Wednesday, November 16, 2011

How Can I Not?

Sometimes when I am talking about my life, the crazy twist and turns, the moments that at times have become literally carved into my flesh, it seems impossible, unreal, beyond what I can, most times, put into words.
I don't know if its the decisions I have made that have brought me to the depths of sin, isolation, pain, or what, but I simply cannot see things the way I did before. Everything seems bigger, and at the same time things I see others get so twisted up in really just don't matter.
There are moments when the weight of my sinful choices, and the consequences I am facing suffocate me. There are moments when I list my failures, or have someone point them out to me, and I want to crawl off somewhere and die.
But over and over again in those moments, there is another voice that says, Jessi, look up. Jessi, see Me.
Many years ago, I went to the alter. A broken, mess of a girl and said simply, God it is too big, I don't know how, but here I am, I'm giving myself to you.
The freedom in that moment was undeniable. I spent years telling any and everyone what He had done for me. It had been so awful I knew and understood it could not be me who rose beyond it, but God in me.
And life happened. I was unprepared. With a willing heart, but broken mind, I fell into a place so dark and so ugly, I could not see the sun. After a time, I convinced myself that even if the sun existed, I most certainly did not deserve to see it.
In a moment, when the choice was no longer live in this hole or not, but live or die, once again, God reached down to me.
He knew I could never get out on my own. He knew I had given up. He knew I had forgotten.
I am the daughter of the King. He sees me lovely. He has a plan, a purpose, a destiny beyond this moment.
There are times I feel unworthy to speak His name. There are some close to me who mock the changes in my heart. There are some whose sole purpose in my life right now is to accuse, to remind.
As my sins are listed, they are meant to crumble me, and while they are painful, they reveal more to me about who God is instead of who I am.
He is merciful. He is full of grace. He loves me.
If He can love me, someone who has made herself so ugly that even those who by genetics alone should love, then He can love anyone.
It really isn't about where or when or how I have failed, but that in those failures, my God says I am His. He won't leave me, He won't let me be hopeless.
Knowing where I was, and seeing Him bring me daily one step further away from that place, I am left simply with praise. How can I not?

Cross the Street

One of my friends wrote this and I wanted to share. She is also an amazing artist, check her out when you can: Christie Council

"All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing"

I also read this last night from a story about a woman, Christine Caine, and how God called her to work to stop sexual slave trafficking. Caine says God clearly spoke to her through Luke 10. “While I was so troubled by what I had seen, I was still thinking, I am the Good Samaritan,” she explains. “But then God clearly said to me, ‘No ... you are the Levite and the priest in the story who walked to the other side.’ And then it hit me: The Good Samaritan gave of his time, talent and treasure.

“It was then I felt the Holy Spirit saying: ‘You know, Christine, most of My church thinks they are compassionate because they cry or, like you, they feel bad when they see injustice. That’s not compassion—that’s just emotion. Compassion is when you cross the street.’” LET'S CROSS THE STREET CHURCH!!!!!!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I, The Coloring Book

You colored me in soft blues and greens,
Hard purples and reds.
Little black specks, to accentuate my most pecious places.
You blurred the colors together. . .
so it is hard for me to see...
who it is,
I am,
anymore. . .
The edges of my body,
the outline for your work.
The insides forgotten
as you busied yourself coloring. . .
If only it were beautiful.
If only you had just torn out this page.

Broken Puzzles


She is damaged goods,

Long ago broken

by men who will never pay for their crimes.

Long ago lost

to a world she was never brave enough to dream about.

She sits ever so quietly in her room


Wishing to look in the mirror

and see more.

A broken puzzle with missing pieces,

She worked ever so hard to put them together

Filling in the holes with hopes for more

Trying desperately to make out who it is she wants to be

But it doesn't matter

Because no one plays with broken puzzles.

As I lay sleeping

As I lay sleeping the phone rings. It is him, he is scared and alone. I rush quickly to get dressed and make my way to him, terrified I won't make it in time. This time it's bad, I can tell from the sound of his voice. It reminds me of when I would listen to him cry as my father locked him in his room. I can't breathe. I am driving but the road is swirling about, making me feel dizzy and sick.

I call and I call, but he no longer answers. I try helplessly to figure out where he is based on the things he said when he was making more sense. . . wrong. Over and over I call his name but no one answers. Maybe, I figure, his vision is blurry too, so I drive to a similar location. Still not answering. I lower the windows and dial the number and listen. . . nothing. Keep driving, keep calling, keep listening. Finally I hear it. Oh God, I hear his phone but not him, please let him be ok. I run frantically around the area trying to find him, I keep calling.

There he is. . . curled under a bush, not moving. He is cold and stiff. I panick, afraid that I am too late. I drag him out, God he's so heavy. I don't remember him being this heavy last time. I get him turned over and am bombarded with the smell of alcohol and vomit. His eyes slowly open, "Lady" he says "it's ok, my sister is coming, just leave me here". He seems confused when I explain that it's me, that I have found him, that I will take him home.

Home to what? Home to broken dreams and promises. Home to empty walls and beds? How can that be home? Perhaps the concrete where he was lying was a little warmer than this place.

My heart breaks a million times over as I watch him stagger around and cry about all he's lost. I want so badly to help. Just like when he was little I would try to figure out how to push the food under the door so he could eat. Now it seems there is nothing I can do. I stood there helpless and sick until the mosters inside finally quieted enough to let him rest.

I tuck him into bed and kiss his forhead. I am so sorry. "Sorry for what" he says. "sorry for all of this". Sorry that I can't help this time. I leave the house tired and thankful that I found him. Please God if you can't make his burden any less, please always let me find him. Please don't make me say good-bye to someone else over a broken heart.


Um if you wouldn't mind

you're making too much noise.

So... your head is underwater

just breathe easy, it's a choice

Um could you please focus

Try not to kick so hard?

Damn, We're trying to save you.

Don't you see you've came this far?

We've been standing here for hours

putting our world on hold,

you've hardly said a thing

except "help the water's cold"

Help yourself! You know you can

Stop the tears from flowing and dry your little face

Yes, We see that you are drowing

We just wish you'd do it with more grace.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Dear Satan

Dear Satan,
You know that lie you have told me my entire life? The one about never being enough? The one you've whispered in my ear, and spoken from the mouths and actions of others? You are never enough. Never enough for parents to love and protect. Never enough for family to love you. Never enough for friends. Never enough to keep yourself safe. Never enough to take care of your body. Never enough to be the only one for anyone. Never enough to be worthy to even exist...That lie?

The lie that from my birth has had me so broken and twisted? The lie, the one who caused me to live in a way that ended up not being worthy of love and protection? The one that became a self fulfilling prophecy? The lie, the one that almost took me out completely?

Well, I have a new man in my ear, speaking straight to My Heart. He says I was worth dying for. He says His grace is sufficient for my failures. He says I am beautifully and wonderfully made. He says He will keep me, that I am more than enough. He says you're a liar.

Go lie to someone else because I am not listening to you anymore.


Jessi Lynn
Child of God, Mother to many, and so on and so on...

Guilty As Charged

I many many times use facebook and my blog to share God, His mercy, His grace, His love for me, His love for you. At the same time, I share my struggles with sin, depression, self harm and on and on.

I never ever ever want to come across as anything more than guilty. GUILTY.

I have hurt people and myself far more than most of you will ever know. I struggled years, and still do in some areas, with some really serious sin. You can rest assured if I am talking about God's mercy, it is because in my sin He was merciful. If I am talking about hope, it is because when I had sinned so much and so horrendously, that He did not turn me away. If I am talking about forgiveness, it is because of my deep gratitude of being forgiven of things it took me years to even be able to say out loud, and some that someone had to expose for me, they were so horrible in my mind.

I used to struggle a lot with knowing my failures, and the desire in my heart to share what God has done in my life. I don't want to be a hyprcrite. I don't want to ever make it seem that I am better than anyone, because I am not. If I haven't done it, and I assure you, the haven't done list is small, it is only because of God's grace, and NOTHING to do with my abilities. It is for that reason, and that reason alone that I, GUILTY JESSICA HACKER, with a list of sin that could stretch to the moon and back, still praise Him.

It is from hearing of the failures of others that I found hope. It is in the transparancy of the brave that I learned that there was a way out. I want you to know that all is never lost. I want you to know that you are never too far from home that you can't turn around.

Please never ever mistake my hope for more as a belief that I am deserving of it. It is only an understanding that God's grace and mercy are sufficient.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


A few years ago, I went kayaking with some friends. I was nervous and excited. Towards the end of our trip, we hit some turbulent water and my kayak threw me right in. To say I panicked was an understatement! I had gotten ahead of the experienced kayakers. I remember screaming my head off, flailing about, certain I was going to drown... And then I heard a friends voice, "Jess, you have a life vest on, calm down, its ok". It took a minute to sink in, but I squeezed that life vest tightly. Within a couple of moments, I had gone from drowning, to standing on a rock.

The walk to shore terrified me, it was slippery and the water fast, but, I knew I had my life vest, and I knew I wasn't alone.

Only a few weeks later I was back on that river. Of course I was scared, but my accident, my falling out of that kayak, despite its bumps and bruises, and the water that stung my lungs, WAS NOT WORTH the chance of even one moment of being on that water. It wasn't worth missing the sun dance on the waves, or the icy water pulling my wandering brain into focus. It was worth the risk. The best things always are!

If you are being tossed around in the water, even if you chose to dive in head first, remember your life vest. Look and listen for those experienced to help guide you to shore. But most of all, don't give up on the beauty of the water, there are so many more adventures waiting

Monday, August 08, 2011

Whispers from the Valley Part 5

This time last year I had given up. I went on a terrible downward spiral. I made terrible choices. People gave up on me, gosh I did too! I remember very clearly the night God said no, I'm not done with you yet. Now the road back has been hard. I have not walked perfectly, there is a line of people who could tell you so. I, many times, have felt hopeless, but I kept His promise to me close.

What I am learning is that His view and my own are not the same. He didn't say He was going to restore if I was perfect. He didn't say He would heal if I did this or that. He simply said trust Me. Trust Me when you fall down, trust Me when they say its over, trust Me when they say you don't deserve it, trust that I can see beyond this broken moment. He says trust him, and I will....

Whispers from the Valley Part 4

I spent many years where I quit praising God when things went well. Fear had such a tight hold on my heart. You see, I'd say "God thank you for my babies being healthy", and someone would break an arm. I'd say "God thank you for healing me from depression", and depression would rise up like a monster and knock me right out. I'd say "God I praise you that I have been set free from self harm", to find myself hurting me only days later. I said God thank you for setting me free from abuse, only to have the man I was married to abuse me

I thought it made me look stupid, and God look bad. SO . . . I shut up. I stayed mad and self defeated. I went on a tail spin downward that would make most of you fall out your seat. Mad, sad, and scared were consistent, they were easy, and expected. I was comfortably miserable.

The truth is that is a selfish and rotten way to live. It is not at all where or how God would want me to live my life. "God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of LOVE, POWER, and a STRONG MIND."

God has a purpose, a plan, a destiny for me. My circumstances and personal struggles do not change that. They are only here to create in me the person I need to be for what God has for me to do.

28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8 : 28 - ESV)

What I have learned is that God is I am. Not I was. Not I will be. Everyday I go without succumbing to previous personal downfalls is worthy of His praise. If you find me failing tomorrow, know that I am human, but He is still God. If people around me hurt my heart, I praise Him for having a heart that can be broken.

Praise Him. Praise Him no matter where you are, or how you feel, or what they say, because God has a plan.

Whispers from the Valley Part 3

Most every day since I met my husband, I at one time or another drive down the Old Jonesborough Highway. There is this magnificient willow tree that sits on the corner of Mayfield and that road. I love to watch the wind twist thru it's branches.

What most don't know is that the year I met my husband, something happened and knocked that tree down. I'm not sure what it was, I just remember driving by and commenting about how sad it is that such a beautiful tree was destroyed.

The tree laid there for quite some time. Eventually someone chopped it up, leaving only a stump. One day as I was driving past I noticed there as a sprout poking out of the broken stump. "How funny I thought, that tree is destroyed and it's still trying to grow"

I didn't think about it much until the other night when it was going to storm and the wind was blowing crazy. My husband said to me when we drove past, "look at that willow tree showing off"

That tree wasn't showing off, God was. I imagine He shakes His head often at us and our lack of faith. That tree is a living reminder. It is a standing witness of how very limited our understanding of His healing power is. We see something destroyed, broken and grieve it's loss instead of realizing that God made that tree. God made that tree and HE IS ABLE to RESTORE IT.

I have spent years a walking broken tree, feeling sorry for myself, being angry at God for allowing me to be broken. What I am learning is that yes, my tree was broken. Yes it looks from a distance a lost cause. BUT, if you will only step close enough you will see that there is an ever so tiny sprout rising out of that brokenness.

When you see me having joy when all looks lost, please know I'm thinking and hoping for the day when, when you have hardly thought of me at all, you look and say "look at Jessi showing off"

Not showing off what I can do, but rejoicing in what He has done, is doing every single moment I trust Him.

Whispers from the Valley Part 2

Part two, not sure if it should be one or two, but here it is. Maybe someday I will figure it out.

How should you, as a Jesus follower, handle those who judge you for past and present behavior?

I read something the other day that really struck me, and as someone who has been a MAJOR FALLER in the past few years, it really spoke to me and I wanted to share it with you.

The alcoholic is like a tornado roaring his way thru the lives of others. Hearts are broken. Sweet relationships are dead. Affections have been uprooted. Selfish and inconsiderate habits have kept the home in turmoil. We feel a man is unthinking when he says that sobriety is enough. He is like the farmer who came out of his cyclone cellar to find his home ruined. To his wife he remarks "don't see anything the matter here, Ma. Ain't it grand the wind stopped blowing? " Alcoholics Annonymous Fourth Addition

(Ok so if you know me, and know what a tornado I have been, you know it didn't just speak to me, It got out a big loud speaker and blasted me, followed by beating me over the head repeatedly. )


Geez I'm amazed at my own selfish and prideful attitude.

I am a faller, not a flier. I used to get so tore up when people reminded me of that, but I am working on being truly grateful for those reminders. (Ok ok so, and especially because I am working so hard right now, part of me wants to jump up and down and make people see it. Part of me gets heartbroken or angry when they don't.)

Last night I was reminded of a most precious prayer by a friend of mine a few years ago. She was getting ready to sing and was nervous. We were praying and she said "Lord help me not be prideful" NOT "Lord help me not be afraid". I didn't realize the awesomeness and depth of that statement until last night. As I am struggling with the consequences of my actions, lots of feelings rise and fall. Last night her sweet voice replayed in my mind. Lord help me not to be prideful. If it were not for pride, I would not feel hurt and anger. I would be able to see the destruction that I caused, purposefully and not. I have no right to even ask forgiveness. I have no right to judge how someone else handles the pain my actions caused them. God has forgiven me. I have forgiven me, but that forgiveness does not erase the pain I have caused.

So as a faller, I think that your job is to let people feel. It is to let them grieve and hurt and be angry. Make it right where you can, if you can. More than anything, when you are reminded of what you've done, where you have been, PRAISE HIM.

Praise Him that you aren't there right now. Pray for healing in the hearts of those you have wounded. Most of all, keep moving forward. It is only in moving forward that anything will ever get any better. Nothing good comes from bitterness and anger. Nothing good comes from self pity and pride."But for the grace of God, there go I." I am humbled that I am given even one more moment, that I was spared a fate so many suffer, that He would save and love a wretch like me...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Homemade Laundry Detergent

I use the Dugger Family Recipe for my laundry detergent and love it!

Here it is....

4 Cups - hot tap water
1 Fels-Naptha soap bar (.45 cents)
1 Cup - Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda* ($2.99-makes at least 6-7 batches)
½ Cup Borax ($4.29-makes 20 batches

- Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.

-Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.

-Stir and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and then fill rest of way with water. Shake before each use. (will gel)

-Optional: You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. Add once soap has cooled. Ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil.

-Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 10 gallons.

-Top Load Machine- 5/8 Cup per load (Approx. 180 loads)

-Front Load Machines- ¼ Cup per load (Approx. 640 loads)

*Arm & Hammer "Super Washing Soda" - in some stores or may be purchased online here (at Baking Soda will not work, nor will Arm & Hammer Detergent - It must be sodium carbonate!!

If you have none of the ingredients and are starting from scratch it will cost you about $8 to get started. The first batch makes 10 gallons of detergent. Take a second and figure out how much ten gallons of your favorite laundry detergent would cost...I love Gain, a gallon of Gain cost me about $5 at Walmart, when it's on sale. So...the same amount of Gain would cost me at least $50. That doesn't even include the fact that once you buy the arm and hammer and borax, it is several batches before you have to buy more.

I've read that basically it is 10 times cheaper to make your own...nice!

Make your own sour cream!

Easy Homemade Sour Cream Recipe

Making home made sour cream doesn't take long and you'll really notice the difference in taste compared to the store bought variety.


1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup buttermilk

Mix heavy cream and buttermilk in a screw-top jar. Allow the mixture to stand at room temperature overnight until it thickens. Chill sour cream well before using then store in the fridge.

OK if you are a polar bear like me and keep your house chilly, then room temperature is too cold for making your own yogurt or sour cream. Instead put the jar into the oven with the oven light on. That makes it the perfect temp! Just make sure you don't invite the husband, Brad Hacker over because he is a oven light turning off fiend and will delay your yogurt!

Pina Colada Muffins

These muffins are super yummy, but I think could use some more sweetness so you may want to increase the amount of suger. I am a sugar addict though....

Pina Colada Muffins

1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup margarine
1 egg
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon rum flavored extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (15 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 cup flaked coconut

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a muffin pan, or use paper liners (These muffins are super moist and stick A LOT to the paper so next time I make them I wont be using the papers).

In a large bowl, combine sugar, margarine, egg, sour cream and rum extract. Beat together until smooth. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Blend into egg mixture. Stir in pineapple and coconut. Divide batter into 12 muffin cups.

Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the tops spring back when lightly tapped.


I found this recipe on AllRECIPES.COM, and it is super delicious! I can't keep it made! My kids are running thru it faster than if I had made brownies!!!! You gotta make you some!


2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2/3 cup white sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
6 cups bread flour

In a large bowl, dissolve the sugar in warm water, and then stir in yeast. Allow to proof until yeast resembles a creamy foam.
Mix salt and oil into the yeast. Mix in flour one cup at a time. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Place in a well oiled bowl, and turn dough to coat. Cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
Punch dough down. Knead for a few minutes, and divide in half. Shape into loaves, and place into two well oiled 9x5 inch loaf pans. Allow to rise for 30 minutes, or until dough has risen 1 inch above pans.
Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Whispers from the Valley Part 1

My dreams have gone from poetry to paragraphs, and I figure I'll start writing them down. Decided to call them Whispers From the Valley, as for the most part it's going to be based in Jesus Following, and all that and I NEED for you to know that I am not yelling from a mountain top when I am talking about who it is we, you AND I should be. I am whispering from the valley. Together, we can keep walking forward...

"God never gives us discernment in order that we may criticize, but that we may intercede."
— Oswald Chambers

Being human means interacting with other humans. Being an imperfection means sharing that imperfection.

Watching someone fail has become entertainment for most. Our tv and radio is full of examples of the latest imperfect human. You only have to scroll down a moment on facebook or news stories to see, or hear it, in some way or another.

Photographers vie for photos of love child
"Oh my gosh did you see what __________ did saturday?"
Mayor cited for patronizing
"She did ______________ and claims to be a Christian?"
Pop star checks into rehab
"Whatever, spare me, I know who they really are, and they are pathetic. _________ just doesn't see the real ________ yet"
Marriage ends after rumors of infidelity

As an avid faller, and collector of fallen things, I have been searching for what my response as a Jesus Follower should be.

The above quote says it best I think.

"God never gives us discernment in order that we may criticize, but that we may intercede."
— Oswald Chambers

Knowing someone's failures, their dirty little secret, their brokenness, isn't so that we can judge them. It isn't so that we can gossip. It isn't so that we can make snotty and sarcastic little remarks. Pastor Reggie Weems said it best one sunday a few years ago at Heritage. He said "but not for the grace of God would you be the person you are judging" Ouched me then, ouches me daily.

So why then? It is simply and only for two reasons.

1. Prayer. God allowing you to see someone's lacking is His trust in you to uplift and pray for them. OUCH. I am queen guilty of failing at this. I have been at times quite vile in my response to those who I feel wronged or hurt me or someone I love. I am ashamed. I ask God daily to remind me of His grace so I can allow it to permeate to the world around me. I don't wanna be that bitter judgmental person anymore. I want to be His Eyes and His Hands.

2. To help. If you know someone's struggling with...lets say...alcoholism, it is not your place to mock them and their efforts to improve. It's not your responsibility to share their failures with others. Pray for them. Share God's word and hope with them. Remind them of who they were and can be. Don't accept less of them. God never accepts less of you...Without those people in my life I would NOT be here. I don't forget that for one moment!

Any pointing of fingers should be in God's direction with your uplifted hands.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Will trade love for chicken legs

This summer I became the mother of a beautiful 16 yr old harlequin Macaw, Harley.

Within a week, my arms looked like I'd had a cutting relapse, and I had a baseball sized bruise with a hole in the center, courtesy of my new feathered friend.

Hmmm... Tenacious as I am, I don't like being around anything that makes me flinch when it moves.

I'm a glutton for punishment I guess, because rather than return demon bird, I decided to keep trying. I went another route this time though. Instead of expecting Harley to understand that I am a good mama, I showed him I was. I took my time.

Ahhhhh it was a chicken leg that changed things. Disgusting I know! Demon possessed cannibal bird loves nothing more than crunching up a chicken leg. Ewww....

He did not like me, preferred to bite me than be near me, but ohhhhhh mama had chicken, so he came a little closer.

Over the next few weeks I came to him over and over again with treats, pistachios, peanuts, strawberries, bananas...and each time, he would take it from my hand and move away. "thank you for your peace offering human, now be off with you..."

The process was ridiculously SLOOOOWWWWW and frustrating. Every time I would think I had made progress I'd reach toward him and get the snot bit out of me. (side note here, the very same beak that was snappin those chicken legs was grabbin hold of my hand...yikes)

Very very slowly we made progress. He started getting on my arm. He quit trying to bum rush me when I walked into his room. Boy that bird had mama tap dancing!

I am so thankful to say that today Harley loves his Mama, or perhaps he just loves her chicken legs ;0)

He yells for me every time I leave the room "come here" "give me a kiss" He is so gentle I can hold a pistachio between my lips (keep in mind how small those are!!!!!) and he will very carefully take it out and eat it.

It blows me away to think that only months ago I would have lost an eye even attempting something like that, after all, you realize parrots are the reason pirates only have one eye?

It amazes me at how God teaches me thru my animals.

Over the past few days I have been so ridiculously frustrated at a couple of relationships in my life. They are unpredictable, painful, at times, even dangerous (emotionally anyway). I want to run away. What I must do, what God is asking me to do, is slow down. Step back, watch carefully, find a way Him all things are possible.


I've recently become a criminal and unlocked my firestick and have access to all the movies. While most people are looking for the new...