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,
    My wonderful and godly husband of one year has taught me so much about grace in the time we’ve dated and been married. I had been pretty beaten down in my previous marriage and I still am scarred and wounded, but my husband has loved me with grace that I just can’t wrap my head around sometimes. I guess that’s the thing about grace…since it comes from God and pours through earthly vessels, we can’t fathom its lavishness. God’s unconditional grace toward me challenges me to offer that same grace to others. Some days I succeed and some days I fail miserably, but once again, with grace, God urges me on. My prayer is that I would show the grace to others that has been poured out so generously on me. Wonderful, thought provoking post, Mary!!
    Blessings,
    Bev

    • Bev, what an encouragement to hear about your marriage! And YES – if we can just catch a glimpse of the amazing grace He’s given us, we can’t help but pass it on!

  2. Such timing for this article. I heard this song on the radio this morning on my way to work, and happily sang along thinking “yes he is hard to love!”. But the “full of grace and full of Jesus” line convicted me as well, although I sort of brushed it off and didn’t think too much about it. Great article, it made me stop and reflect on the things that I need to work and focus on instead of what someone else needs to do.

  3. Mary, This was beautiful. More than that, it was something I really needed to hear. i have been so quick to feel offended, hurt when grace was not offered me. Yet, slow to offer grace on my own. Slow to recognize that I had that opportunity. This opened my eyes to what I have been missing. Sometimes I live my life so focused on myself that I really miss the ways I could be loving others, ministering to others. I hope it’s ok with you if I print this out. I think I need it on my refrigerator for awhile. Blessings to you.
    Penny

  4. I appreciate this reminder on grace. Its the word I chose for 2015 as well, and I have so much to learn. Grace is beautiful and I’m thankful for it. But the challenge is dispensing grace to others, mostly those closest to me, because aren’t we the hardest on them? I’ll tell you what, Grace is HARD to practice. But if I can stay in Scripture, reading about God’s faithfulness & grace toward me, maybe that can help me show grace to others when I’m easily irritated or overly sensitive. And hopefully it will allow me to show grace to myself, as I am also a recovering & anxious perfectionist.

    • Yes, yes – the ones we love most are so often the ones we find hardest to love. So frustrating the way our human nature works! Great reminder about staying in the Word, though. I definitely need to be doing more of that as I pursue grace, grace, grace.

  5. Loved this song because I felt like it was talking about me in many ways- but my husband offered me the grace! Thankful that I’m learning what true grace is (it’s my word of the year as well 🙂

  6. Grace was my word a couple of years ago because several relationships in my life needed a good dose of it. I needed to gain more understanding of it myself so I could pour it out on others. This is the definition God gave me for that year. Grace: Giving freely that which is not deserved and may never be acknowledged or appreciated.”

  7. Mary,
    Exquisite writing on such a hard topic. I often feel offended and unloved. Usually I just get mad and walk away. Lately though God has been telling me to pray for my “offenders”. They have issues also. Their lives aren’t all rosy colored.
    Yes I can be hard to love at times. I am super sensitive and get upset easily. Not a good combination. When my hubby tells me he loves me no matter what and that he’s glad we married–I feel the grace coming and want to give him some back!

  8. Well, I can say that I’m a hard person to love cos I don’t love easily, therefore, it’s hard for someone to love me. Yet, my friends, I’ve found and husband, especially, love me lots. Loads and loads and loads. But, I’m difficult. I love to see all sides of the spectrum to make it more interesting. Not just one point but lots and lots and lots. Otherwise, it can be very boring for me. Not that I have no focus, but, it helps me to get it all in, twenty or thirty at a time. I multi – task in my mind. So, if the going is slow, I’ll play in my mind so I’m difficult to be loved. Even to love. Saying this, I’ve learnt patience. Keep it simple. Basic.
    I do not know. I have no answers. I just love lots and lots and lots, all at the same time so I’m hard to love and I find it hard to love as well.
    I dunno and I have no idea what the solution is.
    Grace.
    The answer is love. Then I ask myself, do I know how to.
    Then I come to the conclusion.
    JESUS loves.
    This is my answer.
    🙂
    Confusion.
    LOL
    🙂

  9. I am learning about grace differently. I have learned in the past 2 weeks how selfish and self-righteous I have been towards my husband. Yet, he still loves me and forgives me over and over. To steal your words, Mary, so much grace.

  10. One of my favorite worship song jumps into my head, “If Not For Your Grace” by Israel Houghton. As I sing it and think of the depths of His grace, I am drowned under the weight of his goodness and kindness toward me. It reminds me to be more patient when one of my children has called my name for the 1000th time today, gracious when another has lost his homework…yet again, gracious to the one who has hurt my feelings with offhanded remarks. Mmm, his grace restores, redeems and releases miracles.

  11. Such encouraging words Mary! Any of us who are married will probably agree we need to offer more grace to our spouses too… Even after 40 years…especially after 40 years! 🙂 It seems it just keeps getting harder and harder to live with someone who doesn’t seem ‘ to get it’ (at least in my eyes). But quitting going to church, not reading the Word and seemingly not spending any time with the Lord in prayer seems to be a ‘dead giveaway’ why this ‘spouse’ seems harder to live with. And now as I read your blog, I wonder, am I getting harder to live with too? Maybe not for any of the reasons I just mentioned, but maybe for something else. Today I will make an effort to start offering more grace to others…because unfortunately I need it too.
    Thanks Mary!
    Blessings to you!

    • Oh, Susan, I’m so sorry for your hurt and frustration. Every relationship is different but I know my marriage has definitely benefited from [repeated] reminders to myself that I’m no less imperfect than my husband. Blergh – it’s so hard!! Praying for you and me both as we pursue grace!

  12. I’ve learned, today, that His grace sustains me. During a difficult time He has healed my heart and only His grace could heal and His forgiveness forgive completely. Grace is truly never to late.

  13. There is grace in even learning about grace! Oh how much I’ve learned recently about my expectations of my dear husband. As I was taking a gift, flowers, and card to a sick friend, I mused at how little time I invest in serving my husband. He is, after all, my best friend. Not only do I take him for granted, but all my children as well. I couldn’t think of the last time I spontaneously gave a card or gift to my husband or children out of a generous, loving heart– outside birthdays or holidays. You see, these thoughts weren’t to beat myself up, but I believe it was the the Lord’s way of humbling me about my own expectations of those in my family. I often want more from them than I’m willing to give. And I’m pretty self-righteous about all the things I do. Oh sweet grace. How we can bathe in the beauty of undeserved favor from the Father. How we can rest and trust that He will continue to prompt and show us the way. Sweet grace.

    • Yes, Melanie – it’s so hard to realize where we fall short, but such grace when He shows us! (And sometimes takes even more grace to accept it and do something about it…at least for me!) 🙂

      • Yes! I personally tend to feel shame, which is not our Father speaking. The enemy wants to shame us and keep us in a cycle of not knowing His grace. The grace frees us up to rest in His work and power…allowing us to repent and fall into His arms for more grace and power to believe the truth about ourselves and our God. Praises!

  14. grace for my son, who now is an adult and walked away from his Christian beliefs fully,not just some but ALL of it , my heart breaks as a mom..gracef ro the prodigical son who should return to us and christ

  15. I too love the lyrics to this song and desire to be more like “a Sunday morning.” Thank you for this post that reminds us to ignore flaws and just love. This is the first year in many that I haven’t officially chosen my word of the year. Perhaps grace is what it should be! (Wouldn’t it be fun if we were somehow related? My last name is Carver also…)

  16. Oh how I loved this post, Mary. It is so easy to look at those hard to love areas of another and ourselves and look for validation for finger pointing and blame instead of accepting grace and lavishing it on others. I always look forward to your writing … you’re very real. And for the record, I find you easy to love. 🙂

  17. Yes this would be my problem, wanting to be loved so badly that those that I love the most, find me hard to love. Thank you Lord for faithful, loving grace. None of us are perfect and unfortunately we judge each other, instead of trying to put ourselves in our loved one’s place with empathy & more understanding. All things are possible through you, our Heavenly Father. So I pray for more grace, love and forgiveness. In Jesus name, I pray.