Secret in the Crying Room

Many churches have them now – soundproof rooms where parents retreat with their babies so as not to disturb the rest of the congregation.

In our church, the crying room is above the sanctuary and has large windows enabling us to hear everything and look out over the whole congregation.

Usually parishioners cannot hear the happenings in the cry room, but my darling girl has managed to turn that notion on its head. Once a friend came up to the cry room and told me that Rhema’s table-jumping and foot-stomping could actually be heard.

We’ve been regulars in the cry room since 2004. Like living in a time warp, we’ve seen acquaintances come in with their sweet infants and do their time, a year or so of Sundays. The babies age out, move on to the toddler room and Children’s Church. Some parents return for another stint with a second or third child.

We remain. Rhema and me. Or Brandon and Rhema (when it’s his turn). She’s a whirlwind with a curly ponytail. Standing on chairs, crawling under tables, chirping like a bird, coloring feverishly and breaking, peeling, eating crayons. I’m singing a little when the congregation sings, praying with one eye open, hearing snippets of the sermon over the noise.

We occasionally peer through the window from our “balconey seats” as the worship service flows, catching bits and pieces. I don’t know what she knows. But I wonder if this is how she feels, always on the other side of the glass looking in. Only a fraction of the experience, life’s experiences, never the whole.

It doesn’t feel right, my big 7.5 year old darting between nursing mamas and dozing 6-months old and wobbly 1-year olds.

And yet it’s where we are. In this room. On this spectrum.

She begins to cry, and I don’t know why. But hey, we’re in the right place.

I sit on the floor, pull her into my lap and whisper: It’s OK, I’m here. God whispers: It’s OK that you’re here. I’m here.

Said an elderly Paul the apostle, at the end of life, imprisoned in a Roman dungeon:

“…For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” ~Phil 4:11-13

And I know for me there’s still more learning, more growing up in, more fighting for this secret of contentment in the room for crying.


Click here to read of a wonderful moment for a mother and daughter in the crying room.

19 thoughts on “Secret in the Crying Room

  1. this – this just made me cry.

    God whispers: It’s OK that you’re here. I’m here.

    oh jeneil, thank you. you have no idea how much. thank you.

  2. Oh yes. That is so good. This reminds me of Sunday at our church, going out into the foyer while our pastor talked about Sept. 11 at the end of the worship time. There is a TV out there where you can watch the service…and around it were parents of little ones and parents of those with special needs. I had that same thought about the special needs parents not “aging out” of that whole phase. But God is there.

  3. Our church doesn’t have a crying room. They tell me to bring Alex. When I do, he makes so much noise and flapping and getting up…that well, you get a lot of looks and a lot of incomprehension. So, we switch off weeks…one at church, one at home. Now that he is so big and older, I find the distance between the normal and us getting wider.

  4. I loved having her up there with us last Sunday. Rhema very neatly stepped over the taut thread my little boy had yanked up out of the carpet and was holding several inches up. My little girl was amazed by her coloring skills and was trying to imitate how Rhema was coloring. She also loved Rhema’s singing, as that’s something she does too. I hope you always feel comfortable bringing her up there – and you’re not the only person with an older child that has been known to frequent the room.

    • sharing the cry room with your dear family was by far the highlight. =) you, cleaning up the shredded crayons. your sweet girl, so kind and concerned when Rhema cried – touched my heart. thank you.

  5. So, Mahi. Because I feel it is our very journey in life to get to those words… ‘I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.’… you should know – you are far advanced in the journey of the soul than most. That makes YOU a gift to the rest of us still finding our way to those words.

    Bless you. I love you so very much!

  6. I so needed to read this today… church has been quite a struggle for Bitty lately. We don’t have crying rooms at our church (I wish!) so a lot of the babies and toddlers end up in the foyer outside the chapel. I can totally relate to the experience of seeing other families come and go while we’re still in the foyer (with our older boys and again with Bitty). Sometimes we actually have to go outside because we’re too loud and rowdy for the foyer even…

    I love “slapdasherie’s” comment about Rhema and her singing and coloring… so sweet that warmed my heart :).

  7. contentment is so powerful! I had the chance to testify before our colleagues last week that we are grateful for autism in our life because of how He is using it to change us and opened doors with others. Don’t you think the secret to contentment involves gratitude? Trust that He knows. He’s there. Thanks for sharing this so powerfully.

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