I find that sometimes there is a disconnect between the songwriter in me, and the worshipper in me. The songwriter wants to seek out the newest way to express my love for The One, who always was and always will be. How can I depict an eternal truth in a way that is fresh and creative?! Like a pirate on a treasure hunt, I seek out gold, hoping that others will take note of its value.
But the worshipper in me has found joy in the repetition of simple, timeless truths. How can I meditate on one aspect of an endlessly incredible God, until it becomes more real than my own flesh? Like a moth to a flame, I am drawn to a unique facet of His greatness; and I want to fixate on it, until it makes its home deep, deep, deep inside my soul. I want to tell the Lord over and over how amazing that part of Him is…until He shows me something new.
I have found that my favorite songs are crafted from a mixture of treasure discovered from the hunt and simple wonder found from fixating on God’s face. I feel like “Only Jesus” was one of those songs for me.
Now to the story behind the song…We gathered in the house I lived in during college. It was a songwriting session, but more importantly it was a reunion for my favorite brother duo (Mateo & Jared Palmitier) and me. We sat on the floor in the basement with a box of Oreos in the house where I first discovered my love for writing songs. It was a homecoming of sorts. To be honest, I didn’t know if we would get a song that day, but I was completely content with that! However, catching up on life led to talking about the Lord…and like all good guitar players do, the next thing I knew, there was mood music being played underneath our conversation. With his acoustic, Mateo found a way to capture our gratefulness for how we saw Jesus moving in our lives. (I am so thankful for friends who hear the music in your heart before you even know what it sounds like!)
I was coming out of a season where I felt like all my “sure things” had turned out to be actually nothing. Anywhere that I had placed my hope, besides Jesus, had failed – epically. I was in a messy process of learning that “all other ground,” really “is sinking sand.” I was beginning to see the fog lift, but for the first time in this growing believer’s walk with God, my clarity wasn’t coming because He had changed my circumstances…It was shifting, because I was learning to find Him in the middle of my storms. “Only Jesus” had become the cry of my heart as this “good girl” was reminded that her need for a Savior was all too real. Jesus was the only one for the job; and He had already done it. He was taking me back to my first love.
I wish I could say that all songwriting sessions went like this, but “Only Jesus” was a song that just poured out of me. As we began to worship, the first verse and chorus came out almost exactly as you hear them now. It was an overflow moment for me; and it’s one of those personal songs – where if no one else ever heard it but Jesus and the three of us in that basement, I would have been content with that. It was healing for me; and I really hope it moves God’s heart too.
HOWEVER, I am SO thankful that others will get to join us in singing this song. My prayer is that it brings you back to the simple, yet infinite, truth that is The Gospel.
May the cry of our hearts always be, “Only Jesus.”
Head over to the Free Song page to get the mp3 & chord chart for free. (Ends April 24, 2019)