Prone to wander…

Sometimes I wish I had an “off” switch so Jason could just shut me down and put me on the couch for a little break.

Yesterday I realized, once again, that I am nothing short of a horrible, horrible person. Maybe it’s this tail end of Spring Break thing, or the cabin fever (still snowing), or the whole raising four young children who never help out bit, but by yesterday I was wound tighter than a pent-up jack-in-the box, and that wheel was still a cranking.

Something had to give.

Unfortunately, Jason was like the casual smoker who drives by a National Park in August and tosses out an old cigarette butt, not realizing that it’s still slightly warm. Before he knows it, he’s racing through a raging inferno, wondering how it happened and if there’s a way out.

I won’t go into the details of how it started, but I will tell you that there were a possible 19 ways I could have reacted that would have been more productive.

Honestly, you know it’s bad when you keep yelling and subsequently wishing someone would just shoot you with a tranquilizer gun and put everyone out of their misery.

I yelled so loud and so long, this morning I had to offer seven people apologies: Jason, our four kids, and the cute newlywed couple that hides in the basement, frightened of their crazy landlord lady upstairs.

The interesting thing about it is that I sang a solo in church today, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” At one point during last week’s practice I was pondering the words, and I’m ashamed to admit that I felt kind of grateful to be somewhat stable in my life. I thought, “Boy, it’s a good thing I’m a pretty decent person. Wouldn’t it be horrible to be a real sinner?”

And then I lost my voice screaming at my husband while the kids huddled in the corner.

After going to bed alone and feeling lower than dirt, I couldn’t even bring myself to pray. All I could do was whisper the words to that heartbreaking hymn over and over, hoping that perhaps Father would accept them, and that my seven people, plus Jesus, could forgive me.

And today, singing in sacrament meeting, it felt sacred and humbling and healing to offer it up to the Lord, even with other people watching.

We’re not perfect, none of us. How thankful I am for the tender mercies of my Savior.

  • “Oh, to grace, how great a debtor, daily I’m constrained to be. Let thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to thee. Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love…Here’s my heart, oh take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above.”



  1. Oh Annie-

    It’s crazy because we don’t even know each other, but I am just giggling at how real that is and just like me and the many other young moms along with us doing our best to be faithful in the church, take great care of home, children, and husbands- it’s a lot and the Lord knows it. I think we get put in the shortest line for forgiveness for our occasional break-downs because He knows there’s a whole heck of a lot being asked… not to mention we were made with a monthly cycle that pumps progesterone through every vein as we are surrounded by crying, break downs, messes, and demands without escape all at once. From your posts, you seem to such a lovely, wonderful, inspiring woman. I love your honesty and faith. Thanks for sharing it!

  2. I think you need to start every morning with Stuart Smally affirmations. And maybe start smoking pot to mellow you out.

  3. Is it lame to say…amen!

  4. You’re not alone.

    Honestly, you know it’s bad when you keep yelling and subsequently wishing someone would just shoot you with a tranquilizer gun and put everyone out of their misery.


  5. We’re all this person. At least I am. I love that hymn; it goes through my head all the time. And I bet you sang beautifully.

  6. I HATE it when i go crazy. I don’t understand why I have to be insane sometimes and I can acknowledge it and recognize it, but when it happens I can’t stop it. We are all horrible people AND God loves us and helps us be better.

    Thanks for the post. It is always so much easier to go through life knowing we don’t struggle alone, that are sins are not unique.

  7. This just makes me love you all the more.

  8. I’m sorry for you and the guilt you feel, ’cause I’ve been there. Many more times than I care to admit. But I’m also glad I’m not the only one who flies off the handle occasionally. (hangs head in shame)

    So you’re not going to let me in on the secret of what you said? What the smoldering cigarette was about?

    • annie valentine says:

      Oh Mandi, it’s so stupid and so horrible all rolled up in one big ugly fight. If I can even remember what the fight was about.

  9. Oh Annie, I’m so grateful I just happened by this evening. Your blog post is sweet, sincere & “bless your heart”, you are truly opening yourself to all the world. Music is so healing & w/o going to my recent hardest of times, I know our testimony grows as we pass though each hurdle. Thank you so much. ***hugs&luvs***

  10. Oh Annie, I have so been there. that is one of my favorite songs to sing. Ever. I have yelled when I shouldn’t, screamed when it wasn’t necessary, and been way too often a person that I should never be. Isn’t is wonderful, that the Savior never tells us, “didn’t you do this same thing last week? I am sure you are not really sorry! Haven’t I told you not to act that way” Aren’t we so blessed that He is willing to forgive us, not just once, but many, many, many times. We all sin, we all make mistakes, we all lose our tempers. We all can change. He is patient and will help us through that process. I think the first step is actually recognizing that you don’t want to be that way. Then, He can change our hearts, our minds and our habits to help us become who we need to be. Good for you to continue working on changing. You are amazing.

  11. Just now I was feeling overwhelmed. I only have two kids but feel like I can get almost nothing done and by the time the kids are in bed I am spent. It is always a relief to know that everyone else has bad days too. Whenever I am down, I always remember that such feelings come from the adversary and are not how we should be feeling. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Annie, you know this is because you’re always depriving yourself of good food, right? It makes a person cranky.

    All I can say is, I hope you are saving a bucket load of money to pay for your kids’ counseling sessions.

    Still love you, you maniac.

  13. Can I say that “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” is by far and leaving every hymn in the dust as my all time favorite, bring me to tears, connect me to saints and believers through the ages, tickle my tummy HYMN! Love it and wish I could have been privileged to sit in your congregation yesterday. I am going to pull out my sheet music (WHY did it come out of our hymnal?!!) and play it right now!

    All the other stuff in your post….just consider yourself a little bit more like Jesus today after going through the fire.

  14. Thanks for writing a bit about what it is honestly like to be a wife, mother, and woman some days. I really appreciate that you are willing to be open on your blog about the reality of a really bad day.
    Don’t be too hard on yourself either because sleep deprivation alone makes people go crazy, not to mention the stress and loneliness that accompany motherhood some days, and the fluctuating hormones that come with pregnancy and breastfeeding. Hopefully you can find your own off switch. I’ve got a sitter that comes one night a week and I go to yoga class. It makes for an awfully expensive two hour yoga class, but it does seem to help me from having to apologize too many times a week. And even with our savings plan, I think my husband would agree it is worth every penny.

  15. first: i LOVE that song. seriously cracks my hardest shells that i tend to toss up to shield me from feeling.
    no lie, last spring i’d been humming it the entire time i was pondering some tough stuff while i was packing for girls weekend to TOFW….got to spokane that evening for the first session….coped with some interesting thoughts and worked through some meatier life solutions with each speaker’s address…then jenny oaks baker played come thou fount to close the night and i. lost. it. the next day, was another spiritual feast and time to sort through my life mentally….then mercy river sang come thou fount to close the weekend. i. was. jell-o. and. was. still. expected. to. drive. 2. hours. home-kinda hot mess. that song sooooo opens a special portal in my heart for the Spirit. can’t explain it, but its true.

    second: i had the SAME kind of weekend. my mouth was flyin’ and i was praying someone would put me out of my misery. shockingly, my husband still held me in his arms and loved me, despite the beast i’d become. had NO idea why i was unhinged. but i CAN tell you i had to teach Sunday school. perhaps that’s why. on the keys of the priesthood. must have been that satan knew and wanted to throw in any last barbs he could so i would be reduced to a point i couldn’t teach? maybe. just maybe.

    anyhow, have a better week. and remember that we all go through this- we’re all human. so you’re in good company. and remember that your hubby didn’t just agree to “in sickness and in health” (cause let’s face it, these episodes feel like a sickness for sure), but he agreed to time & all eternity.

    lol, thank goodness, huh?


  16. Oh, I love you. With an opening line like that how could I NOT?

    I yell at my kids but not my husband. I don’t nag or lecture, usually. I have plenty other ways in which I annoy him. But boy can I be a pain.

    I once wrote a post on Easter and quoted that very verse of that very song. So so exactly right on. The moments we recognize that it’s true are the times we know we are ready to finally grow. It’s a pain to realize what a pain you are and even more painful to make changes. (but, of course, so worth it. Hi. Heaven is kind of worth pretty much anything, from what I understand)

  17. I’ve got 5 little ones as well. I just built this and it’s working wonderfully for my kids. It allows them to own their chores so mom can just check that they are done. With the littlest ones obviously there’s limited things they can do to help but think how proud Junie would be of what little chores she could do. Especially if there’s a reward at the end! Here’s the link. Hope it helps. Amanda

  18. I cannot listen to that song without tears. And apparently I can’t read it without tears either. I’m so glad it’s true.

  19. “Let thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to thee. Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love…Here’s my heart, oh take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above.”

    That is my daily prayer.

  20. No, you are not horrible, let’s say passionate, shall we? I’ll bet it comes through when you sing beautifully too! 🙂