When Anne Wilson tragically lost her brother and best friend, Jacob, in a car accident, writing played a key role in helping her process her pain.
“I lost my brother in a car accident in 2017. He was 23 years old, and he was my best friend, I loved him so much,” the 20-year-old artist told The Christian Post. “It was amazing getting to have him as my brother for the years that I did. And when he passed away, I started to really just journal and process the loss of him and all of that through journaling.”
So, several years later, when she landed a record deal, Wilson combed over her old journals to reflect on God’s faithfulness over her life. Reading her old entries, she realized she only ever referred to God as “my Jesus.”
“I had never referred to Him as any other name,” she shared. “I’d never said ‘God’ or ‘Lord’ or ‘Jesus’ or anything.”
“I remember asking the Lord, I said, ‘God, why is it that I’ve only ever referred to You as ‘my Jesus?’ And I remember Him saying back to me, ‘It’s because it’s the truth, I am yours in you’re mine. And we have a personal relationship with each other.’ And that always just meant so much to me. And I just remember thinking to myself, ‘OK, I’ve got to write a song about this.’”
It was from this experience that Wilson penned her hit single, “My Jesus.” The song, written with Matthew West and Jeff Pardo, held the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Christian Airplay Chart for seven weeks and earned Wilson a GMA Dove Award for pop/contemporary recorded song of the year and the 2022 K-LOVE Fan Award for Breakout Single.
But for Wilson, who also won new artist of the year at this year’s Dove Awards, the greatest reward came from seeing how “My Jesus” impacted the lives of others dealing with grief and loss.
“I started to see that God was doing so much through this song, impacting lives, changing lives, freeing people from addiction and suffering and all sorts of things,” she shared. “I felt like the Lord was really just putting on my heart the fact that I needed to share the story in depth.”
Last month, the artist released her first book, My Jesus: From Heartache to Hope, in which she reflects on God’s faithfulness throughout her life and sustained her following the loss of her brother.
Writing the book, she said, was bittersweet; it was healing to see how God comforted her amid her grief, yet difficult to relive those memories.
“It was overall a really incredible process that I think helped me face the loss of my brother for the first time in five years,” she said. “I was actually going through counseling right when I wrote the book … about the grief cycle on losing my brother. So it was kind of a double whammy like going through two things at the same time. And it was like the Lord was really healing my heart, and it was very therapeutic for me to go through both things. So it was actually a gift to just have that healing come through writing the book.”
Though she’s still working through the grief of losing her brother, Wilson said God continues to show her His “incredible plan” for her life — and that’s something she takes great comfort in.
“There are so many things that happen in our lives and so many moments of questioning, ‘Why did this happen, God? Or why is this happening?’ But the Lord has continued to remind me, especially through this book, and writing the book, of how He has such a bigger plan. I don’t see the bigger picture, but He does, and He has my future in His hands, and He has the world in the palm of His hands, and I don’t have to worry about it.”
“That’s something that’s really been beautiful to continue to learn about God,” she added. “I’ve always been taught that in church and in relationship with Him that God has a plan. But to live it out and actually see, oh, God does have a plan, and He has the bigger story and a bigger picture.”
Wilson, who is gearing up for a Christmas tour with worship artist Phil Wickham, said she’s heard from countless people how ‘My Jesus’ has helped them — and she prays her book is able to touch even more people in a deeper way.
“I think this book is for everyone in every walk of life and every season of life,” she said. “My deepest prayer for this book is that people experience the hope of Jesus in it. There’s so much hope in the Lord; there’s so much hope that comes from knowing that you have a relationship with Jesus and that He died for you and that you have eternal life with Him.”
Wilson added, “More than anything, I want people to find Jesus through this book, too. If people don’t know God, if they don’t have a relationship with Him, I want them to come to know Jesus through reading this book. And then to experience the hope that He offers and the healing that He can bring to every situation.”
My Jesus: From Heartache to Hope is now available.