The Journey - Pain, Fear & Faith
Anita Jarrell-Robertson’s musical tribute
Mike McGee | 6/12/2014, 8:37 p.m.
The Dallas Examiner
“Why is this happening to us?” gospel singer Anita Jarrell-Robertson would angrily pray as her 1-year-old daughter Jessica struggled through leukemia treatments.
“What did we do?” she would demand of the heavens above. “Where are you? Where are you?” she asked of God.
Jarrell-Robertson admitted feeling rage, yet also declared that she eventually found the peace that she needed, if not the exact answers. That sense of serenity laid the path to her first full-length album, God Is There. The songstress shared her musical tribute at Life Central Church in Plano, May 24, in advance of the Aug. 2 CD release, while she shared with the audience her emotional journey in, out and back in again, of faith.
“I believe I’m gifted for the sake of other people. Quite frankly, I believe it’s for everyone else,” she said about her singing. “And I was so afraid to do it for a while because I was going through challenges myself but after I came to Christ I just felt compelled to share that gift.”
Her challenges included a “horrible” divorce, abortion, rapes and the death of her father.
“I believe that when I lost my father a few years ago that’s what ended all fear for me,” she shared. “I knew it was all or nothing. The songs that I wrote during that period I knew I had to share. You know, if nothing else, to honor him I had to share these gifts.” Jarrell-Robertson credited her spiritual rebirth to the caring of others who helped her though darker times.
“I’ll tell you what; I was really blessed with other women that walked alongside me. Other women of God that glorified me and shared the Word with me, encouraged me through this. I didn’t do it by myself,” she acknowledged. “But one of the things that they taught me was how to praise God to rule my pain. And instead of turning to suicide – which I was very close to – turning to suicide, or turning to drugs, or turning to adultery, or anything else that would fill that need which wouldn’t fill the need.
“I chose to praise God and I don’t gloat in it at all. I am just grateful that I have the opportunity, so I’m excited about sharing that same gift, that same opportunity, with other people.”
Jarrell-Robertson said there was a profound difference between her and many other gospel singers.
“I don’t shove my message down people’s throats. I invite them to listen to an alternative to their choices.”
She spoke not from pride, she asserted, but from a seemingly surprised sense of honor.
“It’s like a pain medication when they hear my music,” the singer laughed. “I’ve been told it’s like a balm, a healing balm to their souls, and I really believe that with all my heart.” She said she saw herself more of a messenger than a preacher.
“A lot of times, I believe, we are hit with a lot of things here and, emotionally, we don’t have anywhere to put it,” she expressed about life in general. “So, if we don’t have anywhere to turn, then, we’ve got to turn to something,” the singer advised with a chuckle. She said that Jesus was where she turns and is quick to tell people that.