It’s said for everything there is a season. Winter. Spring. Summer. Fall. One by one, we experience these seasons throughout our lives. Our souls grow dark and weary in the thick of winter, and just when we think we can’t endure another cold night, we recognize the first signs of spring. Slow and unexpected, welcome shades of green break through the frozen ground. Sometimes our Creator uses His own creation to remind us that even amidst winter’s chill He is always at work. For it’s in the unseen where life’s most beautiful moments take shape. Worship leader Kari Jobe knows this to be true in her own life, and on her fourth album, The Garden (Capitol CMG), she invites listeners to drink of the wellspring of hope she’s found in the midst of unimaginable tragedy.
The Garden planted the songwriter back in the studio following 2014’s critically-acclaimed live recording, Majestic—which won a GMA Dove Award for Praise and Worship Album of the Year—the new album is also rooted in a series of personal transition and remarkable grief for the singer and her family. In the past two years, Jobe married her husband Cody Carnes and moved from her hometown of Dallas, Texas, to Nashville, where the couple bought their first home and had a baby. 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.”
Aching for her sister, Jobe was simultaneously anxious for the safety of her own child. On February 18, 2016, a healthy Canyon Carnes entered the world. “It’s hard to celebrate life, but to be grieving with your sister,” Jobe admits, adding that knowing Canyon’s name ahead of time gave her strength through the remainder of her pregnancy after the loss of her niece. “God gave us his name even before this whole thing took place,” she says. “Canyon means a deep ravine for water to flow through. Canyons are formed through storms, so the fact that God gave me his name was so peaceful to me… I was thankful He gave me his name for that season.”
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. When she and her husband purchased the house, a garden that resided on the property was overgrown; and though they knew it needed to be tended, they were advised to wait and see what it produced. The result was a breathtaking bounty of harvest. 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.