When You Just Can’t…

There are days I think to myself I “just can’t.”

I just can’t be patient.

I just can’t deal with any more whining.

I just can’t discipline with love.

I just can’t hold my tongue.

I just can’t sweep…again.

I just can’t break up that quarrel…again.

The list goes on and I just can’t…

It is days such as these when we feel like outsourcing is best. In that state of failure, we obviously don’t feel fit for the task.  It is easy to think our kids would be better off. They would learn more patience from someone else. They would learn better sharing skills somewhere else. They would not be the victim of my harsh tone if they had someone else.

Someone else needs to do this, because I just can’t.

It is at the intersection of failure and “I just can’t” that I usually find the greatest encouragement in motherhood.

The same philosophy that people apply to working out, or chasing a dream, or building a financial empire — Moms can apply that motivation to teaching, training, loving and raising their children.

We are always looking for our best selves somewhere else other than motherhood. If we had a different perspective, maybe this will be the best Mom year ever.  How can we change that perspective?

When your mind is tempted to say “I just can’t.” Stop right there.

You CAN deal with the whining.

You CAN slow down and correct with patience.

You CAN pick up those crumbs…likely later…but you can.

You CAN say nothing.

You CAN find the right words at the right time.

Just like that work out plan, or saving money each month, or trying again after any failure…IT IS HARD. But there is no clause that states you have to be the perfect Mom in order to reign in motherhood. Success is when you look your mom failure in the eye, repent and move forward. Motherhood is similar to any other situation where you see grand glimpses of success in the midst of frustrations, heartache, pain, and even tears.  Nothing in life comes easy and we shouldn’t assume motherhood is different.

Paul carefully outlines specific responsibilities for mothers in Titus.  He talks about teaching women to love their husbands, love their children, to be self controlled and much more.  I appreciate the Bible’s simplicity as it outlines the commonsensical, but it may be uncommonly applied in our everyday lives. These characteristics must be taught and we must encourage each other in them as plainly as the Bible lays them out.

1. There are many aspects of motherhood that do not come naturally and that is ok. You will hear Moms say that it is the hardest and easiest thing at the same time. I believe Scripture speaks to the sanctification process of motherhood in so many ways, but we can also look at it from our experiential standpoint. God’s sanctification is what grinds against our sinful nature. If you are a Mom you know this. Motherhood, when embraced, is God’s way of conducting open spiritual surgery on your personhood.  It is so revealing, so humbling, so revelational that it’s almost like being born again – relearning life all over again. Sure you have some special talents and abilities, but how often does your awesomeness fall into place. Sometimes we just feel dumbfounded. We all feel the abundant pressure of parenting. However, as a Christian, we look to God’s Word for wisdom and rely on Christ daily for my strength. Check out our last post by Drexel on how we cope with the parenting pressure. The sanctification process of motherhood leads us to often say, “I’m sorry {God, kids, everyone watching}. Lord help me walk through the gospel with my kids {after I just lost it on all them}. I need You.”

2. Love is a choice. In a post I recently wrote about Learning To Love My Apron I said, “If you don’t love your home as much as you could, ask God to change your heart. He is ready and willing to change your heart to love your husband in new ways, to love your home more creatively, to love your children more purposely and to do it all well. Ask God to “give you the desires of your heart.” Love and embrace these things, and enter into the joy and fulfillment of the true gifts that they are.” Now, when God presents the choice, choose love. Most of the time love isn’t a feeling, it is a choice. That next diaper is a choice. You can laugh and enjoy your toddler’s dinner mess or you can mumble and grumble in your thoughts.  You can be present during your child’s play or you can be resentful because there is ‘something else’ you need to be doing. There is always a choice and God sees the state of our hearts. Do we profess to love our husbands and children on the outside but truly grumble on the inside? Submit that to the Lord!! Repent of your ungrateful heart and walk in the joy that comes with His abundant forgiveness.

I do have those days when it’s easy to think “I just can’t.” 8 kids still 10 and under, pregnant, homeschooling, changes in our family every day — I laugh a lot with God. Sometimes I am sure He has me set up for failure, but that is never the case.  God shows me I can and I know I CAN because He doesn’t say “Johnna, do, do do.” He says “Johnna, be, be, be.”

Gal 2:20 “It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.”

Lamentations 3:22-23 “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

With All My Love,


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