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. Hey Mary!

    I had never seen this video and I am just like you – falling many times like I am living the same struggle over and over. And it gets so tiresome, doesn’t it?!

    I love your words of hope that God will never leave us! What a glorious promise! In the end of the video, it says, “She lost him, but found herself.”

    I love how your words remind us when we die to ourselves – confessing our sin and releasing our fear- we know the Truth – that God has been there the whole time!

    XO,
    Angie

    (I look forward to your next blog post using, perhaps, and 80’s song?) 🙂

  2. Well, I’ve never seen the video or heard the song, but I’ve repeated the lyrics before to my husband — and to God. So often the cyclical nature of my sin and the repetition that’s just a normal part of life on this planet do get me down. This is a grace-filled reminder that God sees the big picture (the map of the woods) and He’s got a plan, even on the days when I feel as if I’ve lost the trail.

  3. Mary,
    I’ve heard this quote two ways….I’ll share both options: “The definition of (insanity/stupidity) is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” The Israelites kept returning/defaulting to their sinful ways and wondered why they weren’t getting out of the desert. I’m guilty too. Though I know I shouldn’t say certain things, behave certain ways, succumb to certain thought patterns, they are like an old comfortable shoe that I slip back into easily. And guess what? I get the same results. It takes real guts to grab hold of that righteous right hand and let Him lift us out of our old ways and place us on the rock of new ways of doing, thinking, being. Yes, life can throw continuous curve balls….we can’t help those. But I am asking God to work in me and through me to change the things I can change. If we ask, He is faithful to answer. I guess I’m tired of doing the same old things and getting the same old results. Here’s to 2018 and making new pathways out of the woods. Great stuff to ponder!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    • Absolutely amazing truth Mary! I’m with Bev and here’s to 2018… I woke up today with a song stuck in my head during half the night.. it’s the POWER of the CROSS… see the chains fall … over & over.. I can see His path before me and I’m running to it today!! Blessings <

  4. Love seeing Mary’s name on the writer banner. Your writing is always on-point and well presented! Great, great, great!! Thank you for sharing and inspiring!

  5. I had never seen that video, but it makes me think of the Trolls song too, “Hey, I’m not giving up today, there’s nothing getting in my way, And if you knock knock me over I will get back up again.” But, without the Lord and space to breathe it’s not possible to hang on and get back up. Gosh, I love Jesus so much for bringing us through these repeats of history and also the stuff that creeps in that we don’t want.

    • Oh, how I love that song in Trolls, Jen! It’s like the flip side of the song I referred to – the way we can finally break our destructive cycles with God.

  6. Thank you for this timely post, Mary. We’ve been going in circles, struggling with the same thing over and over. But you helped me to look back and see God’s hand in our last rescue. I’ve seen it, thought about it, but I REALLY needed to be reminded of it today. God bless you and thanks again!

  7. Mary,

    Your style of writing and analogies I really like.
    Your post really hits me in the moment, yet again I am in the woods with some repetitive feelings and thoughts. What really is helping me is your four points to remember and especially the fourth one.
    “We remember what God has done before. If we’ve faced this same battle before, that means we made it through. That means God got us through. So we must remember the times God has walked with us and protected us and held us — and then trust that He’ll do it again.”
    I will move through this with His help, through the woods, through mud and or even up a mountain.

  8. Mary, I relate to what you’ve written. I have been in a season of trial now for years, not without victories and joys, but trial nonetheless. I long for a stretch of spring and ease. I know God is working with me to trust Him in the dark but since I don’t seem to ever be able to fully do that, especially with my dear ones, I fear I’ll be stuck here forever. Oh, let there be light, within and around me!

  9. Thank you for this devotional. This was truly written for me. It speaks to me and where I am in my life situations today. You are so right, God is with us every step of the way. We’ve got to stand on faith and let Him continue to work in us.

    Have a blessed day.

  10. I love this! I’ve always (secretly) loved that TSwift song, but have never watched the video or made that connection before. Thank you for this encouragement!

  11. Mary,
    Thank you so much! This is so refreshing and so true! I’m going to print it and send to a family member. I’m also going to print it for myself and hang up. I’m going to print it for my husband and girls to read also! I love this and hope they all get as much out of it as I have! Thank you!! Thank you!!
    Thanks, Lori

  12. I think I was an Israelite in another lifetime. I find myself in the same cycle because I stupidly believe I can do things on my own. I am so thankful for a loving Father who reminds me that I am always better with Him. I have not heard the Taylor Swift song or seen the video but I can imagine the vivid portrayal of facing constant hardship. Blessed by these words today.

  13. I, too, have had those times when it seems like one storm after another has come in to test my faith and strength. I found myself looking to heaven all too often and asking “when will the sun shine again, God? When will life become a valley instead of a mountain that I must climb?” In those times, I have always come back to something my mother always told me, “God never gives you anything you are not strong enough to handle and He is always with you”. I cannot tell you how many times just repeating that to myself has helped me climb that “mountain” one more time.

  14. Oh Mary, did I ever need to hear your words of reality and wisdom. Thank you for being obedient and sharing these words that penetrate so deeply, for me. I was just praying for clarity and opened (in)courage, wow. Thank you a million times over! God bless you.

  15. Good Morning,
    Thank you, for your email it was much needed.
    I struggle with somethings and I feel I go around and around that same place ever so often.
    I’ve not watched her video, but I will look at it.
    Thank you again for letting Holy Spirit guide you daily.

  16. Mary! Thank you so much for sharing this! When you wrote that our situation is NOT bigger than our God, it made me think of a song by Jekalyn Carr called You’re Bigger (https://youtu.be/Z-ZV61eDLXI) that has been ministering to and sitting in my spirit for the past couple of days. Just like the song, your post is a reminder that He Is Bigger than ANY situation, thought, or problem I will ever come across. He is so much bigger in fact that I can’t even begin to imagine His size or ability because it is beyond me and my human understanding. But if I just remember that He is bigger, it will give me peace and comfort, and allow me to rest in Him…even when I’m in the woods.

    Thank you for pouring into me this morning! It was just the reminder I needed!

  17. Well the floodgates have opened Mary. This was God sent today. I have been in such a funk since the beginning of the year because I feel stuck in the same rut for the past two years. I made a poor choice and I’ve been beating myself up about it. I am going to take the four points you listed and really work hard to apply these to my current situation. Thank YOU so much for these words of wisdom.
    Blessings to you♥
    Sincerely,
    Christine Marie

  18. Thank you Mary for your (in)(en)couraging offering this morning – I find myself in yet another season of darkness – a darkness that I can liken to an ocean storm – as I find myself tumbling and bobbing like a cork in the rise and fall of a tumultuous swell (much like “falling into a deep lake or crawling through the mud in a rainstorm”) – I am reminded that I am not drowning alone in the maelstrom – for betwixt and between the forces of the angry, churning, turbulent eddy, I am released to the surface for fleeting moments to catch my breath and focus on the light – for it is only through the darkness that we can see the light – indeed, Heavenly Father “rule[s] the raging of the sea [and] when its waves rise, [He] stills them” (Psalm 89:9) – and so, as Mary has so eloquently written and shared – we pause even in the maelstrom, lean on God, let Him work in us and remember what God has done before – trusting that He’ll be there just as He always has and always will be – blessings all!

  19. I’ve never seen the video but I get it completely, glad she didn’t fall in the snake pit.

  20. Mary,

    Life is hard. The last few years have been one mini/major storm after another caring for my aging dad. There would be a period of good days followed by medical problems & hospitalizations. The one constant in that journey was God. He was always there. Each crisis I would call out to Him to help me. That part of my journey has ended. I realize that I’m stronger than I thought. God won’t give me more than I can handle & He will equip me to handle what comes.

    I believe God allows trials in our lives to make us stronger & grow us as Christians. It is through trials that we lean on Him more. If you are in a crisis cry out to Jesus & He will see you through it to the end!

    Blessings 🙂

  21. I’ve been in the woods for so long now. 21 years now.
    But lately the wolves have made a move on my mind. And my spirit is crushed and crazy.
    Please pray for a mind STAYED on Him, to be in perfect peace.
    . . . And for a way out of these woods so full of fear.

    • Crystal, thank you for sharing your heart here. Praying you can see Him so clearly through your darkness and that He pulls you out of those woods in a way you couldn’t have even imagined!

      • Mary – Thank you. For your prayer. . . For your post . . . Gods timing is always perfect. After a 2 day anxiety meltdown, here was your ‘perfect’ post. Thank you for sharing what the Holy Spirit gives you that so many of us need to hear. And reminding me that I DO have the tools to ‘deal’.

  22. (((Mary))) Hug, friend. I can feel the hard-won truth in your words. — And, these words meet my mama-heart with peace this morning. My son’s struggles feel daunting, but I’m so thankful for hope. Hope in the one who is with us, whether in the woods or in the clear—He’s there, and He’s creating beauty. — Thanks for this, Mary. ♥

    • Hi, Brenda! I originally began thinking of this post in regard to marriage challenges (why are we fighting about THIS again?!), but it definitely applies to parenting, too. I have a very strong-willed daughter that has led me to say all these same things – WHEN will we be out of the woods, in the clear, over this challenge? I’m glad for your reminder that even while we’re still IN the woods, God is with us. xoxo

  23. What a great reminder at a perfect time. “I know that He is offering fresh mercies no matter where we find ourselves, no matter how many times we turn in a circle; and I know that just like He’s saved us from the wolves before, He’s going to do it again.” It is so disheartening to experience “the wolves,” especially when they sneak out of places you weren’t expecting, but I’m so grateful for the words God gave you to remind me of His promises today. Thank you!

  24. Mary, I’m chiming in to add my thanks for a beautifully written reminder that God will get us through just like He always has. Too bad our maturity isn’t this nice and neat straight upward line. Mine looks more like a plate of spaghetti. SO thankful He doesn’t love us any less on our less-than-great days/seasons!