More Than Meets the Eye
My name is Meriah J. Tigner. I am a 32 year old senior pastor, wife, and fur mom to 2 dogs, 5 cats, and 8 chickens. You read that correctly. It would be easy to categorize me into a simple box but I’d like to think that I’m more than what meets the eye.
Yes, I’m a senior pastor of a cute little country church but I’ve also worked in a middle school after school program at a high risk school, been an assistant to an insurance agent, a bridal dress consultant, a customer service rep, a day care teacher, a camp arts director, a camp lunch lady, and a youth pastor (officially “student ministries coordinator”). My career path, interests, and friendships have shaped me as a pastor. I think I’m a better pastor because of the experiences I’ve had in my life.
Yes, I was born and raised in South Dakota and until my 30th year, I only lived in Sioux Falls, SD. BUT that doesn’t mean I haven’t experienced the world.
Sioux Falls was the place I attended preschool all the way through my master’s degree. In May of 2017, after graduating from seminary, I moved to Madison, SD for a few months to serve as an interim pastor before moving to my current city of Kokomo, Indiana. Sioux Falls will always have a special place in my heart. I love South Dakota but now I also love Indiana.
Though I didn’t live anywhere outside of South Dakota until 2017, I did travel extensively. Growing up, my family went to all but 5 of the states together because we would drive to visit family or join my mom on her work trips. We would use those drives to create fun vacations including famous landmarks like Hoover Dam or St Louis Arch, birth places of famous people like Harry S Truman or John Wayne, and amazing state parks like Yosemite or Mesa Verde along the way. (What’s left? Alaska, Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, and Maine.)
I’ve also been to 13 countries (Canada, Mexico, England, Germany, France, Monaco, Italy, Vatican City, Israel, Egypt, Jordan, South Africa, and Jamaica…I was briefly in Dakar, Senegal for a few hours for the plane to refuel but that doesn’t really count…. does it?). I traveled for a high school french class, a college course on art history, a college course on Biblical history, mission trips, and retreats. Each of those trips transformed me in their own unique way. However, those stories may be for a blog post or a conversation over coffee.
As a result of my traveling, I have fallen in love with the Indiana countryside. I love driving to work surrounded by fields of beans or corns. let me tell you! There is nothing quite like an Indiana sunset.
Some may wonder how I could fall in love with a small state that is predominately known for racing, agriculture, and car factories. But your home isn’t just a point on a map, its people and it’s hobbies. You can make any place wonderful. The great thing about moving to a new state is having a new place to explore. You get a chance to fall in love with all the quirks of a city or country if you are willing. Living somewhere new may even help you to love the place you came from even more.
Moving to Indiana lead to major changes in my life. I got a new job. I got divorced. I had a faith crisis that ended up being more like a chrysalis for something more rich and beautiful. I made new friends through the nerdy world of history. I fell in love thanks to the Society for Creative Anachronism. I got married and now have a menagerie of animals with my wonderful husband. BIG changes happened in my life in that one move from South Dakota to Indiana. Yes, If you were to compare these states… they are quite similar. BUT I’m not the same any more because of that move.
I don’t do well sitting still but that doesn’t mean I’m athletic. I love taking walks, as long as there is decent shade or a decent temperature. I love to kayak but that only happens like once a year. I love to ski but again, that only happens about once a year. I will try most things once. I’m part of a history club called the Society for Creative Anachronsim and have had the opportunity to explore sword fighting, archery, and throwing axes. Nerds are my people.
My husband and I joke that our main hobby is collecting hobbies. The SCA really enabled us to dabble in many different hobbies that we wouldn’t have considered on our own. Very rarely do I go somewhere empty handed; I either have food or a craft in tow to keep my hands occupied. I love to bake, cook, paint, draw, crochet, sew, and I dabble in leather work, beading, pyrography, tapestry weaving, inkle loom weaving, and collecting hobbies. I love the idea of gardening but am also super lazy. I’ve killed more plans than I want to admit.
I’m also a pet mom. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve got 5 cats, 2 dogs, 8 chickens & now we have 3 rabbits. The numbers of the the chickens and rabbits may flux as we… consume them… That’s right we raise our own meat. Yet another hobby we have that has come from a place of deep conviction (not enough space for that here).
Aside from traveling, making, and eating-I also love to be engrossed in stories. Now I must say I can be guilty of staying within the realm of things I know and fear the things I don’t when it comes to entertainment. I have a deep love for historical period dramas, science fiction, fantasy fiction, and young adult novels (especially dystopian literature). If I’m not in the world of fiction, I’m researching in the topics revolving around archaeology, biblical history, or the intersection of faith with culture or politics. My entertainment preferences can bore others quite quickly.
Why don’t I venture out you ask? There is a world of genres to experience you say?! Well, I’m the biggest chicken on the planet. I cannot watch scary or gruesome movies. I also struggle with some of the themes of adult books. Sometimes I think I hide in young adult literature because I’m scared the themes may trigger the scars of my past (once again… let’s get coffee and chat). The beauty of a great relationship with my husband is the continual challenge we are to each other’s default genres. I’m working on my sphere. It’s slowly expanding.
I like to believe that I’m a work in progress. I am more than what meets the eye. Yes, I’m a Midwesterner and can ‘ope’ to ‘sneak past ya and get the ranch’ while asking Jesus to bless the food. But I also am a human with a complex story filled with emotions. Join me on this journey in to my mind and my soul.
Through this blog, may you hold my heart in your hands with grace, as we consider how to be better humans.