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,
    Having just had a baby, I don’t know how you string together a complete thought let alone a string of words??

    My word is “intentional”. Yes, it’s been written in my notebook, but I need a more prominent place where I can see it more often. It seems like just when we draw a line in the sand and set our sights on being more intentional with thought, word and deed…life comes along with its setbacks and interruptions. My challenge is not to give up my word, but to get back on the horse when life knocks me off. Setting my sights, again, on living with intention. Thanks for the reminder to keep my goal and my God ever before me in my sight!!

    • Bev, Intentional is my word too. It’s not easy to be that way every day, I struggle too, but God knows we are trying and I am thankful for that. I think another word that goes with our word is persistent. So this reminder gives me new perspective to be persistently intentional. 🙂 I like how you put it, be more intentional with thought word and deed. Just sharing some thoughts Sister to Sister.

      Making Jesus Famous Together,

        I woke up this morning over whelmed by the things that i had to do today and get done before i know it i was picking up a attitude that i didn’t like so i asked the Lord to help me and i started to read your blog and it was as if the lord was speaking directly to me. the attitude was gone and i was able to feel relieved of the presser..

        Carol Heine

    • Yes! Life is a JERK that way! Of course…I suppose being intentional would keep us from getting sidetracked, at least as often or as much! 🙂

  2. My word is “brave.” I made an acronym for it because there are many different areas God is working on in this heart of mine.
    Ready and
    Vying for
    Everything God wants to do in my heart and through my life .

    Sometimes, we just need a reminder of the beautiful treasures Christ has for us inside Him. My one word causes me to remember to live every moment chasing the dreams He planted in my heart. It helps me stay focussed knowing that He has a purpose to work through my life.

  3. My word for 2014 is CREATE…so far I am creating time and space for a place to “create.” My clutter -physical, spiritual and emotional…is being dealt with, trimmed down and in some ways, eliminated. This year is a time for changing dreams and growing and CREATING…birthing NEW. I have learned that looks very different than I had originally intended. The Lord, in his amazing love is rewiring my heart and life in ways to allow time, space, and energy for NEW and for CREATING…

    It has been painful at times and again. It doesn’t feel like I thought it would… but His path never does…It is always so much more. When I chose the word CREATE, I had dreams of becoming more artistic and that is still a possibility…but He is creating art within me, within my heart…new desires for service and ministry are growing in this freed space. My prayer life is breathing again in a less cluttered ME…There are times that I feel as if the Holy Spirit is “creating havoc” in my heart by shifting things, remolding my thoughts and uncovering old insecurities.

    Needless to say, CREATE looks vastly different to me today than it did on January 1st. But it’s not bad, it’s a welcome change which is what I was looking for …deep in my bones, truly…

    • Berta, that is so true – God’s path for us simply never looks like we imagine it! Thank you for sharing what He’s doing in your life this year.

  4. My word is KNOWN. Letting myself be authentically and intimately known by God and building relationships based on that. I am being drawn daily into deeper comfort with letting go of needing to know. needing to be confident, competent and sure all the time and instead banking all my worth in the this world on being known by God. Getting deeper into the His Word and knowing it well has been the cornerstone of this effort and it has renewed me deeply.

  5. My word is MOMENT. I chose that word back in January because I was wanting to make an effort to slow down and pay attention to all the moments, to savor them and not just rush through one moment, cross it off my list and move onto the next moment. I tend to be a doer, a never-quit-moving kind of a girl and as I reflected on the past year I felt like all I was doing was rushing to the next thing. So I set my intention to be more mindful, more in the moment.

    And as God always does, he lovingly chuckles at my big plan and uses my intention the way He wants it be. I find my self with more time than I have had in years and I don’t know what to do. I’ve asked for the moments and I have them but I certainly could not have imagined it the way that God has manifested it. I never do. And that’s okay. I think (hope) he is quietly, gently and ever so slowly teaching me what I need at any given moment. If I will pay attention.

    So, I will continue with my one word for 2014 and know that each moment is a gift and I only need to live in it and be grateful for it.

  6. My word for this year is Transformation … I ordered a bracelet from Ann Voskamp’s site to wear with it on it. It’s a good place but not an easy one for sure! …. I also started a Pinterest board but I do need to print it out to see everyday

  7. I must have missed a reading did not know about a word for the .mi think mine is PATIENCE, I lack it and at the moment I need it in bucketfuls as I am partially disabled and there’s are lots of things I can’t do . So I have go be patient. My aunt is not speaking to me and despite apology I need patience to wait

  8. My word is Habit for 2014. Slow and steady, once choice at a time…..leading where God leads and creating healthy habits He would have for me. Not easy, not perfect, but improving.

  9. So many great words and words of wisdom from you, sisters in Christ. This year my word is PATIENCE. I fought this word when God so clearly put it in front of me to claim. Of course, God has provided so many opportunities to grow in this area. My intention around this word has been to “Pay attention” to the ways God desires for me to grow. (As LEE ANN said so well “to pay attention to all the moments, to not rush through them but to savor them…”) I never noticed “pay attention” in the Word until this year. Luke 8:18 NLT “Be sure to pay attention to what you hear. To those who are open to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But to those who are not listening, even what they think they have will be taken away from them.” Wow. So as I patiently pay attention, I praise God for the opportunities he is revealing so that I may grow in character for his glory.


    I just want to say, “THANK YOU” – I have many journals, note pads, etc. of COURSE


  11. Mary- thanks so much for this post. The ideas you share of how to keep our word in front of us – so simple, yet brilliant! I can’t believe I haven’t created a pinterest board for it yet 🙂 I can also relate somewhat to it being February and not having done much of anything with the one word. That was me last year. I chose Consistency, and by February I’d written a blog post called “The Consistency of Being Inconsistent”. Choosing that word did at least make me aware of those things I wanted to be more consistent with and I think this year, I’m applying it better.

    But this year, while I prayed about re-upping with Consistency, God laid a new word on my heart – trust. In all honesty, I thought it was in regard to one particular relationship in my life, but it has turned out to be the whole of my life. It was obviously a word that struck a chord with many, because I shared the link to my post about it and it quickly became my most read post. I haven’t had to work very hard at keeping the word in front of me. Friends all know my word and my present circumstances and they are constantly sending me things that contain it to remind and encourage me. You are right – writing it down IS important – in my case it not only serves as a reminder to me, but spurs others to action to come alongside me. And God too has been faithful to send that word into my field of vision every single day thus far. Trust is a pretty common word, but I truly don’t ever remember seeing it in so many places ever before. I wrote an update about my word and how God is using it in my life a few weeks ago. http://lakesidelessons.blogspot.com/2014/02/when-trust-is-all-you-have.html

  12. My word is ‘love’ and it’s coming along dandy.

    🙂 🙂 🙂
    upwards I surge in my ‘love’ journey
    as happy as happy as can be
    nothing is bothering me at the moment
    except that I may need to love
    more and more and more and more
    to learn about the word ‘love’
    this is it and this is where I’m at
    thank you much for teaching me
    to love and love and love and love
    more and more and more and more
    🙂 🙂 🙂

  13. “Grace” has been a reoccurring theme of my life. The reason is I have such beauty in a life of struggle. (we probably all have struggles.) The beautiful part is grace from God’s forgiveness to me, and grace god’s power in me to grow.

  14. My word is TRUST. I am finding myself in unexpected places in all aspects of my life. Things that have always been challenging; but, only temporary obstacles have begun to feel like implosion….and simultaneous at that

    So, I trust. I trust consistently and calmly.

  15. My word is FOLLOW.
    Follow Him.
    Follow through.
    Follow up.

    2013 was full of goals. Some I met, others I didn’t. So I embraced 2014 with the challenge of following. Following God wherever he leads me. Following through on commitments I’ve made. And following up with relationships that need to go deeper.

    I never really thought about having one word to describe it all before I read your post, but it definitely helps put everything into perspective.

    Thanks for sharing and challenging us to really think about how God is moving.

  16. I changed my computer login password to my one word for the year. So whenever I start my day it begins with that focus.

  17. I find I have to seek out God’s Word at various times throughout my day or I start drifting, focusing too much on things of the world. Reading short devotions, listening to Christian radio, keeping a journal daily help me stay connected to God and help keep all the distractions at bay and in perspective. I’m a little late deciding, but the word REDEEM just came to me as my word for 2014. It helps me remember that all things are possible with God, even that which seems unredeemable, like a marriage.

    • Anne Marie,

      I so agree with you. I listen to Christian music all day while scanning papers. Devotions are a big part of my life and a thankful journal also. All that helps me stay connected and realize what I have and not worry about the world!

      Blessings 🙂

  18. My word is healthy. I chose this word because I want to seek a healthy mind, healthy body and healthy spiritual life. I struggle with fibromyalgia and my husband has kidney failure so it’s important to focus on what we can do to make healthy choices. So far so good!

  19. I struggled at the beginning of the year to find the word I felt was the one. I chose a word, but it never quite felt right. I now know why. In the last two weeks, the word “child-like” has become my focus. God has been showing me my need for a child-like faith, a child-like trust. He also has shown me the need to see the world again, through the eyes of a child. Instead of finding all the hurt, despair and ugliness around, I also need to keep my eyes open to the joy, the wonder, the beauty, the thrill of discovery. It has been a glorious couple of weeks.

  20. Mary, this is wonderful. Like you, the desire of my heart is to come alongside others and experience the truth of the gospel and who God is. That’s my favorite part about this community! My One Word was the whisper — “rest.” Instead of becoming anxious or stressed, can I learn to be still and quiet before the Lord as He sings grace over me? This is where I continually find myself. The Lord is so faithful to teach when we come humble and willing to learn. Bless you!

  21. Thanks for the reminder. I am involved in many things and my word has become fithful. My desire is to be faithful in my studies and in my new challenges. They require my focus and are hard work. I am determined to keep my journey ever moving and i remember that i am never alone for my zGod is ever showing me the way. He halts my discouragements and i am ever grateful.

  22. I too write down all kinds of things I want to remember–sermons, quotes, sentences from books, etc. I have notebooks full of stuff–am glad I am not the only one who does this!!!

    • Mary,

      You are not alone. I write down notes from each Sunday sermon. Keep notes on my computer, etc. It helps me to research and re-hear what God was telling me.

      Blessings 🙂

      • Beth,
        I do also have files and files of words I want to remember. Some I use when I teach my Sunday school class or the women’s Bible study. My pastor knows I am not writing my grocery list during his sermon!! And you’re right, it is good to rehear what God is telling us. Words can too easily be lost so we must jot down the ones we want to keep!!

  23. I love notebooks too! Just call me an office supply nerd! My go-to notepads for my “brain” are steno pads. Preferably in a color. The ones I’m using now are blue and I love them. I also have been known to write something on my list just so I can cross it off. It makes me feel efficient or something like that!

    My one word is Miracle and i’m looking for ways that God is working the Miraculous into my every day life. That’s helping me to focus on what He is doing daily. I’ve seen one or two already and anticipate many more before the year is over!

    • Love it, Holly. We talked about miracles recently in my small group, and it’s been on my mind ever since. My prayer has been that God will show me His miracles – because I think so often we miss them by looking for something else/bigger/different.

  24. My word is strengthened. It came to me in January with a Scripture and i have written it down on the papers that i keep each month where i list my daily gifts. i am not exactly sure what GOD is teaching me. My health sometimes zaps my strength and i really have to depend on GOD to be strengthened physically. Learning about being strengthened by the HOLY SPIRIT of GOD minute by minute is sure to be a lesson for this year.

    lynn Miller

  25. My one word for 2014 is “delight”. God knew exactly what I needed this year. Lessons in delight are intentionally given to me as I learn a new normal after the loss of my mom. Psalm 30:5 tears may flow in the night but joy comes in the morning! Lessons of grief followed by lessons of delight remind me that God’s mercies are new every morning.
    I love how God’s love works within us. Thank you for being intentional in your writing and for sending me a reminder that God always knows what He’s doing!

    • Mary, I love hearing about this. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my own lack of delight – and how much I long to change that!

  26. My one word 2014 is HONOR. It has made me remarkably aware of whatever I say, do, think, etc – is it honoring my Father in heaven. It has definitely made a difference in my everyday world.

  27. My one word is “gracious”. During lent I am taking part in a “habit-fast”. The habit I am fasting from is blaming. Blaming parents, blaming spouse, blaming kids, blaming former church leaders, blaming denominations, and maybe even blaming self. I think God has revealed to me that a hindrance to my being “gracious” is the habit of feeling the need to blame someone for something that is wrong with me or my life or my family or my church or the world. Blame is akin to passing judgement, and that is just not my job. Pray with me as I surrender this habit of blaming.

    • Melissa, what a great habit to break. (Or a terrible habit? You know what I mean!) I, too, could benefit from a whole lot less blame…

  28. My one word is TRUST. I thought of HOPE, then realized that God gives hope as we trust Him (Romans 15:13). I lost my husband and best friend unexpectedly in January. Trust has become the only way I will survive this period of grief. I wait for a deeper relationship with God as I walk with Him through this time.

  29. Mary, you make me laugh when you talk about not being able to string words together coherently. Everything you’ve written so far this year has been amazing – touching my heart, inspiring me and holding a candle that lights the way to God. Thank you. My One word is HOPE – to live in joyful expectation wrapped in faith. I have been keeping a list of scripture quotes and pictures in Evernote and Springpad and keeping my heart and eye open to every time the word Hope comes up. Thank you for your other useful suggestions for “pinning” reminders which will give it a boost.

  30. My word is FOLLOW . . .I picked it because it encompassed so many other words – trust, listen, submit, go, believe, focus, look, obey, seek, commit, stay close, . . I could go on. It has been exciting and challenging. It has opened some creativity, as I seek to listen more closely, to seek Him more.

    about the notebooks – I too, have many . .well maybe I should say too many! 🙂

  31. Mary,
    You asked how we are doing, and I must confess that it has been an extremely difficult 2 & 1/2 months into 2014 and that continues from the end of 2013. My mother passed on August 20 and exactly 6 months and 5 days later, my dad passed – just last week. During these months, I’ve had several unusual accidents, resulting in a number of injuries. And my husband’s health is not good. So when you mentioned our “one word” I realized I hadn’t thought about it a lot, but that God had applied it throughout every situation I’ve faced. My one word is “GRACE” and my theme song for the year is Matt Redman’s “Your Grace Finds Me.” The words of that song are so true. God showers me with His GRACE every minute of every hour of every day.

    • Oh, Edwina, that is a LOT to bear in a short amount of time! So thankful God is giving you extra grace through it all. (And I love that you have a song to accompany your word!)

  32. My word is STILL, but I haven’t been still before my Heavenly Father as I should be. I am letting my job and its long hours keep me from spending time with God. I did find a small table that fits in the corner of my bedroom that I want to use for my devotional time with God

    • Teresa, thank you for being honest. I have a hard time being still, too. I pray that your quiet time space is just the first of many steps toward holy stillness for you this year!

  33. My word for 2014 is “restoration,” built off of 1 Peter 5:10, “The God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong and steadfast.”

    My husband and I had a rough 2013: Dreams of a baby, squashed. Financial challenges. My dad almost lost his life. Our marriage was strained because of secondary health challenges due to his disability. I worked too much, didn’t take enough time for myself or my friends. It was rough.

    But thankfully, as we wrap up the first quarter of 2014, we can feel what I call the “winter” clearing, and spring is on the way! We are definitely in a rebuilding phase, but we are doing it together, and our faith is being restored, after we have suffered a little while. So thankful for the God of all grace!!

  34. Hi Mary,
    My word for 2014 has evolved into RELEASE.

    I have learned that it’s okay to let myself SHINE through my cracks; and, I can show people who Jesus is through them. In order to do so, I must RELEASE it to God. Philippians 4:6-7 has become my verse of the year – ” Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding , will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Thank you, Mary, for helping me find my true word of 2014.
    In peace

  35. My word Deeper was on your picture above. My aim/goal for the year is to go deeper into the Word and spend more time with God in quiet and prayer.

    God has lifted a big weight off my shoulders this year and now I am more able to spend time with Him. Sometimes I just sit and listen to praise music while doing Bible Study.

    I had never before thought about a word for the year and this has me excited about where God will take me and my family this year.

    Blessings to you and your family 🙂

  36. My word is GROWTH. The start of my 2014 has not been easy. But I always felt God by my side and knew that he was using these circumstances to grow me into a more caring, compassionate individual. His love and presence has changed my focus tremendously, because even though I’ve been hurting, I’ve walked beside friends who were traveling much more difficult roads than I. Despite the struggles of my life, God is still using me to bring joy and comfort into the lives of others.

  37. My word is HOPE. We have been struggling with infertility and are trying 1 more time. We are hopeful that god will bless us with a child. Romans 5:1-5 … struggle produces perseverance, perseverance, character, and character, HOPE. I hold on to this verse. And know that god is also filling our hearts with peace.

  38. My word is JOY. Finding joy in the everyday circumstances, in the hard times and the good, in the mundane and the excitement…. in Jesus.

  39. My words are TAKE CHANCES. I thought I was being a bit rebellious with two but it worked. While playing Monopoly jr. with my five year old daughter whenever we had to pick up a chance card she said ” take chances”. It stuck. It is interesting to look and see that I HAVE been taking chances. I can say ‘yeah me!’ and be encouraged to keep on doing things my scared self would rather say no to, and learning to seek and trust my Creator.

  40. Present. My one word for this year is present. It seemed quite unusual, I was almost convinced it wasn’t even on your list. I am just a year out of University and let’s just say I am not one of those people who landed a first job that guarantees a fat paycheck. I spent a lot of last year worrying about money and that kept me from many things; I missed friends’ weddings, re-unions, simple dates with old friends simply because somehow I felt I never had enough money and that for some strange reason to me meant I had nothing to offer. God, because of His great kindness started re-communicating my identity to me, it had nothing to do with money. So, towards the end of last year, I purposed that I would be present, that I would show up for events. I would enjoy moments and deal with tomorrow when its turn comes and I will be there, empty handed or not. I will be present.

  41. My personal word this year is quiet and my word for my family is together. I’ve done a much better job at remembering togetherness with our family than I have been at quietness in my personal life. But they are both a journey and a life-style change, so each day is imperfect progress but progress none the less.

  42. I didn’t know I had a word until reading this post today 🙂 I heard a word back in January and thought it was for a friend. My word for 2014 is HOPE and I see it very clearly now. I’m not sure what to do with this going forward – but I know I have HOPE and where that hope comes from. Perhaps I need to do more to share my HOPE with others.

  43. My word this year is ‘exuberance.’ By the end of last year, just another trial of life left me saddened, weary, and hurt. When a dear friend and prayer warrior prayed for me, the Lord gave her the word exuberance. At the time, I certainly was feeling anything BUT exuberant. But I embraced the word because every day, I’m faced with a choice. Will I choose to be exuberant with the joy of knowing Jesus or the opposite? I choose exuberance!

  44. When God gave me my one word this January? I froze. Mutter something like, “Are you crazy?,” crossed my arms, and stamped my feet.


    Ouch. Because I’m so very selfish…Here is what I know. God is using this word to rip open the places in my soul that are black. Places that are beginning bleed and pour out the bile in my deep parts.

    This. Is. Not. Fun….Yet? Hope. Hopeful for the work He is doing in me.

    • Heather, I’d say listening to God and letting Him push you is so brave! I’m selfish, too – and I can only imagine how not fun (yet amazing and so worth it) a year of focusing on becoming more selfless would be!

  45. I’ve been off the grid this week so am catching up with blogs this weekend :). I wanted to let you all know that I host a monthly link-up for similar reasons, you Mary, wrote — to keep it in front of me/accountability. I host it the third Tuesday of every month, so this upcoming Tuesday (the 18th) will be the next one and the link-up is open for one week. Please feel free to stop by! You can read about it here http://www.messymiddle.com/oneword365-linkup/ (and there’s information about the oneword365 pinterest board too :). Warmly welcome you all … I’ve so enjoyed seeing how people’s words have come to life!