When Mary James writes lyrics like, "Never once felt you were good enough," or "I used to sing with an empty phrase," she is writing from a well-known vantage point. It was in those deep, broken places that she found her voice and her purpose.
Born to a mother who was not ready to be a parent and then faced with unfortunate circumstances in her adoptive home, Mary became convinced that her life on earth was a mistake. Living with the lie that she was unloved and unwanted, she learned something about running away...escaping into drugs and alcohol...and making harmful, painful choices. She also knows about living what you think is your dream, and still feeling unfulfilled.
Though classically trained, Mary initially pursued
a career in country music, performing in clubs and joining
the Nashville Songwriters Association International.
Though she relished the opportunity to hone her craft as a
singer and songwriter, she admits that her efforts were all "very
At the invitation of two Christian co-workers, Mary, her children and fiance attended a play that shared the truth about sin and salvation, resulting in a life-changing night where they accepted Christ as a family. Mary's daughter remembers it as the moment when they were "washed clean."
For the first time in her thirty-four years, it was clear. All the insecurities, addictions, choices and uncertainties converged with God's grace and mercy, giving Mary the assurance that had eluded her for so long. He would take her past and transform it into a beautiful platform to reach others; though at the time the details of God's call were still fuzzy. What she did know, was that His plans would be the only plans that would fulfill her.
Realizing that her gifts were from and for God, Mary's
advancement to public ministry began with her serving as a
worship leader at The Rock Church in San Diego. God then
began to open numerous doors for her in churches, at women's retreats and other
When a producer from her country music days reached out to her about recording a Christian album, Mary recognized the Lord's timing; she would renew her dreams as an artist and songwriter, but with a new focus: devotion to God's work. Six CD's later, Mary's efforts have progressed into a full-time ministry using worship, original music, keynote messages and writing to encourage people in their relationship with Christ.
Since entering ministry in 2000, she has led worship and shared special
music at events that featured leading Bible teachers such as
Dr. David Jeremiah, Kay Arthur,
Sheila Walsh, Dr. Voddie Bauchum, Greg Laurie
and many others. She has been recognized on a national
level for both her singing and songwriting, which include:
- 2014, 2013 & 2010 Inspirational Country Music (ICM) Female Vocalist of the Year Awards
- 2014 & 2013 Inspirational Country Music Top 5 Music Evangelist of the Year Nominee
- 3 #1 Singles on the ICM Top 100 Chart for "Strong," "Come to the Well," and "Now That I Know Love."
- 2011 Christian Women in Media President's Award
Mary knows firsthand that transformation cannot happen
without a "before," and the Lord showed her how to embrace her
past in a way that glorfies Him. Living out the charge
found in 1 Peter 2:9, that we are "Saved to
Proclaim the excellence of Him who called us out of
darkness into His marvelous light," Mary continues to sing and speak about the night-and-day
difference the Lord has made and continues to make in her life.
In addition, Mary's insightful delivery of Gods' Word and timeless Message resonates with those who not only need hope and strength, but deep healing and renewal. Her transparent, biblically-centered platform challenges audiences to invite Jesus into the most vulnerable places of the heart-where struggles such as shame, guilt, secret sin, pride, perfectionism and the "I'm too damaged" myths reside-allowing His revelation to transform their personal stories.
"To take it a step further," Mary shares, "I hope to further encourage people to take all God has done for them and share it. With God our struggles can become our greatest strengths -- we all have a ministry (means) through which God works. As Charles Spurgeon said, 'We are not to hoard the beautiful joy within us, but to share its warmth in our homes, communities and world.' We are all Saved to Proclaim!"
When not traveling and serving in ministry, Mary and her husband Dan enjoy a life filled with family, friends, their two dogs, books, movies and as much laughter as possible.
Their compassion for the forgotten and vulnerable has extended into an Artist Partnership with Compassion International, who is committed to rescuing children from poverty in Jesus' name. Information about the work of Compassion can be found at: Compassion. The jewelry found on this website and at her table helps support Magpie Madness who contibutes a portion of all proceeds to aiding the homeless in East San Diego County. Mary also works with Fashion & Compassion who gives vulnerable women artisians opportunties to live in diginity through economic opportunity.
If you are planning an event, retreat or worship service and what has been shared here speaks to your heart and ministry vision, please visit the Booking Info page for a full list of topics or connect with Mary through the Contact page.
"Saved to Proclaim the excellence of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light" (1 Peter 2:9 ESV).