After years of prophetic words and requests for Michelle Battaglia to capture and record songs and spontaneous moments of worship, discussions began in November 2015 resulting in the door opening for the recording of her first worship album.
The intent of the recording of the album was to capture Michelle’s heart for worship and the gift that God has placed within her. While working with a large and experienced worship team is always exciting, some of Michelle’s strongest moments of leading people deeper into a place of worship have come from times when it has been her unaccompanied and alone at the piano. These times have contained beautifully intimate moments as she has invited others to join her on the journey of love and adoration of her Heavenly Father, Saviour, Jesus Christ, and friend, the Holy Spirit, with melodies, songs, prophetic and spontaneous moments. For Michelle, this is what she was created to do and what she wanted to capture in her recording. The album is not a list of songs to listen to but creates an atmosphere for people to close the door, press play and worship God in the secret place, through intimate worship.
Because the purpose of the album is to create an atmosphere for worship, Michelle wanted to record original songs from her own personal journey, as well as from Scripture. So over the course of a few months, she sat at her creative space, the piano, and wrote during times of personal worship. “All songs,” she says, “need to be birthed as close to the Father’s heart as possible. I don’t want to write from another person’s experience, revelation or relationship; I want to look at My Heavenly Father and try, although not really humanly possible, to reflect who He is, how amazing He is and then paint a small piece of the story He is writing in my life – both the difficult parts and the easy ones”.
The writing was followed closely by song selection and recording, all of this beginning at a dining room table, coffee in hand, with Mervis and Sonja van der Merwe (close friends and mentors in worship). Songs were sifted, sorted, chosen and tweaked. “This was a scary process realising I was about to put such raw songs onto a recording for everyone to hear. Some of the words were taken from a difficult time, written through tears and weakness – but isn’t that what makes worship so beautiful. He loves words coming from a broken but surrendered heart.”
The first song on the album, “Sovereign” was one of the songs written from Scripture. Michelle explains that she was going through a season of being intentional about focussing on who God is. “Where better,” she says, “than to look at God’s speech to Job. I decided to challenge myself and see if I could create a song from incredible words all about how big He is. I couldn’t believe I actually wrote this song and that it was quite good – if I’m allowed to say that.”
Another two songs on the album, “Good Shepherd” and “Faithful God” were written not only from Scripture, but also from a place of turning her eyes to the good Shepherd and her faithful and good Father. These songs, which include spontaneous moments, create an opportunity to encounter perfect Love and soak in the awe and wonder of who He is.
Yet another song on the album, “You Are My Home”, is what Michelle says is her most transparent, real and raw song. She explains that God was challenging her to return to where it all began, to the garden of Eden, a place where there was no shame and fear and where her identity would once again be established in her Creator. “Because of the cross this is possible”, she says, “and although I was walking with Him, I knew He wanted something deeper. I knew I had to fight through barriers pulling me away from the centre of His heart and trying to distract me from Him being the centre of my heart”. This song echoes that place and also became the title of her album.
With the recording, editing and mixing complete and the promo photos done, the entire process hit a speed bump, what to do with the CD? And God answered, opening a door and linking Michelle with Henrico and Anja Fourie, owners of the record label “Burning Lamp Music”. Their hearts were almost instantly knitted together and the final journey of completing the album began.
“As I look back at the process and journey of this album, the writing of the songs and looking towards to the CD launch and worship evening on 8 December 2016 and the excitement of the album being released on iTunes on 9 December 2016 , says Michelle, “I am trusting that God will take full control of this album. Even if He uses it to just touch one heart then it is all worthwhile. His purposes and plans are way too big for me to understand, and as long as I know that I have pleased Him and put a smile on His face then I am home and no other place will satisfy my heart.”