I was curious to see if faith in God had any impact on our brains. I decided to do some research and this is what I came up with. In the article from The Atlantic, it states that meditation (prayer) can improve memory and concentration. Also, it lowers depression, anxiety, and stress. If this is true then our bodies are benefiting from this also. Think about how this can impact our children. If we have devotions and prayer time with our kids then their anxiety can become less and their concentration can improve. What if we teach our kids that if we lean on God’s understanding then He can help us through our depression?
In the Faith and Health Connection article, it has a different way of looking at the faith and the brain connection. It states that if you focus on God being loving and compassionate, you increase the amount of love and compassion in your brain, and your outward behaviors. It says the more we focus on something, the more it becomes a part of how our brain functions. They compare how fearful thoughts and loving thoughts affect the brain. Basically, the more we focus of love and compassion, it will drown out our fear. When we are fearful then we need to take the focus off of us and place it on being compassionate towards others. One way we can do this is by volunteering. Especially, during crisis events (Coronavirus). I have talked about how bad too much Cortisol is for your body. Well good news, singing praises to God and meditating can lower your cortisol levels. Dr. Newberg stated that since cortisol suppresses the immune system, lower levels help improve the immune system’s function, and reduce blood pressure and heart rate, all of which can be beneficial. It not only benefits that brain but also the body as a whole. Romans 12:2 (NIV)2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
On the Bayside church site, they quoted that Dr. Caroline Leaf says this in her book Switch On Your Brain,
“As we think, we change the physical nature of our brain. As we consciously direct our thinking, we can wire out toxic patterns of thinking and replace them with healthy thoughts.”
Faith does play a big part on our brain. If we don’t change the way we think then our minds will remain the same. What goes into our brain comes out in our thinking. Basically, these are the things we should focus on:
- Positive thinking
- Being loving and compassionate
Have you ever had a silent secret that I was keeping. I drove until my tears blurred my vision and I finally pulled over and sobbed. You see I was only 17 with a 9 month old baby boy and pregnant again. What was I going to do? My parents and family didn’t know about this pregnancy and I had no one to talk to about this.
The next morning I went to work. I was working downtown Atlanta, barely making ends meet, and living with my parents. Once I arrived at work, I sat down at my desk consumed with all of my problems. As I proceeded to do my job, I felt something running down my leg. I was bleeding! Well, my boss ran me to the emergency room. He now knew that I was pregnant and so did my co-workers! At least I had someone to talk to about this now. The nurses rushed me to the back and did an ultra sound to see if the baby was okay. I remember very vividly the look on her face as she was doing the ultra sound. It scared me to death! She quietly informed me that I was having twins. Twins! How could this be? I hadn’t taken fertility pills. I sat back and cried. Once I pulled myself together I asked her why I was bleeding. She sadly turned to me and said that I was losing one if not both of my children! My head was spinning trying to grasp all of the information that was just told to me. The nurse showed me the ultra sound. It appeared to have a spider web look to it. She explained that it looked cancerous. Now I really was losing my mind. It was a lot for a 17-year-old to consume all in one sitting. I was actually kind of excited about having twins and now finding out that they might be taken from me. Why God? These are my babies, mine I tell you! I want to get to know them, hold them and love on them. I became angry knowing that the doctors might have to do a DNC.
Later the doctor came in and read my charts and ultra sound. He gently sat down to tell me what was going to happen. The doctor told me to go to my OB/GYN to discuss having a DNC because I was losing the babies and I could have cancer in my uterus. He left the room as I sat silently alone to deal with the information that was just handed to me. I knew I was pregnant and had a chance to process that information. Finding out I was pregnant with twins and losing them was a different story. Would I ever get over this?
I called my parents and told them what had just happened. They weren’t exactly excited since I was a 17-year-old with a baby and pregnant with twins. By the way my dad is a minister! A few days later I went to my OB/GYN and they agreed that it was in my best interest to have a DNC. My parents were there for me despite of their disappointment. A week later I had a DNC. I remember laying on the hospital bed and the hand rails being so cold. Everything around me was cold. No one was allowed to be back there with me so the loneliness consumed me. They rolled me back and removed everything that they thought was cancerous. I went home and became numb to everything. Weeks went by and I ached for my babies. I didn’t even know the gender of these precious babies.
A few years went by as I had placed my sadness in the back of my thought process. Different things would come up that would remind me of them. I thought, how am I going to get through this. A friend of mine had gone through a similar event and went to a support group. She shared something amazing with me. My friend told me to pick out a gender for each child and name them. She said they are waiting for me in heaven. I broke down with tears of joy. Something that I had never thought about was that I would see them AGAIN IN HEAVEN! Praise God for this! They are healthy and happy. When I heard this I quickly chose names for them. Their names are Brittany and Brianna and they are my girls. My girls! When I get to heaven I will run to them and scoop them up to let them know how much I love them and have missed them. I still get sad sometimes because my other children didn’t get to know them. I just look up to heaven and praise God for those humans that He gave me for such a short time. You know God lost His son too and He was sad. Jesus is our Savior and the only way to get to heaven is through Him. If you haven’t accepted Him as your Lord and Savior the time is now. Find a church near you and ask to speak to their minister/pastor. I have such a deep passion for you to know my God, who is all loving, knowing and forgiving! Become reunited with your loved ones, especially if you have lost a child whether through a miscarriage or death. God is with you always!
Fourteen years ago I had to take fertility to become pregnant with my beautiful daughter. Yes there was only one child this time. Go figure that. Then we fostered and adopted our other daughter. I have a step-son, son, daughter and adopted daughter now. We are complete! Fostering and adopting can be a great thing if you can’t have kids. God can heal your heart if you let Him.
My husband and I have been going to the same church for around 21 years now. We have been married for 23 years! Our church has had some changes recently and it has made me sit back and think, “Is this what I want for our family?” Our youth minister is leaving and our associate minister left recently. I don’t particularly like change.
While I was praying about this, something came to mind. How I feel about my church is a lot like my relationship in my marriage. When our marriage becomes a problem then we change what is going on and revive it. There are disappointments in a marriage because we are all human. In our marriage we both contribute so no one is doing all of the work. We choose to stay with our husband and cultivate our relationship. It’s not always greener on the other side. My husband is always there for me!
We should view our church the same way. When our church has problems so we pray to revive it. When you have disappointments in how the church is going, remember that we are all human. Everyone should contribute so not just a few are working. Changes are always happening in the church because that is life. Changing churches isn’t always the answer. There will be a problem eventually with the new church. My church has always there for me! When we had financial problems, guess who was there to meet our needs. When I was in the hospital with pregnancy issues, guess who was there to pray for me and support me. My church family was there and if you keep switching churches to find something that is perfect then you will be disappointed. Don’t place your faith in people because they will fail you often. Get involved in a church. If you don’t like something then YOU help change it. We are the body of Christ and ALL of us should be pitching in to do the work.
When comparing the two I realized how precious both are to me. My husband and church family are my support system. I encourage you to find a church family to be with you through your ups and your downs. We all need each other!