About the Author

Anna is the author of A Moment of Christmas and Pumpkin Spice for Your Soul. She's worked at (in)courage since 2012, and lives in Minnesota with her husband and their four kids. Anna encourages others to look for and embrace the extraordinary moments found in their ordinary days.

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  1. Anna,
    All I can say is beautifully written and Amen! I’ve never liked that cliché response and I love how, with one word, you change it into who really has the power to do and handle all things. Sometimes I have wondered why my plate has been so full of trials when others seem to have a lighter load. I may not know the exact reason why, but I do know that through God’s strength in me, He was ultimately glorified. Thanks for a wonderful post this morning!
    Blessings,
    Bev

    • I have often had the same thought about my full plate, and it’s so easy to slip into the ‘not fair’ attitude. You reminded me that God is bigger than my plate – thank you Bev!

  2. I love the word “brutiful”, it totally describes the daily life I experience! I am blessed with two wonderful children , and I’m learning that being a mom is a brutiful job that entails every ounce of energy and then some, I just don’t know how anyone could be a mom without Jesus!

  3. This is a very encouraging, breath of fresh air. Thanks for sharing your heart and the reminder that God uses our pain for his glory, and that we aren’t supposed to be able to handle it.

  4. yep. i can’t handle today! can it be our declaration of dependence?!?!? instead of in desperation, we can yell, “I can’t handle this!!” in preemptive praise.

  5. Amen. Thank you for your encouraging words 🙂 Love how God doesn’t give us more than He (not we) can handle. Never thought of it like that before. Provides much more hope and freedom. Struggling with a toxic work environment, uncertain of what my future holds, and very encouraged by your words 🙂

    • Shannon,

      Prayers for your job situation. May HE give you a better job in a better situation. I know that He will provide all your needs on His perfect timing!

      Father God,

      Bless Shannon with the job you want her to have. I pray she finds comfort, peace and contentment soon.

      AMEN!

    • Those kind of work environments are so very difficult. I’ve worked in a few as well, and it can be soul-killing. I’ve added you to my prayers, Shannon, and am hoping for resolve and even joy!

  6. This was a great read. It encourages me to know that I am not the only one that struggles with all the challenges God places in front of me. I try to tackle them on my own but “when I throw my whole self into Him … then we’re getting somewhere. It is Him, in us, equipping us, loving us, that allows for the handling of these situations. It is by His grace and patience that we handle really hard mom days. It is with His slow and gracious love that we are able to crawl out of bed when we want to stay under the covers.” Thanks

  7. I love how you’ve re-framed this, as it makes for a much better understanding. Your words, and your writing are so perfect and lovely, friend.

  8. Anna, what a beautiful post. I needed your reminders, including the one that I’m not the only one who deals with things like sibling rivalry, anger, and heartache as my kids make poor choices. 🙂

    I loved this truth: “Does He give me more than I can handle? Absolutely, but God doesn’t give us more than He can handle.”

    In our hustle-hurry world, it’s easy to forget that He’s walking beside me through each moment of each day. I try to take on the trials by myself. I end up discouraged and beaten down. But, when I remember to call on Jesus, things change. He does give us more than we can handle. It causes us to run to Him in trust and in neediness. Thank goodness HE can handle anything that crosses my path.

    • You are certainly not the only one. So glad you realize that you’re not alone – standing with you, sister! Thank you for the encouraging words.

  9. Thank you for sharing. As I read this, I am sitting in the waiting room of my oncologists office. I am anxiously waiting to hear the pathology results from my recent hysterectomy. I am also feeling stressed over the very poor choices my teenage son is making. He needs help and I am not sure where to turn. It is also my birthday and it doesn’t feel like a happy day. This is where I know I need God to take over and carry me because the weight of this earthly world is overwhelming.
    .

    • Jen,
      I will pray that the fears of this day will melt as you take steps of trust in Jesus. He knows every detail, and knows exactly what you need, and above all, He is Faithful!
      AND, I pray that you WILL have a Happy Birthday, in the middle of it all!

    • Jenn,

      Happy Birthday! I pray your day got better as it went along. May God bless you richly 🙂

      Prayers for your fears to be alleviated and for God’s peace and contentment to come over you! Prayers also for your son to start making wiser choices.

      This is my life verse: “For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you”. Jeremiah 29:11. It is comforting to me to know that He is in control and has plans for us to bless us with His glorious riches.

      Prayers sweet Jenn! 🙂

    • Oh Jenn… I’ve been praying for those results, sister, and for your son. Those things are huge and weighty and totally overwhelming, as you said. Thank you for sharing your heart so with us.

      I do hope you were able to have a happy birthday – birthdays are a big deal!! 😉

  10. Right on. Some days I feel I can’t handle anything!

    I suspect the source of the idea that God won’t give us more than we can handle is a misreading of 1 Corinthians 10:13, which is about temptations. All the more reason to make sure we read God’s Word carefully. When we don’t, it’s so easy to mix up the facts and end up with wrong conclusions about God.

    I’ve lost babies too. Have you heard the song “Glory Baby” by Watermark?

    • Monica, I think you’re right about the Corinthians text, which is in and of itself encouraging, but (like you said) doesn’t really say what some think it says. Wrong conclusions about God make me sad – grateful to have places like (in)courage and friends like you who know the Word to help us!

      And yes, I have heard it. It’s lovely and makes me cry every time. So sorry for your losses, Monica.

  11. Thank you for your encouragement this morning. Two days ago, I asked these exact questions: “Where is God in all of this? How do we trust Him in the midst of such a mess? How are we supposed to handle it all?” And today, your words spoke the truth that I so needed to hear. He can handle it and will do so in His perfect timing. So glad God used your message to speak to my heart.

    • You did? I am so glad He’s got us on the same wavelength! Praying He’s made Himself more and more known to you since you asked those questions.

  12. Finally! Someone who thinks like I do. People are always telling me, God will never give me more than I can handle. I look at them and say, that’s not true. God will never give you more than he can handle through you. You have to be willing to allow Him to use you. If God only gave me what I could handle, I would never grow. My faith in him would never increase. I would never reach the potential he has for me. I want more than I can handle. Crazy, I know. I want him to use me and make me grow closer to him.

    • Dee, the start of your comment made me laugh right out loud, I loved it so! Girl, I’m standing with you! =) Love your point about how our faith wouldn’t grow if we reached our potential, and love your hearts cry for more of Him.

  13. I love the word swap of “we” and “He” I have had to learn the hard way, that on my own I am nothing. Living independently and doing my own thing was not working so God gave me a huge wake up call! It took away many things in my life, my job, my health, and my marriage, but all of these were replaced with a closer dependency and love for God. He will do whatever is necessary to show us it is All him and not us. Thank you for your writing today!!

  14. I just wrote my own thoughts that God laid on my heart today, and as I turn to read my emails, I find that He expresses similar thoughts through your writing today. God bless you as you continue to speak what He lays on your heart. oh how we need Jesus in our world <3

  15. This is perfect. I’ve always said that God WILL give us more than we can handle…because if we could handle it, we wouldn’t need HIM. I like the way you put it even better: “God does not give us more than He can handle.”

    I’ve lost a baby by miscarriage, and I am so sorry for the losses you and your family have experienced. We have an adult child who has Down Syndrome. Our 4th child had cancer when he was little (he’s fine now, praise God). In these situations, and others, you would not beLIEVE the things people have said.

    Well, you might. But I can’t handle any of my life without Him, and some of the comments people have made have (unintentionally) (sometimes) made things even harder. God has been so gracious to not only remind me that I’ve said those (well-intentioned) things to others, too…but to also show me that most people mean well. http://www.martysmoosetracks.blogspot.com/2013/03/most-people-mean-well.html

    Thank you for your post. It really encouraged me today. 🙂

    • Oh Marty… First of all, I am SO RELIEVED to see that your son is doing fine. Praise God indeed! Second, to have a child with Downs – what a complex honor. Finally, I am so sorry for your loss by miscarriage. It’s so hard.

      I bet, as you said, people start to blunder when they try to encourage. Don’t we all? 😉 I’ve been told some pretty unbelievable things as well, and though they make my blood boil and I’m grateful for my husband, who drags me away =), it’s hard not to snap back even though they often have sweet intentions.

      Your comment was loaded with grace and I can’t tell you how I appreciate it. Off to read your blog now! =)

  16. Thank you so much for sharing this. I needed to read this especially understanding that I am NOT in control BUT GOD is. As I sat in the breast surgeons office yesterday and they noticed two spots that need a biopsy my heart sank. My mind swirled but GOD whispered “Be Still and Know” and the song by Steven Curtis Chapman that I play each morning during my quiet time played in the back of my mind throughout of all of the tests. I had a peace that I have never felt when I left the office but this morning my mind went back to the next step that is coming and how GOD will use the results of this test. God is able to handle this and NOT me. I have to remember this as I countdown to Friday August 22.

    • Oh Paulette, what an appointment. I’ve been praying for you, for those spots, and am hoping you come back after Friday to let us know the results. Thank you for sharing your story with us here = I am so glad that His peace surrounded you, and pray it continues to do so.

      ps – I love that song, and SCC in general =)

    • Oh Lori… I am so deeply sorry for your loss. I hope you’ve been able to find comfort in Him, somehow, and know that I will pray for your dear heart.

  17. i am in a period of my life where it feels like i can barely handle getting out of bed in the morning some days and yet people keep telling me ‘God doesn’t give you more than you can handle”. I’ve never agreed with that either. There is so much I cannot handle. Your blog was salve for my soul today, a reminder that I am not handling anything, nor do i need to. God is handling it all. Thank you for speaking such vulnerable truth about your life in a world obsessed with perfection.

    • Tiffany, I have been.there. I will be praying for you, for the energy you need, for the soul-healing to come. I’m humbled and grateful that you found some encouragement and maybe even peace in my words.

  18. Anna,
    You are so strong and I love that through every situation you Give God the glory and you acknowledge that it is only through him that we can over come. This post reminds me of my favorite bible verses

    I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ,] who gives me strength.
    ~Philippians 4:12-13
    Thank you for that encouragement! I really needed it today!

    • Sweet Lovelle, thank you for the encouragement and scripture you left here! That is one of my very favorites, and I too needed the reminder. Thanks girl!

  19. What a blessing this post is! Encouraging & truthful. We can do all things THROUGH Christ who strengthens us.
    If only we remember this through every trial or disappointment we will be blessed beyond belief.
    Reminds of the poem Footprints In The Sand. HE carries us.

  20. This is so beautifully expressed, Anna. What would we do without a God Who has all things under control and can get us through? I’m so sorry for the loss of your little ones. My heart breaks for you. Thank you for sharing this story. It has really encouraged me today.

  21. Amen. I have long suffered with the “encouragement” that He will never give us more than WE can handle. But you are so right – He will never give us more than HE can handle. Some days I can do more than brush my teeth when I’ve been up all night agonizing over a marriage that fell apart 24 years after saying “I Do.” Thank you for saying that which has been on my heart.

    • Kathy, thank you for sharing part of your story here. I grieve for you and your marriage that was, and understand the act of only being able to brush your teeth then wanting to crawl back into bed. You’re on my heart and on my prayer list, Kathy.

  22. Oh, I just love this so much. Thank you for sharing your heart – it’s exactly what I needed to hear today.

  23. I love how you addressed this common misconception. When God allows more than WE can handle, it is His opportunity to step out and show off. I’m so thankful His wisdom knows what to allow into our lives, AND what His plans are for the things He allows into our lives. Beautiful piece!

  24. Thank you. Thank you for reminding me of what I know but tend to allow down moods to distract me from.
    Once a preacher did an excellent sermon on this cliché. He says it is not biblical at all! The only reference close to it is that God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear.
    I, too, love the change to “we.”
    Tell your friend that “brutiful” is the absolute perfect word to add to my fun word list!
    God bless. Thank you for inspiring me today and bringing my thinking back in line where it needs to be.
    gretchen

  25. Such truth! He IS the one handling our mess and chaos and trials and challenges… People do mean well, and I think this is actually what they mean when they say ‘we’ instead of ‘he’, but this is such a good post to distinguish the difference!
    Since we all go through trials and very hard days…your comment page will be full indeed!! So glad we have a big God to hold us and go through every hard day with us. He will use it all for our good and His Glory…as we ‘fix our eyes on Him’!
    Bless you today!

    • They really do mean well, and like you said I think they do intend the meaning we’ve talked about here. Standing with you in gratitude for such a big and wonderful God!

  26. Needed this today. My heart was feeling discouraged by everything that is going on in my community. Pray for peace and calm here tonight in St. Louis. HE is in control.

    • Oof, Josie, how ARE you doing today? St. Louis area has been heavy, heavy on my heart and I thought so much of you all in that area while writing this.

  27. Thank you for stating this truth so boldly and simply!! I, too, have lost a child to miscarriage, and have had other tough situations to get through. If it was strictly me doing the getting through, I would be a a weepy, tired mess. God has given me what I need, when I need it. It is His grace that has gotten me through. I am so thankful for that!

    • Girl, even with Him at the helm I’m a weepy, tired mess. =) Love hearing how He’s been faithful to you in your walk – thank you for sharing part of your story here.

  28. Struggling to hold on to the truth of a God who will not let me go – help my unbelief – this was encouraging to me today

  29. Awesome timely words to remind us Who is in control of our chaotic lives and this sad gruesome world…loved this perspective. And I too am NOT a fan of pat little “Christianese” sayings meant to comfort. They don’t. Being real about pain with others is what helps. Thank you for this encouraging post!

  30. Simply, thank you. Your words express better than anything I’ve read in recent days what I’ve been feeling about the whole big mess of a world we live in and our reaction to that turmoil. again, thanks.

    • Nancy, I can’t stop thinking about everything either, and it finally occurred to me that while it’s so much kind of crazy, He is still here. Thank you for the encouragement.

  31. I am sorry for your loss.
    Your words of wisdom are a hard won insight.
    Thank you for the Truth.
    He is All we need.
    L.

  32. “God does not give us more than He can handle. Swap out the “we” for the “He” and now we’re onto it. One letter changes everything.”

    Wow! That is something I needed to hear. Thanks, Anna!

  33. Yup……..well said girlfriend. I just emailed my mentally ill son of 32 years and begged him to check himself into the psych ward this evening and get some help. My husband and I have no more to give, we are spent, exhausted from helping him for the last 10 years try to get his life together. We love the Lord. We know He is in our midst….a Mighty One who will save…rejoicing over us with gladness, quieting us with His love and rejoicing over us with singing. Zephaniah 3:17 Thank you for getting this out in the open. As Pam said ‘Lord help my unbelief!’

    • Oh Di… humbled that you shared this part of your story with us here. I’ve been praying the end of this story is good, that your son would get the help you all need him to receive, that you and your husband would be able to refresh and rest, that good would come to it all.

      That is one of my VERY favorite verses in all of scripture – thank you for reminding me of it!

  34. I’ve always hated that clichéd response, too. Because what? If you’re stronger you’ve somehow earned more suffering? That if you were more weak-willed, you’d be made to endure fewer losses and tougher heartbreak?

    Sometimes bad things just happen to good people. They just happen. Your post is such a great perspective.

  35. Anna,

    Just loved this post and your writing. Some days–especially this year have been brutiful for me. Hard days yet in the end they all worked out for His glory!!!

    When trials come-and they will–I always seem to go closer and deeper into Jesus. I pray more and seek His guidance as for my next step! Maybe that is why we are given trials–to turn us closer to Him! 🙂

    He can handle everything we’re going through if we’d just let him

    Blessings 🙂

    • Beth, thank you for your encouraging story! And girl, you’re a true encourager – thank you for shining light into several other comment boxes above. Blessings, Beth!

  36. God bless you, Anna, for your beautiful, honest, heart-shared words of truth and encouragement! My daughter, Judy Lynn, died at 2 months old after 2 separate, and ultimately, unsuccessful heart surgeries in 1981. I can remember getting down on my knees and praying during the time in between the 2 surgeries and trying to hold onto that phrase about God not giving us more than we can handle – that’s all I knew to do at the time…..But I know it was He who truly carried me and has continued to carry me and handled the loss – not me! I loved all of what you said. Thank you again – My healing is still a journey and what you wrote will be a new encouragement to remember God is handling my journey and carrying me.

  37. Wow, you have no idea how much this blessed my soul this morning. I woke up feeling so low, so hopeless. Debating whether to even head to my place of worship this morning. I had a- ‘what’s the point attitude’. And then there was this message in my inbox. God bless you! I am encouraged.

  38. Dear Anna,
    What a blessing your message is to me today! My mother always taught me “The Lord Always Provides”. And, I must echo her words in that He DOES! It so often happens that on days that I am distraught with a specific worry….I come across spiritual messages that steady me and give me renewal. Today, your message rings loud and clear. My worry over the crisis in the mid-east is great. It is such a grave threat to mankind. Then, reading your message, I felt so much better. I believe that God always provides that special inner help that keeps one going….and renews in us the knowledge that in the greater picture of things, He IS in control. Our job is to trust and you have worded this so beautifully. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

  39. Thanks for sharing this awesome yet misunderstood truth. Through the most difficult situation of my life so far, the tragic, sudden loss of my first-born child, I came to understand this truth practically. It has been a life-changing experience for me. My implicit trust in God has grown. I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that He is always in control and always with me. And yes, I cannot handle the difficult situations of my life but He can and He uses them for my growth and His Glory. Indeed, every day of my life, it is Christ IN me, the hope of glory. Hallelujah!
    And I love the word, brutiful:)-
    Thanks again.

  40. I suppose we all have moment(s)-repeatedly, for some, that puts us all into the situation of “how are you” and not knowing what to say when the answer is anything but fine. Too, we all find burdens that are much too heavy. Sometimes they are even to heavy for an excellent support system. The Lord knows and is waiting for us to cry out to Him.

    In my life, I have always thought of myself as an anchor in my family. A fixer. The one who never gave up. I felt like I was strong in my faith, but I was constantly trying to fix everyone else and it was I who needed fixing. I didn’t realize it through many of the disasters in my young adult life…it took a true mid-life crisis for me to see it.

    I was always a “Daddy’s Girl”. My parents were living with me in 2001 when my Dad suddenly suffered sudden death there, in my home. It’s a long story, but the short version is that after nearly 30 years of performing CPR on people I didn’t know, I failed in my attempts with Dad. I felt his ribs crush beneath my hands- I wondered how his lips were so soft- I saw my whole life as his daughter in the ages before the ambulance arrived As I did the work, I bluthered and prayed out loud. I begged God to help me. Dad’s life was over and in addition to being broken, I felt I had let everyone in the family down. That was so selfish of me. A friend reminded me of two things: 1) that Dad only needed me to be his daughter, not his Savior and 2)it was God’s Will being carried out.

    I was so broken, any little thing could make me cry and feel the jagged edges of my hurt. Then, in my prayers, I said I needed Him to show me how to get through it. I asked if my brokenness was part of the burdens He wanted me to cast on Him. I felt like He sighed and said, “I thought you’d never ask.”

    The loss was still difficult, I still felt like an anchor, but Jesus was the chain holding the anchor, God was the boat, and the Holy Spirit was the wind in the sails.

    I pray for all of you here and now because your experiences are so reflective of my own. In our weakness we are strong through God alone. I pray to always remember that as I am sure you all do as well.

    Thank you for this wonderful and inspirational devotional.

  41. Thank you all for sharing, you have really inspired me. I will be praying for you all.

    God bless you. 🙂

  42. We have to learn to be still in the midst of the storm and realize that God is in control and not us

  43. I THANK you too for sharing all this , including the comments of everyone, I wished I heard this when I was a young mother, oh how I felt so failing and it was to much! But God gave me a mothergroup to come together as christians and pray and hear from others that they could struggle as well!
    That gave me the courage to go further and trust that He could handle me and the children, and He did!

  44. I have to tell you you have knocked my socks off! This is all so brilliant, praise The Lord that you have blessed us as a great encourager, praise The Lord for he is Good. I am going to share a prayer that I say everyday and will share it, hope you don’t mind. Do keep up this awesome site, love it! Please say this prayer from your heart, and know that he will hear you. May you all be blessed daily.
    Morning Prayer: Abba, Father, Daddy welcome into my heart today what may I do for you? Please, Please, Increase my faith in you and renew me in the Holy Spirit, so that whatever I do on your behalf may be for the glory of yur name and your name only. Amen

  45. Thank you for sharing! This is great comfort as we face trials in our own lives and those countless trials we see on our evening news around the world. The way you framed this issue spoke to my heart.

    I’m also grateful for this wonderful community of believers who share and encourage each other! The internet is good for something!! 😉 Blessings on your continued work for the Kingdom.

  46. inspiring!
    this really resonated with me and I think I was supposed to read it this particular morning, it’s true God ministers to you in a variety of ways!
    I think this will be my mantra for today…
    ‘God doesn’t give us more than He can handle’
    Thank you x

  47. Thanks for the encouraging word.
    My heart is breaking over a wayward young man whom God has brought into my life, and I am treating him like a son. Initially i thought God has given me this “assignment” to love him and to reach out to him for Christ, because He thinks I have the capacity to love; but now after reading your article, I realise that it is God IN me who has the great capacity to love this young man.

  48. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Another daily dose if encouragement as I walk through another brutally brutiful day. 3 years ago my life was turned tipsy turvy with my husband’s first job loss while I was 8 months pregnant with my second child. Since then, my husband has lost 4 other jobs all because of his struggle with Major Depressive Disorder, OCD and anxiety. He has been hospitalized twice for depression. Right now, he has gotten to the point where he does nothing but sleep and wander aimlessly around the house. Meanwhile, I am working FT, taking care of 2 kids and a house. We are struggling in every way imaginable(financially, emotionally,physically). I sometimes go sit in my car and just SCREAM at God. Why would he hurt me SO much? Thank you for reminding me that He has it under control. I don’t always feel like it, Honestly, sometimes I question if He’s really there at all. But, at the end if the day, I go to sleep believing in a fresh start. A new beginning. That’s all I pray for…