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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Reader Interactions


  1. Mary,
    I am a recovering “Control-Freak”. For many more years than I care to admit, I’ve tried to plan and control my life. God has helped me to see that some of my control issues were born out of fear, some out of pride, and some from a lack of trust. Recently, God gave me a revolutionary experience that reinforced that He is ultimately in control, and even more so, He knows (much better than I do) what is best for building my character and shaping me into the likeness of His Son. This week I just blogged on “When God’s Best Surpasses Ours.” I was really frustrated that not one of MY plans was working out, but God in His merciful goodness reminded me that I was settling for a “Tootsie Roll” when what He had in mind for me was a “Godiva Bar.” I use this little analogy to remind myself Who is in control and Who ultimately knows best. This week I have felt under attack personally and spiritually and so your words are a balm to my soul to remind me that God’s got this…and me.
    Bev xx
    Bev xx

    • Bev, thank you for sharing your heart here. My controlling tendencies absolutely come from fear. I take the Tootsie Roll when I fear the Godiva bar will never show up. Or maybe it doesn’t exist at all. I’ll stop with that metaphor, but I do love it. It makes so much sense to me and my control freak heart!

  2. Waiting & Walking Well With God,

    Mary C & Bev,
    Thank you both for your sharing. Your details & experiences clarify some of the reasons
    we might seek control in our lives.
    I am waiting on a medical referral & procedure which has & is going to take a long time.
    A blessing to read both your messages to be reminded again that God’s timing is perfect
    and as we wait knowing He is never late.
    With faith, prayer & trust I wait.

    • Mary K,

      Prayers that the referral go quickly. We must remember God is working in the waiting. My life verse Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you & not to harm you. To give you a hope & a future.” He already has plans for us-we just need to wait. May you have His peace & comfort as you wait on Him.

      Blessings 🙂

  3. I am definitely a control freak! After reading this, I reflected on some really poor life decisions that God allowed me to make. He has blessed me through those poor decisions (like giving me my beautiful daughter), but it’s challenging not to look back and wonder how my life would be different if I had stayed the course that God had set for me. I hate these moments of questioning and uncertainty! I wish that I could accept where I am and trust God to lead me.

    • Elizabeth, I understand that. It can be so tempting to what-if ourselves into a big mess! I pray you can rest in the knowledge that God is in control, that He loves you exactly where you are, and that He has such good plans for your future.


  4. I’m also a girl with an exceedingly short memory when it comes to past experiences of grabbing the steering wheel and racing to my imaginary finish line. That space between “figuring it all out” on my own and the light landing on my path as promised seems like an eternity sometimes.

  5. My 88 year old mom fell 3 weeks ago and broke her arm below the shoulder and also fractured her pelvis. She also has memory issues which makes her recovery more challenging. I have been laboring in my own wisdom trying to make decisions for her care when she is discharged from the nursing/rehab facility most likely early next week. Reading this post reminded me that I haven’t prayed specifically for guidance to make this decision. This morning I am deliberately laying it at the feet of the One who knows her best and loves her even more than I do and asking Him to guide me to make the best decisions for her.
    Thank you for shaking me up this morning.

    Bev, I love the tootsie roll vs Godiva bar analogy. Way too often we settle for so little when God wants to share so much.

    • Gail, that’s so hard. So many tasks to do and decisions to make can feel so overwhelming! Praying God gives you clear guidance and also the rest you need to endure through this situation.

  6. Hi Mary,

    “I’ve repeatedly gotten ahead of God’s plans in an effort to take control and force what I believed was meant to be to happen now — quitting jobs, starting businesses…

    This comment is speaking to my heart so profoundly. Due to financial burdens and trying to figure things out, your first two “control” suggestions are what I have been pondering lately. Its interesting that I would read this message today and I thought about quitting my job (knowing that God placed me here) and starting a business (knowing that borrowing is the only way for this to come to fruition). As you stated, what God has planned is perfect and I must wait on His timing. Thank you for sharing what God placed on your heart to help others, such as myself, see with eyes of God! Charisse 🙂

    • Charisse, I’m so glad God used this post to speak to you! Waiting is so hard…impossible, really, without the Lord. Praying you lean on Him and trust His guidance while you continue to consider your work and business options!

  7. This is me to a “T”- I seek control in most situations and how does that show my lack of faith in the goodness of our God? Recently I found out my daughter may move to Colorado with our grandkids and I’m trying to figure out how to make this not happen! But what if this really is Gods will for her? I need to relax and trust God over this- it’s what I’m working on

  8. Jennifer Dukes Lee wrote “God’s Got It”, which is a wonderful reminder!

    “God’s Got It.” That’s what my favorite farmer says here, almost daily, on this farm. It’s been his mantra for as long as he’s worked those fields. His philosophy for farming has become a theology for living.
    God is God, and God is good, and God has actually “got it.”
    This is not just a cute catch-phrase, but an actual way to habitually remember that there is a King in Heaven who holds all things together — even when life stings.
    When worry.
    When cancer.
    When inadequacy.
    When pain.
    When drought.
    When storm.
    That’s when He’s got it. Always.
    We repeat it to ourselves, on the bad crop years, and when the diagnoses come, and when we’ve gathered in hospice rooms, and over hospital beds, and in ugly days of wild uncertainty. It’s true: What we say to ourselves, and to one another, can determine whether we will live imprisoned or free. Because dark days will come. In this world we will have trouble, but what did Jesus say? “Take heart, for I have overcome the world.”
    So we tell it to each other, over and over again: God’s got it.
    It’s why we return to the table of grace with the cup and the loaf. “Do this in remembrance of me,” are the words etched into the altar. We return and remember and receive and repent and repeat. God’s Got It. He has actually and miraculously overcome the world.
    We believe this—
    that Jesus was born of the Holy Spirit, that He came to Earth, and that He died on a cross, … and that when Satan was laughing and the disciples were running scared, God actually and miraculously still had it.
    – that Jesus was wrapped in a cloth and buried in a tomb, and a stone was rolled into place. And when His followers grieved and saw nothing but darkness, God still had it.
    – that on the third day, in opposition to the laws of nature, Jesus rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven. Because — please hear me here — God most assuredly had it.
    – And we believe that our King is seated at the right hand of the Father, because it’s true: Our God has still completely and mercifully “got it.”
    Even in the middle of our worst days.
    We may watch a bad situation turn into an impossible situation. Some of it will defy logic. From time to time, God will let us in on the reasons why. And other times? He won’t. But He is still our Lord, because He already sent a Savior. It’s as true today as it was more than 2,000 years ago on Calvary: Our God who had it then, has got it now, and forevermore shall have it. And even when I don’t get it, God has still got it.



    • Oh! How I needed to hear this message and read “God’s Got It!” I am struggling trying to understand God’s plan for me.

      Thank you ladies for touching my heart and letting me know that I am not the only one that struggles with control, waiting for His answer, and the inevitable “What ifs” over the decisions that I have made.

    • Yes, I love what Jennifer Dukes Lee has written about control. I read her book, It’s All Under Control, with my small group last fall, and we all got so much out of it!

  9. I love you guys. I’m so blessed to receive your emails. I always receive messages that are speaking to my heart and situation. Please pray for me to trust God’s plan for me and not try to figure out the next steps or ending. I’m so tired of messing up and I get tired of waiting. I God has good plan for me too! Thank you so much for this message.

    • Mildred,

      Prayers for you trust God’s plans. His timing is perfect. Waiting is hard. We want to know the answers now. Stay strong & know that “God is Good All the time.” “God’s got this”. Don’t run ahead of God. Wait patiently for Him to work in your life.

      Blessings 🙂

  10. These two statements spoke volumes to me: “He won’t be stopped by our interruptions as we take detours and make plans of our own, and He can use us and bless us even when we forge our own paths. That’s how firmly in control He is.” I’ve been struggling with the possibility I may have forged my own path–in spite of praying before stepping out. Your post has reassured me that, even if did take control of events, God is certainly big enough to turn me around and set me on the right track. Thank you for your wisdom and reassurance, Mary!

    • Just this week, my mom told me that we might miss God (His guidance, His plan, etc.) but He won’t miss us. I think she heard that from a pastor, but it just made so much sense to my heart and I thought of it when I read your comment, Nancy. Even when we forge our own path, He is still in control and still taking care of us!

  11. Sometimes I still have a hard time decided on certain issues what’s God’s plan and what’s mine. I am in the middle of something whorafying right now. At times I am so stressed and in so much pain over decisions that need to be made that will effect the lives of loved ones dear to me. My heart is broken. Confusion and fear seem like my constant companions. Daily I am handing this mess over to the Lord. But at times there seems no end in sight.

  12. Mary,

    I may not be a control freak, but I am very impatient. It is so hard to wait on anything. As I found out there is goodness i the waiting. God is working on us & perfecting us. We mere humans tend to want things now. So we pray for a while. Thinking it is taking to long for God to act we move ahead doing our own things. Sometimes they work out but mostly they don’t. His plans are so much better than ours. God can still use us in the process. He can & will get us back on the track He has planned. The song “Trust & Obey” says it all: When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word, What a glory He sheds on our way! Trust and obey, for there’s no other way To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey. It’s all about trusting God. He will make ALL things work out for the good of those who trust & obey. Don’t rush ahead of God settling for mediocre when He has grand, big plans for you.

    Blessings 🙂

  13. Control freak?? Boy I know this all too well and yes I admit that is who I am. I am scared to lose control, to not have a plan and then a back out plan just in case the real plan doesn’t work. I know I do this cause my parents never had a plan for anything. They just go with the flow and it seems, no cares in the world. They loved me but in loving me, their hope is that I am the back up plan, I am the person who should save them as they did raised me. It’s a tough thing to realize that my parents raised me to be that back up plan for them, to take care of them fully and dismissing the fact that I have a family of my own to take care. So I guess knowing this, I became a control freak so I won’t give those same unrealistic expectations to my kids. I plan for my future so my kids won’t need any kind of care plans for me. Thanks for sharing this Mary and reminding all of us who really is in control!!!