Updated: Jul 1
Credit for this phrase goes to HeBrews Coffeehouse Magnolia, TX
Do you have a favorite place? Perhaps it's a vacation spot, a scenic destination, a venue that holds special memories, or a location that exists only in your dreams or on a bucket list. Tell me about your favorite place to hang out. Is it a quiet spot to work, to unwind, to create - to just "be?" If you're at all like my husband who has worked remotely for decades, do you have multiple places where you park your laptop? As a discerning tea drinker I look forward to my favorite brew, always consistent every time. A place that offers something I can count on in a world that feels unpredictable.
As a Seattle transplant who moved to Texas, not only did I say goodbye to our small, close-knit community, but I also left behind my favorite place to reset my heart. While separating from the closeness of old friends has been the hardest part of adjusting to a cross-country move, losing my most treasured place was also a loss. While we are now settled into a happy rhythm of life and community, starting over takes time. Thankfully it didn't take long to find my new favorite place! A huge shout out to HeBrews Coffeehouse in Magnolia, Texas. From my first visit to HeBrews, I was greeted with bright and cheerful smiles. The food menu was healthy and wholesome, and the tea selection was fantastic!
And here's where I pivot to the transparency for which I'm known. Caught between a West coast upbringing and a lifetime of ensuring all my words are "appropriate" from a career in Human Resources, I arrived in Southeast Texas initially unsure how to navigate some different subcultures. One of the benefits of being over fifty for me meant setting aside old habits and inhibitions and beginning to speak truthfully. So here goes...
For fifty years I grew up with a mindset of political correctness, and a deeply engrained understanding of "separation of church and state." My heart has always defaulted to compassion and caution to avoid hurting anyone's feelings, and suppressing my personal beliefs so as not to offend was a practice that ran through my veins at all times.
Those who know me are aware that my faith is not just what gets me through difficult times; it is the air I breathe. Back in Seattle, I attended the same church for twenty years, volunteered, and led women's bible studies. Sadly, outside of my Christian community I'm not sure many strangers would have known how much I love Jesus. My apprehension to be bold in my faith wasn't fueled by shyness, but by fear. A fear that my love of the Bible and my faith in Christ would "offend" someone. It was the last thing I ever wanted to do.
A few months after arriving in Texas, HeBrews Coffeehouse kept popping up on my Facebook feed, tempting me with stunning artisan coffees and fun events, including the mention of an upcoming Bible study at the cafe. I was in shock! How could this be? Where I grew up, outwardly advertising as a Christian venue could be offensive to some. I made it a mission to find HeBrews, and upon walking in I was hit with the melody of a familiar Christian worship song. My eyes scanned the room to see Bible verses artfully painted on the walls. Men and women, young mothers and multi-generational groups were talking and laughing with open Bibles on many of the tables. I swallowed hard, looking behind me to see if I'd be "caught" by some kind of cultural task force who would tell me I had to leave this darling coffee shop immediately. Instead I was greeted by a cashier with a radiant smile who asked about me with genuine interest, and we made introductions. After ordering, I found a comfy seat near the piano and looked up to see a mounted roll of butcher paper equipped with a pen that displayed prayers of all kinds in a kaleidoscope of every kind of handwriting. That's when the tears hit me. Not a public cryer, I discreetly wiped my eyes, and I was overwhelmed. I thought to myself, "are there really places where I don't have to hide my love for Jesus?" As I enjoyed my iced tea sitting in the warmth of the sunbaked couch, I began to feel my homesick heart thawing out.
The cafe offered trendy mugs and tee-shirts sporting the slogan, "What Would Jesus Do?" After two decades of studying the Bible, albeit secretly at times, I knew how I would answer this thoughtful question. Jesus would genuinely be Himself. He would never dilute the gospel message. While He would not seek to alienate others, He would be completely honest and yet still compassionate. I took a deep breath and let it out slowly, I felt a new kind of joy wash over me - a sense of peace rather than a need to ask for permission. The atmosphere offered by this dear little coffee house marked the moment when I decided to take one step closer to becoming authentically me - a lover of Jesus and proud of it.
I know what Jesus would do, and I know what I am finally free to do. Thank you to the founders and staff of HeBrews. You are changing lives every day, one cup at a time.