When Laughter Returns After the Deadening Silence

30 Sep

When Laughter Returns After the DeadeningThere is an echo in my house today. It’s the beautiful sound of a child’s guffaws reverberating off my walls. I made Little Man laugh again. A hearty chuckle gurgling up from deep within his chest. This is like sweet, dripping, golden honey to me. It’s been a long wait for these moments of exploding joy again. I’ve been sitting by this particular brook for a while now wondering when the water would wash back over us again, bubbling up to the surface and setting us free.

Nothing is worse than the absence of joy. It’s an empty field to sit in. It’s deadened silence.

Little Man used to laugh. A lot. He used to make us laugh and himself laugh all day. He was—no, is— my most jovial child. He used to grab life with both hands and see the best part of it, even in the moments when the rest of us were a bit more sour in our outlook.

Then, one day, Little Man’s part of the family noise went silent.


Slammed tightly shut.

And none of us could find the key.

I didn’t want to settle for smiles now and again. They felt flat to me. They weren’t him. Without happy giggles throughout the house, it felt like Little Man just didn’t even live here anymore. All of us noticed it. My other children asked where he went.

As a mother, hoping for a complete return of Little Man seemed so scary, such a set-up for failure and deep disappointment. But, also as a mother, there was absolutely no way I wasn’t going to scale walls, dig tunnels, climb mountains, swim reservoirs, and passionately scream my way back to old Little Man again. I wasn’t going to give up. Nobody was going to tell me this is just the new Little Man.

Absolutely. No. Way.

I wasn’t going to accept that. My God is so much bigger than whatever was choking Little Man. I’d beat the tar out of whatever it was, screaming for Jesus to help me, all day and night until I broke its clutches. I wouldn’t rest until Little Man could break free. I furiously whacked at everything that and everyone who tried to suggest to me he was gone.

We don’t always get back what has been taken from us. I realize that and have so much sympathy for those waiting for that return to normal or the way things used to be. I also know that loss is sometimes so great that it does not reverse. But any parent out there watching a child suffer emotionally, physically, mentally, socially, or spiritually knows that there is a lion/ess within us with an incredible growl. And suddenly the whole world hears it when we are fighting for our cub. It’s a roar shot straight into the universe.

That is the place I found myself earlier this year. I think mourning or grief of any kind feels like this at some point. We turn blue in the face waiting for joy to come back. We’re often not sure if it ever will.

But a few months ago, a giggle here and there starting peeking through the clouds in our house. Then he started planning for the future again, which psychologically means a return of some level of hope. There were pained, worried, serious looks in-between that made my heart completely stop, struggling not to drown in fear. But then it went from enjoying our company to making his own humor again. And when a heart is lightened, it can finally bounce quickly in response to someone else’s joke. Happy reflexes came back. Joy was more instant. I could almost see the elephant that had been sitting on his shoulders all year growing wings and flying off.

And while we’ve had a mostly full return of Little Man in recent months, my heart still skips a beat at the goodness of the Lord in holding us up through this trial, showing us how to help Little Man, keeping hope and faith flickering like a wick that won’t go out, sustaining us as our hearts ached, and being the center of where our true source of joy is, no matter the circumstances. He was holding Little Man close during this trial, and He was building laughter back into Little Man, but Little Man was also under reconstruction. God used a lot of people and specialists to bring this about, because He loves to do that, but He also put Little Man back together again in ways only He can. I know this because years ago, He put me back together again too.

It’s tempting for us to think the times of deadening silence are the absence of God. The truth is, those are moments when we can see Him more clearly, if we’re looking and our hearts remain open. When laughter returned to our home, we knew what we had been missing. We had new appreciation for what had been taken, by circumstance and struggle—and what had been given back.

Would God still have been our amazing God if this road had been longer (honestly, the journey is not over; we are just getting a better handle on it), or if we had lost Little Man in ways greater than I can bring myself to write out?

Yes, He would have. Because it’s not which answer that comes in that makes Him God to me. It’s the fact He is listening, present, comforting, trustworthy, faithful, peace-filled, and sustaining, no matter the result. I truly cannot imagine walking this road, or any hard road, for that matter, without feeling His palm pressed into mine (because I asked Him to hold my hand and help me).

Little Man’s battle may not be over. Or another trial could be waiting for us around the corner with a different family member. Struggles are part of the dance of life.

But today I celebrate the return of joy. Because when it’s gone for a long while, we realize how incredibly precious and vital it is.

Psalm 30:11-12, David speaking
You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. LORD my God, I will praise you forever.

For more on how faith in Christ helps us weather these storms, kindly refer to blog posts in the Anxiety/OCD/Depression pages of this site and the book Not Just on Sundays: Seeking God’s Purpose in Each New Day (includes Book Club Discussion Questions).

* This blog has also been shared at any link highlighted here: Mom 2 Mom Monday Link-Up, Make a Difference Mondays, Pick Your Pin Tuesday, Women With Intention Wednesdays, Grace & Truth, A Little R & R, RaRa Link-Up, Me, Coffee & Jesus, Dance With Jesus, Breakthrough Link-Up, Blessing Counters, Coffee & Conversation, Saturday Soiree, Tell His Story, Find Stability, So Much at Home, Faith-Filled Fridays, Reflect His Love and Glory Link-Up, Bonbon ‘n Coffee Linkup, and Christian Mommy Blogger.


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23 responses to “When Laughter Returns After the Deadening Silence

  1. Alma Healey

    September 30, 2014 at 4:02 pm

    Hi Bonnie Nicely done so good and so awful that you experienced that silence. God is faithful!! Now that we are almost at Oct do you want to choose a Tuesday morning that you can come to M/M. We meet at Melanie Plesco’s and will look forward to welcoming you!!. Bless you and yours Love Alma

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      September 21, 2015 at 1:37 pm

      Thank you, Alma…I don’t know why I didn’t see this until a year later, but thank you for your patience. 🙂 You continue to be a huge blessing in my life!


  2. Valerie

    September 20, 2015 at 9:19 pm

    I can’t imagine the ache a mother feels watching her child lose the laughter. I’m choked up just reading this. May God grant you both joy and peace .

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      September 21, 2015 at 1:27 pm

      Thank you, Valerie, for such sweet comments. It helps me to know it touched you deeply. We are in a better place right now, but we know God walks with us when we’re not. Can’t imagine life without Him. Blessings!


  3. bekalynn02

    September 20, 2015 at 10:55 pm

    What a powerful post! It is one thing to be joyful when everything is going well but quire another when things aren’t. God is so glorified in your words and life as you choose joy and trust him despite your circumstances. Thank you for sharing your heart and how God is working in and through your trials and precious little man. Linking up with you at #wordswithwinter

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      September 21, 2015 at 1:30 pm

      Thank you, bekalynn02! I really appreciate you coming over from #WordsWithWinter! I pray He is indeed glorified in all of my words and sharing. Blessings to you!


  4. Tabitha Wells

    September 21, 2015 at 11:08 am

    Beautiful, just beautiful. I am so glad to hear that your precious Little Man is starting to see hope and joy again in the midst of his battle. Those are some of the tools that will help him become stronger with each wave that he faces ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      September 21, 2015 at 1:30 pm

      I love how you talk about tools that keep him strong, Tabitha! What a beautiful way to put it! Thanks so much for coming by! Blessings to you!


  5. Kristi

    September 21, 2015 at 11:36 am

    Praise the Lord! What a blessing to hear his laughter again and see him planning for the future! Our Lord is mighty and wonderful and am so thankful for His faithfulness to your family and the hope and joy he gives you as you hold onto Him!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      September 21, 2015 at 1:33 pm

      Thank you so much, Kristi! What you wrote is so precious! I agree…He is mighty and wonderful! Blessings to you and yours!


  6. Andrea

    September 21, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    What a wonderful post, Bonnie. Hope is something that I’ve been thinking a lot about lately, and your words help make this difficult and broad concept take form in my mind and heart. I love how you said that God was building laughter within your son during the difficult times. What a great description of how he works in us to build that which we have lost or need.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      September 21, 2015 at 1:32 pm

      Thanks, Andrea! So glad to see you pop by! Ironically, this post was written 9/30 last year, and yet, here we are again, ebb and flow. Little Man has maintained better in the past year. The lows weren’t as low. I’m very grateful. Much love!


  7. Christine Carter

    September 21, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    Oh the hope that in those seasons of silence, God is truly at work building His Purpose in our circumstances! Above all, your words remind me that God is ever present through it all. We must trust that, even when we *feel* He isn’t. This reveals such a withstanding ever-present hope. Our strength in clinging to God’s Promise surely sustains us in the hardest parts and pieces of our lives —> “No matter the result”.

    I am rejoicing with you in the light of your mama heart after the slow aching silence! And I will continue to pray for more laughter, more joy to rise in that precious boy’s heart!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      September 21, 2015 at 1:36 pm

      Chrissy…love that you’re here! I agree….our feelings mislead us! No matter the result indeed! Thank you for your prayers. I believe there is a beautiful plan for Little Man, borne of much hardship, trial, and storms.


  8. Lori Schumaker of Seaching for Moments

    September 21, 2015 at 1:50 pm

    I am with you in this.I feel your heart. From one Mama to another of a child with mental health struggles. The grief, the joy, the faith. It is part of our day to day and moment to moment. I’m so glad I found your pinterest pin through Rosilind’s Facebook community!
    Blessings and smiles,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      September 27, 2015 at 6:31 pm

      Hi, Lori….you don’t know how much it strengthened me to get your comment and feel less alone from one Mama to another who understands this. Blessings to you! I really appreciate your coming by and leaving a comment!


  9. Deb Little

    September 22, 2015 at 8:19 am

    There is NOTHING like a child’s laughter! Give Little Man a BIG hug from me & save one for yourself! Beautiful post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      September 22, 2015 at 8:32 am

      Thanks so much for reading and encouraging me, Deb! I will do that! 🙂


  10. Jennie Goutet

    September 23, 2015 at 3:23 am

    I absolutely loved this post – not just for its gorgeous, vivid writing, but most especially for the hope and laughter you have in your house again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      September 25, 2015 at 8:49 am

      Thank you, Jennie! This really encourages me on so many levels! Blessings to you!


  11. Tasia Boland

    September 23, 2015 at 5:20 pm

    Love this. Beautifully written. I can relate to the not being able to find your joy. I love the line of the there is a lion/ness within us with an incredible growl! Happy to hear that smiles are returning! Praise God!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      September 25, 2015 at 8:50 am

      Praise God indeed! Thank you, Tasia, for sharing a piece of your heart with me! I hope you are finding joy more now. Blessings! Thanks for coming by!



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