Album Review: The Garden from Kari Jobe

Kari Jobe’s new album shares the deep revelations of her soul as she works through grief and struggles to find her hope. Without knowing the journey she walked prior to listening to the album, the beautifully crafted lyrics resonated with me. I could relate to the pain, the confusion and need to find hope. The title song The Garden was played on repeat after the unexpected death of my fur-baby, Benji. It so eloquently phrased my emotions. Understanding the grief behind the song made it even more meaningful.

Kari explains on her website that with due dates three months apart, Jobe and her sister, Kris, were excited to be pregnant at the same time. Yet, in the midst of happy life changes, heartbreak struck. Seven-and-a-half months into her pregnancy, Kris gave birth to a stillborn daughter, James Ivy. Jobe, four months pregnant with her son at the time, was devastated. “It just shattered my heart. It was so, so hard,” Jobe shares. “It wrecked me—just the weight of unanswered prayers. I was trying to walk in peace when I didn’t feel peaceful and find my rest when my spirit didn’t feel rested.”

While the birth of her son was undoubtedly a milestone to celebrate, her sister’s loss weighed heavy on her heart. Yet, a reminder of God’s kindness came in a surprising way. As Jobe held Canyon in her arms, she stood looking out the kitchen window of her new home. And there in her backyard, she glimpsed the first signs of spring… That day, Jobe made her way through the garden—a stark reminder of God’s faithfulness in all circumstances. Looking up, interwoven in the archway, she couldn’t help but smile as she saw what only God could produce: thick, green ivy lacing its way overhead, immediately reminding her of her niece’s namesake. “Ivy is the most resilient plant there is. It can grow in the harshest of climates; it can grow in the harshest of situations,” Jobe explains, adding, “I’m standing in this garden. There’s ivy growing, and I just started to realize, ‘God, You’re moving in a way that is different than what I asked for, but You are moving.’ He’s at work and doing things we can’t see.”

The experience yielded the title track for Jobe’s new album and fresh healing for her soul. “Those seeds were planted years ago for it to be the way that it was that day for me, because it wasn’t just last year that they planted all this beautiful ivy. That took years,” she observes. “Something in my spirit started to rustle. Life was coming back. What felt dead in my heart was starting to wake up. It was like I’d been in this place of being numb in my walk with the Lord, but something just started blooming in my heart.” Her unanswered questions began to grow into songs. As Jobe declared God’s goodness over her own circumstances, He began to transform her heart…“The garden is true intimacy with the Father, and it’s a place where He intended for us as humankind to be surrounded with His creation. There’s life in things that He’s created,” she offers. “I want to lead people into intimacy with the Father. It’s something that’s so important as we walk through stuff in our lives.” …In the time leading up to The Garden, Jobe has experienced both indescribable joy and unimaginable pain. Life and death, side by side. Yet, through it all, she’s found God to be inextricably faithful because she’s learned to trust the Gardner and the beautiful, unseen ways He tends to our hearts.

The more I listened to these songs, the more inspired and soothed I became. Heal Our Land is an anthem for relief and peace for our world. Fall Afresh and I Will Sing are favourites too! The lyrics of I Will Sing remind me to train my thoughts into obedience every day:

I need to see You here

I need to know You’re in control

Though my heart is torn wide open

I will trust, I will remember

I need to hear Your voice

Speaking to silence all my doubts

Your word won’t return empty

You will break through every darkness

Even when my breath is weak

I will sing, I will sing

Even in my suffering

I will sing, I will sing

I need to feel Your hope

Rising above my greatest fears

Even death has been defeated

I will trust, I will remember

Even when the shadows fall

I will sing, I will sing

Even when the night is long

I will sing, I will sing

Hallelujah

I surrender all to You

Hallelujah

You are God, You won’t be shaken

Hallelujah

I surrender all to You

Hallelujah

You are God, You won’t be shaken

I need to see You here

I need to know You’re in control

Though my heart is torn wide open

I will trust, I will remember

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