"The Garden," centered by its vulnerable yet hopeful title song, captures an emotional journey which culminates in the realization of God's healing of the soul. (Jobe brings her musical tour featuring "The Garden" to 20 Monroe Live on Sun. Nov. 12 – see details below).
"My sister and I were pregnant at the same time – she was a few months ahead of me," recalled Jobe, 36, from her Nashville area home.
"Then her baby girl was stillborn. It was so heart-wrenching. And I was still pregnant trying to figure how to grieve with her but still protecting my baby and trust God that it was all gonna be alright."
The inevitable questions about God's presence, plan and sovereignty were part of Jobe's season of songwriting for her next album.
Then came the springtime, and Jobe looked into the backyard of the couple's new home.
"I saw ivy growing there...and Ivy was part of my niece's name," she recalled of the baby her sister had lost. "Of all the houses we could buy in Nashville, how would we get one with ivy in the backyard? It was a sign to me of how God had gone before us and gave a picture of his goodness."
Among the song's lyrical images, "I can see the ivy reaching through the wall; 'Cause You will stop at nothing to heal my broken soul."
WORSHIP IS THE FOUNDATION
Worship music continues to be the focus of Jobe, the daughter of a church youth and worship pastor. Her first chance at leading youth worship came at age 13 in her native Texas. In college she majored in pastoral studies, and then became an assistant worship leader at the giant Gateway Church in suburban Dallas.
It was there in 2004 that she first recorded her version of "Revelation Song." The majestic ballad features words from the biblical book of Revelation which pictures the praises lifted to God in heaven. A Youtube video scored millions of views and Jobe became known as the "Revelation Song girl" as other churches sought out the engaging musical statement. Five years later she included her signature song on her first nationally-released solo album of worship-based anthems.
Five years later she included the song on her first nationally-released solo album of worship-based anthems.
Subsequent collections featured popular songs such as "Forever" and "I Am Not Alone." Her 2012 album "Where I Find You" was nominated for a Grammy Award.
Among the new songs on "The Garden" is "Speak to Me," which longs for the voice of God in difficult circumstances. There's also "Let Your Glory Fall" and "Cause of Christ."
ALONG THE WAY
As Jobe developed as a recording and performing artist – while maintaining some worship-leader duties – she married another Gateway staffer (and member of her performing band) Cody Carnes The couple eventually moved to the Nashville area. Their son Canyon was born last year.
"We're now at a church called The Belonging, but Gateway (church) is still family for us," she said. "It's been a good transition."
Carnes, meanwhile, just issued a solo album of his own and serves as the "opening act" for Jobe on their tours.
"I've written songs with him for some time and I've felt that God would eventually open this door for him," Jobe said. "When he's out there and people are hearing his songs I stand on the side of the stage and just smile. I'll hold Canyon most of the night and we just dance and listen to dada playing."
Rather than referring to her tours as concerts or shows, Jobe says they're really nights of worship and ministry. They feature plenty of audience participation and on-screen lyrics for all to join in.
Jobe spent October busy with more than just her tour dates. She was part of a "Worship Relief" event at Lakewood Church in Houston, joining fellow artists Bethel Music, Hillsong Worship and pastor Joel Osteen in a fundraiser for victims of Hurricane Harvey.
She also co-hosted the annual Gospel Music Association Dove Awards in Nashville and performed "The Garden" during the ceremonies. (The Dove telecast will be re-broadcast at midnight Sat. Nov. 11 on the Trinity Broadcasting Network).
After the first of the year she jumps on the Winter Jam tour, which visits Van Andel Arena on Jan. 7. (She was also part of Winter Jam in 2012).
"The Garden Tour," featuring Kari Jobe with special guest Cody Carnes.
7pm Sun Nov. 12 at 20 Monroe Live, downtown Grand Rapids (doors open at 6pm)
Tickets are $25-$28 reserved seats in mezzanine or $25 general admission standing on floor; $16 for college students with ID. VIP tickets at $39 with early entry may be available. Online tickets