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.
Relishing the opportunity to hone her craft as a
singer and songwriter, in retrospect 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 the details were still fuzzy, she knew 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 point people directly to Jesus.
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, Shannon Ethridge, 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
- 2015, 2014 & 2013 Inspirational Country Music Top 5 Music Evangelist of the Year Nominations
- 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
Despite the achievements, Mary never forgets the One who provides her each and every opportunity, recognizing that the big steps, little steps and even the missteps are critical. As she sings in Well Run Dry: "Lord, here I stand today by the well-spring of Your Love, it's stretching out as far as I can see. God please help to give someone the gift you've given to me."
Taking to heart the verse found in 1 Peter 2:9, "You have
been saved to proclaim the excellencies of Him who called us out
of darkness into His marvelous light," Mary's first charge in
ministry is to share God's Gospel of grace and help others do
the same. It is the mission of her non-profit organization
and is, what she believes to be, the greatest act of love
offered by a Christ follower.
Because of her long journey toward healing and wholeness, Mary is also passionate about helping broken people lead Christ empowered lives. Lives built upon truth, rooted in love, liberated from the past, replenished in hope, strong in the present which authentically testify to His "Power Made Perfect" in weakness.
Mary understands that all people are broken in some way and continually stand in need of growth and grace. Her insightful, soul-stirring and daringly transparent delivery, tears down walls and challenges audiences to invite Jesus into the most vulnerable, difficult to reach places of the heart-allowing His truth and revelation to transform their personal stories.
When not traveling and serving in ministry, Mary and her husband Dan enjoy a life filled with family, friends, their dog Isaiah, books, movies and as much laughter as possible. Mary is a "wanna be" interior decorator, but admits that she only has a kitchen because it comes with the house.
Their compassion for the broken 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 contributes a portion of all proceeds to aiding the homeless in East San Diego County. Mary also enjoys working with Recovery and Healing Ministries, Pregnacy Care Centers, Foster Care programs or any Christian organization who advocates for the voiceless, vulnerable and broken.
If you are planning an event, retreat or worship service and are looking for a singer, speaker or both, please visit the Booking Info page for a full list of topics or connect with Mary through the Contact page.
"Saved to proclaim the excellencies of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light" (1 Peter 2:9 ESV).