Can't Never Could

Trying to get out the door to go anywhere with a 2 yr old requires patience, poise, and excellent time management...all of which I possess none of. So I said to Emery for the third time, "Pick up your sippy cup and go to the car. We need to get going or we're gonna be late."

My child continued to lay on our living room ottoman staring at the blank t.v. screen hoping that Mickey Mouse Clubhouse would miraculously reappear. She then threw her arms up in the air and yelled, "MY CAN'T, MAMA!" 

This could have been a teaching moment. But instead I threw down some solid 'theological' doctrine on her, "Can't never could, Emmy. Can't never could." Because if saying it once is effective then repeating it twice is the baptist thing to do (and my roots are baptist). 

She wanted me to pick her up and carry her to the car, but my hands were full. I had already given her everything she needed to get out the door. I dressed her, diapered her, put her shoes on her feet and tied them, and I fixed her hair in cute ponytails with bows. I had equipped her for what was ahead but to get where we were going, she had to move. She had to put her feet on the ground, put one foot in front of the other and direct her little body into action.  

She's not the only one in our family who struggles with this "I can't" problem. My 6 yr old niece, Karis, also occasionally gets the "I can't's". Being the godly woman I am, I offer her my sage wisdom when I riddle her with, "Karis, are you a Mex-I-CAN? Or are you a Mex-I-CAN'T?" Because she is half Latina  the answer is, "Yes, I'm a Mex-I-CAN!" But Karis' typical answer is, "Juju," said with an eye roll and a sigh, "I'm a Mex-I-CAN but I don't want to ________________." (Fill in the blank with any number of things she doesn't want to do: brush her hair, put her shoes on, go shopping with Juju, etc.)

Karis wants what Emmy wants, someone to do it for her. Even though we have prepared them, equipped them, believe in them and know they can do it, they still don't want to step out and do it. 

Karis and Emmy aren't the only ones in my family who have the "I can't" problem. They inherited it rightly from me and my sister and our Mom and her Mom and her Mom's Mom...and all the way back to Eve. Poor Eve, always the end of everyone's blame for their own sin and shortcomings. It's our nature to want as much as possible for as little as we can do to get it. Better yet, let's get other people to do "it" for us and then manipulate the outcome so that we get the praise. It's our laziness, our sin. I've often prayed this Psalm to God:

Psalm 90:17:
May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us;
    establish the work of our hands for us—
    yes, establish the work of our hands.

But what I really mean when I pray it is, "God, just do it for me!" The word "establish" here is translated from the Hebrew meaning to be firm, to be stable, to be ready and able. But I don't just want God to make me ready, prepare me, lay the foundation...I want Him to just do it for me. Waaaaah! Someone call a waaambulance!

This is the place, in my mind, when God comes back at me with this, 
"Okay Jes, let me see if I got this right. You want me to send my Son to die for your sin. Then you want me to, through His blood, forgive you, love you, adopt you as my daughter and heir. Then you want me to give you the Holy Spirit inside of you to guide you - helping you discern decisions in life. Then you want me to bless your right decisions but forgive, without consequence, all your bad decisions. And also, you want special gifts from Me, like supernatural, God-given gifts that I will place inside you that sometimes you leverage for me and other times you leverage for your own self promotion. And, BONUS, when I send opportunities right to you, you want ME to send angel workers from Heaven to accomplish the work I sent you to do. Is that all? Is there anything else I can get you, princess?"

"Ummmm, since you asked, yes! I would also like the pink Barbie Malibu Mansion, please."

Silence from Heaven. (Don't judge me. I know you want that Malibu Mansion, too!)

God has saved me, forgiven me, loved me, adopted me, gifted me and prepared a way for me. It's my part to pray, listen, discern, obey and do. When we lay down, like Emery, and whine to God, "I CAN'T, FATHER!" we need to recognize that moment is when we are full of ourselves. Being full of yourself doesn't always look like pride and arrogance. Being full of yourself can look like fear, insecurity, depression, anxiety. If we let that rise to the top and rule our life, then when we look back over our life, it looks wasted and meaningless. God wants us to GO, DO, BE! 

Can't never could. Won't never will. 

But you and I, made in the image of almighty God, we CAN. We can send a card to encourage someone's broken heart. We can cook a meal for someone who is battling depression. We can volunteer to bring the snacks to our kid's soccer game. We can pray for someone who feels the pain of despair. We can speak truth into the life of a friend who is headed down a dark road. We can smile. We can be warm in a cold world. We can because He did. Jesus came to give us life to the fullest. My fullest and your fullest might look completely different. That's the beauty of His plan - we are all here to accomplish something for Him. 

Find your something. It's inside of you. Ask God to let it rise to the top of your thoughts, your passion and your pursuits. YOU CAN! You're a Mex-I-CAN! (maybe you're not...but maybe you're an Amer-I-CAN!)

Doesn't really matter your ethnicity, your social status, your age, your marital status (puuuulease!). What matters is the desire of your heart. Do you desire to accomplish and fulfill the plans that God has established for you to do? I believe you do. 

The foundation has been laid and it's firm. Get started and KEEP GOING!


Jessica Phillips

Jessica is worshiper and follower of Jesus. He rescued her heart at age 6 but he rescued her calling, purpose and direction in her early 20's. Everyday God is still writing Jessica's story. It involves her husband, Brad, her daughter, Emery, their extended families. But the story is a tale of loss of life and dark grief. And the story ebs and weaves and the grief story is followed by weddings and laughter. And what comes next? A Baby! God sends us a baby to shape and teach and grow right in the midst of our loss and realizing that life actually moves forward. We didn't think it would again after he died. But life just did what it was supposed to do...and it went on. And hope is born again. Everything I write is based on this fact: I'm God's child, I'm alive today. So what do You want me to do for You? Because I want my contribution to matter. I want to leave a legacy.