Jessa Anderson: "I've learned to rejoice and say to God, ‘Here's everything I have; please take it and fill those gaps where I need help'"
Jessa Anderson has a long list of things she loves: her adorable daughter Lorelei (whose name was inspired by a "Gilmore Girls" character), Nashville, songwriting, traveling, honest conversations and missions. Equally as much, she has a list of things she dislikes: playing sports, going anywhere without her family by her side, glossing over serious issues, bad days, and things out of her control. Her lists look a lot like yours and mine. The fact that she happens to be a new artist on BEC Recordings is simply icing on the cake.
Her second independent release fell into the hands of someone at BEC Recordings and soon evolved into her label debut, Not Myself Anymore. Drawing from an influential pool of strong female songwriters such as Sara Groves, Nichole Nordeman and Ginny Owens, Anderson's music reflects a constant wrestling with the unknown and the darkest parts of humanity right alongside the gritty, everyday things that make up the human life.
"I always gravitated toward women who were writing their own music, and just that honesty. That's what I like to listen to, and hopefully that's what I'm communicating when I'm writing songs, too," she shared. I had the great opportunity to interview Jessa about her single "Worship The Lamb."
Please tell me the background story behind writing the song "Worship The Lamb." What does the message of the song mean to you personally?
The song is one of my favorites, and people have really connected with it in concert. We re-recorded the song for the album, and it is a message we discuss everywhere we play. The song communicates my voice as a singer, songwriter, and as a believer. This song is about singing a new song to God as I say in the opening lyrics: "I want to sing a song that's never been heard, I want to write the emotions, When I can't find the words."
I wrote the song out of a desire to worship Him. Then I started to get nervous because I wanted it to be a good song where people would also want to worship Him along with me. It was kind of intimidating. I wanted to write a song that nobody else could write. There's an irony in that we can't write words to actually describe our deep longing for Heaven. I love that Heaven is put on our hearts now and what we have to look forward to. That is why we sing, even when we don't have the right words.
Did you base the song on any Bible verses and do you have a life verse?
Revelation 5:11-13: "Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they were saying: ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!' Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: ‘To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!'"
My life verse is Hebrews 12:2: "Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."
What is the takeaway message for listeners from this song?
Even though there's an element of disconnect between what we're really going to sing in Heaven and what we sing now, we worship now to the best of our abilities. It doesn't matter if this song is the most inspiring song in the entire world, it just is my heartbeat and the best I have for God. That's all I can give Him. Instead of letting that make me insecure, I've learned to rejoice and say to God, "Here's everything I have; please take it and fill those gaps where I need help." I think God sees that and He rejoices in that.
I think of the widow giving her two pennies to the Lord and that wasn't a shameful thing. It was the most precious gift to God because she gave what she had. I guess this is a different behind the scenes perspective of a worship song, but that's how I feel when I give this song to God: here's what I have, and I know it's not much, but I know God sees it as a precious gift to Him when we are sincere in our hearts and worship Him.
I want to sing a song that's
Never been heard
I want to write the emotions
When I can't find the words
But there is nothing I could say
Nothing I could sing
To give an adequate description
Of my glorious King
For You are
Indescribable and that's why we sing
Hallelujah to the great I AM
All that is
All that has ever been
All consuming love
That never ends
So let us come
Let us worship the Lamb
Let us come
Let us worship the Lamb
For every thought in the intelligent mind
For every brilliant invention
That history provides
There is nothing I could form
Nothing I could bring
That could be added to the splendor
Of my glorious King
For You are
Unchangeable and that's why we sing // all I am -
At my best
I am merely a breath
All I am-
At my best
I am merely a breath for You
Asbury's Bible commentary: "Christ has won the victory, but our final claiming of the prize remains an anticipation. The language of Christian adoration contrasts with the actions of the beasts in chapter 13, where the beasts must force persons to adore them. What Caesar and the Beast claim blasphemously belongs by right to God and Christ. In the figure of Conqueror, the Lion and the Lamb converge. Royal and suffering traditions merge in the slain Lamb. Although the Lamb receives the seven virtues ascribed to God (5:12) and is worthy of worship (verses 13-14), the Lamb became the Conqueror through suffering and death (verse 9). The hope for a royal Messiah who will rule on earth has always existed in the church. But John's Lamb is a crucified God. The way to victory for the church lies in following the Lamb in sacrificial living. God's kingdom is a dominion of servants."
If you like Bethany Dillon, Sara Groves and Audrey Assad, you probably like female singers that make you think while you enjoy their sweet vocal style and catchy, worshipful songs. Not Myself Anymore by Jessa Anderson is one of the most captivating albums I've ever heard, and is one of my Top 5 Albums of 2011. Jessa's album is also great for fans of mainstream pop singer-songwriters like Kate Voegele, Taylor Swift and Colbie Caillat.
Take time this week to reflect on how thankful you are for the gift of Jesus and the moment that He found you and saved you. No matter where you are in your walk with Jesus, this song is a salvation message that helps us remember that Jesus truly came to die and rose to set us free.
There is nothing we have been given that is more valuable than our salvation. This song moves me to reflect on just how much Jesus endured for His bride to purchase us from the grave.
"Worship The Lamb" is about submitting to the Lordship of Jesus over our lives and acknowledging that "All I am, At my best, I am merely a breath for You." The case of those that are the servants of sin is sad, but thanks be to God it is not hopeless. You can make the decision to admit you are a sinner, believe that Jesus is the Son of God and came to die as a sinless Savior on our behalf, and choose to make Him the Lord of your life. What a wonderful, loving and gracious God that we serve. I am so thankful to Jesus for saving me. John 8:36 says, "If the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed." Amen to that!
Posted May 08, 2012 | NRT Lead Contributor Kevin Davis is a longtime fan of Christian music, an avid music collector and credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters.