When you are first dealing with something difficult, all your energy is on how to get through, how to move on, and then how to cope with it. After you begin to find your way, you can go back to the Lord and see what He has in store for you to share or to do.
All month long, I’ve been talking about this process. When you finally have a handle on this thing called chronic illness, even if it’s changing, you can take some of the energy you have and put it into the mission or the work the Lord designed you for. When you do, you will find that the joy in your life is greatly increased because you found your purpose and it isn’t just getting through life with chronic illness!
When you write your own story. At the end of the day or the end of your life, do you want to be the one always complaining who others pittied or do you want to be the one who did what she could with what she had and relied upon God to bless her? Be the overcomer, the one who persevered!
Do you know what makes a good story? What makes you read or watch a movie and feel something for the characters? Is it the success or the struggle that was overcome?
My life would be a pretty boring story if I just did everything great the first time and it came easy. Life doesn’t work that way. We don’t admire people who are a success if that success was handed to them on a silver platter. The ones who were born with a silver spoon in their mouths. Those people don’t inspire others because that almost never happens, does it?
I was thinking about perspective one day and I created this meme:
I noticed that if you look at the side of the mountain with your head tilted, it looks like just a moderate walk to the top. God often has us look at things differently and do things differently such that it doesn’t feel like an insurmountable task to climb what we thought was a huge mountain.
Sometimes it feels like we’re swimming upstream trying to get things done with a body that doesn’t want to cooperate. Then, suddenly, we hear clearly how the Lord wants us to do it and things seem like we’re just riding the current. So…
Are you swimming upstream or are you letting the Lord lead you? This is part one of a four part series on how we can choose to live our lives joyously in spite of chronic illness or any other difficulties. Life is difficult at best and a mess most of the time. But it’s a wonderful mess that we can stop trying to control and just trust our Lord to take us where He wants us to go.
If you’ve ever been in a river, you know that it’s so much harder to try to swim against the current than to allow it to take you away. Well, that place He’s taking us may not look good, but if we trust Him, it will be a wonderful experience. OR the road there, which at first seems treacherous, may actually be EASY if we stop fighting against it and allow God to guide us.
Example 1: My son. We were heartbroken when we lost several babies to miscarriage after my daughter was born. We went over NINE YEARS without hope because we thought God didn’t want us to have another child. We didn’t trust the Lord to handle the situation as much as we were disappointed that He didn’t give us another child. At first, we were devastated each time we found I wasn’t pregnant. All our energy was focused on that next child until one day we stopped trying and just allowed the Lord to do what He wanted.
Our miracle baby was born 9.5 years after my first. We had wanted two children, a boy and a girl who were about 2-3 years apart. That was our plan. BUT…If I had another child a few years after my daughter was born, I’d never have my incredible son and we would have been empty nesters a LONG time ago!
God knew what He was doing! He gave us what we needed when we needed it. Just as He always does!
Example 2: My cancer journey. I thought it was the most awful thing that could happen to us. My husband was fired with no way to prove it was racially motivated. No job, no income, no insurance. BUT God…
But God had a plan and because of that plan I’m still alive! My husband and I spent hours and hours worrying, planning and doing things that would allow us to make a living until he got another job. Now, the doing WAS needed, but the worrying was NOT! It took so much of my energy of which so little remained as Fibro had hold of it.
After a while the company insurance ran out. It wasn’t that great anyway, but now we had none. We found that the state offered it to those who were in this kind of situation. When the doctor wanted to send me to a specialist and then for testing for a fibroid tumor (which we both knew was almost certainly gone now that I was nearing menopause), I only agreed because she was insistent and it didn’t cost me anything out of pocket.
If my husband still had that job and insurance, I would never have agreed to pay for tests and specialists to find something that was most certainly gone by now. They never would have found a cyst on my ovary that required surgery and they NEVER would have found a rare and very aggressive cancer that almost always takes the woman’s life because it is found too late to cure! I would have been dead long before and you wouldn’t be reading this blog! So, what looked like a disaster to us turned out to save my life!
Since only God can see ahead, we have no idea what He has in store for us that might be better than what we could have even hoped for. We only see the edge of the waterfall. As we are going over Niagra Falls in that barrel, we can only see and feel fear…unless we trust God to take us through. On the other side, we can sometimes look back to see how far He was willing to go to save us or give us what He wanted.
Next week, I’ll be back with some more on how we can find the good in a bad situation.
Ephesians 2:10 says, “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
So, long before we were born, God knew what our lives would look like and He gave us what we needed to do the good works that we were created for. The challenge for us, then, is to seek His guidance in how we do that because life can change drastically for us. While that’s not news to the Lord, it may require some tweaking on our part.
Some Background: I was perusing Facebook the other day when I came across a long time friend’s post (Cindy Rushton) talking about being an overcomer. She posted, “You are designed and destined to be an overcomer!” My first instinct was to be sarcastic so I said, “Well, I certainly have been given enough to overcome!”
As the discussion went on, I relayed how I had to make some adjustments over the years in order to keep writing. The limitations of chronic illness had a profound effect on my ability to write from the thinking process to the physical act of writing. However, I have found workarounds and even changed what I wrote about over the years-lending my voice to different passions I’ve had…and I’m still writing!
I’ve written a lot about my life on this blog and all the adjustments and limitations I have had throughout my years, but I had really never thought much about the ways in which I had to make changes in order to continue writing until one of her last comments to me, “That was powerful!
As I looked at her words typed there to encourage me as she so often does, it suddenly hit me that my writing testimony really IS powerful. Right then and there, I felt the Lord leading me to write a part of my testimony that I had never considered much up until this point.
I was born a writer and I started writing even before I knew the Lord at the age of nine. I wrote poems and songs in my youth. In my teens, I began writing humorous one-liners about life I called JoJoisms. I’ve got well over 700 of them now. When I began homeschooling, I wrote books about communication skills and articles for homeschool magazines. And my most recent writing passion is here writing in support of those (like me) with chronic illness.
Now, when God gives you a passion for something, He doesn’t usually give you a clear path to success. You may have noticed that people who have gone on to incredible things have usually had a lot of struggles along the way. The Lord allows struggles: heartache, difficulties, and trails because many times that is exactly what it takes to get them done.
Have you ever heard of an accomplished pianist, a professional basketball player, a famous band, an accomplished actor, or a prolific writer who went from zero to hero in a straight line? Everyone has struggles to overcome on the way to where God leads them. It’s not the absence of trials that brings success; it’s what you do with them. It’s how you handle them, how you overcome them that defines you.
When God put a calling (writing) on my life, He factored in my limitations, my frailty, my stupidity, my fatigue, my pain, and my stubbornness! And my stubbornness is one of the reasons I didn’t give up my calling, my dream, my purpose, and my ministry! The other is Almighty God. Because…I AM an overcomer. …And I’m still writing!
Pain and Fatigue: One of the first things that began to impact my writing was pain. Arthritis, neuropathy, and Fibromyalgia made my fingers and wrists ache. In addition, God only made me 5′ tall so, when sitting at a normal-sized desk, I was unable to reach the keyboard properly.
My first adjustment was to sit on my legs as I typed. Unfortunately, after doing this for many years, it took quite a toll on my lower back as well. Not too long ago, we solved that problem by switching me over to a laptop computer that I was able to use on the couch.
As the fatigue from Fibro began to increase, I was forced to let go of some of my other online activities in order to have the energy to continue writing. I had begun a copywriting service only to abandon it shortly after it launched as I didn’t have the energy to pursue that stream of income. However, that was for the best as I felt the Lord leading me to write in my own voice. …And I’m still writing!
Broken hand: About six years ago, I broke my hand in three places after a roll-over car accident. My left hand was in a splint for months and when it emerged, I found that my middle finger had decided to hug my ring finger when I made a fist. Not thinking that this was a big issue, I decided not to have another surgery to fix it as I thought it only was an issue of aesthetics.
Not too long after physical therapy, I realized that I would have to relearn how to type! It took me several months to get decent enough to go back to my blogging and about a year for it to become natural. I still can’t snap my fingers with that hand, but fortunately, that’s not a skill that is required to write! …And I’m still writing!
Essential Tremors: A little over a year ago, I was diagnosed with Essential Tremors. That’s what doctors call it when they can’t find a cause for your shaking. I had always had what I called jitters, but I had been told it was a sugar issue. It’s true that it was worse when I was hungry, but in the last few years, those jitters had followed fatigue and stress as well as JUST BECAUSE.
Further, they had spread from my left hand to my right hand, both legs, and my head when it was particularly bad as well as internal tremors that feel like I’ve just been asked “Your money or your life!” As you might have guessed, it’s even more difficult to type when your fingers have a mind of their own.
Part of the challenge for me now is that I like to write my notes for an article or book in a notebook, but it’s a bit hard to read my writing–even for ME! Lastly, it takes me 10x as long to type (or mistype) or write than it used to. I’ve been known to backspace and retype something six times and still have it come out wonky.
Final Thoughts: The Lord’s call on our lives is still the same, even after the heartbreak of trials and the limitations of this life. It might not look like we expected it to, but it can be even better if we stay the course and cling to Him.
So, it’s been a bit of a journey to overcome these obstacles, but with God’s help, I’m adjusting. …And I’m still writing! What are you still doing with God’s help?
When you have chronic illness, it’s easy to feel alone in the world because you tend to be more isolated than most people. I hope that this blog series has helped you to see yourself as a unique child of God with your own unique story.
Now that you know how truly weird I am, I have one last little bombshell to drop on you. It’s actually a miracle or series of miracles, but if you think about it miracles tend to be WEIRD, don’t they?
I didn’t even have cancer like a normal person…and I’m very grateful to God that I didn’t!
I Was a Cancer Survivor Before We Knew I Might Have Cancer: Most people either feel sick or feel a lump and go to the doctor after which they are referred to an Oncologist who does some tests and probably performs surgery. Most or at least many, have to go through chemo and/or radiation.
Not me! Cuz I’m weird! I was a cancer survivor before even my doctors suspected I could have cancer! My diagnosis came as a result of several miracles. My doctor decided to go looking for a fibroid tumor that she knew probably wasn’t there and found a cyst on my ovary instead. During the surgery, the surgeon called an audible and decided to remove my entire fallopian tube on a whim. She said later that she just felt like she should do it because, “cancer likes to hide.”
Here’s the link to My Miracle Story with all of the odd details of how I survived a rare and aggressive cancer that, most often, takes the life of the woman.
I hope and pray that by now you’ve been able to see your weirdness less as something that isolates you and more as something that makes you, you…makes you unique. Don’t forget that miracles do happen and they are usually pretty weird! Wouldn’t you agree?
God uses six things to encourage us and, so far this month, we’ve looked at God’s Word, music, and Fellowship. This week, I’d like to talk about thankfulness.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;” -Philippians 4:6
It sounds counterintuitive to say that in the midst of great suffering we should be thankful, but it does help. First of all, we are not thankful for suffering, but we may be thankful that our suffering brings understanding of other. We may be thankful that we can now understand enough to help others. We may be thankful that we will grow from this experience. But above all, we can be thankful that God never abandons us in our suffering. He is always near, giving us strength, giving us peace, giving us guidance and direction.
Secondly, it is true that the more we are thankful for what we have, the more we see the positives that struggles bring us. Further, as we get used to being thankful for the beauty around us, the opportunities that come our way, the fact that God is with us, the people in our lives that help us, the more joy we are able to have.
I’m not saying this is easy, but it is powerful! At first, you may only see one good thing in the mess that you perceive to be your life. Soon, you can see more. Keep looking for them. You see what you look for. Look for a red car and you will see them everywhere. Look for a blue car and you may never notice the red ones. Think of this as an exercise similar to I Spy that you played as a kid. See how many blue cars (blessings, joys, good things, beautiful things) you can see each day. After a while, you won’t notice the red cars (negative things) as much.
This is a powerful encouragement to cultivate in yourself and that is why I discuss it frequently here on the blog and why I have included it as a theme in the Life Beyond Surviving Facebook Group. I post a prompt each week called, Thankful Thursday as a chance for you to think more about the good things in your life. I hope you participate with me as I get just as much out of them as my members do!
“For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.” – 2 Corinthians 4:15
Next week, I’m going to talk about how humor is another way that may encourage us through difficult times. Join me!
Late last year, I was listening to a recording of Charles Stanley talk about six things that God uses to encourage us and it got me thinking about how it relates specifically to chronic illness. I decided to make a series out of it and I’d like to share it this month.
I decided to adopt them as themes to post on my Life Beyond Surviving Facebook group. I added one to Mr. Stanely’s six in order to have one each day of the week to help inspire, uplift, and encourage my fellow chronic illness folks.
Not surprisingly, the first thing that God uses to encourage us is His Word. The Bible has hundreds of scriptures that speak encouraging words to us and they are especially uplifting and peaceful when we are in the midst of trials. Here are just a few. I pray they bring you peace.
Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.“
Isaiah 40:31 “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.“
1 Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.“
Exodus 15:2 “The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.”
Ephesians 6:10 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.”
Deuteronomy 20:4 “For the Lord your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory.”
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
2 Timothy 1:7 “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
Isaiah 12:2 “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.”
Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
Isaiah 40:29 “He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.“
Psalm 27:1 “Of David. The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”
Psalm 31:24 “Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!”
Psalm 73:26 “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
2 Corinthians 12:9 “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
Mark 12:30 “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”
Nehemiah 8:10 “Then he said to them, ‘Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.’”
Psalm 46:1 “To the choirmaster. Of the Sons of Korah. According to Alamoth. A Song. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
Habakkuk 3:19 “God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments.”
Psalm 29:11 “May the Lord give strength to his people! May the Lord bless his people with peace!”
John 16:33 “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
1 Peter 4:11 “Whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
Matthew 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
Psalm 23:4 “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
2 Timothy 4:17 “But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.”
Psalm 118:14 “The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.”
2 Thessalonians 3:3 “But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.”
These are just a few of the many encouraging scriptures that the Lord speaks to us through His Word. Just reading through the Bible daily each year is encouraging especially to those who are in trial or struggling with chronic issues. Our circumstances may change, people may fail us, but God never does. He is the same yesterday, today and always.
I believe God gave us these encouraging words because He knew what we’d be facing in this fallen world and He gave us what we need to be strong until we are with Him in Heaven.
Next week, I’ll be sharing another of the six things that God uses to encourage us. I pray this has blessed you. I’ll see you back here next Monday! Please leave me a comment with your feedback and experiences and please share these posts with others who need encouragement.
All this month I’ve been getting back to basics so we can accept our chronic illness limitations, but grow through them and begin to have more joy in our lives again. I talked about the stages of grief and finding a new path that God would have for us. This week, I want to share how exactly we do that.
“But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.” – Isaiah 40:31
They say that “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” It’s never been truer than for those of us with chronic illness. It’s hard enough to plan our day with fatigue and pain. It takes a bit more to plan your life, but it is necessary.
If it’s not on my To Do List, it don’t get to done! I find it so much easier to get things done, work my plan, do what I feel God is leading me to do if it’s on a list that I can check off when I’m done.
Once you know what you’re to do in each area of your life, you can beginto make those things happen by asking yourself questions. Do you need to change doctors to get better health this year? What steps can you begin to take to earn extra income? If it’s a new job, what steps can you take to get where you need to go? What things can you do to have better communication with your spouse?
Make a commitment to keep working your plan. Write it down where you can see it, look at it each day, work toward it each day. Having a goal and actually taking steps to move forward is what I found brought my joy back. It’s not always easy. In fact, it’s hardly ever easy. But it is worth it because it’s what God has for me and gives me purpose.
“But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.” – Isaiah 40:31
What is it for you? How can you take steps toward your purpose and joy?
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17
We’re getting back to basics this month. That old saying, “There’s light at the end of the tunnel,” never sat well with me. I’ve shared this before, but if our tunnel is chronic, it usually doesn’t end this side of heaven. That means we have to find the light inside our tunnel and last week we began that process by talking about the five stages of grief as it applies to those of us with chronic illness.
The five stages of grief may seem insurmountable at the time, but I’ve found that what comes next is the hardest part because once you get to acceptance, then what? What’s next? Next, you have to learn to live with it and grow through it.
This can seem impossible because you have your ideas of what life should have looked like, should have been, work you should be doing except for limitations imposed by your chronic issues. But how you allow God to mold you and change you into the life He has established for you will make all the difference.
Instead of looking at your past hopes and dreams and continuing to grieve for what will never be, I’ve found that it is far more positive and uplifting to allow God to guide me to the work he has for me in my present state. God always knew how my life would turn out. It wasn’t a surprise to Him, just to me. I figured, God created me and He has a plan for my life, so if He knew this, He must have work for me that I cannot see at this time.
The first step is to ask God for guidance and pray to hear His direction. I had been writing since I was nine years old. I had dreams of becoming a songwriter. Well, actually at that age, I had dreams of becoming a famous singer. As I grew up, my life changed and so my dreams changed. For me, they changed from writing songs to writing speech communication books to writing about chronic illness. The writing remained the same, but what I did with the talent the Lord blessed me with changed.
For you, it might be a more distinct change from something like working outside the home to selling your artwork. But it isn’t just our work life that changes when we have chronic illness. It’s every area of our lives. So…
The next step is to establish what would help you in all the areas of your life: health, family, career, and ministry. I went over this extensively in my series on Chronic Illness New Year’s Resolutions. You can click on each of those and look through those areas of your life for ideas.
After you know what you can change, adapt, and adopt in these areas of your life the final step is what I’ll be talking about next week so stay tuned!
“Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded.” – 2 Chronicles 15:7
So far we’ve talked about how to make baby steps toward some health, business, and family goals or resolutions. This week, I’d like to share about your ministry. Just because we’re physically weak, doesn’t mean there isn’t work that God has for us to do. It just may take a different form than we may think.
You are not useless because you are chronically ill. There are still joys in your life and there is still a purpose to it. God has designed you for something greater than just to suffer and struggle with chronic issues. I know from experience.
The best knowledge is experience and the worst experience at the very least teaches us lessons that help us understand and help others. The worst of my chronic problems have taught me how others feel and qualifies me not only fo understand them, but to help them. Whether I do that by standing up in front of a large congregation and speak to thousands or I witness to just one on one.
What’s the deepest need you had when in the throws of the most difficult of times? It’s to be understood. What was it you desired from others at that time? It wasn’t advice. It was a hug or someone just to say I understand. And that’s exactly what you can do and be for others!
How you do that may differ from how I do that. I have a Facebook group. I also have this blog. This is my ministry. You may have a different calling.
You may be called to just go online and uplift others. You may be called to post uplifting quotes and pictures on social media. You may be called to find humor in your difficulties that will bring a much-needed giggle to a weary heart in need. You might have a talent to knit infant clothes to give to newborns whose family can’t afford much. You might have a call on your heart to organize the collection of things to give to the homeless.
Your spiritual ministry could be online, via text, a weekly phone or online prayer group, to reach out to others who are hurting on phone or online or to write books. Or you could volunteer to help monitor an online group you’re in. There are any number of things you may have a gifting or calling for that you could do from your home where you don’t need to expend energy you don’t have to go anywhere you can’t get to.
What gifts or talents do you have? What could you do that might minister to others? How might you plan or make a resolution to help others with that gift or talent? I pray this series has helped you to resolve to make 2020 a great year in the Lord! God bless!!
“Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit[a] your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.” – Psalm 37:4-5
Genesis 2:24: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
My husband and I are married 33yrs today. We were together five years before that so we’ve been together for 38 years! We’ve been through good times and bad times. At times, the bad times have almost overshadowed the good times especially when we were going through several chronic illnesses, family issues, and financial stresses all at the same time.
People often ask me what’s the secret to being married for so long, especially as so many call it quits before the first decade. I’ll tell you. It’s not all of the things most Hollywood movies say it is. It’s commitment.
Marriage isn’t just love. Love will not see you through. Many couples divorce still feeling love for one another; it’s just that they never learned to live through the tough stuff. Without commitment, love may not even survive.
Here’s what marriage really is: It’s facing financial ruin together. It’s hours praying over a virus that may take your child’s life. It’s holding each other through the loss of a pregnancy. It’s building a life together again after a devastating job loss. It’s moving across the country together not knowing a soul and leaving all your family behind so that you only have each other to rely on.
It’s going without so your husband can get what he needs to get to work. It’s working with a bum knee and the flu because you can’t take off from a temp job without sacrificing your son’s college tuition. It’s crying together after watching your MIL dying on a video chat because you can’t get there. It’s coffee on Sunday mornings before church reminiscing about all the little things your kids did and how they’ve grown up so fast.
It’s not the romantic dinners or fancy vacations you look back on that make you smile. It’s the thought that the other did the little things that cost them dearly just because they wanted to make your life a little easier!
Marriages that last are made up of two imperfect people committed to getting through those tough times…relying upon God to help them through the tough times. Because there WILL be tough times!
Ephesians 4:2: “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”