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. Thank you for sharing your heart with us, Mary! Thank you for the important reminder that God is with us in every season – through the ups and downs, through our joys and our pains, whether we are full of faith or full of doubt! This reminds me of 2 Timothy 2:13, NLT – “If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny who he is.”

    By the way, this made me laugh – “You can search every shelf, but you won’t find a card that shouts, “Joy to the Lord! This year I doubted God!” haha, so true!! love that. 🙂

    Thanks again for sharing, Mary! I pray you have a beautiful day, and May God heal you completely from your griefs/hurts. (Ps 147:3)

    Love & Blessings,
    Bomi 🙂

  2. Mary,
    So true that joy and pain can coexist and truth is, I find that is more the norm than the exception. This year I was so thankful for NOT having a major surgery – the first year after 6 successive years of surgeries. The extreme pain of my estrangement from my two adult children goes on. My sweet godly husband and I will celebrate 6 years together on Saturday – what a Godsend he is. Have I published my book? No. Some people may say, don’t look back, but when I look back over the years and the many trials God has brought me through, I see MANY Ebenezers (monuments to God’s faithfulness and goodness). I know that I will most likely never understand His plans at the time, but I can see, in hindsight, that His ways are higher than my ways and He is always working ALL things together for good. The good thing about doubt is that when we wrestle with it (and even wrestle with God), it tends to deepen and strengthen our faith. Look at Jacob…he wrestled with God, in Genesis, and when it was all said and done, God called him Israel which means that he had striven (wrestled) and been saved by God. Blessings to you, Mary, in your wrestling and in your joy.
    Bev xx

  3. Thank you, Mary, for sharing your questions and doubts of God during your hard times. I can say that I doubted God and what He was up to 12 years ago, when my daughter was going through a horrendous time. No matter how many prayers we prayed between us, God was not rescuing her and her very young children out of the troubles she found herself in, through no fault of her own. I became very angry with God and could not sing ‘He is good’, because if He was, why was He allowing all of this to happen? Instead, God showed me in other ways how good and faithful He is to us, who don’t deserve any of His favour. He has carried my daughter and her children through the years and provided for them in many ways, and our troubles with things we can’t understand has brought us both closer to Him and His love. In faith we can say, ‘God IS good!’ May He bless you, Mary. Barbara

  4. omgoodness. We seem to have had the same year. I didn’t realize that joy & sorrow, hope & disappointment could intertwine and exist so simultaneously until the last couple years. The realization that God is truly in both and that I needn’t feel guilty or less than in my faith because I do have sorrow and disappointment, even when trying to follow what I believe God is asking me to do. That confusion is acceptable, as long as I go to God with my confusion. That those feelings will not necessarily negate the promise(s) He has given me. To be honest, I’m still wrestling with it and this was a very well-timed post. 🙂

  5. This is so similar to my 2019! Wow! My prayer is that 2020 is seen thru fresh eyes of Gods sovereignty! Amen!

  6. Mary,
    What beautifully written words! Thank you for reminding us that God is with us always! Bless you for sharing your wonderful story. It gives me encouragement to remember that I’m not alone and God is still there for all of us. He is a constant friend who never leaves us alone. Thanks again!

  7. I used to think that if I was in the midst of joy, pain would disappear…and vice versa that I was unable to find joy when also experiencing pain. Life has demonstrated quite the opposite. Most of the time these two live side by side in our imperfect world lending perspective to each other. It’s such a tension and I have to guard myself against rejecting the truth of both.

    God has been faithful to be with me in both circumstances. I tend to SEE him more in the joys, but I FEEL him more in the pains.

    • That’s so true – about seeing Him and feeling Him differently in joy and pain. Which is why we need both, I guess! Thank you for sharing your experience here, Missy!

  8. Mary,

    Congratulations on your book!! I’m reading “For All Who Wander” by Robin Dance. She states “Your question and doubts could be the very things God is using to draw you into a deeper relationship with Him. There is purpose to your wander. Not a moment of it is wasted. Just because you feel lost doesn’t mean you are.” Joy & pain coincide with each other. The deaths of both my parents was a sad yet happy time. They had been sick so long. Their suffering was now over & I could move on with my life. God has been faithful year after year whether I recognize it or not. I often make myself recall His goodness to remind myself that He will be good this time. Last year I was let go from a part-time job. Truth be told I was rather happy. I knew in my heart God had something better for me. Two week later I landed a better paying job at a hospital as ICU Step Down Clerical. What started out as two days a week has blossomed to two days one week, three the next. I’ve even worked 45 hrs. one week. My year started out on a high note, but ended on a rather sour note. My FIL died Monday before Thanksgiving. He had Stage III bladder cancer, bladder infection, two weeks prior had a bilateral ischemic attack. Still happened quickly. Discharged from hospital that day. Made it home & we believe he threw a blood clot. In the past God has healed my dad of geriatric psych & returned him to normal for 1 year. I’ve learned to take the good with the bad & to thank God for both. I know it is in the pain of trial that my faith grows stronger. God is with us always. No matter how we feel, if we question or doubt Him. He’s still there standing at door of our hearts knocking. I recommend Robin Dance’s new book “For All Who Wander” Why knowing God is better than knowing it all. Memoir of her wandering journey.

    Blessings 🙂

  9. Joy and Pain….we all know they walk hand in hand, but you said it all so well! There was a year that almost killed me and when I think back to it, I still feel a punch in my gut. And yes, I doubted God – not my proudest moment. But God carried us through and that is all we can ask. God does not make horrible things happen, no matter how people interpret the scripture. God told us the world would be hard several times, so we just need to know that we are not of this world and there is a better place waiting. So when it is all said and done and the pain hits us – we just hold on. And God does what he promises – he carries us through. Praise our faithful God!

  10. Outstanding post. Thank you. I have been reminded of the very same thing you have so brilliantly written. I have experienced a very similar situation of learning we have to stay in the word and listening to worship music as we process hard stuff. It will help us coming out changed on the other side. We go through stuff to learn how to help others get through their struggles.

  11. 2019 was a pretty peaceful year but I just walked through a long, hard five years. Now that I’m up for air, I remember something I heard from God during the hard part, when I was questioning how I’d get through. He said, “This is what it’s like WITH Me.” He reminded me that He was there, even though I couldn’t always see, hear or sense Him.

  12. God was faithful to me last year. Like he is everyday. He wakes me up to enjoy another day in his beautiful world. No matter what happened too me through the years. I still have alot thank him for. Because I am saved. I know he is always by my side. He will never leave me nor for sake. I have the best friend in the world. I am beautiful in his eyes. I am daughter of King. As one day I was feeling I don’t remember if was sorry for myself. I was in a not right mood. But this day I saw a boy with half an arm them later on that day a women come out of public toilets my husband cleans for a living with a false leg. I then began to stop the mood I was in and say God thank you I have two normal arms and legs. You gave me. We take so much fot granted. So God showed me in all theses things the big picture and to be thank full on to him for all he has given me. This last year and every day I am alive. As it is a blessing on to him. Love Dawn Ferguson-Little

  13. Thank you for this post. I have been going through such a dark time for what seems like forever. It’s all way too much to post. But, it’s had me not only question God, but doubt his very existence. I have suicidal thoughts nearly every day(and before anyone calls emergency services, I am under the care of a qualified psychiatrist and medical team who know all I’m going through). I question my very existence and purpose every day. But, deep down somewhere I don’t even understand or can explain, there is something pulling at me to hold on. I have to believe it is God. When I read posts like this one today, it reminds me that I’m not alone, that life is pain and joy, and to keep going. Thank you for sharing this because you never know who you touch.

    • Suzane please please go on you Youtube listen to Father love letter. That is all you type in The Father’s Love Letter. It will come up. This is how much the Father our God Love you. Every word so true of You. You are so precious to him. Every thing it says is so true of you. I will pray for you. Love Dawn Ferguson-Little xxxx

    • Suzanne, thank you so much for sharing your heart here. I’m glad to hear that you are seeing a psychiatrist. But I’m also praying right now that God will make you feel His love, that you will feel peace and also confidence in His love, that you will rest in the knowledge that He has a plan for you. I’m praying, too, that He would send you community to care for you and support you during this time.

  14. Hi Mary, thanks for the good reminders. This message of holding both joy and pain at the same time is the theme of the album I released in 2018. It’s called Dissonance. You might enjoy listening.. especially to the last song : Keeper of my Life. You can find it by searching up Ashley Sykes on any of your music sites. I hope the songs speak to you and encourage you. Thanks for sharing your journey with us.

  15. Right on, Mary! A number of years ago I plodded through a difficult year of my own, but continued to keep a journal of God’s faithfulness that I’d started years before THAT. On December 31 I tallied up the entries and discovered there were more than any of the previous twenty-six years. God had been exceedingly faithful even during the struggle! (And I praised God for inspiring me to keep the journal/notebook, as its 1300+ entries never fail to bring uplift and encouragement to my spirit.)

  16. Amen sister! I also had a year of struggling with my faith and what I believe in. The doubt and questions scared me. But God was with me and brought my mind and continues to bring my mind out of the pit (it’s a daily battle, amen?!). But I also had a lot of good times in there too! I love that God is always with us, through the trials and good times, through the doubts and faith. He is so good to a sinner like me. Thank you so much for sharing and I pray your faith and love for him continue to grow this year. God bless ❤️

  17. Thank you for sharing this. 2019 was a year of great joy and deep sorrow for us. Our daughter got married in May but one week before my mom became ill with a sudden and horrifying dementia that took her life six weeks later. In the midst of putting mom on hospice, my husband was assaulted while at training for a new job. It was almost more than we could deal with. God was faithful and was with us the entire time. We were trusting that He would bring us out of the darkness. We started 2020 with hope for a brighter year but just last week our best friend died very suddenly from a massive heart attack. Again, we are relying on God to sustain us. Your words of hope and the need to keep praising even in the darkness continue to be true.