The World According to Tiff Sniff

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Two things have rung home with me this week:

1. Church (the family, not the building) is an amazing blessing. When I was growing up, I hated church. I dreaded Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, and all the in-betweens. As I got older, I found friends there whom I could relate to, and it got a little better. But I still would rather have been with them just about anywhere else. In college, I went to church because I knew I was supposed to, and hey, I'm really a good girl. But I still never looked forward to it. During this time, I began working at the Methodist church in Searcy. They hire their nursery workers (which I think is a fabulous idea on SO many levels), so I would work in the nursery during their first service and classes, then drive around the corner to second service at Downtown Church of Christ. Even though I never attended a single service at the Methodist congregation, it was really the first church I ever felt at home at. I was invited into the homes of so many members, went to wedding and baby showers, cried and laughed and looked up to and loved all of those parents and children and believers. One Easter it rained, and so the Easter Egg Hunt had to be moved inside. While the parents quickly hid candy all around the Children's Annex, a few of us corralled all the kids into one classroom and sang to keep them occupied. As I sat there, listening to the 2-year-old in my lap sing "My God is so big, so strong, and so mighty!" (to a piano!), I started to cry. For the first time, my heart was broken by all of the rules and limits and walls we put up to keep the "less worthy" out. In the Church of Christ, where I grew up, the traditional view was that instrumental worship was sinful, therefore those who use it are less Christian than we are. But as I listened to that little boy sing out with all his heart the exact same lyrics I had grown up singing, I knew in my heart that the people who taught me that doctrine were wrong. Woefully so. The Christians at that church, in a town dominated by a Church of Christ university, became my Christian family in a way no Church of Christ ever had, instruments or no.

When I moved to California for graduate school, I was immediately blessed by the wonderful people at Malibu (now University) Church of Christ. For the first time, my entire social world centered around church, because those were the only people I really knew. I LOVED it. I couldn't wait to get up on Sunday morning to get there and spend the day with my God and my friends. Sunday became, and still remains, my favorite day of the week.

And now that I'm back home, worshipping at Otter Creek, I still have that. Every week, I get to come together with people I love dearly, before the God I love so much and who loves me infinitely more, and I get to worship. Communion means so much more to me - it is a connection with myself, with God, and with all Christians who have ever worshipped. Sunday I sat there, listening to Tim (our minister) talking about being connected with ALL believers - both those that have gone before us and those that are worshipping in other places today, I thought, "I could stay here forever."

And it hit me - the challenge is to not stay here, hidden away, and be a black hole, sucking everyone and everything into the church, but to be an explosion, a fire, a star radiating that feeling out into the whole world.



2. Before time began, God looked into my life. He saw my flaws, my mistakes, the opportunities I would ignore, the bad choices I would deliberately make. He saw the thoughts I would have, the hatred, the jealousy, the laziness. He saw that I would get fat, and be mean-spirited and hateful at times. He saw the relationships I would ruin, the people I would alienate from Him through thoughtless words and actions. He saw all of this, and He looked into my heart, and He loved me anyway. He loved me enough to create this world, to give me a family and friends, and to create me - flawed, inappreciative little me. He loved me enough to watch, painful as it must have been, and then to give Himself instead of me, precisely because I could never be good enough. Who am I then, to doubt my worth? Who is anyone to tell me I am less than I could or should be? What is there that I cannot handle? The Lord of the Universe, the Creator of all there ever was or ever will be, God Almighty LOVES ME! And that's all there really is, in the end.

5 Responses to “”

  1. # Blogger Tara

    Thank you for this post, and for your comment on my "blog". Both were an amazing encouragement to me. I'm still struggling with trying to figure out how to find a "church family" at Highland. I can see that there are many people there who feel they have a family there, and I have hope, but I don't feel like I belong there. (I mean, I know why; I haven't been doing a great job of getting involved--till last Sunday, when I got to work in the nursery, which I'm excited about!) When I came to Abilene, I didn't know what to look for in a church, cuz at home I didn't have it. If I were gonna pick where to go, well, I didn't know how. Now that I have an idea what I want, and an idea of what to do...Anyway, I'm so thankful that you are so blessed by Otter Creek, and I'm encouraged knowing that, although it took you a while, you still found it eventually.
    I love you so much! I miss you, too, and Liz...I don't think I'll be back in Nashville till May, but I am looking forward to it--looking forward to another afternoon with the two of you at Portland Brew or wherever :-) . Hope you're having a wonderful day!  

  2. # Blogger Tara

    Oh, yeah, this is your little sister...I meant to sign that way...guess great minds think alike, and make the same follow-up comments :-) Love ya!  

  3. # Blogger runningpainter

    Thank you so much, Tiff, for such an honest and inspiring statement. Nathan & I have struggled finding a church home to really get plugged into and build the relationships I know we're missing here in KC. One of the things we struggle for is, "It's not Belmont." Well, it isn't and that's totally fine. God has poured out His spirit on the Church, not just one location. I needed to read this blog so desperately. Love,

    Christy  

  4. # Blogger Skooter

    Wow!That was a powerful and honest testimony!I could relate to it in so many ways...thank you for sharing it. I enjoyed your blog and will check back!
    In Him,
    Tina :)  

  5. # Blogger Skooter

    P.S. If you get a chance.. check out the post "Identity Crisis" on my blog,...I'm not sure why really... but I just thought you might like it. Keep up the good writing!
    Many Blessings!
    Tina:)  

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