About the Author

Mary is a writer and speaker who lives for good books, spicy queso, and television marathons – but lives because of God’s grace. She writes about giving up on perfect and finding truth in unexpected places at MaryCarver.com. Mary and her husband live in Kansas City with their two daughters.

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& you will too!
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Reader Interactions


  1. Oh…this is my heart tug right now…When meeting new people or even in conversation, I also prefaced the here and now with the “then” and “used to”…God has slowly been freeing me of leaving behind the “used to” because it represented walking further away from God and why would I want to glory in that. I wish the first time I simply said, “I’m a mom” that I felt the hand of God and His peace and acceptance overflow my cup…BUT…all I felt was hurt and resentment of what “used to be”…but I’m getting there!!!! Inch by Inch!

  2. I so love this and my heart goes out to you.
    And oh, how I get the ‘used to be’ thing.
    But….I’ll never be ‘who I used to be’. Not after this. No. We don’t go through it and come out the other side as ‘we used to be’.
    But we come out (hopefully) wiser, stronger, more compassionate, all sorts of things. There will be some ‘used-to-be’s’ still there. But God moves us from ‘used-to-be’ to ‘who-you-are’ and ‘will-be’.
    I’m trying to get better at letting go of ‘used-to-be’. And just be. And let Him take me to ‘will-be’
    It’s a beautiful post.
    Thank you.

  3. This could be me. . . I blame myself and think it’s better off that I not be who I was. Waiting on God’s restoration, eleanor

  4. Mary, this is beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. And God is always there, isn’t He? Just waiting for us to get over our “used to be’s” and transform us into who He wants us to be right now, today.
    Thanks for sharing your heart.

  5. Oh my gosh I SO get this. I did not go thru a devastating hurt, but still feel “sidelined” in some ways. Struggling to try and understand why some days, other days, just allowing myself to “be” on the sidelines w/o any over-active expectations of where I “should” be at any given moment. Thanks Mary for your words today

  6. Ask Him to show you the priceless lessons learned and how they continue to form your faith and trust and mold you into His likeness. I know there is redemption and meaning in every hurt and disappointment…nothing’s wasted my friend 🙂

  7. I understand devastation. I’m still walking through it and trying to accept that what was is no longer. Trying to hope that the future is still bright.

  8. Wow. I can really relate with the entire post. Thank you for sharing your heart!
    I used to be smart… I used to be stronger… I used to be more out going… I used to be more confident. I’m amazed that in just 10 years, I’ve changed so much and in many ways, it feels like I’ve gone backwards instead of moving forward.

  9. My mom sent me the link to this article this morning, after an especially tearful night. Your words could not have been more timely. I have the hope that springs eternal that things will indeed be better by and by, but that does not make the hurt less painful when my hopes are dashed again. Oh to become again what I used to be! Oh to become what God wants me to be right now!

  10. OH… could be me.. How I used to think that I could make a difference for God. Big ministry, big ideas, BIG hurt! How does it happen in the Church?? This should be the safe place, but often the biggest hurts.
    Then God used the pain to move us on…
    & I learned that God makes the difference, not me. I am just a tool, a planter of seeds.
    I thought about my pain this morning, of good friends lost over ministry…
    But trusting that God is the one who restores, not me.
    Thank You for posting this…

  11. I used to be all those things. I also had a devastating experience where I said I’d never put myself out there to be hurt again. I thought I was “over it,” but your post brought some of those feelings back to the surface. However, I’ve been slowly pushing forward despite the fear. Thanks for sharing so vulnerably with us.

  12. Oh my! I am so there! That is the story of my life for the last two years. People come up to me and introduce themselves and inside my head I say,”Are you sure you even want to meet me? Haven’t you heard about me?” But the Lord says that I “Belong to him first, foremost, and always.” And he has other things to say about me. :o)
    I know someday there will be vindication for me. It may only happen when I stand before the Lord, but the truth will come out, and it will set me free.
    “For I am am confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Phil 1:6
    In the meantime the Lord has placed me in a place to heal, put some lovely church ladies in my life that love me, and I have learned so much about forgiveness.
    God is faithful.

  13. @Mary – I’m right there with you in this! Beautiful post!
    @Deb Owen – What a correct response to this. To return to who we used to be would be incorrect. It so much better to learn and move on wiser and stronger. Thank you for that!

  14. Wow, “used-to-be” is something I’ve been dealing with for years, and only over the past year have I been able to begin to embrace “who I am, right here, right now” and “who I’m becoming”. Now I’m moving into a place where God is cutting a very strong and long root to my “used-to-be” and it’s very uncomfortable. What I do know is God uses EVERYTHING, the good, bad and ugly to shape who we are and who we’re becoming. Praise God for who we are and who we are becoming in him. Draw close.

  15. I absolutely loved this post! I’ve been battling this lately and it allowed me to hear some things I needed to hear. Some things that got lost along the way. Thank you for sharing your heart. I’ve been truly blessed because of it.

  16. I used to be… just like you used to be. And I wonder sometimes if the change in me is better or worse. Regardless, I can never go back and be the same as I was before. I tread on new paths, walking more humbly and deliberately. I suppose that makes the change better… as long as I keep walking.

  17. Thank you so much for sharing. I can so relate. I went through my driest and lonely time when my parents quit talking to me 2 years for changing denominations. There truly aren’t many differences but my husband and I were sure that God was calling us to. After 4 years we are glad we stood on his promises because he has been faithful… Our relationship is better but we are still working to get back to where we were…Thank you so much for sharing…

  18. Wow.
    I so needed to read that. I use to be so on fire for God when I was younger, and then after some major events in my life felt like I couldn’t “get back on the horse.” And it’s definitely not easy to let go of all the negative feelings. Just the moment I think I’m able to move on, more feelings of doubt appear – feelings I never had dealt with before, and I just feel like I’m trudging along trying to get through them.
    When you wrote “But it’s not quite that easy. Because while one part of me longs for that person I used to be, another part thinks that person was naive. And now . . . well, now it’s too hard to be that person I used to be.” – Girl, I am so there.
    Thank you so much for sharing this post and this place in your heart. The words God used through you definitely encouraged me today!

  19. Oh my, I completely understand your post. Several years ago, a partner and I started a Christian business (complete with Christian investors) – God opened the doors and lead the way …. and then closed the doors and failure became the accessory I wore everyday.
    It was hard to do anything anywhere. But just this past weekend, God redeem my pain for His glory through recognizing me for a new business attempt (written about here http://sandrajo.wordpress.com/2010/07/24/god-redeems-our-pain-for-his-glory/ )
    He really proved to me again, that He is in the business of redeeming our failures and difficult times to do a new thing in our lives.

  20. I’ve been there, devastated and wounded, and now about 12 years later we’ve planted our own church. The second church plant we’ve been a part of. We are one year in and already have seen how Satan wants to discourage us. We’ve experienced new kinds of hurt and heartache, this time as the leaders. While their words and actions wound and hurt, I try to remember that people are the disappointment, but God is faithful. I’m trying to be stronger this time around, I think I’m less likely to hold on to or focus my wounds. I just realize many people are very immature, even the ones we think we can trust, and I need to not let that affect my ability to love other people, how I live my life and definitely not let it affect my health or my ability to continue serving God in the way that He has called us to do. Oh, such hard lessons! Beautiful post. Thank you for sharing your heart.

  21. Who you used to be should not be held against whom you are today. God placed events in our lives even bad ones to make us stronger, better and to learn to seek Him. I am not who I used to be and as a result of that experience lead me to who I am today.

    Thank You Lord for showing me your grace, your love and may we all be reminded to do the same for others.