When I was 18, I was dating my second ex-husband -- about 6 years before we actually married.
I was struggling with a baby, being unmarried, and having to do it without the help of my parents or the government for the most part.
When my ex would offer advice, I would say things like, "I can't do that because..." and so forth.
Finally, one day, my ex grabbed me by the shoulders and turned me toward him and said, "I am sick and tired of hearing 'I can't'! You CAN. You can do anything you set your mind to do. I don't EVER want to hear you say 'I Can't' again. Do you hear me?"
From that day forward, the words "I can't" were stricken from my vocabulary.
There were times I tried, and failed. But, because I tried, I found more doors opened to me that had not been open before that I could try.
There were times I did things while I was shaking in my boots, scared to death. But, because I did not let fear stop me, I ended up in places I never EVER dreamed I'd ever be in, and wouldn't trade the experiences I've had for all the world!
When we divorced, after five years of marriage, it was a very cordial divorce. But, the one thing he said to me before I drove away was this:
"When we first met, I remember you couldn't cross the street without having someone hold your hand. You were like a caterpillar, young and fragile.
"Now, you act as if there is nothing you can't do. You've changed so much. It's as if that little caterpillar has turned into an enormous butterfly! Fly away, butterfly!"
I think about that a lot.
I remember when my kids were little and they would say they couldn't do something, I would stop them, make them look at me and say, "Do you believe in God? Do you believe that with God all things are possible? Don't say you can't until you try with all your heart! You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you!"
I can't is not in my vocabulary, no matter how big or scary the road ahead of me is.
Can't never could.