Leaning on the Everlasting Arms


Dec 16, 2019 · 4 min read

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Q: Thanks for meeting with me. What prompted you to start your unique buyer’s journey?

A: I’m not really into Westerns like the type of movie and I don’t really read Western books, ya know? But not too long ago I was watching True Grit and it just seemed crazy like amazing how some songs occur and recur in your life at influential times.

For me, one of those songs is: Leaning on the Everlasting Arms.

Leaning on the Everlasting Arms is a hymn published in 1887 with music by Anthony J. Showalter and lyrics by Showalter and Elisha Hoffman.

Showalter said that he received letters from two of his former pupils saying that their wives had died. When writing letters of consolation, Showalter was inspired by the phrase in the Book of Deuteronomy 33:27, “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms”

Q: Thanks for sharing that! This beautiful song is available here. Do you know where it came from or did you sing it growing up?

A: I think it’s mostly a Baptist song these days but back when I was serving as a humanitarian volunteer in Arcadia, Florida, not too far north of Immokalee, during the initial start-up and build-up phase of the Immokalee Coalition of Workers. We would sing this song at a nursing home twice each week, and all the residents there knew all the words, like with some of the songs they needed lyrics or they’d only remember the chorus but they new all the words to Leaning on the Everlasting Arms.

Q: That sounds great. And when you heard the song at the end of True Grit, the memory of singing there came back?

A: Definitely! Oh and for a little bit of background, I’m not Baptist. Something like 15 years after I had served in Florida, I was watching the 2010 version of True Grit. Now that is a great movie!

1969 version w/ John Wayne

A: At the end of the film, as Mattie walks away from (spoiler alert) Rooster Cogurn’s relocated grave, Leaning on the Everlasting Arms starts playing. Since different variations of this same song make up a big part of the film’s soundtrack, this isn’t surprising BUT the vocalist is very surprising. I couldn’t help but weep the first time I saw the movie — ya know, I think we all go through those phases where we don’t give a damn what anyone else thinks and we’re going to have our way come hell or high water. And if we end up getting our way, it doesn’t really feel the way we anticipated, ya know?

The 1888 hymn Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” is used as Mattie Ross’s theme, and about a quarter of the score is based on it. Iris DeMent’s version, from her 2004 album Lifeline, is used during the end credits. Other hymns are also referenced in the score, including “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”,[2] “Hold to God’s Unchanging Hand”,[3][4] and “The Glory-Land Way”.[5]

Q: I can definitely relate! Thanks for sharing your experience with me. If you could have paused True Grit and purchased just one thing from the movie what would it have been?

A: Hmm…that’s a tough one. Maybe something from Bagby’s store or a piece of the bridle Mattie’s horse was wearing…or Lucky Ned Pepper’s wool chaps…I’m not that much into sofky or whiskey, so…ha, ha!


HOMEMAIDE helps you sell your style and buy the things that make you smile, seamlessly.

Any item you pass in your daily routine (say for example True Grit, or a song that really speaks to you) — ALL you have to do is upload a picture or paused video screenshot of that to your existing social media sites and Homemaide will send you a commission for every purchase your friends make.

AND — they don’t have to buy a luxury car for you to earn a commission (but if they do, YOU will earn a commission from Homemaide on those larger purchases(!!!). Reach out to us today to learn more about how YOU can empower your shoppers to buy what they want, when they want, on their terms.


  • :)

    Ellie James
  • :)

    Ellie James

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