Kari Jobe: I really love that aspect of music, just getting to declare things over people, let them put that on and just sit with God, sit in the presence of God and let that just wash over them.
God Put the Song in Our Hearts: Kari Jobe & Mica Paris – Episode #244
Narrator: Welcome to the Jesus Calling Podcast. God gave us a gift of music and like most of the gifts He gives, it’s one that’s meant for our enjoyment and edification. Those who have been blessed with the talent of playing an instrument, writing songs, or sharing their voices with the world can bring inspiration and hope to us in a way that is unlike any other: worship leader Kari Jobe and singer Mica Paris join us today for the show.
Worship leader Kari Jobe has spent her entire life and career using her voice to lead people to the presence of God. Kari has been in the music space since she was thirteen, longing to be used by Christ, and has been nominated for a GRAMMY award, and has won multiple Dove Awards, and has an RIAA Gold Certified single. Kari is a busy mom of two boys, and along with her husband, they serve at The Belonging Co in Nashville, TN, and are often hitting the road on tour, making worship a family affair.
Kari Jobe: Hey, it’s Kari Jobe, and I am a worship leader, I’m a mom, I’m a wife, I’m a friend. I fell in love with Jesus when I was a really young girl. I grew up in a Christian home, and so at a young age, I got really impacted by the presence of God and loved leading worship at a young age.
Writing Songs From the Heart
I began writing songs when I was thirteen, and what was really kind of special about that is a little Christian school that I went to at the time—I had a school project that by the end of that semester in my choir class, I had to write a song. And so that just began to cultivate—I mean, I was so nervous the whole semester, like, How am I going to do this? How am I going to do this? And then getting over that hump when I was thirteen and I actually did it, everyone loved it. We put music to it. I’ve always been so grateful they made me do that because it took the fear out of it and it made it tangible. And it made me realize like, Oh, this isn’t so hard after all. I just have to spend time with Jesus and write from an overflow of my heart. And I just loved it.
I’ve just always wanted to be used by God, whatever that was going to look like. And, I mean, my greatest desire back then was to do music, was to do worship particularly. And so I really feel like God really honored that, those deep desires, you know, because I’ve really gotten to walk that out.
A Family Ministry
I always wanted to be able to do ministry with my family because I got to do ministry with my family growing up. And so my parents modeled that so beautifully for me to just do it together. And it’s not that ministry takes Mommy and Daddy away, but that we all get to be a team and do it together. And people aren’t a threat to family time, people are an addition to family time. So that’s what we just want to instill in our boys. We took them on the road full time and we just make it fun.
There are definitely lots of challenges, you know, it’s one of those things where you’re just like consistently saying, “Okay, God help us know how to navigate this.” And for Cody and me—Cody’s my husband. I’m just so thankful, one, for the voice of God and for the Holy Spirit to help, you know, and we kind of take it in seasons.
You know, in picking a school, we’ve had to say, “Hey, would you let us take work with us,” from this little Christian school and things like that. I am going to take it in seasons, and what works right now and what works in this season. I think it’s a beautiful effect. I think what’s beautiful is I love that I get to minister to people. And I think one of maybe the challenges in it is when I’m going through really difficult stuff. I’ve been so transparent to this point, I’ve just taken people along that journey too, and my sister went through a really traumatic loss a few years ago at the end of her pregnancy. And we had to say goodbye to our sweet little niece before we got to meet her. And, you know, I brought everybody along that journey with me because I realized that there are people that probably have been through that or a similar thing. And it’s like, you know, I need your wisdom and maybe anything I’m learning could be ministry to you.
“I brought everybody along that journey with me, because I realized there are people who probably have been through that or a similar thing. And it’s like, ‘I need your wisdom and maybe anything I’m learning could be ministry to you.’” – Kari Jobe
For the last two and a half years, I’ve been writing for this project, and I knew in my heart I wanted it to be a live worship album and really be focused toward church, focused towards songs people could sing. And so when it came time to record, when we felt like it was time to lean in on the project, we really felt like we were going to have to go in with not recording with people in the room because of the pandemic. And so I had to just pivot in my heart and I really had to get along with the Lord that day and just ask Him for His wisdom. And I had to say, “Do you want me to wait? Or do you want me to just keep moving?” I felt like [He] really want[ed us] to keep moving forward and planning for this, and so I just began praying that, “You’re going to have to give me your peace to know I can do this without people,” to lead worship you really want to lead people. And there’s this camaraderie. There’s this beautiful exchange that’s happening in the room that as a worship leader, you get to really watch and be a part of as you’re leading. But what’s so sweet is it just became so sacred. It literally now is one of the most sacred and sweet moments I’ve ever experienced in my life.
At the beginning of the year, right before the pandemic hit, we released a song called “The Blessing.” It’s a song straight from scripture. It’s a blessing over people from Numbers 6 where the Lord commands a blessing over His people. And He says to pray these words over people, to bless them. And in the bridge, we go into, “May favor be upon you in a thousand generations, in your family and your children and their children and their children.” Just speaking life over people, the blessing over people. And God promises that that happens when we read the word, you know, He says there’s a renewing of our mind and then an instilling that happens in our spirit, and when we read the word and we focus our thoughts and our heart on Him.
A Future and a Hope
One of the reasons I love Jesus Calling so much is just finding those things that can pour life in and change the narrative in my mind. And so I always love that Jesus Calling comes from that perspective of the Father talking to us as children. And that feels like a real relationship.
It always just feels so timely and like, oh, my goodness, this almost feels like a personal word for my heart today. Like, how did this day get written so many years ago? But today it applies so well. That’s just such a gift from the Lord.
Jesus Calling, December 22nd:
COME TO ME, and rest in My Presence. As you ponder the majestic mystery of the Incarnation, relax in My everlasting arms. I am the only Person who was ever sired by the Holy Spirit. This is beyond your understanding. Instead of trying to comprehend My Incarnation intellectually, learn from the example of the wise men. They followed the leading of a spectacular star, then fell down in humble worship when they found Me. Praise and worship are the best responses to the wonder of My Being. Sing praises to My holy name. Gaze at Me in silent adoration. Look for a star of guidance in your own life, and be willing to follow wherever I lead. I am the Light from on high that dawns upon you, to guide your feet into the way of Peace.
Oh, I just love this one so much. I look forward to the future because God is so faithful, we can look back and see similarities in our lives where we weren’t sure what was going to happen. But God came through. God did a miracle. God changed our perspective. God brought healing. And so I just want to say, let’s look to the future and realize that the same God that walked us through all those other things, is the same God that walks with us into our future. So I just bless you today.
“God is so faithful, we can look back and see similarities in our lives where we weren’t sure what was going to happen. But God came through. God did a miracle. God changed our perspective. God brought healing. And so I just want to say, let’s look to the future and realize that the same God that walked us through all those other things, is the same God that walks with us into our future.” – Kari Jobe
Narrator: To learn more about Kari’s work and her newest album, please visit www.karijobe.com.
Stay tuned to hear another story of faith from singer Mica Paris, after a brief message.
Focus on the hope we have because of Easter with Jesus Calling® for Easter. This meaningful compilation of fifty devotions with stunning imagery, will enhance your Easter experience and bring joy to your celebration of Christ’s resurrection. Look for Jesus Calling® for Easter wherever books are sold.
Narrator: Mica Paris is one the most well-known and renowned female soul singers in the UK. Her recent work with BBC’s documentary, The Gospel According to Mica: The Story of Gospel Music in Six Songs, launched her back into the public eye as she signed a recording deal with Warner to record her most recent album, Gospel. From her Caribbean roots to her life as part of the church, Mica looks back on her family ties as the ones most influential to her success.
Family Life & The Church
I was born in London, and my mum and dad came to England when they were really young, they were like five or six because that’s what we call it, the Windrush generation. My grandparents were the Windrush generation. And then they brought over their children after. And then my mom and dad went to school in the U.K. We have this massive church community in the U.K. because Americans, always, especially black Americans, always assume that it’s just them that have that experience. But we had it, too. We brought it from the Caribbean. You know, we brought the church to the UK. So it was like, you know, it was just an amazing experience growing up in the Pentecostal churches, it was fantastic.
Mica Finds Her Voice
My grandmother, she was the one that really discovered me as a singer. When I was like six, I was walking around the house and I was singing. There used to be a cartoon that used to come on and it was called Rupert the Bear. And I was walking around singing “Rupert, Rupert the bear.” And basically, she just had a meltdown telling everyone, “She’s got an amazing voice!” And then she started to sort of dragging me all around the churches as this little—I was like a little prodigy. And I won my first award at eleven. And then I got discovered singing in church and I was like sixteen and signed then.
And I said to my grandmother when I was like about eight, nine, I said, “You know, I really want to do this for a living, and I want to sing everywhere, I want to sing all over the world.” I’m going to say that’s where she said, “Well, I’m sure you will do it.” And that’s kind of when I knew.
My dad’s very cultured, you know, he would take us to Chinese restaurants and all these different kinds of things. Back then, it was very rare to have these different cultures, restaurants in the U.K. It was very rare then, you know, and my dad was the one taking us to all these different types of food and stuff, like my dad’s really cultured, very educated guy. So he would start to play me like Marvin Gaye and Miles Davis and Isley Brothers. And so it was like, you know, starting to hear all that music and the influence of this kind of music with the soul stuff. This is really cool that Jesus is cool, man, but I’m done with that now. I need to go and do something else.
Then I have to tell my grandparents, you know, because I’m a bit of a star now. I’m a gospel singer in the U.K. that everyone knows about because I’ve been singing in it since I was a kid. See what I mean? And I win awards and all this stuff. When I went to my grandparents at seventeen, I want you to sign this deal for me because I got approached to be managed by this fantastic man. They loved him, but they didn’t want me to leave the church. And so I literally had to beg them to sign this agreement because I was too young to do it by myself. And in the end, they did. They signed it and then a couple of weeks later, the record was released. And the album went straight to number one, I was on top of the Pops, I was on all the TV shows. It was massive, big.
The Upside and Downside of Fame
So fame is like a psychosis anyway. You do feel like you go a little bit mad. Everyone’s treating you differently, you know, suddenly you’re like the second coming and that’s really intoxicating. You’re so important to everyone. All of a sudden everything you say is right. Very cool. I had about a fifteen-year run of everything just being amazing. And then suddenly it starts to go down a bit and then suddenly you start to, you know, the records aren’t selling as much and then it starts to go a bit different.
And you see at those moments, that’s when the faith comes in. What we call devotion is like in the morning, I wake up, and I have like an hour with Him in the morning, read a scripture, so I always do it at seven because it’s six, seven in the morning. It’s really quiet. A devotion is really good because it really gets you in touch with Him. And if you don’t have a little time with Him on your own, you kind of feel a bit disconnected if you don’t do it for a bit. So you literally have to keep checking in. It’s like a check in, you know?
“If you don’t have a little time with Him on your own, you kind of feel a bit disconnected if you don’t do it for a bit. So you literally have to keep checking in.” – Mica Paris
Coming Back to Her Faith
Every single disappointment that I’ve been through, it’s my faith that’s got me through it. Because that’s what Grandma always used to say, “Whatever you’re going through, Mica, just get on your knees. Just get on your knees, girl.” I don’t care if you don’t believe in anything. I have to tell you, if I never had that, there’s no way I could still be here thirty-three years later and still have my faculties intact. That’s the only thing, because it’s something that I don’t know what it is. I just feel that my steps have always been ordered. You know, I feel like even the times when I did forget the faith, it was something that was always looking after me.
“I feel like even the times when I did forget the faith, it was something that was always looking after me.” – Mica Paris
The thing about when I was growing up, my grandmother, I used to get so annoyed with her, you know, she was like the go to person for everyone. She helped so many people come to Jamaica to London. She helped to get their first house and stuff, like when she died, the church was packed with all these people on the street. We’ve got all these people and these are all the people she’d helped. She was that chick. She was an amazing woman like that, but kept it still, you know. And when we were growing up, I was always going to want to help all these people who keep letting you down all the time. And she would always go, “You just gotta keep being good. It doesn’t matter. You just keep being good,” and I never used to get it, but that’s why she was such an amazing human being, because she was always so forgiving.
My fear was I didn’t want my gift to suffer because I think the bitterness, if you keep it, it affects the gift. Because remember, the gift is coming from your vessel, you know, and if your vessel is messed up, drugs, bitterness, wicked thoughts or the voice is messed up by that, the voice is coming from the vessel, you know what I mean? It’s God working through you, right? So that vessel’s got to be cleaned if it’s there with all this anger and hate and all that stuff, it’s not going to work.
Newest Album – Gospel
I did a massive documentary here about, you know, the origins of gospel music. And that’s what set everything off. It’s called The Gospel According to Mica. And basically, it was massive on the BBC. Everyone watched it in lockdown. And then I got the deal. They offered me a deal at Warner to make Gospel. That’s how it all came about.
People saw this documentary and were bawling their eyes out. It was amazing. And that’s what made me go back. I literally went back to grandma, grandpa. And then suddenly I got a phone call from Warner offering me a deal. I hadn’t had a record deal for eleven years.
Yeah, the history of all of that, like Thomas Dorsey, Amazing Grace, Precious Lord, all of the great songs, and it’s just so powerful. It’s just, that’s how He does it. He was just like, “Alright girl, come on now.” I said, “All right, cool.” People say to me now, like, “My God, Mica, your voice sounds so different.” And I’m telling you, it’s literally the journey. What you’re hearing is the journey. You can’t learn that. You are your living testimony. Your life is your voice.
Narrator: If you’d like to learn more about Mica and her new album, Gospel, visit https://gospel.micaparis.com.
If you’d like to hear more stories about recognizing God’s blessings, check out our interview with Lacey Buchanan.
Narrator: Next time on the Jesus Calling Podcast, we hear from Jesuit priest Father James Martin, who shares ways we can learn to pray authentically, and that prayer is truly for everyone.
James Martin: When I talk to people who are suffering, the key thing I say is, to be honest. I mean, God wants your honesty. You hear people say, “Well, you look at yourself compared to someone else in the developing world, you know, who doesn’t have anything to eat.” And that’s true. I mean, I think it’s good to look at other people’s situations so as to get some perspective. But by the same token, everyone’s suffering is meaningful to themselves. And it’s important to be honest with God.