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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Reader Interactions


  1. Ummm, yeah…I’m on the biggest detour of my life. Believing that God picked me up and plopped me in a very strange-to-me-but-beautiful land…waiting to see how he’s going to use this in my life or those around me.

    Don’t you love it when a circumstance in your life becomes an object lesson in faith? Thank you for a wonderful illustration, Mary.


  2. I got nervous just reading this with the corn and the detour and the directions. I am the world’s worst navigator. I know what it feels like to be lost. Repeatedly;)

    We’ve moved countries a few times, and every time we do I feel like we are on a years long detour with no end in sight. We are never quite sure what the next twist or turn will be or when the detour will end. It’s a challenging place to live. Exciting, but challenging.

    God is so good to cover each new bend in the detour with His grace, even if it doesn’t come wrapped up with a map included.

    • Moving countries is huge! What a blessing that God is in control of those twists and turns.

      (By the way, one of my most vivid memories from my first job is the day I got lost on the way to a meeting and my boss informed me that from then on, I was required to have a map in my car at all times!)

  3. I too am at a point that I am waiting on the Lord to show the next steps and just trying to keep to the path in the meantime while having all those questions come up. I recently blogged about it in a post about Ants. Thanks for your wonderful illustration and insights into this journey we are all on with the Lord!

  4. my response is just like Robin’s up above! Uhhhhmmmm YEAH!

    I’m not sure where I am supposed to be right now or what I’m supposed to be doing.

    • Those times are so hard, Lisa, aren’t they? I have been there more than once and as someone who likes everything to fall into boxes and categories and be written in concrete…those times work on me something fierce. My only consolation (and the only one we really need, although it’s so hard to remember) is that GOD KNOWS. Whew!

  5. I have had several detours in life – struggle with an eating disorder and then the decision to face recovery, infertility, and quitting my (amazing!) job as an adoption social worker to take a less paying job as a nanny. Through it all I have learned to rely on God’s plan for my life. Detours are hard, scary and intimidating at times but He is faithful and will always land us at HIS planned destination, at just the right time.

  6. Thanks so much, Mary. Just what my heart and headed needed to be reminded today. The last few days I’ve been trying to remember Paul’s words of asking for his thorn to be removed but God telling me that His strength is made perfect in our weakness. I find that in the detours of my life, the thing that has been so scary is how my weaknesses show up. The very weaknesses that I fight to get rid of, the very things that I want to disappear. Yet its been because of the weaknesses that I’ve had to depend on God’s grace and mercy and timing . Its been very encouraging to look back and see how God’s strength indeed came through because of my weakness.

    Its strange how a person is raised to be independant and then spends a lifetime learning to be dependant on our Lord!

  7. Your post speaks directly to my journey with Christ. The terrain has been long and arduous, but the travel has been so rewarding. Thank you for your words of wisdom.

  8. I so needed this today! It’s funny (i.e. amazing) how God does that sometimes!! My husband and I are both going through this lost-in-the-corn phase right now and are seeking God’s path for our lives. Thanks again for the reminder that he knows what that path is and where it will lead!

  9. Im with Kimberly. When it comes to navigation, I once was found but now Im lost (again!).

  10. So true!: “I don’t know what your detour is, but I know the One who drew the map – detours and all.”, “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.” (Jer 29:11)
    …I found myself weak when I needed to keep lifting someone up and God gave me strength; I suddenly had a palsy twist my face up when I thought I could make myself pretty and confident and God let me see the people around me with inner beauty more beautiful than anything outside and value them even more. God is great!

  11. Wonderful post Mary-I’m lost in the cornfields of choosing the right school for my daughter. Thanks for this post 🙂

  12. IT is interesting that you wrote about this, because yesterday I wrote about something similar in my blog, about when God gives you just enough to get you somewhere and then you ask yourself: ok, what now? Detours can be pretty scary at times. Believe me, in the past two months I’ve had more detours in my life than in the previous 38 years of life. To use your words, I am driving bling in the road to caregiving for my father who is ill. But I think, these detours have made me more flexible, and less scared about the “now what?”. Through the missed roads, and the detour, I truly have learned to just give it all to Him and let Him show me the way. Be blessed!

  13. Ahhhh! *deep breath* You too? Cause I’m totally confused about some of the paths God takes me on. And, I love that you said you’re a writer who doesn’t know what to write about, because I’m right there with you. 🙂

    • Here’s the hardest part (for me) – I’m STILL confused at some detours I’ve been on in the past. I really prefer understanding to come sooner than this, but God has better plans. And oh YEAH, sister, we are in tune on that writing business! 🙂

  14. Love this story. I am a horrible navigator, avoid driving somewhere new when the opportunity presents itself. I could feel the stress rising in me through your corn fields. My husband is a pastor, we have moved eight time in 22 years of marriage, each journey unsure. I feel a bit the same about my writing journey. Don’t exactly know where I am going but trusting him to lead because he is the map keeper. Thanks for this reminder!

  15. I just wrote about this yesterday…I know in my head I am not in control but it seems like I am always trying. Last week not only brought disappointing news, but a confusing new possibility for our future. Each day since that initial news has brought more uncertainty. I just keep leaning on His Word for my hope and joy!

  16. Refreshing and thoughtful post, Mary! I can completely relate! Who hasn’t been on that path? That is the beauty of life! How boring would it be if we ALWAYS knew which direction we were headed in and where we would end up? We can only trust that our Father up above has his fingers in it all. Like the old saying (one of my favourites); If He brings you to it, He’ll bring you through it!

  17. Stuck on a seemingly endness road through a high and dense cornfield … thanks for the encouragement to keep going and trust God with the outcome. No signs in sight. (Sigh) Oh to roll the windows down, let the breeze blow through my hair, as I sing with the radio and relax my grip on the steering wheel. Pray for me as this lofty goal is not my natural resonse to feeling lost and out of control.

  18. I cannot say anything thru eyes misty with tears but “thank you” for this post….a reminder from God just at the right time.

  19. Every. single. word. of this was for me. I swear. I don’t know what else you will write but you were supposed to right this b/c the blessing, reassurance and loving reminder in it for me were straight from Abba. THANK YOU!
    My whole life is a big ole detour. I have a 13 y/o daughter with only her Abba father and now a 3 y/o son who literally has no one other than me and God. He came to me from the daughter of a friend and for reasons too many and too bizare to list I am in a weird place where he is mine but I cannot legally adopt him or even rightfully call him a “foster child” . He is literally in God’s hands and I spend every single day praying to remember that the only real permenanent thing in the world is the Father and his word. I left a job to pursue a master’s that He stopped. I have gifts, talents and education and the job He gave me is a stay at home mama to two beautiful, amazing children that He shares with me. We live “below the poverty line” in the world’s terms but are rich beyond measure. Never, EVER without, never lacking in anything.
    Thank you SO much for following His lead and in so doing, reminding me He loves us so much and our ‘detour’ is HIS plan!!!!
    Thank you!!!!!

  20. There are a lot of detours in life, aren’t there? I find that communing with God in prayer helps me to have the peace to know I am headed in the right direction no matter what the detour.

  21. Oh, yeah, my life feels like it has been one long detour, but then why did I ever think I knew the original plan? Maybe what seems like a detour to me has been His route all along. Did I ever ask? Thanks for a great post, Mary!

  22. I LOVE your words here. And I tell myself, as much as I want to know the road ahead, to see the path I am on, with Him — to know what the plan is, where I am going — I am grateful, too, that I don’t know all the details. For then I am truly trusting, with my eyes only on Him (lost in the corn!), and okay that He is all that I am able to see. Your post makes me want to abide there, with that heart of trust. Thank you so much, Mary. This is all so beautiful.

  23. Oh yes, this is exactly where I am right now. Job eliminated in beginning of February, and currently unemployed and struggling between figuring out what God wants for me and just trying to find a job I might like, but not knowing exactly what I want to do. Every setback is a major one, even though, for possibly the first time in my life, I’m finally trusting God.

    Doesn’t make it easy. I particularly like your phrase “Maybe you’re driving blind on the road to your master’s degree,” and I’d like to add “or meandering without directions toward your career calling.”

    Thank you for this!

  24. Growing up i had almost everything that i wanted to do and become figured out. For some years i arrived at my planned destination and i felt safe. now ten years into marriage God is taking me on a journey that i can only trust will lead me to my/God’s destination . sometimes i cant see any signs that say am in the right direction and am so encouraged by what you wrote Mary..i will fix my eyes on the one who drew the plan, after all He knows the way better than i do.

  25. Miles of corn fields? I’d be happy to see all that wonderful green! (I live in Arizona and yes, corn is grown here but probably not as much as you have seen.) I would say to enjoy the ride and find out what gifts God has for you along the way that you would never have seen or be given if you went the other route. We all look at detours in negative terms of disappointment instead of opportunities to slow down, admire the landscape and see what blessings God is trying to show us on the journey.

  26. I’ve put myself on several detours. Each time somehow He leads me back to where He wants me.

    My biggest journey/question now is do I stay at a job I don’t like–pay is decent and people are nice plus benefits of days off–or do I go to another job–that I may/maynot like with people I may work well with or not!

    I’m leaving this all up to God.

    Loved the analogy!

  27. Oh the detours! They can be so stressful!
    I’m stuck in one right now…but I’m anxiously at peace! If you can imagine that!! 😉

  28. Following Him is a Life of Faith, a life of ‘not knowing’ what this earthly time holds, but knowing the One Who holds me.
    My OB doctor once told me I had to submit a ‘Birthing Plan’ prior to our child’s birth. All I could think was, “What ‘plan’? How do I come up with a ‘plan’ for doing something I’ve never done before????” Dutifully I made up a written ‘plan’ to give the doctor, the hospital, the nurse on duty when I was admitted to give birth.
    It reminded me of Paul and his missionary travels. Paul knew his purpose, to tell others of Christ. Paul may have had a ‘plan’ but he held it loosely to be directed not by him, but by God. Doesn’t that speak to life itself. Life of Faith, not merely circumstances, but the entirety of a life. Every single moment. Reliant fully on God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit.

    You know that ‘Birthing Plan’ I “had” to have? I still don’t remember to this day what it consisted of! LOL! Why? Because I knew that the best ‘plan’ I could come up with was not necessarily what was going to happen.

    I want to live my life full-out, passionate for Christ, no matter what that looks like from my feeble, temporal view. When I view my circumstances ‘In the light of Eternity’ it all seems so short and unimportant. The house, the education, the insurance, the stuff, because it is, just that. I brought nothing in to this world and I will take nothing out when He calls me Home. Nothing but the lives He has allowed me to touch. Nothing but souls for Christ.
    As I walk this life, I am blind to the circumstances and unknowing of the answers of the questions, “why? what? how? what if? etc.”
    All I know for sure is this, I am here but for One: Christ Glorified, and that others may know Him too.

    Humming that wonderful old hymn that kinda goes… “I don’t know about tomorrow. Many things I don’t understand. But I know Who holds tomorrow. And I know He holds my hand.”

    Mary, this life is but one l-o-n-g detour on the way to Heaven’s Home. The road doesn’t matter, but Whos’ in the driver’s seat does. Precious one, thank you for being vulnerable and sharing your life. We love you and so dearly value your ‘heart-gifts’ to us!

  29. Mary – What a wonderfully hopeful post you wrote!
    Amidst getting saved eight years ago, after losing my mother years before, I feel as if my life has been nothing but detours. My father dying, getting diagnosed with a terminal illness and a equally damaging non-terminal illness at the same time, my husband leaving me because of said illnesses, along with so many friends and family, much beloved but needed by the Lord. The list is too endless to continue. I used liken it to pulling my head out of water, taking that first huge breath and having someone shove me right back under; I like your analogy much better…I can see myself peeking over the corn, totally oblivious to where God is taking me, hence feeling very lost. 🙂 However you are so right…getting lost is just like getting lost in life. I so want to sit at the feet of Jesus, absorb what He is teaching and then take it and spread it where it may grow. However my sins seem to abound and I seem to get lost, if even for a litte while, each and every day. I appreciate that you have enlarged my perspective and shown me that I am not the only lost one out there and at times I am too busy driving to give the Lord the wheel. I have recently moved and am enjoying once again the beautiful scenery that inhabits the country. I think your post will help me enjoy the detours more while learning what lessons the Lord has in store for me. Thank you!

  30. This reminds me of a sermon my pastor did awhile back.

    He quoted the famous verse “Even though I walk through the valley…”

    He emphasized that the Lord didn’t say “Even though You take me from mountain top to mountain top” OR “As I go AROUND the valley…”

    Nope. We’re sometimes goin’ right through that valley.

    But, God promises He’s with us the whole time. 🙂