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 (NASI).
Though she relished the opportunity to hone her craft as a
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, uncertainties
converged with His grace and mercy, giving Mary the security
that had eluded her for so long. God 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 God and for God, Mary's advancement to a public platform occurred one step at a time. She first served as an usher-greeter, worked in the church bookstore and when the opportunity arose, she joined her church choir. It was then that God began to open doors for her as a Worship Leader in churches, at women's retreats and other similar venues.
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 different objective. Six CD's later, Mary's charge to share the Gospel through music, has progressed into full-time ministry using worship, original music, keynote messages and writing to point people directly to God's truth, grace and sufficiency.
Over the years, she has led worship and shared special
music at events that featured speakers such as Kay Arthur,
Sheila Walsh, Dr. David Jeremiah, Greg Laurie, Kirk Cameron,
and many others. She has been recognized on a national
level for her singing, songwriting and passion for the
- 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
Despite the achievements, Mary never forgets the One who provides each and every opportunity, recognizing that the big steps, little steps, and even the misteps are critical. As she sings in Well Run Dry: "And Lord here I stand today in the well-spring of Your love, its stretching out as far as I can see. God please help me to give someone, the gift you've given to me."
Initially, Mary struggled with the thinking that Christian artists needed to cloak or even soft-pedal the message of sin and redemption. In her searching, the Holy Spirit reminded her that no word is more powerful than God's Word, and of the charge found in 1 Peter 2:9, that we are "Saved to proclaim the excellence of Him who called us out of darkness ino His marvelous light." This verse has become the springboard of her ministry and overarching mission that the tranformative work of Christ is to be shared--if not shouted from the rooftops. It became clear there would be no watering-down, no appealing to the masses; Mary's ministry would be decidedly clear in its intent - she could trust God with the rest.
Mary knows firsthand that transformation cannot happen without a 'before,' and the Lord showed her how to embrace her past in a way that glorifies Him. Mary's refreshing delivery of the Lord's timeless message resonates with those who not only need healing, but a new path for life. Her biblically-based, transparent platform challenges audiences to go below the surface, inviting God into the deep, at-risk places of the heart-where shame, guilt, secret sin, perfectionism and the "I'm too damaged" myths reside-to allow His revelation to transform their hearts and lives. "In order to live a God-breathed life, you must get honest with Him, intimate, humble," Mary explains. "Genuine humility tears down the walls that stand between a person and God; it ushers in repentance, grace and true change. He stands at the door and knocks waiting for that deep relationship, but we must be quiet enough to hear, and prideless enough to open the door."
By transparently sharing her own past and day-to-day trials and triumphs, Mary shows how, when we take ownership of our present condition, God intervenes and seals our cracks with His light...transforming them into ones of purpose.
Married for almost 15 years, Mary and her husband Dan, have
4 children and 2 grandchildren between them. They
currently attend Revival Christian Fellowship in Menifee,
and share a passion for music.
When not traveling and serving in ministry, Mary and her husband Dan enjoy a life filled with family, friends, dogs, good books and movies, long walks, as much laughter as possible and doing all they can to stay away from junk food....though an occassional bowl of vanilla ice cream still counts as a serving of dairy in their book.
They understand life as a blended family, that marriage is amazing when you do it God's way and that their need for Christ is as important today as it was when they went to the cross together 15 years ago. They share, "We have certainly failed God, but He has never failed us. We want all to personally know the love of Christ."
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.
If you are planning an event, retreat or worship service, and need someone who can serve as a Keynote Speaker and Musical Guest, visit the Booking Info page for a full list of topics or connect with her through the Contact page.
"He writes my story into His song my life for the glory of God." - Christa Wells