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. Mary,
    I’m not sure if you really want the answer or not but here goes. When I look at my house I see chaos and clutter. Its never clean enough to suit me. I would be completely unglued if someone came to my home right now and this has been a problem for many years. I’ve slowed my obsession to clean since my ex-husband left the house-it was my tactic to avoid him.

    When I look at my life I see sadness and loneliness from childhood on. Now that I am 41, the past 3+ years I have been working with someone to overcome a lot of things and am happy to say have made gread progress! I can now see things to be able to say I am blessed.

    What do I want to see? I want to see a life without depression. I want to be able to open my eyes everyday and honestly say I see God all around me–some days that is much easier to do. I want to do it on the hard days too. I want to see my kids growing up healthy and happy and loving God.

    I’m working on seeing what I want to see. Its a work in progress.

    • Lisa, thank you for being honest – and brave – enough to tell us what you see. I’m so thankful to hear that you are starting to see more blessings, and I pray that God keeps moving you through your journey out of depression and into seeing what He sees.

    • Hi Lisa,

      Your comment touched me in familiar places, places that God’s love has and is continuing to heal, so I wanted to share some things I’ve learned for my journey. It took me a good while to grasp that depression is meant to separate me. From my faith in God, from my relationship with Him and from relationship with other people.

      But I know now that we are created to be relational. We have a God given desire to be lovingly pursued and nourishingly touched by people whose hearts are utterly disposed to doing us good. God created us with the longing to be pursued, embraced, known and enjoyed. And He fulfills those longings if we allow Him to. It isn’t always easy – especially if we’ve fallen into or battle with depression. I certainly didn’t “feel” like being part of life outside what I could presently see in my depression, but eventually, I had to choose to believe Him regardless of how I felt. Our lives will always be made up of crisis of faith, and joys and sorrows – and they are all His bringing us back to – “Do you believe me?”

      Romans 4:20-21 NIV, Yet {she} did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in {her} faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised.

      That word “yet” – it says that the odds are stacked against us. With every opportunity to believe God we get an invitation to disbelieve Him – and we are going to live a lifetime of “yets”. It’s all about faith, and faith is worth fighting for, because without it, it is impossible to please God. (Hebrews 11:6). We attain victory by believing God is who He says He is and that we are who He says we are. That’s what faith does – it changes our belief system from what we can presently see to being sure of the things we hope for and knowing that something is real even if we do not see it. (Hebrews 11:1).

      I’m praying for you today. That He will fill you with His strength, pour out His peace that surpasses understanding, and lavish you with the truth that He is pursuing you, embracing you, knowing you, and thoroughly enjoying you.

      • Terri,
        Thank you so much for your words. Really. I love the Romans scripture! And I’ve been learning that I was made to be in relationship with God and others. Really before 3 years ago, the relationship with God was not there. And the others, well I would have to say the majority, outside of my work life, were dysfunctional at best. But as my friend at church who I talk with has told me I must continue to build my circles of friendships. When we met she told me I was a single dot on a line, I did not have any circles. I wouldn’t allow there to be anyone that close to me. God has been changing that very strategically I have to say over the last few years. He certainly has a way of putting someone in my life at the absolute perfect time! I do have small circles but only this one friend is in the middle with me and God. Someday I’m hoping God puts a loving, respectful, godly man in my world for me but until then I am holding tightly onto the few but genuine friends he has given me.

        • hi lisa,
          as i read your brave sharing of your life, it reflected mine like a mirror…i have come to realise that it is ourselves that block the view of God…when i start to invite His Greatness into my life, my heart, i could ‘see’ Him living in my heart always…i blinded myself from His vision in the past but yet He is always good, always there for me and when i condemned myself and had resigned to ‘fate’, He sent me my guardian angel (my current fiance) who accepted me and my three boys from my previous marriage unconditionally…and you know, i still have goosebumps thinking about this grace every time because i had never prayed to God about my future mate after my divorce, i just merely ‘day dream’ one day when i was attending a church service about a special someone who will be attending the same service with me one day and here he is, a dream come true…God knows our heart, let’s open our heart to Him wholeheartedly. Be blessed always, love you Sister-in-Christ

  2. Oooooh very good. Yes, we tend to see things much differently, don’t we? I am always doing that with my husband. He tells me what he sees and I assure him he’s mistaken. Usually the conversation ends something like him saying, “When are you finally going to trust me when I tell you something?”

    Consider others’ words like that a gift from God—receive it as if God were saying it because I truly believe He uses people to tell us that from Himself. 🙂 (Trust me, I’m talking to myself here, too) 🙂 Great ‘word’ today. 🙂

  3. Oh my, I NEEDED to read this this morning. Thank you for this. How often do I look past the grace only to focus on the ugly. Thank you, bless you!

  4. I think God used you today to speak some desperately needed truth into my life. Thank you so much for reminding me that perspective is not only important when looking at the world around me, the people around me, but when I look at myself too. The tired, rapidly graying, sun-damaged and acne-scarred skinned woman in my mirror needs to remember what she so often tells her daughter – “Pretty is as pretty does.” And see how kind her eyes are, and how much she loves her Father and her family. To look at her heart.

  5. Wonderful post. What a great reminder at the start of my day. That it is about perspective. I long to see my life through the eyes of God, but sometimes I am the hardest on myself.

  6. I see— that I’m ‘trying’… I learned when my kids were infants, that I wanted to spend ‘time’ with them and not have a spotless house… I still work to keep our house tidy, straightened up and clean… but not too clean…
    I’ve also seen through the eyes of friends that they ‘perceive’ me as perfect, at times. So I try to make a point sometimes to mention a mistake or a mess I have…. I think i helps– both them and me!
    Thank you for sharing.
    LOVE the picture! 😀

  7. Mary,

    How timely this is – and I almost skipped past reading it this morning. I am so thankful for the Holy Spirits prompts!

    What do I see?

    Grace. Mercy. Blessings – and a stack of clothes that I’ve been meaning to put away for two days. Half inch roots that will get colored today – and long curly hair that I’m grateful to have at 45. I see another beautiful day that I am blessed to have been given and God willing by this evening my almost 6 month old (on the 12th) grandson and my middle daughter will be here for a few days to share some life together. I see sunshine, salvation, provision, flowers, and another day of being unemployed as I was layed off on March 14th. I see opportunity! I see Him. I see who I am in Him. And I realize that if I am blessed with a tomorrow that I’ll be given the opportunity to believe or disbelieve Him – and I know from experience that believing Him isn’t always the easiest choice, but it is hands-down 100% the best choice. Here’s to today! The day He has made for me – I’m gonna rejoice and be glad in it!! 🙂

  8. Such a wonderful reminder, Mary! I tend to focus on what could be better too. I’m so thankful for you, friend, for the way you keep it real and help
    us do that too. Hope to see you again soon!!

  9. I love this. Especially when it comes to our perspectives on how we see our homes. I am so persnickety when it comes to having people over, I really would love for it to look perfect so they think I am a great woman who keeps her house clean. But what’s most important is that there is love here and it’s a “home.” Seems like God is really hitting me a lot lately with perspective and taking time to see him in the daily.

  10. Mary…once again, you cut to the heart of the matter. I love what you wrote and the comment from Lisa H. I definitely choose to see what I want to see rather that what God sees.

    Thank you for being YOU friend!

  11. I read the entire post.
    And funny b/c I always think that about your bathroom when I’ve been in there…in fact I think I remember saying what a “sanctuary” it feels like when I’m in there. It’s how you have it decorated…and probably too that it is clean…and ALWAYS smells good. But that is besides the point. Thanks for your thoughts…me too…b/c I look at myself in the mirror days and think…35. 35. 35. It’s coming. And then “!@#$%!”. What have you done with your life? I know all the obvious things…but I am searching deeper…and haven’t come up with squat as of late. Just…where’d you go Mandy?
    Thanks for your post.
    Love you girl!

  12. Mary, this was beautifully written! It’s especially meaningful to me today as I work hard at cleaning my house. Here’s the thing—I have a best friend who I never let come to my house because I never feel like my house is clean enough. Her house is huge and gorgeous and magazine perfect, while mine is tiny and not always tidy. I need to remind myself that God sees my heart and not my house, and hope that others see the same.

  13. This is me! I do this with my home and my physical self. I’ve gotten better through the years with the Lord’s help thankfully. But it’s still a struggle at times. So glad God loves us no matter what!

  14. OMGosh…I am crying. this is something I needed to hear. I do not take compliments well…i am just like your friend in that I steer comments away from myself and onto something else. I think that maybe I am a “cup half empty” type girl….and didn’t really realize it until this weekend when my friend told me I was! Ha! So i am choosing positive…everything positive!! Thank you for this wonderful inspiring post!!

  15. I’m really beginning to *see* who God sees in me – and His purposes in my life. And I’m beginning to live wholly me, freely, and to receive His Grace…all the while leaning ever closer to Him…trusting Him. I’m a torn, wounded, and hurt girl who He’s making whole, free and joyful!

  16. I absolutely love this post.
    I don’t see what I should see. I’m certain that I’m much too hard on myself in some areas and not hard enough in others.
    Much food for thought in this one — thanks!

  17. Sigh. I so needed to hear this. The things I chose to see are not usually good. I look at my house and I see a mess, chaos, and clutter. When people come over, I’m usually apologizing for the condition of the bathroom. When I look in the mirror, I see the gray sneaking in, the wrinkles, the extra weight, and am reminded of my lack of discipline and exercise. When I look at my children, I’m reminded of all I didn’t do – or did do – in their lives that I wish I hadn’t. When I look at my creativity, I think I’m not good enough to do anything with it. When I look at others, I see all that I don’t/can’t do. I am definitely my own worst enemy.

    It is a huge struggle for me to see things as God sees them. The study by Beth Moore, Believing God, offered one of the best remedies for this. Sadly, it’s not something I remember or think about often, as it’s been many years ago now. Sometimes I really want to find that workbook, but I believe it’s in a box of my clutter. HA! HA!

    I can always see the best in others and offer them encouragement, but when it comes to myself, I look through cynical lenses of self-defeat and regret.

    I am bookmarking this and hope to come back to it often. I desperately need this perspective adjustment. Thank you for sharing! 🙂

  18. This was perfect timing! Yesterday was one of those days. Lately, no matter what I do, I don’t feel like it is enough… my house is never clean enough, closets organized enough, desk tidy enough… you get the point! 😉 I loved this post and will cling to your words. Thank you!

  19. What do I see? I look around and see that I am not who I want to be anymore. I see myself as being envious of those that have their health. I envy those around me that have laughter in their hearts. I see bitterness in my heart when i look at those that never have to struggle because their lives are going well and never have to worry about finances. When i look in the mirror I see a very ugly person. Inside and out. I see myself as a burden to others and so full of wrong that its impossible for anyone to care or love me. I wonder if God is disappointed with who I am now.

    • Faith, I don’t know your circumstances or what’s caused you to see yourself this way, but I do know one thing: God loves you, no matter what. I just heard a message a few days ago that said God will never love me any more or any less than He does today. He loves us in a way we – as humans – can’t comprehend, because it is completely and wholly unconditional and does not rely on or change because of our behavior. I know that I don’t know you, but God does. And He sees beauty and goodness. He loves you. No matter what.

  20. You know what I will see today? Thanks to reading this wonderful post… I will see that Jesus loves me even though I don’t measure up according to man’s expectations of me.

    Thank you for sharing your story and His Life-giving Word as a much needed reminder.

  21. Unfortunately no, I don’t see who I should see. I want to, I really do but when I look at myself in the mirror, all I see is an overweight, forty year old woman who feels ugly. My husband constantly tells me how beautiful he thinks I am and I just brush him off with a comment like, “well, you’re biased”. I wish I could see myself like he does, and like God does. I know God sees my heart and I hope that he likes what He sees.

  22. Well put! I’ll always used to frantically clean before dinner parties, coffee, play dates to the point that I would not invite people over for these occasions as I did not have time to clean. My girlfriend told me that people don’t notice the dirt as much as I do. Loved your verse!

  23. Terrific post! I find myself doing just what your co worker does. I really don’t know why I do this! What a wonderful reminder this is. Thank you! 😉


  24. Thank you, Mary! I am 66, widowed, and retired for only 6 months, It definitely has a learning curve. I’m working just 9 hrs. a week now and am face-to-face with me and who God says I am. We don’t see the same, but He is always right. He tells me we will “walk on water together,” but right now I see the wind and waves and am pushing through to get my eyes back on Him alone. I have prayed for a friend who will love me as I am and encourage me in the Lord. And He has led me to you. I don’t know His plan for the rest of my life, but I know He loves me and has a plan (Jeremiah 29:11). I have been blessed!