Heard at Café: 2/12/2019

Tonight, we celebrated Valentine's Day! We got to hear about the melodica for creative spotlight and about eating dinner with our friends in Wachovia Park for compassion spotlight. We also ate pink cherry cookies and drank Shirley Temples!

This week, we had the opportunity to hear from Michal Ruth, the speaker from the JIBR retreat this past fall. Michal Ruth had a lot of wisdom to share with us on the topic of loneliness.

She began by sharing a story about washing dishes, a perfectly normal everyday activity. She talked about how these dull moments are the ones that are usually skipped over in the movies -- usually briefly shown through montages. In reality, though, these condensed scenes in movies are a much bigger part of our lives; these mundane moments last so much longer than the 30 seconds they are shown on screen.

It's usually in these moments that we start feeling what Michal Ruth called "pity of self," a pit where our minds go in circles, and where fear and doubt are the loudest things we can hear. A lot of times, on top of the pain and fear that we feel, we also experience isolation because we think that no one can understand what we're going through. It's in these times, though, that we have to remember that fear is a liar and that we are not alone.

Michal Ruth shared 1 John 4:7-19 with us:
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
19 We love because he first loved us.
In this passage, we can see a perfect picture of love from God. This is a love that is unconditional and leaves no room for fear. We also read that we are given love so that we can give it away to others. Michal Ruth shared that what holds her together in the depths of loneliness is remembering who God is -- His love, character, and integrity of a perfect father. God is love, and that is something to hold onto.

Michal Ruth gave us a few points as key takeaways from this talk:
1) Transformation most often takes place in the ordinary. Whatever causes us fear, doubt, and strife is a gift because it's in this weakness that we are enabled to see who God is.
2) None of us are alone. The same love that God gives us is the love that we share with each other, and we can go forward encouraging each other in that love.

Having God's love is a powerful thing. Tonight, Michal Ruth reminded us that even when we feel as though there's no one who understands us, even when we experiencing crushing fear and doubt, even when we feel totally isolated, there is a perfect love that drives out fear every time.

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