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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things we love
& you will too!
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Reader Interactions


  1. You were incredibly brave, Mary, and this mindset — the awareness that everyone is carrying brokenness somewhere — is the gift that came from your own hard experience. I want to slow down and carry that prayerful and caring mindset.

    • Oh my heart! Your words sooooo spoke to me today ..thank you for reminding me to guard my heart but to offer grace to others.

  2. Mary,
    I never would have been so transparent in my writing decades ago because I grew up in a home where you didn’t “air you dirty laundry” and you certainly didn’t share your emotions. Sometimes I think I was born into the wrong family because I had all these strong, powerful emotions that I spent a lot of energy keeping bottled up. I could probably err more on the side of guarding my heart, because when you put it out there, chances are someone will inadvertently step on it. But, I have found that by being real and sharing struggles (not droning on and on to everyone about them), but being brave enough to say that my life isn’t Facebook perfect, invites others to be real too. It gives them permission to share is they feel led to. Sometimes just being heard and having our feelings validated is what we need most, so I try not to offer too much advice. One way I invite people to share (if they have something they want to) is I simply ask, “Is there anything I can pray about for you?….or how can I lift you up in prayer?” That opens the door and if they choose to walk through then so be it. Thank you for reminding us that everyone is battling something and to give mercy and grace before we assume things we don’t know.
    Bev xx

  3. thia was a timely blog for me. I am in one of those seasons now. I agree, asking if there is some need I can pray about means a lot to the one being asked.
    I had created an email account for anyone who needed prayer. I would tell anyone I gave the cards that I do not need the reason for prayer just write “please pray for me.” God knows the need and right now I just cannot go into details. I believe that should be acceptable to anyone who truly wants to pray for you.
    Thank you for this blog today!

  4. On point. Wow you said it all. So much nuggets of truth tied up in this message and spoke to me on so many levels.. Thank you so much for sharing this. Praying for my friend BB who might be going through something but has chosen to keep it to herself. May God shower her with His love..

  5. We may never know what someone else is experiencing in their life. We need to pray for the person and continue to love them even if they are not showing love to us.

  6. Thank you for this reminder Mary. It’s a truth I try to remember as well, especially when I’m frustrated with people. I never know what they’re going through, or what they have gone through in the past to cause them to react this way. I love the imagery of the broken glass, and how we can be hurting others simply by being less-than gracious with them. I wish I could be more like Jesus. That’s the goal I guess .

  7. Wow, Mary! This is such a timely message and it applies to everyone. We have recently had a transition of leadership within our women’s ministry at church. The team is brand new and we’re still working out all the kinks as far as knowing who has certain gifting. But…that being said the amazing thing about our new leader is that she has the ability to unite us in love and has set an example to all of us by her ability to love on us and reminding us of the very same thing you wrote about today, that we all have a battle we’re fighting. Thank you so much for this today, God Bless You!

  8. I’m so sorry to hear about your sister-in-law, Mary. ((hug)) I think about this often…how everyone has *something.* Several years ago, my sons had a few friends take their own lives within a 2 year period of time. Thinking about those young lives and wondering if one smile, one wave, one acknowledgement would have made a difference–is a thought I haven’t been able to quit. Sometimes when we know, it’s too late. Oh for the grace to know without knowing. To understand the truth that everyone has a story–and knowing the details isn’t a requisite for grace. Life is just hard, and kindness is healing. (Reminds me of something I read in one of Jen Hatmaker’s books, “Kindness needs recipients.” — Thanks for sharing, Mary. ((hug))

  9. Mary thank you for this. Long ago I had a friend, Bev, who reminded us that people do the best they can with what they have at any given time. So sometimes I just sit with someone, say a prayer for them in my heart (for surely God knows what they need), and remember my wise friend in NH. As you said, tough things can happen in all our lives, so forgiveness, gentleness, grace, and love are gifts that we can offer. After all, those are exactly the gifts that Jesus has given to us!

    Blessings to all my sisters at a distance, ~ Kay Lake

  10. Thank you very much for this very good sharing and reminder. I’d been too immature when I was a new believer or even as a person. Yes, I might have my own struggles yet I wasn’t too kind towards those who might be suffering themselves. Thank God for many challenges that made me grow up and mature. Life is not always about me or even if I’m not being treated as I should, I have no right to treat others unkindly. God help us! You died for us while we were sinners, You showed us mercy though we deserve otherwise. Though all may forsake us, You’ll never leave or forsake us. In Your light, we shall see light. Thank you Mary!

  11. There have been times this past year when I would enter work and see others and right away exchange the same words, “Hi, How are you?” ……more often than not I would get sooo ANNOYED! Great way to start my day huh?

    I would usually think, “Why does she ask? I can see her footsteps are that of one walking with a purpose, not a stroll to really listen to my response.” Then other times when some were strolling and I maybe shared a little more than “fine”… I always wished I had kept my mouth shut. The response from my coworker was often awkward and out of sorts….like she literally didn’t know how to respond in the moment.

    I quit asking others how they were.

    I guess this post helps to see things a little differently….next time I’ll try not to get SO ANNOYED. ha! 😉

  12. We never know what lies around the corner, not God has no corners. I’m grateful from your story for Father’s provision and grateful for your reminder to offer the same grace and more to others as I would hope for…
    Thank you.

  13. Mary – love love love loved your article. Thank you for sharing. One favorite part (of many) is: “Sometimes you want to share, desperately, but you don’t know how. Or maybe the thing hurting your heart right now isn’t only yours to tell. ” I’ve been there. I still have the latter of those 2.

  14. I had to laugh at the mind reading, discerner comment. I get that quite a lot. But I was taught to locate people by their words, if you explain something and the person isn’t listening, I think they either don’t get it or don’t want to hear it. I used to be naive and give people the benefit of the doubt, and God the credit for working on them, but now I know they have to receive. He doesn’t force faith, love, healing or salvation on anyone. We all do have broken pieces. But God can mend anything. I have seen the powerful healing that took place for someone not expected to live. Keep believing.

  15. Thanks for sharing some lovely nuggets of friendship wisdom. I wrote a post a while back called “Stand In” for those moments when we need to lean in to our friends’ time of need, yet also need to allow others to do the same for us…a precarious, precious balancing act. “Two are better than one…if either of them falls down, one can help the other up.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

  16. Mary,

    Praying for your sister-in-law and your family. Everyone has trials. There are many times when you don’t feel comfortable telling the world your problems. Not everyone will react kindly & some may use it for gossip. We need to really look people in the face & try to feel them out. Maybe a hug is all they need at the moment. Let’s do our part & share Christ’s love with everyone-simple hugs, smiles, I’m praying for you. It may make someone’s day!

    Blessings 🙂