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. Thank you Mary, I loved what you shared, especially on how to put things into perspective when things come against us How to have Hope and even a joyful heart during the seasons of our lives..!

    One of my favorite verses is to pray, meditate on and sing is “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning, and Great is His faithfulness! Lamentations 3:22,23

    Heart felt thankfulness you’s for sharing your heart! ❤ Merry Christmas!

    Love and warmth,
    Diana

  2. Mary, this was wonderful. Thank you! Six years ago was the year for me: my dad passed away a few weeks before Christmas and everything else seemed in turmoil. Looking back, it was the most desperate season, and I only survived because of clinging to God’s grace. All that you wrote was true: The tough times gave way to blessings and healing. I’m forever grateful to God that I know him to be enough in all circumstances.

  3. Good year, bad years. Full years, empty years. Light years, dark years Life seems to go in cycles. We never seem to stay in one forever. But without that hope, and perspective, and knowledge of God, like you talked about, it sure is harder to get through those hard and lean years. Thanks for the reminder that hard times never last forever. Those hard years also make the good years seem sweeter.

  4. 2015 was that way for me. In fact, at a NY Eve party, when asked to write down a word that capsulized the year, my husband and I both (independently) chose the same word: disappointing.
    2016 has been lots better, but that’s not to say that we’re done with disappointment on this fallen planet. Thanks for this reminder that the years bring change, but our God is eternally the God of hope — regardless of my external circumstances!

  5. Mary, I really like this because it is filled with TRUTH. As long as we have breath, we have HOPE, and as I always say, #hopechangeseverything

    Have a blessed Christmas. xo

  6. Mary,

    God says we will have trials and tribulations on this planet. There are seasons when it is hard to live through them. My aging dad had sever dementia and it escalated to him being hospitalized this January (2016). I had to quit a good full-time job to be more available for him. It was tough getting those late night calls and not knowing what to do. One thing that helps me is making a Thankful Journal. I will write out all things I’m thankful for from God, Home in Heaven, Jesus dying for my sins, to simple things like sunshine, rain, flowers, sunsets. It help me put life into perspective and realize ALL that God has bless me with.

    Pray always about the situations. I did that with my dad and God allowed me to witness a miracle. He brought him back to “normal”. He can go for walks, short car rides. God is awesome!

    Have a blessed Christmas everyone! 🙂

  7. Hope — sometimes the gift we forget we’ve already received. In the chaos that is December, (and the crazy-fast 11 months prior) it can be so easy to look at hope as if it’s distant—when in reality, it’s with us, always. And, so thankful that it’s one gift we can always re-gift. Thank you for these re-gifted words of hope today, Mary. Merry Christmas! 🙂

  8. I would have to say that a best list would be exactly the opposite of the bad. I have experienced my share of that as a Christian, but I know all good gifts are from Him, and Jesus is the best gift of all.

  9. I really need to read this today!! Thank you for your refreshing words. My husband and I have had a rough couple of years dealing with family drama, job loss, and every aspect of our lives are challenging. We are looking forward to celebrating the true meaning of christmas this year and drawing closer to our Heavenly Father. We look forward to somewhere in the future receiving a bit of a break from these hard times, but the wonderful Lord does not let us give up, and so every day we keep going. I don’t know how but we just do.

  10. Mary,
    I’ve been out of town….and trying to catch up. No matter how good, bad, or ugly my years have been….no matter whether I would have to tell complete lies to present a positive Christmas card letter….no matter whether my heart was merry and bright or hurting and grieving…the #1 on my “Best of List” will always be Jesus. He is the one constant in my/our always shifting and changing world. The One who has never failed nor forsaken me will always be #1 on my Best of List, no matter whether I’m praising Him with tears of joy or tears of pain.
    Advent blessings to you Mary…thanks for being real!! You’re a breath of fresh air 🙂
    Bev xx

  11. I honestly love this, Mary. Some years, the BEST we can do is put one foot in front of the other. I had a friend this year who died from a long battle with cancer. Her brother found her gratitude journals — she’d made it to 15,000 and the very last two entries the day they called in hospice: Strength. Peace. <3 Oh for a heart that sees good even in the hardest of hard. <3

  12. “Count your blessings-as small as they seem.” Yes, this is what I cling to when things are tough. This has been a year of counting the small blessings. No, it hasn’t all been bad, but it also sure hasn’t all been good. All I know is, that in the midst of losing a loved one very suddenly, God has been more real than I could ever have imagined. In the midst of questions, of whys, he has been enough.

  13. I am so glad I finally read this post. It so described the year of pain, depression, anxiety and health issues and grief it was filled with. But being reminded that Jesus is our light and our hope was just what I needed.