At the end of the day...

The only pic I really have of the "hair-cut." I did them layers all by myself...golly.

That's my kid laid out on the couch in a random Starbucks in Indianapolis.

This is me laid out in the back seat of the car somewhere random in Indianapolis. Thanks babe. Flattering, really.

And honestly, that sort of sums up my life the last few days. Utter exhaustion. There's really no need to say more. To expound on the airports, the shows, the sweltering 99 degree weather and the melty baby, the car rides, van rides, the three outfits lost to poop (not mine... hers, I promise), the 12 a.m. fire alarm that sent me, the baby, and apparently some sort of senior citizens reunion out of the hotel and into the parking lot in our pj's, the lost purse, the frantic search through every shopping cart in the Target parking lot first thing this morning, the ensuing "why do you lose things fight" with my husband (as if I made a conscious decision, "I think I will leave my purse today, I am so tired of it, be lost purse! Be lost!") the tears, the four month old baby shots and the baby who looked at me like I sold her on the black market, and the purse, that, yea... was hanging on the back of the kitchen table chair when I got home.

There is no need to go there. Oh, and did I mention that I leave for Amsterdam tomorrow? She only thinks I betrayed her today, acting all happy when I knew that she was about to have six needles shoved into her legs. Wait until I leave her with grandma and then not show up for another five days.

I left her with grandma in the bookstore for five minutes and this is the conversation I come back to:

That's right! That monkey looks like my uncle Bernie. Yes! My uncle Bernie! You can't meet him cause he's dead. Yep, he's dead. Poor uncle Bernie. He was a simple man. He stepped out in front of a bus. But, yep, he looked just like this monkey. Yes he did!

Annie was literally laughing out loud.

Earlier in the day I happened upon this conversation:

No, we don't kill whales. No we don't! We love whales. We ride whales! Yes we do! We ride whales. And you can ride whales too. Like the little girl who was a whale rider. She wasn't a good for nothing girl like her dad said. No she wasn't. She was a whale rider. And you can be an Annie whale rider. You can ride whales all around the world.

I mean, good Lord, who knows what stories she might hear before I get home?

So Grandma is here from Albuquerque. I am not packed yet. And I feel frazzled. Not stressed. But frazzled. When you are stressed you have the emotional capability of knowing that there are things you need to get done. When you are frazzled you can't really even wrap your mind around what needs to be done next. I sort of feel like I have been hit by a train. One of those really fast trains that they make in Japan.

And I know Annie will be fine. Happy. Perfect. And well-fed! She won't even mention it in therapy twenty years from now. But I am convinced it is terrible. I think it is just terrible for me. Oh the angst of having a little person that you call your own.

Totally tubular tough topic Tuesday has not been abandoned. Never fear. I've decided this is an every other week segment. Uses a lot of brain juice. Brain juice, upon college graduation, is rationed. Twice a month. That sounds about right.

Ever the procrastinator. The girl who freezes under pressure and revolts against deadlines. Suffering from a serious disease of timely follow-through... I still plan on answering all of the questions you asked.

In the tumble and swirl of the last few days there have been harder things too. Deeper things. If you peel back a few layers you would see anger. Loneliness. A serious case of envy. Arguing with Ryan. Exhaustion. Inadequacy. A bit of emptiness.

This made me think of the question that Cavelle asked a few weeks ago.

I've been struggling lately with my faith, just ready to give up and let go. I'm literally hanging on by a thread. How do you, hold on to your faith, when there are so many situations being thrown at you, and you don't know what to do?

Oh sweet girl. If I could just give you a hug. You are not alone. We all hang on by a thread from time to time. Literally just hanging there, hoping a wind will brush by and blow us off so we don't have to fight anymore, so we don't have to keep hanging on by the tips of our fingernails.

So what do you do?

You let go.

You don't hold onto your faith, your faith holds on to you.

Let me be more clear. You do not hold onto God. God holds onto you.

So you can let go now.

I think the point of our struggles is not that we are strong enough to fight and survive alone. It's not a test of our faith to see if we have the willpower to chose God when everything in this world screams at us to chose despair, bitterness, anger, loneliness, and disbelief. Struggles are not a cruel experiment to see if you can keep holding on. Struggles illuminate the fact that we cannot hold on.

We let go. And it is there, in our weakness, brokenness, exhaustion, and pain that God is ever present. That Jesus says give me your burdens and I will simply give you peace in return. It is there, Andrea, that the words of scripture most speak to me.

Fear not, I have redeemed you and I have called you by name. When you walk through the waters, I will be with you. When you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned. Isaiah 43.

You will not be alone, you will not drown, you will not be burned. Why? Because you held on for dear life? Because somehow you were able to make it yourself in the midst of your pain? No. Because you have been redeemed by a God who knows you, loves you, and basically says... let go. Because He says, when the fire hits, I will be there to shield you. When the water is raging around you and you are holding onto the branch for dear life and it snaps...

You will not drown. There will be a life raft.

Not because you made it but because God values you, loves you, and cares so deeply for you, for me, for us that He has never abandoned humanity. He is with us. (Psalms 139. Another favorite).

Of course we fight. You cannot give up. I cannot give up. As much as I wanted to just get in a car today and drive to a beautiful beach in Mexico, I could not.

I have met many people with life stories that are so painful they seem like pages out of a fiction book. They simply don't compare to my exhaustion, lost purse, and temporary marital squabbles. Yet, these people surprise me with their endurance. They fight. They don't quit. They wake up each morning and breath and get out of bed and choose life. Time and time again they endure because they know at the end of the day, when they can no longer fight, can no longer keep it together, can longer hang on, they know...

Someone is there to catch them.

They let go. And the mysterious presence of God finds them, surrounds them, holds them up, and brings peace into their despair.

Yesterday God held me up. I was in the prayer room at my church and before I knew it, I was sound asleep. I woke up knowing that those moments of rest were given to me. My fingers finally grew tired, they let go, and then there I was... being cared for.

It has happened today too. Through people. Through my mom. Through another mysterious nap. Through a song.

God is hear. Calling me to lay down the anger. To rest. Giving me peace where my patience has worn thin. Surrounding me with love when I am quite unlovable. And helping me surrender my struggle for survival. He is near. And now, at 12:10 when I will finally say good-bye to this long, trying day, I can sleep in peace because I know that on my own today would've sent me over the edge. But I was not on my own. Neither will I be tomorrow. After the anger, the temper, the frustration, the exhaustion, the _________ it's almost like I heard a voice.

Are you done yet Child? Good. Now let go of it. Let's start again. And I did.