the case against the cry room.

I can’t remember if I’ve blogged about this or not, but Dax had a pretty gnarly case of colic when he was born and so for the first several months of his life, if he was awake, he was screaming. Not crying, screaming. And as a relatively young first time mom, this was not only exhausting and frustrating, but also embarrassing and demoralizing.

One time while I was still on maternity leave and absolutely dying from cabin fever, I remember I mustered up the courage to take Sir ScreamyPants out into the open. For once. We went to a local park to take a walk and get some fresh air.

About halfway into it, as I knew would happen, Dax woke up in the stroller and started to scream. I did my best to get him over to a bench as quickly as possible, put on my nursing cover, and wrestle this wriggling, screaming, angry little human into submission for nursing. A lady came up to me while all of this was happening and, instead of offering to help me, just spat out, “GOD are you going to DO something about that baby or WHAT?”

My cheeks burned.

For the majority of the first year of Dax’s life I didn’t think I could leave my house and go anywhere without feeling like my baby and I were just one big inconvenience.

Including church.

During my motherhood hazing period, I didn’t sit through a single sermon, despite being married to a youth pastor and, therefore, going to church (dare I say it) religiously. I spent the time I should have been in worship huddled in the church coffee shop, rocking and shushing my baby, trying so desperately to be seen and not heard. My loneliness was palpable, only exacerbated by the fact that my husband and I were one of the first couples of our friend group to have babies. I obviously didn’t know what I was doing, and it seemed my baby was shouting that fact out to the world, and I felt like he and I were broken, alone, and a nuisance to everyone around us.

When we moved to Naples two and a half years ago for my husband’s (and, at the time, my) ministry career, we discovered that our new church has a room attached to the sanctuary dubbed the “Mommy and Me” room, where moms can take their fussy babies during church services so as not to disturb the other worshippers. It houses a changing table, rocking chairs, and lots of toys, and is pretty sound proof. The audio from inside the sanctuary broadcasts in that room, and upon discovering it I thought, “Oh man, if I would have had this when Dax was born, I would have actually been able to enjoy church!”

Even though there is a sign on the door that clearly reads, “Mommy and Me Room”, I’ve never heard it referred to as such by anyone at our church. Anyone I’ve heard talk about this room refers to it as “The Cry Room”, which has always bothered me for (until recently) an unknown reason.

Why did this room’s nickname tick me off? Was it because I have always been a staunch rule follower, and people are clearly not following the rules by referring to this room by a name it was not originally given? That seems a bit unreasonable, even for me.

It wasn’t until I had my second son that I figured out why I hated “The Cry Room”; this room, as its name suggests, is not just a place where babies go to cry. It is designed to be the place babies go to cry.

After having two of them, I now know one true thing about babies: they cry. A lot. Sometimes, if they have colic like my oldest son did, they cry almost incessantly. Sometimes they only cry if something is obviously wrong, like my second son does. But regardless, they cry. It’s how they communicate. And it’s not wrong or bad or inconvenient.

It just is.

By encouraging moms to separate their babies (and in tandem, themselves) from the rest of the body of Christ — to send them from the living room to the garage of God’s house, essentially — simply because they are crying, we are cultivating a culture in which we can only approach the foot of the cross if we

are silent

are compliant

are orderly

aren’t annoying anyone

are clean

are perfect.

If we only allow babies (and children, for that matter) among the Body when they’re in good spirits, we’re telling them that God only wants part of their whole selves. We’re communicating that since we can’t be bothered with their noise or their innate baby-ness, God can’t be, either.

And that’s extremely frustrating to me as a mother.

After having Dax, I hated feeling like I was an outsider even in my own church just because my baby acted like a baby.

So when Case was first born, I unapologetically brought him everywhere with me, even into the pews with me on Sunday morning. A lot of the time he’d sleep right through the entire service, but if he woke up and started to fuss because he was hungry, I wouldn’t gather him up into a heap and hurry off to “The Cry Room”, frantically shushing him along the way, before annoying anyone in the Sanctuary. Instead, I just snuggled him and nursed him right in the pews.

Sometimes he’d quiet down after he ate. Other times he would start loudly squawking, adding his own baby-commentary to the sermon. Other times he’d continue to wimper and I’d jiggle him and attempt to make him a bit happier.

But unless he needed a diaper change, I didn’t want to take him to “The Cry Room.”

The thing is, Jesus died for that little squirmy, hungry, squawky baby, in all his glorious baby-ness. Just like he died for my colicky first born (who has grown into a way-smarter-than-average three-year-old). I never want either of them to feel like they can’t bring their whole selves to the altar.

Because if my children can’t be welcomed to cry in the House of God, then none of us should be.



The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. – John 10:10

“As soon as we pay off our student loans, then we can really enjoy life.”

“As soon as my son passes the ‘terrible twos’ and stops throwing tantrums over dinner, we’ll be in good shape.”

“As soon as I learn how to master every chore in the most efficient way possible, then I can really relax on weekends.”

These are just a handful of “if, then” statements I’ve muttered to myself over the past few years. There are plenty more, but they are all essentially the same in that they don’t allow me to experience joy until certain stars align. I get myself so focused on the THEN, that I feel like I can’t possibly enjoy the NOW.

I was thinking about that this week as I was preparing the discussion for our monthly small group and the above scripture jumped out at me. It is Jesus speaking and, in most teachings, the “thief” he refers to Satan. And certainly I think this still applies. But there are plenty of other thieves that Satan employs in our lives that come to kill and destroy the abundant life that God has promised:

  • work stress
  • financial woes
  • health issues
  • comparison
  • mean people
  • and many more.

The thing about that scripture is that there isn’t a waiting period. It’s not like, “As soon as Lindsay gets back from vacation, then the thief will steal her joy with a pile of demanding emails.” Or, “As soon as Lindsay’s paid off all her student loans, then the thief will attack her with a four-digit hospital bill.” The thief doesn’t play that game.

But thankfully, neither does the Savior. He doesn’t say in that verse, “As soon as Lindsay goes on vacation, then I will give her an abundant life.” Or “As soon as Lindsay can figure out how to tithe on the regular, then I will rain money on her head.”

It is automatic. Abundant life is automatic.

Joy is automatic.

We just have to quit waiting for it to show up.

Sure I haven’t paid off all my student loans yet; but I can afford my rent and I can buy groceries at Publix.

And sure my kid is in his terrible twos; but being his mama, I’m also his absolute #1 favorite person in the whole entire world.

And the scoreboard of my life is currently LAUNDRY-49, LINDSAY-0, but I have clothes on my back to keep me warm (regardless of their state of cleanliness and/or wrinkledness).

Joy abounds RIGHT NOW. Be glad in it.


“We’ve always done it that way” has never been an effective argument for me. Ever since I can remember, I have questioned the status quo (and have usually been overly dramatic about it — *flashback to me making a scene about the interpretation of my semi-progressive bible illustrations in 3rd grade by climbing a kumquat tree and refusing to come down*).

I truly believe that we humans were created by and in the image of a communal God, one whose strongest desire is to connect to each and every one of us and then watch us foster relationships among each other that emulate that kind of connection.

I’ve found as I’ve gotten older that it is both harder and easier to make those kinds of relationships work. It is more difficult because we are an overcommitted group of beings, we humans, having jobs and hobbies and obligations and whatnot, that suck up the majority of the 24 hours we are allotted each day. However, it is easier because, thanks to smartphones and tablets and computers and other gadgetry, we are always connected to everyone.

Like, almost literally everyone.

So why not capitalize on that connection we have? Why not embrace it? Why not try and use something modern to build relationships we’ve always been created to engage in?

Yesterday I wrote about how doing life on the internet can be a bad thing. Today, I’m going to do the opposite.

Because we ARE so overcommitted with everything, building relationships tends to be something that people just don’t have the time for. This goes for both friendships and romantic relationships and I’m here to say that, hey, don’t knock it till you try it. I mean, seriously. I’ve heard people dog on online dating, but several of my close friends have pretty great marriages thanks only to the internet.

(Okay, guys, I know that SOME people are creepers on the internet, but to push back on that, I’ve gone on enough dates with creepers who asked me out IN PERSON, soooo maybe the internet isn’t the cause of the creeps?)

Over the past year and a half I’ve been working at my church as the online campus coordinator, which basically means I’ve been tasked with creating a church community that isn’t confined to the four walls of a traditional brick-and-mortar church, but can be experienced on the WWW.

Tonight I saw some fruits of this past year’s labor when three people (who had never MET each other) and myself willingly got onto a Google Hangout while also simultaneously watching a church service online and, despite being nowhere near each other geographically and not ever being acquainted in person, we engaged in fun dialogue (both via webcam and chat), sang some songs, ate some snacks, and went to church.


Because internet.

Like, how cool is that?

Was it different from going to church in a building? Of course. Was that kind of the point? A little bit, yeah. Does that make it any less of a community than an in-person one?

I’d argue no.

So what if we’ve always done church one way? Can it not be done another way? Can it not be done in a way that transcends societal norms and also honors tradition?

Uh, yeah! And it’s awesome!

Feel free to comment below if you’re interested in this kind of gig. Because guess what — this is the internet. And, just like at church, everyone’s invited.

a christian’s open apology to gay people.

Dear gay people,

Yesterday World Vision, a Christian organization that sponsors needy and hungry children all around the world, announced that they were lifting a ban they’d previously had in place on hiring people who were married to/in love with someone of the same sex. And I, a Christian, was elated.

“Oh, this is going to be huge!” I told my youth pastor husband when I got home from work. “Finally, we’re turning a corner!”

When I went to bed last night, I thanked God for this public proclamation and I also thanked him for making you, each and every one of you, just the way you are. And I thanked him because in that moment, I felt like you might actually know that you are really loved by Jesus. Because you are

This morning my son woke me up at 5:30 (he’d had a bad dream, I think) and after I snuggled him back to sleep I found myself having a hard time drifting back myself. So I mindlessly checked my Twitter feed, hoping the methodical scrolling through tweets would make my eyes heavy enough.

What a huge mistake.

I tumbled down a black hole of tweets from fundamentalist Christians and Christian organizations who were withdrawing their support from World Vision. Unfortunately, it seems that these people/organizations hold doctrine over love and serving the poor. And I got angry. And very awake.

I tossed and turned in my bed, fighting the anger, and then thought there was only one way to go about this. So I got out of bed and opened my laptop just to say one thing:

Gay people, on behalf of all Christians everywhere (including the ones who treat you this way) I’m sorry. I’m sorry that you’re consistently battling against a group of people whose entire platform is love. I’m sorry that you are made to feel like you’re broken by a group of people who are called to lay their own brokenness at the foot of the cross. I’m sorry that you’re made to feel like the “least of these” by a group of people who are called to serve and love the least of these and who also somehow ignore that call when it refers to you. I’m sorry that you’ve been told that your marriage is any less God-honoring than a heterosexual one, even if that heterosexual marriage ends in divorce.

Please know that you’re not alone, gay people. While I’m not gay and have never had to endure the pain you have endured from Christians, I’ve been hurt by them, too. And I grew up in the church!

When I was nine years old (a baby!) I was brought into a meeting with the children’s director and the lead pastor of the church I was attending. They sobbed as they told me that I was too outspoken and too loud and that, “God didn’t like that.” Being an opinionated kid without a shy bone in my body, I furrowed my brow.

“But didn’t he make me this way? And doesn’t he love me? Why would he make me be a certain way if he didn’t like it?”

They didn’t have an answer for me.

This was the first of many encounters like this; I’ve always had Christians wag their fingers at me for the way I talk, behave, or think. And as a Christian, sure, I believe that God does call me to be one of his priests. I do believe that he calls me to a higher standard of living. But he also calls me to be an ambassador for Christ, the one who dined with sinners and threw parties with tax collectors. And above all else, he calls me to love him and love his people. (Mark 12:30-31)

People have told me that I have a low view of scripture because of my love and affection for gay people. Maybe I do. But if loving others regardless of their sexual identity (and, you know, also occasionally sporting a polyester cotton blend) means I have a low view of scripture, then fine. I’ll concede that argument.

One last thing, gay people: if it makes you feel any better, my marriage isn’t any more biblical than yours. Sure, I may be a woman who is married to a man, but last I checked, my husband isn’t splitting his time between four other wives and 700 concubines. So fret not. You and your “unbiblical marriage” are in good company.

I love you. Each and every one of you. And Jesus does, too.

And once more, I’m so very sorry. Please forgive us/them. We know not what we do. (Someone said that once.)



things i love thursday! (september 19, 2013)

If you’re thankful and you know it, write a blog…



  • Dax has been a milestone-hitting machine lately! Just this week alone he’s done all of the following:
    – cut another tooth
    – learned how to sign, “more” and “please”, bringing his sign language vocabulary up to three words
    – said, “Mama” when I’ve asked him what my name was
    – took his first steps
    – made me cry tears of pride
  • Playing acoustic pianos.
  • Impromptu music meetings.
  • Productive iMessage meetings.
  • The words, “I forgive you.”
  • New clothes.
  • Bringing Dax by the office and letting all my friends play with him instead of doing work. You’re welcome, guys!
  • I started a seminary class and it’s really interesting! Yay!
  • Catching up with my cousin Brian on the phone. (It’s his birthday tomorrow, by the way, so send him thousands of presents, Internet.)
  • Going to Starbucks and NOT ordering a pumpkin spice latte because LOOK AT THE CALENDAR GUYS IT’S NOT FALL UNTIL SUNDAY SO SLOW YOUR ROLL OKAY?!
  • Unexpected two-day weekends! YAY! (Hashtag ministry problems.)
  • Tickle fights with Dax.
  • And Dan.
  • Getting texts from friends with pictures of famous people who they think look like me. WELL THANK YOU!
  • Memes.
  • Alone time.
  • Catching up with Jessica!
  • “St. Elmo’s Fire”.
  • My nose hoop.
  • Miracle naps.
  • Having a son that lets us sleep in till 9, and sometimes 10!
  • Being a Hufflepuff.
  • Book clubs with my Tallahassee friends. (Holla back, Skype.)
  • Middle schoolers and high schoolers. They just get me.
  • Because I’m perpetually 12.

What do you love this week?

things i love thursday! (september 5, 2013)

Things have been so nuts! Dan is getting ready to head out of town AGAIN, and we just launched all of our fall programs at church, so things be cray cray around the Durrenberger house. (I HAVE been blogging, by the way. Check it out over HERE please!)

But it’s Thursday and I have so much to be grateful for. And SO!



  • FSU FOOTBALL IS BACK and dang, our quarterback looks good!
  • There is a Seminoles club in Naples! Yay!
  • Beer.
  • The above picture — Dax looks just like me/my brother at this age. So fun! (And no, before you ask, he isn’t walking yet. But so soon!)
  • Sleeping in. (WHAT???!!!! WITH A BABY???!! HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?!)
  • Frappucinos.
  • When Dan and I just happen to randomly wake up at the same time in the middle of the night.
  • Teaching Dax how to blow kisses and clap.
  • Reading.
  • New music from two Cases! (Neko and Eric)
  • Side note: no one makes the F-word sound as beautiful as Neko does.
  • New music from Libby!
  • Taking Dax to the park and letting him experience grass and dirt on his little boy body.
  • Sharing Daddy’s glasses.
  • Big, gourmet burgers ON THE CHEAP.
  • Old dudes wearing shirts that just say, “Naples.”
  • Quiet times in coffee shops.
  • Learning new songs on the piano. Just ’cause.
  • Being impractical with my spending money. Finally. (Hence, new music and new piano books.)
  • Mom is coming to visit this weekend!
  • Random strangers coming up and telling me how beautiful my baby is, particularly “his” blue eyes. (To which I reply, “Actually, they’re mine.”)
  • Secret blog posts by my friends.
  • Hugs from middle schoolers and high schoolers.
  • Getting to volunteer in student ministry again.
  • Being able to encourage a brand new mom at Publix. She was shopping with her mom and ogling Dax sitting in my cart and saying, “How do you shop without help?” I looked at her with her six-week-old boy in a carseat in the big part of the cart and said, “BABYWEARING. Also, having a 13-month-old who can hold his body and head up on his own helps a lot. It gets better, I promise!” (I love love LOVE encouraging new moms because I believe they are the ones on earth that need it most.)
  • Xylophones.
  • Watching Dax play with babies his age at church. So cute.
  • Rain at naptime.
  • And finally… beer again because duh.

What do you love this week?

things i love thursday! (august 22, 2013)

You’ll notice it’s been awhile since I posted a TiLT. From the worst Tuesday to a busy season at work, it’s been hard for me to stop and really grasp onto gratitude. But that’s not an excuse. There is always something to be grateful for, and when you don’t choose to acknowledge it, it only hurts you. Amidst Dax’s illness and all the other craziness of my life that is beyond my control, I should have made it a priority to sit down and record the things for which I am grateful to preserve my spirit. I didn’t, and that was detrimental to my already precarious situation.

BUT IT IS A NEW DAY OF A NEW WEEK! And each day is another second chance to get it right.



  • Second chances.
  • My little boy is thirteen months old! BAH. Look at all that cuteness. JUST LOOK AT IT AND TELL ME IT DOESN’T MAKE YOU GO, “!!!”
  • Jars of Clay’s new album isn’t out yet, but it’s streaming for free here. You’re welcome.
  • The time after Dax goes to bed but before Dan and I go to bed.
  • Dinners in.
  • The ability to rent movies from Amazon WITHOUT LEAVING THE HOUSE! (Go go gadget laziness!)
  • The sound of acoustic pianos.
  • Emeals.
  • Knowing enough about food that I can whip up some sort of dinner from whatever is in the kitchen.
  • Smoothies that hide spinach.
  • Encouraging text messages.
  • Silly Snapchats.
  • Long naps.
  • Getting encouraging messages about how my blog has helped others. (Also file this under THINGS THAT MADE ME CRY THIS WEEK.)
  • Needing to drive to Ft. Myers for work, which allows for lots of drive-jamming.
  • When Dan’s Galaxy-equivalent of Siri says, “Ft. Myers” she pronounces it, “Eff-Tee Myers.”
  • Making friends!
  • Splurging on new clothes for the first time in OH I DON’T KNOW EVER?
  • Meeting and chatting up Ileanna, born and raised in Athens, Greece, who did my pedicure this past weekend. What a lovely person. Seriously.
  • Randomly ballroom dancing in the middle of Barnes & Noble.
  • Dax signs for “milk” now! He doesn’t do it correctly — he waves instead of squeezes — but I know what he’s trying to say because he always accompanies it with pulling on my shirt.
  • Baby sea turtles!
  • A parody of “Teach Me How to Dougie” that is “Teach Me How To Breastfeed.” It’s equally hilarious and informative! Do yourself a favor, if you’re not squeamish about boobs, and take a gander.
  • Bath time.
  • Dax finding it hilarious when Dan pretends to barf.
  • Not sure why, but lately, Dax is mega snuggly-clingy. Like all he does all day is nurse and cuddle. It’s bad for homemaking productivity but I am savoring it.

What do you love this week?