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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  1. i was terrible at creative writing in school. I was embarrassed about it. No one could read my essays but the teacher and the cute, gentle guy behind me in class. Now all I do almost is write. I love to. I’m not sure where it all fits in but the Lord is going to show me if it does somewhere.

    It’s a very odd thing that He places us in unusual places and they end up strategic.

  2. Thank you SO MUCH for this post!
    When I completed my MSc degree in Agriculture I was mom to three boys (11, 9 and 4).
    And for an entire year it wasn´t possible to find a job that fits to my limitations on time and distance from home (I want to work only when the boys are at school). After beeing very upset for monthes I found a great programm to become a teacher within two years. Another Master degree? Well, it was hard enough to get the first so I am not that happy about studying again. But there are so many advantages within this decision that I really hope, this might be the way God want to lead me.
    In the end it will work out. If it don´t work out, it is not the end (unfortunatedly I forgot who said that, it wans´t me 😉

    Christine

    • Christine, I think you’re so brave to consider another master’s degree! You’re right – it will work out somehow. God has great plans for you!

  3. What great encouragement to take out into this day. Thanks for building up with words, written to affirm and breathe life. Always amazed when looking back at our life trail to see how it makes a beautiful pathway to today’s goodness.

    • Oh, Elizabeth, I love how you worded that: a life’s trail making a beautiful pathway to today’s goodness. That is so true and so lovely. Thank you.

  4. LOVE LOVE LOVE this topic and post. Just lately I have “stumbled” , and by stumbled I mean God has completely placed and ordained, a new career path for me. It is never ever what I would have imagined doing but the thing is. It’s the most beautiful and perfect fit for all my experiences, gifts and talents. God does know what he is doing with our lives, we need to keep having faith that he will use EVERYTHING to honor him!!

    Thanks again 🙂

    • Those ah-ha moments are so wild, aren’t they? When I learned from a doctor that my two adopted foster girls had bipolar (the same condition my own mom had… and they weren’t even blood related to me or her!) I thought “God, you’ve lost your mind. Clearly you don’t know what you’re doing with my life.” But oh did he ever! Who else could raise kids with those issues and really GET them? Like you said…. using everything to honor him!

  5. This post is just what I needed TODAY! Thank you for being so open and honest. I’m currently reading Adam McHugh’s “Introverts in the Church” and learning about the image of the good Christian that the church and the media have set up for us. Apparently when we come to know Christ, we’re all supposed to become extroverts as though it’s a fruit of the Spirit! I’ve struggled with that for more years than I care to think. In fact, I’ve had sisters-in-Christ imply that I’m a bit lax with my fellowship because I chose not to join in evening small groups, that as a mature Christian woman I should have a stronger social presence in our church. Quite frankly, I used to think the same thing, but not anymore. I’ve stopped fighting what God made me to be. I’m finally learning where I fit.
    Thank you again for this encouraging post!

    • I’m reading “Introverts in the Church” right now, too! I love that you’re finding your way to acceptance of who you are and the way God made you – and how He made you to fit into the body. Thank you for sharing that, Beth!

  6. Fantastic words, Mary! I think we’re all prone to want what others have, although some more than others. I’ve always wanted to be funny and maybe a bit reckless. But, my funny only comes in spurts and typically long after “good timing”, and I’m meticulous, calculated, and downright particular about the decisions I make. I resonate so much with the words you share here. And now, being a campus minister, I’m ever aware of the many students in the same boat. What a great place to grow and explore, though. Thanks for the reminder and the encouragement!

  7. I absolutely love your parallel with Tinkerbell. What a sweet comparison. It is true, we are often disappointed with our talents and abilities. I think this is where the comparing ourselves to others and what they are doing comes in. Best words of advice…STOP IT! 🙂

  8. I just drank up every beautiful word and story in this post today having ‘watched’ this for years with my mum, women in my life, their gifts, their strengths, even when they do not know it or appreciate their own beauty I see how God is in our lives as we grow and love.
    What beautiful encouragement to trust as we work and sometimes wait.

    • Great point, Liz – this can sometimes be the hardest when we’re in the waiting zone. But that’s when we can rest in our faith that God is using that time for our good and His glory, and it will all work together eventually!

  9. I have been praying for a sign from the Lord that points me in the right direction. I am in a job that requires a 54 mile commute to and from work every day. Yes, 108 miles, a day. This is also a lower paying position than I have previously which was 9 blocks from my home. Why did I take this position? Because, it was an opportunity to provide tuition benefits for my children and myself and I am interested in being an educator, eventually. I am a nontraditional student, I have been very unsure about continuing this postition but the Lord used your analogy for today to encourage me that I am in the right place, for me, for right now.

    • Sounds like God’s giving you opportunities to use strengths in ingenuity, tenacity, generosity (toward your kids with your time/sacrifice) and persistence. Powerful strengths there, girl. Praying God will fill you today with a double portion of His power and joy today!

    • AmyDee, I’m so glad you shared this with us! And I’m so thankful this post encouraged you. Decisions like the one you’ve made can be hard to hold onto when we only feel the discouragement and frustration. Remembering God’s plan and His faithfulness to work it all out in the end definitely gets me through those difficult times. Blessings to you as you hold fast to the path He’s placed you on!

  10. Today I am feeling so inadequate as a person who can give support. Last week a young man that works with my husband lost his Mother and his 3 year old son. The little boy and his Grandma were killed in an car accident. My heart is broken for this family and I just cringe because I try to make comforting words to them and then I feel that I just talk too much. I just finished your book and appreciate how you share your life to help others to find peace.

    • Judy, I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. It’s so hard to know the right words when a friend is grieving, but just being there for them is significant. Praying comfort and wisdom and peace for you…

  11. Thank you for this! I usually have to remind myself that what’s more important to me might not be what’s more important to God. 🙂

  12. Wow!!! Funny how God works. I literally just had a conversation with a coworker about my fit in the organzation. Then I opened my email and this is what was there. WOW! Very needed at this time in my life. Thank you for this. Thank you!!!

  13. I’ve been reading incourage for over a year and God has used it to speak the most accurate, poignant, and timely truths into my life. From a broken relationship to a recent engagement to now preparing for marriage, I am so thankful to all of you ladies for all that God has laid on your heart and for having the courage to share it. Thank you so much for this post and its blessing- God does put us in the exact right spots with the exact right people because HE KNOWS. Thanks for sharing this:)

    • I’m so glad (in)courage has been an encouragement to you, Jillian! And you’re so right – God DOES know and while He could certainly just let us flounder and figure it out on our own, He guides our paths instead!

  14. Mary,

    You hit the nail right on the head! Loved the paragraph:

    “refusal to accept myself has caused hurt and frustration and wasted a lot of time. I’ve had to learn, over and over, that when I stop arguing – with my mother at the bridal shop, with ministry leaders, with employers, with God – about who I am, it usually turns out that God has put me in the exact right spot. The exact right spot for me, the unique person He created”–I’ve been struggling these last 5-6 months with my job. It has completely changed from patient care to paperwork in same clinic.

    I’m struggling with wanting to do something else somewhere else, but it’s hard–especially as you get a little older and live in a small town. God knows my struggles and will put me where HE wants me. Means time I will try to “bloom where I’m planted”!

    • Beth, it sounds like your struggle with your job is understandable. I love your determination to bloom where you’re planted, though – that’s good advice for me, too!

  15. Amazing, amazing!

    I think what I struggle most with is that even though I KNOW I’m where I am for a reason, I try and figure it out too quickly. I’ll find myself spinning webs into infinity (or downwards spirals depending on my dose of pregnancy hormones that day) of what “IT COULD MEAN.” Instead of just TRUSTING and WAITING.

    • Kaitlin, your comment made me laugh. I sooooo do that, too – trying so hard to understand the MEANING OF IT ALL. Thank God He’s so patient with us, right?! 🙂

  16. I was just talking to my sister about this last night… how I question what I do ALL the time… but you are right… I really was made for it. *Sigh* Sometimes, I don’t want to be made for it- but I am… thanks for reminding us that there is joy in doing things that what God made us for!

    • That’s a hard one, Rachel – not wanting to be made for this. I’ve certainly struggled with that, too – not just understanding what God’s made me to do, but accepting it. Just like that wedding dress I still wish I could’ve worn, I guess…! 🙂

  17. Yes yes yes!! Shared this forward on my life coaching site. It’s such an important truth, Mary. And I love that you brought Tinker Bell in to it. Because really, when we’re living our strengths it’s pretty magical :).

  18. Oh this made me giggle outloud! How many times have I done this Tinkerbell thing? Hundreds! Everytime, God gently lets me vent on WHAT I KNOW I SHOULD BE DOING!

    What a funny reminder! Just hush up & do it! (talking to me) 😉

  19. Hello again Sisters! This post hit home with me. I never thought I had any talents, gifts or special abilities. I even took a servant’s workshop at church without believing i had anything to offer. I am disabled so no working in the kitchen, or helping out with programs etc. But I find that I am a prayer warrior, a writer, and I have a gift of being able to reach out to women with a particulat set of circumstances. I can chair an online meeting and talk to others online as easily as i talk on the phone. I am not shy or afraid to be seen on cam. It is awesome. I feel God is using me for good things right now. I am glad to be one of many but one of God’s daughters!

  20. There have been countless times where I’ve been like “Seriously, God? Like, really?” when I’ve been put in a situation where I know I am clearly NOT gifted. Take childcare. I big heart LOVE my own kids, but please never, ever ask me to watch a room full of kids. I don’t even know where to begin. And yet, it seems, without doubt, I am always assigned to the children. While it’s hard at first, I realize every time that it’s so not about me, and so just about God and how He can be most glorified through me.

    And surprisingly… those time when I do get my way and get to serve in my “best” area, I almost always flop because it’s all in my own power. Ha. Funny how that works. 😉

    • So much truth right there, Sarah. I don’t know that I’ve ever thought about my gifts and my weaknesses and His strength and the relationship among all of them. You’ve definitely given me something to think about!

  21. I just happened to stumble upon the blog today and for a good reason… I needed this encouragement. I just moved across the country, doing what I felt God called me to do. I was believing I was going to work for a friends ministry, you know, travel all over the world, meet tons of people, share the greatness of God, etc. etc. etc. But here I am, taking care of the kids (have never wanted any of my own), cooking, cleaning, homeschooling, etc. Really God?, was I called into this ministry to be a “nanny”??? So anyways, its been a difficult start, God and I have had some words, really I have just been having tantrums and He has to keep calming me down and reminding me that He is in control. And thank GOD He is!

    I know God is using me and He is doing great things around me, I just need to learn to be patient and trust in Him. 🙂

    Jer. 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

    • Oh, Kiki, my heart hurts for you – but I’m encouraged at the same time to hear your faith in God. I’ve been there, shouting at God, “Really? THIS is how you’re going to use me?” more than once. But I’m with you – so very thankful that God is in control, even when we try so hard to be. Praying He reveals the many ways you’re serving Him and blessing His people as you work in this ministry!

  22. Thank you! The past 2 years have been a transition for me. God is calling me into something great … I’m just not enjoying the process … and today was an especially rough day. Thank you for the great reminder that God has a plan.

  23. well said! I can definitely relate. At times, I don’t understand this season of my life. I don’t see the ultimate beauty that God sees. This truly is a beautiful life 🙂

  24. Great post! Now it’s got me thinking of ways in which I didn’t think a situation was right for me, but it was perfectly preparing me for something else.

  25. […] We have heard over and over again that “God will not give you more than you can handle”, which makes life seem easy, but it’s not. I was reading an article recently where the writer was completely contradicting this theory. She was saying that God does give us more than we can handle, so that we have to surrender our lives to Him and learn to depend on Him rather than ourselves. If we could handle every trial that came into our lives all by ourselves, what would we need God for? I was blown away because it was so true! It also made me realize that I try to handle everything on my own rather than bring it up to God. I have always depended on others to help me solve my problems, whether it be my parents, husband, or my friends. But, being in such a vulnerable state forces me to give it all to God and trust that He will carry me through. Here’s a thought that I loved from a women’s blog that I follow: “He’s got you where you are for a reason. He made you the way you are for a reason” (Mary Carver). […]

  26. […] We have heard over and over again that “God will not give you more than you can handle”, which makes life seem easy, but it’s not. I was reading an article recently where the writer was completely contradicting this theory. She was saying that God does give us more than we can handle, so that we have to surrender our lives to Him and learn to depend on Him rather than ourselves. If we could handle every trial that came into our lives all by ourselves, what would we need God for? I was blown away because it was so true! It also made me realize that I try to handle everything on my own rather than bring it up to God. I have always depended on others to help me solve my problems, whether it be my parents, husband, or my friends. But, being in such a vulnerable state forces me to give it all to God and trust that He will carry me through. Here’s a thought that I loved from a women’s blog that I follow: “He’s got you where you are for a reason. He made you the way you are for a reason” (Mary Carver). […]