Monday, January 21, 2013

For when you feel like you just can't.

Today I had a bunch of moments when I said inside, "I just can't." The moments seemed to pile up towards the end of day, primarily, when my head was growing fuzzy, my emotions frazzled, and my body weary from the day.

I was cooking, and thinking about something, and hearing my son's voice saying something barely audible over the loud sizzling in my pan. "What?" I said to him, glancing over my shoulder. He held up a large, hard-backed book and its torn off cover in two separate hands, and repeated something I still couldn't make out.

I just can't, I thought. I've heard so many of his words, fixed so many of his problems today. I just can't give my attention to a single additional one right now.

The phone rang and I mistakenly answered it. It was a recording saying my cell phone payment was due. I added to the mistake by trying to enter the payment right then while cooking, while parenting, while juggling the thousand thoughts in my head.

At a pause, I asked my girl to get ready for bed, and then realized I'd stripped her sheets off earlier in the day and forgot it was left unmade.

I just can't, I thought. I don't have it in me to remake her bed right now.

She was thankfully reading quietly, but happened upon a funny part of the book. She begged me to come read it, to share in her delight, and oh, the funny part wasn't that long, she said.

No, I so didn't want to. I just can't, said my head.

And I was irritated because I saw she left her purse on the floor, which attracted our dog. He was halfway through the pack of gum when I caught him, my phone on the counter still talking at me through the speaker. But when I took the gum away, he grabbed the Chapstick.

It's not even food! I thought. I just can't deal with this dumb dog right now. I'm in the middle of cooking dinner, trying to keep up with the automated payment thing on the phone, and....

I tried to quickly pry the Chapstick from his mouth, but he only clamped down harder on it, my thumb in his grip now as well. It hurt so bad I cried.

My kids suddenly got very obedient, startled by my tears.

I just can't. I just can't.... said the voice in my head.

But I did.

By God's grace alone, I did.

A peace settled on the night, somehow. Miraculously. I wrapped my thumb with a cold pack and cooked with my other hand. My call got disconnected from being neglected, but I was sort of relieved. I fed the kids. I made her bed with clean sheets. Then I read the funny pages of the book and chimed along with her. I even patiently asked her to clean off her Chapstick container with soap.

And when I tucked my son in, I took notice of the book lying on his floor with a missing cover. I gently asked what happened. The spine broke, and it was even a Star Wars one, he said. I apologized for being rude to him earlier. He apologized for saying he brushed his teeth when he really didn't.

We prayed together, asking Jesus for forgiveness because we are all broken, all sinners. We all just can't sometimes.

But He can and He does and He wills for us to lean on Him.

Oh, how I need Him every hour, and particularly the late ones in the day.

I'm not quite sure what that word is, that thing that pulls me from "I just can't" to "I can," but I think it's grace.

And the truth is that the phrase I just can't is a lie our enemy speaks to our hearts; he is the one who wants to convince us that there is no hope for us, no strength left, no possible way. Oh, it's an insidious lie, and somehow sparkles just like the truth at times.

"Have mercy on us and help us, if you can.” {said the man with a sick son}
“What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked.
“Anything is possible if a person believes.”
Mark 9:22-23 

Jesus can. How much do you believe it?

He offers grace to cover my sin.

He lifts me up and gives me strength when I can't.

He shows me that grace is what I need to receive and what I need to give, as generously as possible on both accounts.

I believe. I just forget sometimes. And His grace covers that too.

Praying you have a sense of His grace-covering today and that you believe He can when you feel you just can't.



  1. Oh my goodness, this post hit me like a ton of bricks.
    I turn into the biggest bear at night... bc I feel I just can't possibly deal with one more thing. but then of course I get through it.. somehow I do. I must remember next time, that its the enemy talking to me. I'm ashamed now to admit of the number of times ive fallen victim to his 'I-can't' lies.

  2. Such a great post. I have "i can't" moments all-the-time. Love how you said it's a lie from the enemy. I'm going to try to remember that today when I get to the "I can't" point!

  3. I feel like I have to fight this lie almost daily. The eny knows my weak spot for sure. Thank God for grace and new days!

  4. I needed this: so thank you:)

  5. great post. thank you. i needed this!

  6. so so good.
    this is me a lot.

  7. oh, this was me so many times int he past week, Leslie. "i just can't" ....or for me it is usually " I am done"...sometimes by the end of the night i am such a grouch and i now i am and i can't stop myself and then i feel so bad about it. thanks for this. XO

  8. as always, your words cut right to the bone, in the best way possible. i feel better about having these moments (or sometimes these days...) when someone i admire admits to them, too. you're amazing, and i hope your finger feels better.

  9. I had a few of my own "I can't" moments yesterday. But grace intervened and I'm so very glad.

    I love your son, as you were honest with him he fessed up to you-so sweet. And just like the moments I have with my son. We have tooth brushing conversations all the time. Tooth brushing is a chore he admits that he hates. Unfortunately, it's necessary!

    Praying for more grace filled moments, where God steps in with his truth. And also very encouraged that I'm not the only one who has I can't moments.

  10. i often forget that too. and what's crazy is that in the middle of it i know i can surrender it all to Him, but sometimes i say i can't to that too! oh but when i do, i feel His beautiful amazing grace all over me.
    thank you for writing this and reminding us of how amazing it is to let His grace take over.

  11. Yes. This post is me everyday lately and I'm learning to press deeper and lean harder into Jesus. Love you for sharing this.

  12. I so needed to hear this today after having an entire week last week of "I can't". Thank you for the reminder. :)

  13. "What do you mean if I can?" I forget, too, often distracted by the liar's squashing "i cant's."

    Thanks, Leslie.

  14. I didn't know it when I clicked over, but this was a must-read for today. This day was filled with "I can't" whispers to Jesus.

  15. I just found your blog today,and you have no idea how much I've been needing to read this. Your post was a drink for my thirsty (and weary!) soul, and I love when you say it's the enemy talking when we say we can't. Thank you!

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