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A New Series: Finding Faith When Struggling with Why

Overcoming the Shrieking Silence


There you are, walking through your own life. You have your good days, an occasional bad day but really, just living your life. Then one day, you wake up and find your story took a wrong turn overnight, leaving you a lost heroine in an unwanted narrative. This is my journey of living without joy or hope.

The sun was coming up on this cool October morning, but I was in a grey and empty world. It was the third day in a row I started in a deep state of anxiety, and it was taking a toll. Before this time, I only had a handful of anxiety attacks, but this felt different and so much bigger than my past experiences. I was sitting on the bed, feeling a dark void swirling all around me, trying to suffocate me. For the first time in my life, I understood why someone would take their own life.

I am typically an optimist to the point that it can drive people crazy, yet now I felt this overwhelming hopelessness I had never felt before and didn’t know how to deal with it.

Each day was a struggle, but I did my best to maintain “normal.” Unfortunately, hindsight tells me I failed miserably at this. The tentacles of fear had wrapped into my thoughts and made it hard to see anything reasonably. I cried over the smallest details, and yet I was completely empty.

During this madness, I felt fully separated from God. I prayed, praised, petitioned, and worshiped anyway. It didn’t bring down whatever walls were between us, though. [bctt tweet=”While I didn’t feel His presence, I told Him often I believe I am yours simply because you say so, hoping that He would honor my feeble attempts at worship. ” username=”Karen_Kay_Smith”]


I was barely sleeping. It took everything I had to get out of bed in the morning, not because I was tired (and exhausted but rarely slept) but because it seemed like there was no end to this insidious fear.

I found myself afraid of the strangest things. I laid in bed one night, sure that my jaw was going to dislocate. I thought if that happened, it would have to be wired shut.

Another day there were ice warnings in our area. I would leave work every hour and check the power lines to see if they were icing over. About 2:30 that afternoon, I noticed they were, so I called my boss and told him I had to go home. I know this all sounds crazy, and I laugh about it now, but it was real and terrifying in those moments.

At this point, I was barely functioning and lost the will to do much of anything. I knew that I was letting everyone down, which only compounded the depression. I wasn’t the wife my husband deserved, the mother and grandmother I wanted to be, or the friend I used to be. I was also far from the kind of employee my company needed.


I no longer controlled my thoughts; my thoughts controlled me. I could not get out of my own head.

“I sought the Lord, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4

“Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, there’s just something about that name. Master, Savior, Jesus, there is something about that name. Kings and kingdoms will all fall away, and there’s just something about that name.” (Hymn There is Something About that Name)

The hours I had spent on my knees early on were no longer a part of my day, and my Bible that had been open all the time was now closed. But those hours in the dead of night, when sleep was far beyond me, this scripture and song were my mantras, over and over. It was all I had to offer God in this empty darkness.

I longed for the comfort of my Savior, but the shadows drove Him away. My soul is weeping, but there is no sound for Him to hear. Because all I hear is silence, but the silence is shrieking in the darkness. I am suffocating from this silence – where is the quiet? Where is the joy?

Relief didn’t come quickly, but it did come. I was able to break free from the clutches of depression, fight my way out of the grip of the fog, and breathe again.

For me, this season was a mental and spiritual battle. I’ve had a dream of writing since I was 11 years old. Although I had done some writing, it was just an occasional devotion or articles. That was not the end goal. I always said I would get to the “real” writing . . . someday. I could feel God gently prodding me to start this ministry, but I still had a million reasons why it had to wait just a bit longer.

The day finally came that I started making a concerted effort to write daily. I was doing research and studying my craft which included going to a writing conference. My someday had come.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:11

I don’t think it is a coincidence that when I finally got serious about this ministry God placed on my heart, I also faced anxiety and depression. Satan had watched gleefully from afar as I found ways to put off my dream of writing. I can imagine his confidence, his knowing smile every time I found yet another excuse to put it off. Then the day came that I committed to working toward this goal, the day I became obedient to God in this ministry.  I like to think I was intimidating him just a little with the action to back up those goals.

My commitment forced the enemy to get creative, so he used all my weaknesses against me.

My tendency to busyness, my exhaustion, and that little voice in my head that said, why in the world do you think you could write?

Oh, but my God is greater. He faithfully carried me through those long weeks. [bctt tweet=”I couldn’t see Him in the midst of my pain, but afterward, I saw God’s footprints all over my journey carrying me when I couldn’t take the next step. ” username=”Karen_Kay_Smith”]

When I called the doctor’s office, they always got me in within two hours. When does that happen? My family, friends, and boss gave me incredible grace. My doctor wrote me a prescription that she said would take eight to ten weeks to take effect, and it worked in 5 days. I was able to spend a normal thanksgiving with my family. My husband told me that he finally saw Nita again on Thanksgiving Day.

A few months after my dance with depression, I found a hymnal of my mom’s. There was a song I thought I made up myself, but there it was in that hymnal. My mother must have sung that to me when I was little. What a blessing it was to find that. It was an exquisite gift reminding me of His incredible love and compassion. A love and compassion that never left me amid the shrieking silence.


Meet Nita:

Nita Wilkinson is a writer and speaker that
encourages women to pursue joy and
freedom with the most important tool in
our toolbox of life, the Bible. She is a joy
seeker and a lover of the Word. When
she’s not writing, she’s running, spending
time with family and reading.


You can find Nita at…




Wife of 20+ years. Mom to 3 children. Love sharing my life with weary hearts so that we can know the One who is Good, who is in Control, and Whose strength is made perfect in our weaknesses.