Music Review: The Girl with Good Intentions

August 29th, 2013
The Girl with Good Intentions

Do you ever hear about someone doing something amazing for God, and instead of thinking, “wow, praise God for them,” you think “way to make me look bad, guys”? I know that feeling of pressure, thinking that to really serve the world for Jesus you ought to sell your home and move to Africa. Jenny Youngman seems to know that feeling, too.

I got a sneak peek at her newest album, “The Girl with Good Intentions,” during a live concert some months ago, and immediately identified. Like me, Jenny is a busy working mom striving to live an active, gospel-centered faith while juggling the daily tasks of life with preschoolers. That blend of guilt and longing all come across in this beautiful album sung from a place of deep desire—desire like David’s, that of a person striving after the very heart of God.

Consider the refrain of the title track:

I’m the girl with good intentions / with a heart of compassion / I just get distracted

I’ve shed tears for this world / but, Lord, your kingdom is coming / and I just want to do something good

Youngman’s lyrics give voice to the struggles of modern, middle-class people whose ideals are too easily and imperceptibly absorbed by a culture that claims more is better and individual concerns trump the value of community. These are fictional people like Frankie and Jamie of “To Be Brave,” who enjoy a bubble of suburban safety (with their “gun in the cabinet” and “Bible on the mantle”) until they remember godly dreams that require faith-fueled daring. And, these are real people like Youngman’s own family, whose choice to live in close community with her brother and sister-in-law, raising their children together, is beautifully shared in the song “Life on Purpose.”

There are songs of poignant worship, borrowing classic words from Isaac Watts and John Wesley, and even songs of humor as Youngman pokes fun at unrealistic expectations placed on “The Preacher’s Wife” (a club of which Youngman and I are both a part): Her hair is always kept . . . her lipstick fresh and bright . . . and everyone who meets her comes to Jesus.

It’s a high standard indeed, but Youngman certainly does her part with this album, bringing everyone who hears it, if not to Jesus, then at least to a deeper calling within themselves to take a small, deliberate step in the direction of his or her good intentions.


You can find Jenny and “The Girl with Good Intentions” at

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