[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/119894588" params="color=ff6600&auto_play=false&show_artwork=true" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /] Imagery in music is a beautiful thing. It’s one of the reasons IN THE GARDEN stood out to me during the writing process of this album. I love the imagery of getting alone with the Lord ‘in the garden’ and spending time with him in the mornings, ‘while the dew is still on the roses.’ I also am very familiar with this hymn because it was my wife’s grandmother’s favorite hymn, and she tells me stories of the two of them singing it together when she was a child. She was an amazing woman of God who understood and daily experienced the message of this song (we even named our daughter after her!).
I started working through this hymn and felt like I wanted to add an additional chorus. The verse that came immediately to mind was Psalm 16:11,
“In your presences there is fullness of joy. And at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
What a perfect way to sum up the message of this hymn. So I added that to the chorus and it really felt like a good fit.
I grew up in a Christian home and we went to church a ton. Sunday morning, Sunday evening, Wednesday night, and really, any other night could’ve been a possibility too! I don’t mention this as a bad thing, I think it shaped a lot of who I am, but only probably within the last several years have I really begun to understand what it means to enjoy God’s presence. I guess that’s with any relationship, but it really has changed the dynamic of my Christian life. A lot of this shift for me happened reading through John Piper’s book, Desiring God: A guide to Christian Hedonism. Usually Hedonism is not used in this Christian context (and Piper doesn’t care about the label as much as the principle), but it fits because our ultimate joy is joy in God. And when we are enjoying God, and are satisfied in Christ, then we glorify God in its highest form. This doesn’t mean that every day we are skipping around, with plastic smiles on our faces, holding Jesus’ hand. But at the root, or core of our being, we are satisfied in who God is for us in Jesus. This kind of joy and satisfaction will supersede the circumstances. That means that even in difficulty and pain, our joy is rock solid. That’s different than happiness for sure! I want to continue to grow more in this area. And I believe that one day we will experience the fullness of what Psalm 16:11. When we are literally in heaven, by God’s side, there will be fullness of joy, never decreasing, never anything else more satisfying…that is amazing.
Michelle Garner is featured on this hymn. She is a dear friend of ours and has a beautiful voice. Her and her husband Jeff, live near San Antonio and Michelle helps lead worship at her church Nineteen:Ten Church. I met Michelle a long time ago when I played bass for a band called ENVOY. It was a good time and I really enjoyed the relationships that were developed. I remember this because it was when I was still in college. I would travel with the band during the summers and play bass and I remember particularly coming to Michelle, even then, and asking her if she wanted to ever work on writing songs together. I love music but God didn’t given me a beautiful voice, so my M.O. is to ask other talented people to do that, and I’ll stick to the writing. So we did that and had some great tunes, well probably not great now thinking about it, but it was fun. Michelle and Jeff have always welcomed Angela and me into their lives, and I loved reconnecting with Michelle for this record. She even flew to Dallas, on her own tab, to make the recording date. The hymn turned out amazing and I love the Ukulele vibe with her voice (Thank you, to my cousin Lindsey for letting Aaron and me borrow your Ukulele). So here’s to spending time with God and enjoying his presence. Let’s be the most satisfied people in all of life. The best kind of hedonist.
If you have not downloaded the HYMNS FOR SELENA record for free on NOISETRADE, do that here. 100% of the proceeds go straight to supporting Selena’s needs. Thank you.