The usher moved me a few rows back and you know when something like that happens, something triggers you. It’s hard to get back in the flow of the Holy Spirit. There was something that the pastor was about to say that was going to set my soul on fire. There was probably something that I needed at that exact moment that was going to change the trajectory of my future but I had allowed an offense spirit that I never took care of, come in. The Holy Spirit told me that night, “Tatiana, you have walked around your whole life with that offense spirit on you.” I was walking around in life feeling like the black sheep in the family.

I learned you’re going to hold onto the offense spirit as long as you want to hold onto the offense spirit. I got free from the offense spirit at the age of 21. I had completely lost myself in insecurity, and hit rock bottom. I found out who the rock at the bottom was, which is Jesus. It doesn’t matter if people don’t approve of me. All that matters is that God approves of me. As long as I am walking in the will of God and keeping my heart right with God.

One thing that I realized was I held onto that offense spirit even after the fact of God showing me that night. The enemy plays off of the little cracks that you hold onto that you’ve allowed to keep open because you’ve never dealt with it. That offense spirit will hold onto you until you are ready to let it go. *starts singing ‘Let It Go’ from the movie Frozen* Yes, I did just do that.

Another story:

A week after I got scouted for modeling, I got a call to do a photo shoot from this photographer who was well-known in the modeling industry around the world. He ended up being close by to where I live. He was going to be leaving for New York in two days. I ended up being able to go do this photo shoot the day before he left to go to New York.

He uploaded the pictures on his Facebook and I asked him if he would not tag me in the photos because there was something on the inside of me that felt guilty for doing it. I didn’t want anybody to see me in that state. I didn’t even feel attractive then. The photos were not seductive, but there was something on the inside of me that just didn’t feel right.

I remembered I got hundreds of likes and hundreds of comments saying how beautiful I was. To me, that was a lot to take in. I was so excited because I didn’t think I was attractive or felt like I was beautiful. I didn’t even think anyone truly believed I was attractive. The likes and comments on the photos were feeding my self-esteem issues and it was making me feel like I was approved of after all.

The next day, I am feeling confident and beautiful. I’m feeling amazing and like God loves me. I had later received thousands of likes and comments on those photos. From then on out, I was getting phone calls left and right from modeling agencies. I turned them down because of the feeling on the inside that I couldn’t explain. It was like God was tugging at my heart and trying to tell me something.

One day, I came home and received this really nice letter in the mail, an email, and a phone call from this major modeling company in New York. I truly could not see or understand what they saw in me. I called them back and told them I was going to pray about it. I couldn’t believe I was even thinking about it being a possibility even after I didn’t feel right about it, but I wanted to feel and be accepted more than anything.

That night, I began to pray and ask God why was I feeling uncertainty and not right with the photo shoot I did. I heard God as clear as day speak to me and say, “Tatiana, I accept you. That modeling isn’t My will. I have plans to prosper you for My Glory.”

I called this modeling agency back and turned them down. This is what God will do. He will take you from test to test to test until you learn to pass the test. I remember laying in my bed that night crying because I didn’t feel accepted anymore after I turned them down. I heard the Holy Spirit tell me, “Stop caring what people think about you, stop checking how many likes you get, and stop checking if people are validating you. Use this as a saving grace for someone else’s life. Until you get free from needing people’s approval, you won’t be used like I want to use you.”

Now, I search my heart. I say, “God, don’t let me say anything in emotion. Don’t allow me to hurt anyone. God, keep me focused.” That’s what some of us need to start praying and stop getting offended. The offense spirit doesn’t hold your future hostage. It doesn’t hold your loved ones hostage. It holds YOU hostage.

There was another time in my life when I was coming out of this hole that I had buried myself in, coming out of depression and deep hurt. God completely turned my life around. I forgot the things I was Petty Crocker about. I forgot the things I felt ashamed about. I forgot about how mean I used to be. I am no longer bound to me and my past anymore.

This is for Somebody Out There

God gave me a word for somebody out there. There is somebody walking out there with so much pain and feeling like you are unlovable. You feel like no one will ever love you. God wanted me to tell you today that in the darkness is where God does His best work. I remember one season in my life where I would cry every night. It was a horrible season. I was thinking I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel but one night, God rescued me. I remember laying there saying, “God, please take all of this pain away. God, heal me and set me free.” He gently spoke to me and said, “Darling, I can’t take it away from you. You have to release it. You have to give it to Me.”

That night I realized that it’s up to me to participate. We can’t just ask God to work a miracle in our lives and keep doing things the same way that we’ve done them to get us in the situations that we are in. We have to let it go and trust Him to put us back together again. That night, I went on a journey with God. I realized the darkness was the best place for God to do His work. That night, He started manifesting His healing in me.

You are used to the deprivation and pain in your life that you are afraid to let it go because you’ve been codependent on that pain. You surround yourself with pain. You surround yourself in situations and toxic relationships. God wants you to release them and trust Him. Go ahead today my friend and ask God to help you help Him by releasing the pain. You deserve to be loved appropriately. You deserve to be celebrated and not tolerated because you are God’s beloved child. You are a masterpiece, and you are priceless. You’re about to step into a new season. You’re going to soar on wings like an eagle. No more chicken thinking. I believe in you and I’m praying for you.

An Orphan with a Home

I was born in Ulyanovsk, a city in Russia. I was born three months early due to my birth mother using drugs. My birth mother never returned to the hospital to get me. I ended up being in an incubator. From the time I left the NICU to the age of three, I was in an orphanage. To this day, I still remember what the orphanage was like. The orphanage was gated, and I remember the children in the orphanage weren’t allowed to go outside the gate. Our baths consisted of us standing in a line and having a cold hose rinse us briefly. Our bathroom were pots lined up, and the matrons would tell us which number to go and if we did the opposite, we would get hit with a rod because they saw that as disrespectful.

One day, one of the matrons told me that my mom was coming to be with me. My adopted mom came to meet me, and my first reaction was I ran and gave her a big hug. The orphanage did not allow my adopted mom to take me home immediately, so she stayed in Russia for several weeks and visited me every day. Fast forward several weeks later, and my adopted mom was able to take me home with her. I remember being mortified walking outside the gates of the orphanage, because I had never been outside the gates before. My adopted mom and I boarded the plane. Fast forward twelve hours and I am at home in North Carolina. I didn’t know the English language so if I wanted anything, I had to point to whatever I wanted. I learned to speak English fluently within two months.

My adopted mother is a divorced and single parent. Growing up without a dad was extremely difficult for me. Growing up most of my life, I would always wonder why wasn’t I put with a family that had a mother and a father? My adopted mother grew up in a household where her parents were drunk and abusive to each other most of her life.

My relationship with my mother has never been good. Growing up, I never did anything good enough for my mother. For example, I vacuumed and mopped the entire floor and my mom swept dirt from a different room and poured it on the floor I had just vacuumed and mopped. She called me lazy and would make me re-do the entire floor. She called me a failure, a mistake born from drugs, anything that she could to break me down. The unfortunate part is, I began to believe those things she told me.

I walked around for years defeated by those lies. My mother influenced how I interacted with other people without me even realizing it. If I made any mistake, she told me I was going to hell. Any time I was home, my eyes were never dry. I had never felt so lonely at a place where I was supposed to feel welcomed. I looked for any excuse to get away from my adopted mother. Due to those years of emotional neglect, I gave up on trying to have a relationship with my adopted mother.

Years passed, and I continued to seek the Lord in prayer. The Lord eventually responded to my desperation, and to my pleas for direction. He spoke gently to my heart, “How have I loved and forgiven you, Tatiana?” When I realized how destructive not forgiving someone was, I asked God to show me how to forgive. I have forgiven my mother. I am not my mother. I break that generational curse, in Jesus name. I am who He says I am.

“Forgiveness is really a two-way release. It means releasing others from the debts and sins they have committed against us, and at the same time releasing ourselves as judge, jury and prison guard over them because that’s God’s position.” – Leslie Leyland Field

Comparison is the Thief of Joy

Comparison will keep you bound in life. It will make you jealous, and envious. It will make you hate, and makes you gossip. It makes you do all kinds of things out of character that you were not created to be. We often look at people and get jealous of the blessings they have. We think we can look at their past and think they were terrible people, and now look at all God is doing in their life.

We think we didn’t do near half the terrible things they did, and I’m not getting any of these blessings. We think, “Why them and not me, God?” A lot of times we’ll get mad at God because we feel like He is blessing everyone else and not blessing me.

The problem is our attitude and your spirit is blocking your blessing without you even realizing it. You’re watching these people and wishing you had what they had when you have no idea of what they went through to get what they got. I have been faced with people who are jealous of me, and I have to put my hater blockers on. I have to realize that people don’t know what I went through to get to where I am now. They don’t know the years I spent learning to forgive people, learning how to put down my guard, and learning to love.

Hurt people hurt people, but healed people heal people. I was one of those hurt people in a season of my life where I would hurt people before they hurt me. I kept this wall up around my heart so people couldn’t hurt me. One day I decided I was going to let God heal me everywhere I hurt.

Today, I get to walk and reap the benefits of God’s favor in my life because I walked the process. People don’t know that, but God does. I realize that God is the one that validates me, and He is the one that validates you. I want to encourage you today that sometimes you have to let go of people who can’t let go of your past. Get around people who celebrate you, and not tolerate you. Don’t be around people who remind you of who you used to be, but who you are today.

You might have done everything that they know and said you did, but you’re no longer that person. You’re a new creation in Christ. Today, go ahead and stop comparing yourself. Stop being a victim in your own story, and realize that people with the worst past can create the best future. Go ahead and get around people who use your gifts, see your value, and see what you bring to the table. You also deserve to rejoice in other people’s victories. Be authentically you because you are incredible.

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt 

 

Secured in Christ

Scenario: I’m driving him away. I just know I am, she thought. I love him so much, and I can’t bear the thought of losing him.

Does that sound familiar to you? That girl in that scenario used to be me. I had been hurt by people who I trusted and instead of healing that hurt that was inside of me, I hurt people back. Part of me knew that my boyfriend was decent, caring, honest, but the emotional side of myself felt that it was just a matter of time before things went wrong. If my boyfriend was quiet, I started over thinking is he going to break up with me? Is he mad at me? If I didn’t know why he was quiet, I began to get too needy. I didn’t realize those thoughts created a problem, but it did. Feeling insecure in a relationship is natural up to a point, at least until the relationship settles. When we enter into a relationship, we can feel very emotional and vulnerable, especially if you have felt let down or hurt in previous relationships.

The enemy will make sure that you see something that isn’t even a part of cheating. I highlighted that sentence because the enemy had my mind convinced for a long time that my boyfriend wanted every other woman but me. Even when I knew in my heart that my boyfriend was faithful to me, the enemy tried so hard to convince me otherwise. I no longer have thoughts cross my mind that my boyfriend is being unfaithful.

So submit to [the authority of] God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him] and he will flee from you.” – James 4:7

I had myself all bent out of shape, accusing my boyfriend, and all of a sudden I had built a big gap between my boyfriend and myself. It was all because I had never allowed God to heal me of hurt before I got into the relationship. You know the saying about hurt people hurt people? That’s exactly what I did. I hurt my boyfriend any time I could over anything I could. I made my boyfriend pay because I wouldn’t put a do not disturb sign on my heart, and let God heal me everywhere I hurt first.

I had a conspiracy spirit on me that all of sudden made me build these huge stories around things that aren’t even happening. Yes, you can heal from a past relationship. You can heal from past hurt. I’m living proof that God can heal you from past hurt. I am living proof that you can be completely healed from past relationships, but you have to be intentional and want to be healed. Through counsel, lots of prayer and God, I am completely healed from any hurt. Healed people love people, and I now love to love people.

I’m writing this with love. This man told me this story about how devastated he was, because he was married to this woman and she was drop dead gorgeous. There was no reason in this world for her to be so jealous. She was so eaten up with jealousy because of her past relationships; where she had been in relationships with people who did her dirty and cheated on her. This man loved her with everything in him but every day, she was screaming. If he didn’t get home from work at the exact time that he was supposed to be there, she would yell and give him the quiet treatment. He said they had separated all the time because he couldn’t take it. She would physically hit him and yell in his face. She had to have all his passwords to everything. He said he would leave and then he would come back, and they would make up. They ended up getting pregnant in one of their times getting back together. This man really loved this woman and wanted to be with her.

One night, this man and woman were fighting and they were separated again. This woman shows up at the apartment and starts beating on his apartment door so loud and he was thinking the cops are going to come. He walked right past her and got in his car and left. He told her he was going to his mother’s house and that she could have the apartment tonight. All of a sudden she runs down stairs, gets in her car and starts chasing him and hits his car with her car on the interstate. Unfortunately, she wrecks her car and neither her or the baby made it. For the rest of this mans life, he is having to deal with something that they should have dealt with before they ever had a baby.

It doesn’t matter how pretty you are on the outside, no man will put up with an ugly soul. That’s why we need to stop spending so much time on our outward appearance and allow God to begin to heal you on the inside. I used to spend so much time on what I looked like on the outside, while on the inside I was torn up to pieces. I knew if I didn’t get my act together that I was going to be old, alone, and wiping my own behind. Nobody should ever have to put up with being in a relationship with someone who is insecure and jealous.

I’m going to give some scenarios of my insecure behavior. I am not crazy, but I want to laugh now at how crazy I was for acting like this. If my boyfriend and I were driving down the highway and there was a woman on a  billboard, my mind immediately thought,My boyfriend thinks she’s prettier than me. He wishes that was me, or he wants her.” If we were at a check out line in the grocery store and there was a magazine with a woman on it, my mind immediately thought,My boyfriend thinks she’s prettier than me. “He wishes that was me, or he wants her.” I want to laugh now for ever having these thoughts. I’m no longer jealous or insecure, but secured in Christ.

If God wanted to make me like someone else, He would have made them twice but He didn’t. I am God’s masterpiece and I would not want to look or be like anybody else. God made me beautiful. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I am loved. Anything else less is a lie.

Repeat this: God made me beautiful. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I am loved. Anything else less is a lie. Amen.

Junk in the Trunk

Tonight as I was spending time praying and meditating on the Word of God, God spoke to me and said He wanted me to write about junk in the trunk. I was like, “WHAT? What do you mean by that God?” He said, “so many people who you are praying and interceding for, listening to their prayer needs and praying for them, they have so much junk in their trunk that is preventing them from living in the fullness of My freedom. I’ve got blessings with their name on it but they can’t let go of all of that past pain.”

What is the junk in your trunk? Is it depression? Is it oppression? Is it heartache? Is it past hurt? Is it rejection? Is it a man or woman leaving you? Is it because you didn’t get the job that you wanted? Is it because you don’t know how you’re going to pay your bills? Is it betrayal from a family member? Whatever your junk in your trunk is, it is holding you back.

In Luke 10:19, it says God has given you the power on the inside of you to defeat every enemy that comes in your path. That’s depression, oppression, sickness, disease, or whatever may be the junk in your trunk. That’s anything that comes and gives you chaos, heartache, and pain. God has given you the authority to get rid of the junk in your trunk, but you have to help God help you. Stop talking about that storm that is stopping you and start praising your way through. Anything that is not bringing life into your life that is contradicting what God says about your life, then don’t answer it. Don’t give any way for the enemy to get in. It’s the foxes that spoil the vine.

Let the junk in your trunk go, and release it to God. Release all your pain, worry, fear, anger, even betrayal. Do you know why betrayal hurts so bad? Because betrayal comes from those we love the most. Those we trusted, and those we never thought would let loyalty go somewhere else. That’s why it hurts so bad. Today, I want you to release whatever the junk in your trunk is. Release the junk in your trunk to God.

For example, release that person that betrayed you. Release that person that hurt you and walked out on you with someone else you were friends with. Release that person that didn’t give you that job promotion when you thought you should have got that job promotion. Realize that God doesn’t take anything out of your life unless He has something better. That’s a fact Jack! Go ahead and rejoice because your suddenly is coming! Remember, every storm runs out of rain.

If You Have a Pulse, God Has a Plan

I was raised going to church, so I knew who God was. In 2007, I went through a devastating tribulation of being sexually abused by the pastor at the church I was attending at the time. This pastor was very friendly to me, and looking back, more so than to anyone else and more than I realized at the time. He had a niece that I was friends with and she was spending the night at his house. She asked if I wanted to spend the night as well, and I did. I’m not going to go into intricate details of what happened that night to me.

Fast forward to church that morning, I felt uncomfortable around him. I began to feel guilty, scared and unworthy. My mom had “The Birds and the Bees” talk with me, so I felt like I couldn’t talk to her because I didn’t want to hurt her. Shame kept me silent from being sexually abused because I thought that was what I deserved. At 12 years old, I began carrying a secret. When someone’s innocence is taken from them at a very young age, something breaks on the inside of them. I began to feel like it was my fault. That was only the beginning. I was too ashamed of what happened to ask for help, and I couldn’t trust anyone except for myself.

When I was 13, I remember my mom asked me if we could talk, and so we did. She told me she noticed a drastic change in how I acted. She noticed me going from this smiling, laughing, sweet, and outgoing girl to this girl who hardly smiled,  hardly laughed, ill-natured, and was shy. She then said, “Did someone hurt you? You can tell me. I’m here for you.” Big tears flowing from both sides of my cheeks, I looked up with fear in my eyes, I whimpered softly “yes”. Fast forward, we quit going to that church, and I quit going to church all together for a while. I quit praying, and I quit believing that God truly loved me.

In middle school and high school, I began drinking alcohol to void the pain for a little while, and it continued to spiral out of hand. It got to the point where I wouldn’t just drink at parties, but I would drink myself to sleep to avoid late night thoughts of my sexual abuse. I pushed away anyone that tried to get close to me because I didn’t feel I was someone worth loving.

After years of drinking and hurting people, shame came back. Shame is like a poison that just sits inside of you, and just rots every part of your soul. The sexual abuse compounded my thoughts constantly to the point I didn’t want to live anymore. I remember one night it got so bad that I was in a car, and had a gun on my lap, with the thought of suicide on my mind. After years of feeling like I wasn’t worth anything, I knew there was only one way to quit feeling unworthy.

I drove around with the gun in my lap with every intention to take my life. I was trying to find a place where no one would hear or see me end my life. I was parked in a parking lot away from where I lived trying to decide where I could go. A police officer was parked in the parking lot behind a building to catch speeders, and he noticed I had been sitting there for a while. I did not even know he was anywhere around. I had my eyes closed and my head laid back on the seat thinking of where to go, when all of a sudden I heard the police officer say, “Ma’am, are you alright?” I said, “Yes, I’m going to go home.” He told me to get out of the car, and put my hands on the car. He searched my car, and found the gun. He asked me to follow him and we sat down and he talked with me. He used to be a youth pastor. He asked me, “Were you trying to end your life?” I said, “Yes. How did you know?” He said, there was a point in his life when he drove around trying to find a place to end his life also. I didn’t know then, that God had placed that police officer in my path but I do now. The police officer said he wasn’t even suppose to be looking for speeders in that particular area. He said, “God sent me here because He knew you needed me.” We talked for two hours. I went home that night, and there was something inside of me that I knew I needed my God more than anything.

I remember going home that night and saying, “Lord, I don’t know what to do or say to you. Will you show me what to do?”

The next day, I was driving behind a tractor-trailer and it had a 106.9 radio station sticker on the back and inspirational sayings on the truck as well, and the one that stood out the most to me was, “There’s purpose in your pain.” I turned on 106.9 and on the station right as I turned it on was a pastor talking about “There is purpose in your pain.” I knew it couldn’t be a coincidence. That next morning, I laid down my pain, hurt, desires, and sins all at the feet of Jesus. I dusted off my bible that I hadn’t opened in years. Any time I had the urge to drink, I prayed and read my bible. I now live my life for the One who gave me life. Thank you Jesus.

“Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do super abundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us.” – Ephesians 3:20

I live in the fullness of His joy.

I am a new creation in Christ.

I am restored and redeemed.

I have forgiven my abuser.

I love to love people.

I am loved.