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,
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.
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!