God Works with Who We Are to Shape Who We’re Meant to Be: Tayla Lynn & Hannah Dasher
Tayla Lynn: I think it takes us longer to forgive ourselves than it does for other people to forgive us. And all I can do is ask for forgiveness and try to be the best woman that I can be and just know that He loves us all, and He just wants us to be close to Him.
God Works with Who We Are to Shape Who We’re Meant to Be: Tayla Lynn & Hannah Dasher – Episode #318
Narrator: Welcome to the Jesus Calling Podcast. Michelangelo famously said, “The sculpture is already complete within the marble block before I start my work. It’s already there; I just have to chisel away the superfluous material.” This quote creatively and non-judgmentally describes the process of removing unwanted traits, polishing gifts, and working raw materials to create something memorable. Like the artist, God is always shaping us until we eventually realize what emerges from that process reveals the beauty of who we are as God’s creation.
This week we talk to two people who understand this sometimes difficult and loving sculpting process. Tayla Lynn is the granddaughter of country music legend Loretta Lynn, and she understands the perils of chipping past substance addiction to find her true, beautiful self. Hannah Dasher tells of working through the pain of her parents’ divorce to find her dream of becoming a country musician materialized on social media. Both stories highlight the fact that we are all in the process of becoming complete.
Tayla Lynn: My name is Tayla Lynn and my grandmother is the coal miner’s daughter Loretta Lynn, and I am blessed enough to get to go around and tell some of her stories and sing her songs with, actually, Conway Twitty’s grandson, Tre Twitty.
You know, I feel like I lived like five different lives as a child. I was spoiled by my mom, her mom and the family in Franklin. I also loved Memaw and my dad and the road, but I couldn’t get enough of them. So I would just watch Coal Miner’s Daughter every day.
Then my mom remarried when I was about seven to my stepdad, and he was an alcoholic. So I either really loved him and he was great, or he was in his disease and he was abusive. I would resent my dad, because he wasn’t there to save me, but then I would crawl into my stepdad’s lap because I was mad at my dad.
Nobody even knew anything was wrong because I was also really happy. And we lived in a small town, and I’ve always had wonderful friends, my grandmothers and aunts and those parts of my family made up for any pain that I had. They really made up for that.
Discovering God and Music
When I was little, my relationship with God started off in a really sweet way. I had an aunt, she was church of Christ, and we would go to Sunday school and church with her all the time. And, of course, being a wild child, I never liked to sit down in church or concentrate on anything. So she would read us little Bible stories and tell us that God was love, Jesus is love. That’s all you need to know. Jesus is love. He’s always here for you. And so as a child, I loved Jesus. I mean, I just thought that was the most incredible thing in the world that we had this thing that loved us unconditionally.
I lived with my mom out in Franklin, Tennessee, with her side of the family, and then my dad was on the road with my grandmother, Loretta, all the time. And so it went between really wanting to be with my dad and being resentful at him because I never got to see him. But then also being super grateful, because to see him, I got to go out on the road with my grandmother, which was a dream. Memaw has always been very present in my life. We’ve had this connection since I was a little
And so when I was very little—because I heard it all the time, I mean, like three or four years old, I sang all of “Coal Miner’s Daughter” standing in a corner with my nose pressed into the corner to Meemaw. And Memaw was like, “Well, Cindy, I think that she actually can sing.” And so from that point, Memaw started going, “You’re a singer, you’ve got this.”
Lots of little girls grow up watching a rags-to-riches story—and I’m at this point, living in a junkyard in a trailer in the sixth grade, watching this film going, I’ve got to get out of here. I’ve got to get out of here. And then I can be like her. She got out of there. She’s that. I can be that.
From a Dark Place, an Addiction Grows
The first time I drank, I was an alcoholic. I was fourteen. As I got into my teenage years and there was abuse and terror at our house, at times it was literally me and God in a closet. It was just me and God. I mean, that was it. I knew nobody else would protect me, and I knew that He would somehow, and I would be okay with Him, hand-in-hand.
“As I got into my teenage years and there was abuse and terror at our house, at times it was literally me and God in a closet. . . . I knew nobody else would protect me, and I knew that He would somehow, and I would be okay with Him, hand-in-hand.” – Tayla Lynn
So when I got away from Mom and moved in with Memaw, I realized at least the honky-tonks in downtown Nashville were going to let me do whatever I wanted to because of Memaw—maybe not anywhere else in the world, but definitely downtown Nashville.
I just got in the drug scene really, really fast down there. I remember trying cocaine for the first time—pain pills were my main addiction—and just thinking every hole that I’ve had in my heart was filled immediately. And not only that, I mean, Memaw didn’t really know what I was up to, but I was also on the road with her as a job.
When I started using drugs, I would hide from Him. I can literally picture myself still putting up a curtain from my heart, from my head, where God couldn’t see what I was doing. And if He could, I would just say, “God, please, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” Or, “God, please help me get out of this. Help me, help me, help me.”
So fast forward twelve years. I’m sitting on a bus and sitting on her stage, signing autographs to her fans, and thinking, Okay, I survived that, and now I’m here, and things are good. But it wasn’t long until I couldn’t hold that anymore. I couldn’t go on the road. I couldn’t sign an autograph, I couldn’t go on stage. I mean, I was just too lost. The drugs became the most important thing. [Memaw] actually sent me to my first rehab out in Sierra Tucson when I was like close to twenty. You know, that was the first of eight. It took a lot of years for me to get to good.
The Long Road to Recovery
When I got off of heroin and crack in 2004, I was so sick. I weighed eighty-two pounds, and I’m five-foot-one, I was bruised all over, I was so sick. I mean, they picked me up from jail, just the whole shebang. I was so grateful to be in rehab and have food. And by that time, I was going to die. I was trapped with some drug dealer. I mean, just a disgusting life. I had been hiding and running, and I think at that point in 2004, I was just so grateful to be alive. I could start feeling that spiritual connection again.
Shame came when I was sober for eight years with all the knowledge in the world, with sobriety under my belt. And I’m married and living in Seattle and have a beautiful life and a new baby. And when my son was two or three months old, I got on Adderall. They said, “You have ADHD,” which is true. “This is what you need.”
And I said, “Well, it’s a narcotic. I can’t take that.”
And she said, “No, it’s actually a schedule C, but it’s not a narcotic.”
At that point, that was all I needed to hear. I started taking them, and it was days before I was just taking them like candy—all day, every day. I relapsed for about six, seven months, and when my husband realized what was going on, I mean, he had no idea what marrying an alcoholic and addict—he didn’t know me before, so he didn’t know what it looked like. I relapsed eight years later on Adderall after I had my son.
I think as a mama, it’s a little bit harder to let go and forgive yourself when you feel like you’ve maybe done something to your kid. You just feel that kind of guilt any time you’re not being the best mom you can. I still have shame I’m working on from that, because then you’ve got a baby, and then you’ve got a husband. It’s not like you’re just out there on your own at twenty-seven. I mean, I was thirty-six, so it was I was a grown woman making these decisions.
“I think as a mama, it’s a little bit harder to let go and forgive yourself when you feel like you’ve maybe done something to your kid. You just feel that kind of guilt any time you’re not being the best mom you can. I still have shame that I’m working on from that.” – Tayla Lynn
When I got sober—you know, you find all these devotion books. You’re just always searching for some way to get closer to God. And I found Jesus Calling at Barnes & Noble—the book is so cute. Anyway, you know, it’s like a little book. I opened the book and read one devotion. I was like, Oh my goodness. It just rang so true. I bought it, and I bought one for everyone—I was living at a halfway house, and I bought one for every girl there. We would wake up every morning and do the Jesus Calling devotional and just pray and speak on that. And through the years, I’ve bought them as gifts.
I have to get up every single morning and pray and get connected to God and read some sort of spiritual material and turn my will over to God, or I’m right back there. It is a disease, and it lasts a lifetime.
“I have to get up every single morning and pray and get connected to God and read some sort of spiritual material and turn my will over to God, or I’m right back there. It is a disease, and it lasts a lifetime.” – Tayla Lynn, on her sobriety
God Never Turns His Back on Us
I think when we live with the disease—I mean, the disease of alcoholism and addiction is a forever disease I will have to take care of and nurture for the rest of my life. So I think that there is that healthy fear that I could step out of line at any time if I’m not spiritually fit and if I’m not connected to God. So I have to remain connected in order to remain spiritually fit in order to do the right things. There’s always that little piece of, God trusts me? What? He’s so good, and I know that, but I can forget it in a second. But then you get the spiritual awakening again and again, like, Oh my gosh, I am loved. I am trusted. And I am good.
I am grateful for the relapse. I am grateful for all the times I went to rehab and I learned something. I think that in my last stint of sobriety that was over eight years, I just thought, There’s no way I’ll relapse. I’ve hit bottom. I’m never going to go back. And then understanding it’s been over eight years now that I’ve been totally sober again. I know, Yes, I can relapse.
And so I think it’s really understanding that I have to stay connected, and I have to be of service, I have to call another alcoholic or addict. And I’ve got to stay right in the middle of the boat, or I’m right back in the middle of it. My addiction is there every day, so just really and truly believing that and believing a power greater than me is the answer to it all—it’s this hole that only God can fill. And as long as I know that and I have total faith in that, even if I question if I’m doing the right thing, just knowing God’s got it if I’ll just let Him—and if I turn my back on God, He never turns His on me.
The Support of Family, Friends, & Jesus
I have been so lucky that my family—both of my grandmothers, my dad, my mama, my siblings, my best friends I grew up with—never left. Nobody ever left me. Not one time. Nobody ever said, “Go away.”
Today I live on my grandmother’s ranch out in Hurricane Mills. I get to live next-door to my grandmother and see her all the time, and my dad and my stepmom and my cousins.
My husband stayed. You know, he could have left when he realized what a maniac he was married to eight and a half years ago. I mean, he could have left. And instead, I never felt abandoned. I never felt like God wasn’t there. I always knew any time that I wasn’t feeling God, it was because that was of my own doing. God is everything to me. Jesus is everything to me. You know, it’s always been that way.
“I never felt like God wasn’t there.” – Tayla Lynn
I’m going to read a passage from Jesus Calling, and this is dated December 10th:
MAKE ME THE FOCAL POINT of your search for security. In your private thoughts, you are still trying to order your world so that it is predictable and feels safe. Not only is this an impossible goal, but it is also counterproductive to spiritual growth. When your private world feels unsteady and you grip My hand for support, you are living in conscious dependence on Me. Instead of yearning for a problem-free life, rejoice that trouble can highlight your awareness of My Presence. In the darkness of adversity, you are able to see more clearly the radiance of My Face. Accept the value of problems in this life, considering them pure joy. Remember that you have an eternity of trouble-free living awaiting you in heaven.
Narrator: To learn more about Tayla Lynn’s 2021 release Tayla Lynn Sings Loretta Lynn, go to www.taylalynn.com.
Stay tuned to Hannah Dasher’s story after a brief message.
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Narrator: Our next guest is Hannah Dasher, a country music artist and viral TikTok content creator. Known for her big hair and exuberant personality, Hannah moved to Nashville in hopes of achieving her dreams of being a country music star. Hear how Hannah’s faith helped her build a legacy and inspired her to combine her passions for food, music, and entertainment.
Hannah Dasher: I’m Hannah Dasher, Sony RCA Nashville recording artist, TikTok personality, host of Stand By Your Pan. And I have fun for a living when I’m not making country music or rock and roll or fixing something fattening for somebody else.
I could sing before I could talk. So it’s like God planted a hunger to make music inside of me at an early age. You can imagine what an impression my first concert made on me, and it was Alan Jackson. I couldn’t read yet, because I was just three years old—but as I got older and started to read, I didn’t like to read books. I would read liner notes and albums, and his lyrics just stood out to me so much. They were so strong. I believed every word so much, so I believed that chasing that neon rainbow could be my dream come reality one day. And here we are.
I didn’t know I had it in me until my parents went through a divorce after their twenty-year wedding anniversary. It just introduced this whirlwind of emotions that I’d never experienced before, and I had to release that in some way. So I put pen to paper, and I picked up a guitar and I started writing songs—and they were terrible. But my friends kept asking to hear them again, and that encouraged me to keep digging. And my music and my faith really got me through that, and they still do.
Counting the God Moments
Moving to Nashville will make a believer out of you. I have been here for eleven years. And living off of a songwriting publisher’s salary, you really have to rely on your faith when you don’t have anything else. And He has always met my needs.
I mean, there’s so many stories of not having enough to eat, and someone showed up to bring me lunch one day, or not enough rent money. I’ve always had a place, but it’s always come from somewhere.
I was introduced to Jesus Calling in 2014. A boyfriend—well, ex-boyfriend of mine—his mother bought the devotion book for me, and it’s the one that I still use today. Every time I open it, I’m reminded that His plans are way better than my own, thank God. But it’s so important to spend quality time with the Lord each day. It holds me accountable. Lord knows I need it, and it really makes me sensitive to opportunities He’s put in my path. My mama’s always said, “If you meet with the Lord early in the morning, it makes more time in your day.” And I really do believe that.
“It’s so important to spend quality time with the Lord each day. It holds me accountable. Lord knows I need it, and it really makes me sensitive to opportunities He’s put in my path.” – Hannah Dasher
The coolest moment that’s happened to me was before I ever got a publishing deal. It was ten years ago. I was out of work, didn’t have a job. I was working some odd jobs to make ends meet. I was working with Bobby Pinson, who’s a hit writer in Nashville, and his wife, who was a saint, Lucy. She told me about making a wish list for God. She said, “When Bobby and I met, he was broke as a joke, had nothing,” and she had him make a wish list. And by the end of that period, he checked everything off of his list. He wanted to buy an engagement ring for her, for example, and didn’t have the money to do it. But he received a check in the mail for an overpayment of a bill for the exact amount of the value of that ring that he had picked out for her. And that just floored me.
So when I got home that afternoon, before I got out of my car, I pulled out my iPhone and I made my prayer list, a wish list for God in my notes. And I put, “Major publishing deal,” at the top of that. And as soon as I hit done, my attorney called me with my phone still in my hand and he said, “Hey, congratulations! I got the paperwork for you got your first major publishing deal.” And so I still use that list today. I’ve been so thankful to check things off of it, but it’s been really fun to share in my friends’ victories too, because they’re all in there, too. And I like to send little screenshots, you know, deleting one off of the list, but there’s been a lot of God moments and I’m just very, very thankful.
I’m not here in this career for me. I’m here by His design, and I’m a vessel for Him to further His Kingdom, not my own. And when I finally started to realize that, it removed so much pressure from me and really turned it into purpose.
“I’m not here in this career for me. I’m here by His design, and I’m a vessel for Him to further His Kingdom, not my own. And when I finally started to realize that it removed so much pressure from me and really turned it into purpose.” – Hannah Dasher
Narrator: To learn more about Hannah Dasher, visit www.hannahdasher.com.
If you’d like to hear more stories about faith and music, check out our interview with Chris Janson.
Next Week: Emily Chang
Narrator: Next time on the Jesus Calling Podcast, we sit down with CEO of McCann World Group of China, Emily Chang, who shares that living into her Social Legacy has not only deeply enriched her home life, it’s also enabled her to become a more authentic and relatable leader in the workplace.
Emily Chang: Faith is taking a step without knowing exactly the outcome, but having absolute conviction that God is at work and you get to be a part of what He is doing. And I think every time you say yes, not only does yes amplify into more yes, but it strengthens your faith and your conviction. So the next time you say yes, you do it a little less fearfully, and the time after that you do it with anticipation.