my prayer for coffee + crumbs in 2016.

Use Your Gift-2Coffee + Crumbs is not a “Christian” blog, and that is by design. While you may find faith-based content throughout our site, religion is not part of our official brand.

That was an awkward decision to make in the beginning, but I made it, and I stand by it to this day.

There are a lot of people in this world who hear “Christian” and run for the hills. Maybe the Christians they have encountered are overly judgmental. Perhaps they witnessed one too many Christians spewing hate in the name of Jesus. Maybe they had an awful experience at church. Maybe they went through a hard season, and their Christian friends were the last to show up.

I have seen this in action; I understand why some people run away from that name.

The way I see it: branding Coffee + Crumbs as a Christian blog would have been like inviting all the moms on the Internet to come to church with me. That would have been a big ask, you know? Some people are terrified of church. Some people straight up hate the idea of church. Some people (including myself) have scars from a complicated church past, and some people have anxiety over the mere thought of hanging out with church-goers.

I didn’t want that for Coffee + Crumbs. I didn’t want people to turn away at the very beginning without even walking through the door. I wanted people to give us a chance, to see who we really are, to see who Jesus really is, to see this love, this grace, to let these stories unfold.

So I decided to make Coffee + Crumbs…..a beach.

(We all love the beach, right?)

Everyone is welcome and encouraged to join. Nobody is scared to come to the beach. It’s pretty here. We’re all just chillin in our swimsuits, practicing the art of vulnerability, watching sunsets together. You want to talk about c-section scars? Have at it. You want to cry? It’s nice to cry at the beach. You want to swap warrior stories, and talk about the hilarious thing your toddler said yesterday? I hope you do.

And if you want to talk about Jesus? Well….I’d love that, too.

When I first launched Coffee + Crumbs, I gave my writers the following charge: You are allowed and encouraged to write about your faith in whatever capacity your heart is inspired to do so. Over time, we might all share bits and pieces of our testimony in that space. Because, well, Jesus is part of our motherhood story. It would be an injustice to keep Him out of our writing.

I started a tradition last year around this time to write a prayer for my writing at the beginning of the year. For 2016, it felt right to make that prayer for Coffee + Crumbs. Whether you’re a believer or not, I hope you always feel welcome there.

***

My 2016 Prayer for Coffee + Crumbs

Dear God, thank you for instilling in each of us a love and talent for writing. Thank you for giving us voices and a significant platform to reach others. We know every ounce of success that Coffee + Crumbs has received was given to us straight from you, and we are so grateful for that.

Lord, I pray for the ministry of Coffee + Crumbs—that you would use our words to plant seeds of the gospel among unbelievers. I pray that you would use us as beacons of hope and light and truth on the Internet, where darkness and evil can often be prevalent.

I pray that you would use Coffee + Crumbs to encourage mothers around the world, and that the right people would find the words they need to read when they are feeling alone or desperate. I pray that our words will always represent motherhood in all of its beautiful and messy glory, and that the collective picture we paint will always be accurate and honest.

God I pray for a layer of protection around our writers, that you would shield us from hate and harsh criticism. When we encounter negativity, I pray for the strength to ignore it, to persevere, to remain unshaken in the calling you have placed on our hearts.

I pray for boldness, for braveness, for vulnerability of the deepest kind—that you would open our hearts to the messages you want us to share with the world.

I pray that you would keep our eyes on the message, not the numbers; on the mission, not the financial success; on You, not on us. We hold Coffee + Crumbs as an offering to you, and we know there is no better place for it to be than in your hands.

We know you have placed these gifts in our hearts and we know you want us to use them for your glory. I pray that you will continue to affirm us in these talents and that you will continue to open every door that you see fit for us to walk through. We pray for wisdom and discernment with all opportunities that come our way.

I pray that each of us will use these gifts as faithful stewards of your grace, today and everyday, both in our Coffee + Crumbs endeavors and in our own personal writing.

In Jesus’ name we humbly pray,
Amen.

***

After I wrote this post, a girl named Konnie reached out to me and told me all about her dream – an Etsy shop filled with beautiful art created from bible verses and song lyrics. And then she did it! I asked her to design this “Use your gift” print to include in my Christmas gifts for the C+C writers. The print is based on one of my favorite verses, 1 Peter 4:10 – Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 

Konnie is based in Australia, but she offers lots of digital downloads. I especially love this one and this one

p.s. We’re doing our annual reader survey this week! This is like our yearly report card, and we’d love to know your thoughts!

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10 Responses to my prayer for coffee + crumbs in 2016.

  1. Allison says:

    I think it would be really interesting to pointedly include pieces form women who are not Christian. Motherhood is not a Christian act. Jews, Muslims, atheists, etc. are all mothers and I think they could have some valuable things to add. I think the idea of including all faiths, like the beach includes all people, would really help what I understand is the mission of Coffee + Crumbs. Just my two cents as a non-mother, Christian reader.

    • Ashlee says:

      I agree! I am completely open to that with our guest submissions (our writing team is made up of Christians – that’s more what this post was about). We don’t screen or discriminate guest posts based on different religions than our own. Although, to date, I don’t think we’ve ever gotten one that explicitly talks about a different religion.

    • shannon says:

      Thank you for not making this a Christian blog. As a mother raised in a Jewish home and currently parenting in a dual-religion home, I find myself unable to empathize with strictly Christian blogs and blog posts. They always feel so exclusive to me. Jesus isn’t a part of my motherhood story. A higher being? Something helping me along? Maybe…but most of my motherhood journey is about the support I get from my family, friends and my community. You may call that Christianity, but to me, putting that label on it keeps me on the outside. Just my two cents.

      • Ashlee says:

        Thanks for sharing your two cents, Shannon. I don’t wish to shove my faith down anyone’s throat the same way I wouldn’t want someone else’s faith shoved down mine. I’m a writer, so a lot of what comes out of me will encompass what I believe, but I never want that to come across in an overly aggressive or forceful way, if that makes sense?

        I’d actually be really curious to know how many religious backgrounds we’ve had represented on C+C by our guest writers (most of our guest submissions are not faith or religious based, and it’s not like we ask that question before agreeing to publish an essay about motherhood). I didn’t even set out to have a writing team full of Christians…..that just…..happened. I believe God had a hand in that, but you could call it a coincidence 😉

        Thanks for reading and taking the time to leave a comment – I hope you never feel excluded by C+C, for religious or other reasons. (And if you ever did, I certainly hope you would let me know!). Lots of love to you.

  2. Sonya says:

    I will, forevermore, (as if I wasn’t already) be loyal and will love C+C (and you a little bit too). Knowing your prayer is like seeing and hearing your heart. And connecting. Thank you for allowing me (us) this privilege.

  3. Ashley Smith says:

    I think your decision was a good one. It brings back the normalcy of talking about Jesus in everyday places. Faith conversations shouldn’t be regulated the way smoking is, you know? And you’re right, the gospel is much more effective and inviting when all you’re doing is chatting about real life at the beach. 🙂

    • Ashlee says:

      Totally. Jesus did not spend his whole life on earth hiding in church. He was out among the people, loving them, talking to them, getting to know them, serving them, sharing his truth with them. I think a lot of churches could stand to do more of that. 🙂

  4. Nikki says:

    I think that’s a wise decision Ashlee. There will always be other blogs and websites with a specifically Christian brand and that’s great. I think people are more receptive to stories that aren’t labeled as “faith” or “Christian” especially because those terms could have different meanings to different people.

  5. Ashley says:

    Wow! This is amazing. And what a bold prayer. It was so powerful that I got goosebumps just reading it. So excited to see how the Lord uses and blesses others and all of you through Coffee + Crumbs!

    I’m with Sonya, I will probably forever support C+C. I’ve been reading this blog here since what feels like the beginning of time haha, and during that time I’ve certainly grown in my own faith and will hopefully also have kids of my own at some point in the next five years, so to see all this excitement happening with my favorite blogger (aww…well, ya know 😉 on this website devoted to motherhood and all of its imperfect yet wonderful glory is like guidance for me in the future in a way. It’s really exciting. You ladies are doing such a terrific job. Keep making me smile and laugh 🙂

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