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The Book Thief
One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are
On Gold Mountain
Bread & Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter
City of Tranquil Light: A Novel
The Distant Land of My Father
The Paris Wife
Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy
Fall of Giants
World Without End
A Stolen Life
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption
The Pillars of the Earth
Sacred Rhythms: Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformation
The Road
Trials of the Earth: The Autobiography of Mary Hamilton
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, a Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal
Cutting for Stone

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stress and prayer

Today Sam grinned his half-snaggle-toothed smile at me and asked me: “Are you coming to the bus stop with me?” Typical of me, I was running late. But I did not hesitate to nod in the affirmative.

The walk to our bus stop includes wet grass. Matt has started a habit of giving him a back ride across the grassy sea. My heart fills up when I watch the two of them gallop off in the mornings. But today I was up to be the horsey.

So I grabbed my rain boots and hitched Sam up. About three-quarters of the way over the sea, Sam yells out, “My helmet!” 

The horse stops. What helmet?! He had packed in a small lego super hero to take to school. The helmet came off in the grassy sea. A moment of panic threatened us as we realized the small lego helmet is out in this grassy sea. I prayed aloud, “Jesus, help us find the helmet” because I am trying to remember to invite Him into my stress and anxiety. 

Stress threatens not only our peace but does a number on our bodies as well. I am learning about the neurotransmitters in the body. When we perceive a threat, the amygdala (a walnut-sized part of the brain) sends out a virtual army of helpers. These neuro-messengers allow us to run fast, see in the dark and have a load of glucose dumped in our blood for quick energy. 

Problem is that even if the threat is small (like a lost lego helmet), our bodies do the job with precision and consistency. Over time our adrenal glands wear out. The adrenals sit like little helmets themselves atop each of our kidneys. They manufacture some of these stress hormones. When they tire, the picture is not pretty. We fatigue. We keep asking our bodies for energy, but none is there. It’s like the boy who cried wolf. The message goes out but nobody is responding. 

My adrenals are worn out. Thus the need to invite Jesus. I am reminded of my creature-hood. I can ask for help. My frontal cortex (the part of the brain reserved for higher reasoning just behind the forehead) says to my amygdala and adrenals, “Hey, it’s a helmet. And the Lord is with us even in the small details. Relax.”

Guess what! We found that pea-sized helmet. “It’s a miracle!” I yelled! Sam danced. I thanked Jesus who is involved in the details. Yes, He is.

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