31 Things I Wish You'd Stop Saying:  Day 3 "I Cant..."

31 Things I Wish You’d Stop Saying: Day 3 “I Cant…”

“I can’t…”

The other day, after only 4 hours of sleep, I had an “I can’t…” moment.  It lasted all day.  The three-year-old refused to come out of the bathroom because he didn’t want me to see him naked.  I literally gave him a bath last night.  The 20-month-old insists on wearing Batman underwear OVER his clothes.  I change his diaper and get him dressed, and he throws a walleyed fit until I put the underwear on OVER his clothes.  And yes, we went to library-time like this. Once the underwear is on he runs around like a crazy person growling “IMMM BAAMAN.” He also insists on wearing my older son’s size 13 football shoes; which smell like the devil’s armpit.  When the three-year-old finally emerges from the bathroom, he is wearing knee high mismatched socks and his Spider-man crocks.  Oh, and a John Deere hat.

Besides this, he is stark naked.

And I can’t:  I can’t argue with him. I can’t take him to library time in this get-up, or lack there-of.  I can’t get enough coffee in me to make it to nap time.  I can’t chase “Baaman” and the naked boy wonder.  I can’t finish my blog posts.  I can’t register the 17-year-old for the PSAT.  I can’t run another forgotten lunch to the school. I can’t face make-up, and I can’t face dealing with my hair.  I can’t face the gym.  I can’t face another meatloaf.  I can’t get the bills mailed. I can’t believe the number on the scale. I can’t sign up for Weight Watchers… again.  And I can’t open the sippy cup I just found under the bed, it is moving and has a pulse.  I just can’t.

I fully believe I have reached my wits end when I step on a toy minotaur, barefoot.  In my doctor’s office, there is a sign that says “describe your pain on a scale of 1 to stepping on a Lego.”  On that pain scale, it’s a freaking minotaur.  And now I can’t walk.

I hear this a lot, my kids say it a thousand times a day. “I can’t.”  But I am not going to address it the way I originally planned.  Initially, I thought it would be fun to laugh together about some of the odd things people say about foster care: “I have too big a heart to do foster care.  I’d get hurt. I just can’t.” I can go on and on about this.  But, I have never seen such a beautiful outpouring of sincere and called out interest in foster care since my blog post a week ago.  So, I decided to turn tail and run with it.

“I can’t” either…I know exactly how you feel.  I am a little more seasoned now, perhaps a little more jaded?  I hope not.  But probably.  And you know what I just realized?

So what?


I wasn’t ever promised I would come out of this life unscathed or unbroken.  I am 44 years old.  I have several children; some are not permanent, but what is? So last week I was forced to ponder how I can most effectively do glory work.  How I can tell you to say you can, when you feel like you can’t?  It occurs to me the formula is in me.  I can’t convince you to say I can’t.  But I can suggest you remember what got you through all the times you couldn’t.

So I fully confess I say, “I can’t…” and then God moves.  And all of the sudden, I can.  This happened with my husband and me, and we fearfully obeyed and have been richly blessed.  How many of you can respond to this blog with a story of something you thought you could not do? And then God did a work in you that not only made it possible, but He also made it glory work.  A child with a disability? Unemployment? Illness? A loved one in need?  God bless your soul if you buried your baby, but if you’re reading this: you survived.

You did it.  And I bet you did it with more grace than you knew you could muster.  Your heart and commitment to that life trumped your inability to conquer brokenness. Since I started blogging, I have seen some of the most nurturing and beautiful blogs by women who have lost so much I don’t know how they move their fingers on the keyboard.  I think I can’t, but they did, and they do.  And so I want to be better.  They start a riot in me to be better, more positive and… just more.  And I can.

So I decided today to tell you, you can.  I do so from my comfy bed.  I am jammied up and ready for a solid 4 hours of sleep.  I did it. I made it through the day.  My companions, small, naked lunatics with less than desirable bowel habits, are finally asleep. All is well. I can.

To be a Parent – Biological.  Adoptive.  Foster.  Step.  Single…

There are risks – immense risks.  Bad things happen.  The things we thought we could never do are forced upon us from the astronomical to the minuscule. The thing we said we could never do, we did.  We did for it love and safety and for the greater good of the least of these. You think you cannot face the next step, the next tragedy or the next malady, and you simply add “Jesus..” in front of the “I can’t.”

“Jesus, I can’t..”

And you do.

Suddenly, you bravely unscrew the top of that $7.00 sippy cup.  The pressure that has accumulated under suction, burps, and sizzles.  You hear a scream.  You think it’s you, but it’s the cup.  You dump the black moldy plasma – you suspect was milk, out, and it thumps into the bottom of your stainless steel sink.  The mass starts to slither away from the drain; you pause to gag and quickly turn on the hot water. You shove your fake French manicured fingernail into the top of the rubber stopper and sling it into the scalding stream of water.  To ensure the thing dies and the cup is safe you dump a gallon of bleach into the sink. Bile rises in your throat, but the cup won’t win.  You even blow air through the stopper to make sure it is clear of any more pungent filth. There are seasoned plumbers that would shudder in your presence.

[clickToTweet tweet=””Jesus…I can’t”” quote=””Jesus…I can’t””]

You can, and you did.

And so my prayer for us today is that we will stop saying we can’t.  That those words are eradicated from our vocabulary in this simple form.  I am picturing hands upon heads, anointing you each with a good word, a strong word.  A word of encouragement, a word from someone who says “I can’t” all the time and fervently prays the next time you must lament this statement it sounds like this instead…

“Jesus, I can’t.”

May your floors be sticky and your calling ordained.  Love, Jami

Guest blogger Shelly Templin will be getting sticky with us on October 16th for 31 Things I Wish You’d Stop Saying:  Day 16 “My Child Died. Please Don’t Say…”  Shelly is wise and funny and I think you will love her like I do.  You can find her by clicking on the picture below.

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  1. Robin F on October 3, 2015 at 5:32 am

    You make me laugh and cry at every post I read! My children are grown….my youngest is 18 but the “I can’ts” don’t stop! Thank you so much for your humor and encouragement.

    • jamiamerine on October 3, 2015 at 5:35 am

      Thank you! That meant the world since I was sorting through more hate on another page! Bless you!

  2. Teresa Donaghey on October 3, 2015 at 5:43 am

    This is my favorite blog of yours I’ve read so far! Better than coffee to start my day:)
    This was a great testimony to Philipians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Bless you! Now I’d better go get my coffee….lol

  3. Living With Real Joy on October 3, 2015 at 6:42 am

    I find myself going through the “I can’t” at least once a week. And I mean a big tantrum of “I can’t” whether it’s all going on in my head or coming out of my mouth with my husband staring at me like a deer in the headlights. I KNOW with Jesus I can, but there are so many days I am just done. Don’t want to do it anymore. Don’t know why God thought I could do this. But obviously He did. This article was really encouraging for me. Thank you for sharing your heart with the rest of us. 🙂

    • jamiamerine on October 3, 2015 at 6:43 am

      Thank you for sharing yours. I love your blog title.

  4. ilovehayleeandrj on October 3, 2015 at 6:59 am

    I said “I can’t homeschool.” But I have been now for over 4 years and “I can’t” imagine NOT doing it. I don’t have patience. I was never an A or even B student. But He led me to it and has been leading us through it. My prayer is that they learn one day at a time and whatever He wants them to learn in that day. Their hearts are more important than them being geniuses. …. Thank you for the encouragement.

  5. Kimberly on October 3, 2015 at 7:00 am

    Adding Jesus to just about anything makes it better, I think. Thanks for this – it’s been a rough week and I think maybe I can’t take any more but with Jesus, I can. It will still be hard, it may still hurt, but you’re right; I can. Amen.

  6. Joelle on October 3, 2015 at 7:29 pm

    I’ve recently replaced “I can’t” with “this is horrible…. but do-able”. Oh and the sippy cup description was epic

  7. Kathy on October 5, 2015 at 8:29 pm

    I’d love to read to the end of this post but… I can’t. Tears from laughter are blinding me!

    Oh, the sippy cup. Been there. Done that. Still have nightmares about it.

    • jamiamerine on October 6, 2015 at 1:55 am

      I hope you get to finish it sometime! The mom wins! ❤️

  8. Pam on October 16, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    The last 3-4 yrs have had some incredibly difficult hard things to bear. How many times I have said, despairing..I can’t, I can’t, I just CAN’T. But then…Jesus. And His love and banner and protection over me. He has grown me and I would not want to go back to the person I was 4 yrs ago but I NEVER would have chosen this path. I have seen over and over His love and grace and mercy like I never had before. May i remember too, in the future, ‘Jesus, I can’t’. B/c it is TOTALLY Him that has gotten me this far and why I am not bitter.

  9. jahughes22cuba on October 16, 2015 at 2:59 pm

    In 1999, at the ripe old age of 39, I married. Between my wedding day and January 24, 2002, we: suffered a miscarriage, had a healthy baby after a very difficult pregnancy, suffered a second miscarriage, lost my mother in law, and then my beloved husband. I was certain when I said I CAN’T, that it was true. My 27 month old and I had to move out of our apartment, as it was part of my husband’s salary package. We couldn’t afford anything in the area, but God led us to a beautiful, small, affordable community about 75 miles away. We bloomed where God planted us, and I wear a “footprints” ring to remind me EVERY DAY how Jesus has carried me when I said I CAN’T, and how He continues carrying me as I journey through this life, a widowed mom of a 15 yr old, who grows daily in wisdom and grace. And sass and spitfire. And drives me crazy, on a regular basis. Which really isn’t necessary, since I am within spittin’ distance of crazy at any given moment… Glad to know there are others on similar journeys!

    • jamiamerine on October 16, 2015 at 3:06 pm

      God. Love. You. ❤️

      • jahughes22cuba on October 16, 2015 at 4:10 pm

        I am thankful every day for that! And I now view myself through the lens of that joyous, dancing daughter of your friend! Thanks to you, and to them, for sharing that!

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