CCM: How hard is that to avoid the formulaic or the trite when you’re dealing with such a deep or three-dimensional experience?
KJ: I do believe that God is faithful and God is good and that God is working something out in the middle of tragedy, but those things did not help me or my sister or my family in the midst of the pain we were feeling in that season. My sister would say, “Don’t tell me this is part of my journey. Don’t tell me this is part of my story. I don’t understand that right now. I’m just in pain and can’t hear that.” And this was her response even though she believed it.

I started realizing how many more people are in those places where they don’t need any words. They just need tears or flowers or unspoken gestures. I didn’t realize that certain cliches just don’t help at certain times. Actions or very intentional words are a lot more helpful. There would be times where I’d say something to my sister in the midst of it. I’d say, “I know this will sound too far fetched, but God will show you some insane things in this. He’s going to meet you here.” It made me have to be more creative with what I was trying to say.

CCM: What does your sister and her family think of the songs?
KJ: They love it and that’s been so important to me, too. I’ve always ran everything by my sister, because I never wanted her to feel like I ran off with the story. It’s initially hers. It affected me, but it happened to her. But she’s been incredible. The whole way she has said, “If this will help people and meet them where they are, then I want it to help them.” I don’t think our family realized how many people had lost children or how many people had walked through such traumatic experiences. She’s the most compassionate person I’ve ever met, so I’ve been so honored to be a part of writing and making a legacy, in a way, for her daughter with this project.

Kari Jobe, CCM Magazine - image
CCM: How do you take these kinds of deeper lessons learned and then set that into a song that only allows you to say so much?
KJ: It took a lot longer to write these songs, honestly. Everything I wrote in these songs, we combed through them and made sure there wasn’t a different way to say something about God’s faithfulness. I think that’s why The Garden is so poetic. I wanted it to be about actual images and life than just talking about God meeting us or showing us that He’s good. I wanted to know what that looked like in actual, physical form.


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