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:
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.