The Braveheart Chronicles

The Power of Prayer: A Guest Post by Karen Malena (The Braveheart Chronicles)

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Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

I’d been watching him self-destruct, my stomach in a tangle of knots, that sinking feeling of almost hopelessness and drowning. Another day went by with no changes after I’d thought it might be different. His worship of the glass god was almost unbearable.

The questions came at night. The ones when you cry into your pillow shedding a trail of hot tears, clutching the blanket in your fist while you silently scream out to God in the lateness of the hour.

Does he know what it feels like wondering what I’m doing wrong, to hear words pour forth like poison, knowing it isn’t him talking, but the demons in his tortured soul?

Does he even know what it feels like worrying about friends and other people, wondering what they think of him? Did it occur to him how he spoke to me that day in front of them? Has he offended them? Are they talking behind our backs?

Does he know what it feels like at events, watching and waiting, not enjoying one moment as I count the drinks he’s having? To worry if this may be the time he goes too far and I have to explain why I’m driving home yet again and answer the questions, ones he won’t even remember the next day.

Does he know what it feels like holding these thoughts inside day after day with nobody to tell; shame, fear and silence as my constant companions?

Does he know what it feels like to believe this might be the day he stops? The day the promises are really kept.

Does he know how close I’ve been to leaving, giving up and letting go?

Does he?

****

Tears streamed down my face as I clutched a shredded Kleenex in one hand. My sobs echoed loudly in the stillness of the room while I poured out my heart to the pastor who sat before me. I’d come to him seeking guidance about my husband and some of his recent, hurtful behavior. He’d disappointed me and let me down, making promises he wasn’t able to keep.

My wounds from a previous marriage were fresh and raw. I’d been through so much pain; I vowed no other man would ever hurt me again.

The pastor sat quietly, listening, scribbling notes every so often on a pad before him. “As I see it,” he said, leaning forward in his chair, “bold prayer from your heart is the answer. And treat him as you want to be treated, with kindness and respect.”

Are you kidding? I thought. How could I do this when I’ve been the one so grievously wounded? He doesn’t deserve it.

I slipped behind the wheel of my car that day a little disillusioned. The glorious sunshine streamed through the windows, the warmth enveloping me, and it began to open my heart to the feeling of God’s love surrounding me.

Perhaps my hardened heart wasn’t allowing me to see how much unforgiveness I held onto from my past. Though my husband had been wrong in how he behaved, I realized the only person I could truly change was myself.

A little later in the day, a cup of tea sat before me on the kitchen table, untouched as I began speaking to God as one would talk with a loving parent or dear friend.

Help me to know you better. Even though I’m not feeling it right now, I want to completely surrender to your will. My husband has his own burdens. Please help me to see him in a different light. Make me an element of change in this marriage.

Something inside me broke. When he returned from work that evening, I spoke more kindly toward him. I made an effort to ask about his day, and really listen from my heart. Little by little, it became easier to affirm his good traits. It became easier to hold my tongue when I wanted to lash out in anger. My husband melted as I considered his needs first. He softened toward me when I began to love him with my whole heart.

We began praying together out loud every morning before we went to work, our hands clasped together speaking to our Father for guidance. Then at other times, alone, I would cry out from my very soul, rebuking the darkness and calling upon the light.

I would like to say that the changes were instantaneous. They weren’t. But a newfound peace and patience would overtake me, replacing my old way of thinking, my need for instant gratification and instantly answered prayers. I learned to love myself, and not look to the marriage to satisfy my needs. It would be my relationship with God and complete surrender that would bring the much-needed comfort to my own ailing soul.

It’s been several years since I spoke to the pastor and surrendered myself to becoming a godly wife. Daily prayer has become a strong bond in this marriage. And the miracle I’d believed for has finally come to pass. No longer is alcohol an anchor or crutch in this home. No longer does it take hold of a good man, giving him a false sense of security, taking him down into pits of despair and guilt. Not overnight, but in God’s timing, teaching us both lessons along the way we’d never have learned on our own. For this has been the greatest change of all: The power of spoken words which has rooted out love and commitment to one another more deeply than I ever thought possible.

Father, I pray our commitment to you and each other will grow stronger with every passing day. May I continue to be a source of inspiration and encouragement to my husband and may our home be a safe haven he can return to each night.

*****
Karen Malena, Author
thumbnail_Karen and Piggy
Karen Malena resides in the Pittsburgh area and is active in her community mentoring young writers and encouraging others through library and author events.
Three of her novels, Shadow of My Father’s Secret, Reflections From My Mother’s Kitchen and Love Woven in Time are inspirational family fiction. Her book Piggy is a fun cat “tail” for all ages.
She has currently released her first dark sci-fi book, Sound of Silence.
Malena has a biting sense of humor that you will find on her Facebook cat page, Piggy, and also writes heartfelt blogs at karenmalena.blogspot.com. She has a passion for storytelling, and many of the events she writes about come from her loud, crazy, close-knit Italian family.
She is a member of a monthly writer’s group, Pittsburgh East Scribes.
You can find her books on Amazon
Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter
Read her inspirational stories at The Finch’s Nest or engage with Karen on her author page.

*****

When Karen came to me a few weeks ago with her story, I knew she was a person full of love, positive vibes, and kindness–after just one e-mail! I couldn’t wait to share her story, but she confided a deep sense of responsibility and worry to tell the story in a way that honored her husband’s journey, too. Anyone who writes knows that our stories don’t belong just to us–they belong to the people who walk beside us, too. I think she did a fabulous job.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart for sharing your words with us today.

And, oh my goodness! Do you ever sleep, Karen? Check out her author pages and websites – this is one prolific and talented author. Be sure to visit her here in the comments and at her blog and author pages. You won’t be disappointed…Scout’s honor (*waves to Karen). xo

38 thoughts on “The Power of Prayer: A Guest Post by Karen Malena (The Braveheart Chronicles)

    1. Thank you so very kindly Michelle for the honor of guest posting on your blog and handling the subject so tenderly. I appreciate the opportunity to be a blessing to others!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Beautiful Karen, and thank you Mama for allowing us the opportunity to read of Karen’s journey. It is inspirational. For me the key to starting this process is in understanding that forgiveness is not about the forgiven, it is about the forgiver. Thank you again for the great read and profound thoughts.

    I’m not doubting your testament Karen, however, that said, Piggy looks particularly self-satisfied in the photo and i can’t help but think that whether she participated in this renewal or not, she certainly thinks she was instrumental. I think she may very well be expecting a reward:

    As an aside Mama, Blog Woman!!! posted Part 1 of a two part series of mine this morning at http://blog-woman.com/2016/03/07/with-a-little-help-from-my-friends-guest-post-paul-curran-the-invisibles-part-1/#comment-9077 if you have the time and desire, I would be honored if you dropped by for a read. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Paul,
      Thank you for the kind word and wonderful kitty kat meme! I’m sure Karen will appreciate it when she is able to access the web (currently without right now – you know that feeling!!)
      I will certainly look at your guest posts! So glad you’re back.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Thank you for the comment, Paul. Piggy had nothing to do with it, I assure you….However, I’m sure she wishes she could join your little “friend” on the beach.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I love this. Very touching and so true. We can only start by fixing ourselves. When we blame others for our misery, we become more miserable because our focus is on something we have no control over. God is the only one we can surrender our lives and hearts to who won’t ever let us down. Thanks for sharing Karen’s words, Michelle. Your blog is always so inspiring.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. “We can only start by fixing ourselves” — I totally agree with you, Charissa. Karen’s message is so important – no matter the context.
      Thank you for always reading and providing such awesome support. YOU are inspiring. xo

      Liked by 2 people

    1. I completely agree, Carrie! I told Karen that her message reaches into many people’s hearts–even those with different experiences and trials.
      I am so lucky/blessed to have talented and insightful writer friends and guests. xo

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Carrie, yes, so true. This applies not only to alcohol, but any other issues we may be going through with loved ones or friends. Thanks so much for commenting on my guest post!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Powerful, emotional, brave, and oh so important.

    Alcohol is a blinding agent. It slowly removes everything from our sight and then from our lives. It is a jealous, possessive, abusive partner. We forget that it affects everyone around us too. (I say this coming up on five years of sobriety.)

    It was never you, Karen. It was never your fault. It was never your fault.

    I’m so glad you shared, and I’m so glad you and your husband are enjoying peace and serenity together now.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Hello BBF!
      Hopping in to say hello for Karen as she is without internet for a moment.
      I knew this would resonate with you as powerfully as it did with me.

      “Powerful, emotional, brave, and oh so important.”

      I couldn’t agree more. Thank you for always being here. xo

      Liked by 3 people

    2. Christy, thank you kindly for your words of encouragement. It is a struggle, but one that we are winning. We are into almost three months of sobriety with God’s help. I appreciate your comments dear!

      Liked by 3 people

  4. I am so honored and humbled by the responses today. It sounds as if many of you have already been through this. Please feel free to share around with anyone who may need it. Many thanks to Michelle and all of you lovely fellow bloggers! Karen

    Liked by 2 people

  5. A very deep journey to find the self within Karen. That has taken great courage and faith to trust in it, and yourself. But once found a new peace and love like no other.
    I’m glad for you and the writing success that is also born from it. Standing in that new found truth opens the pen like no other, well done 🙂
    Great post, and a beautiful journey, thank you for sharing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mark, yes as I mentioned the spoken word, or prayer has been powerful. The written word sometimes even more so. I hope to reflect true situations with my books and blogs and to touch others who may be going through similar situations. Thank you so much for your awesome comments!

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Thank you for commenting, Mark. Yes, the power of the spoken word has been amazing, but there’s nothing that compares to the written word when trying to convey truths. I hope to convey in my books and blogs true stories that are born from real situations and to be a blessing or encouragement to others who may be going through the same things. Thank you so much for your kind words.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I read this earlier and am finally getting around to responding! Forgiveness of ourselves is harder because we are own worst enemy.

    This was a beautifully and inspiriting post and thank you for sharing and introducing Karen!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. ****Complete surrender.******
    That’s how I want to live every single day. YESSSSS.
    …because quite seriously, GOD is the only reason I am still here.
    Beautiful, inspiring piece.
    The POWER of prayer can change the world, right?
    OOO, I sooooo love the photo of you & kitty! x Love from MN.

    Like

    1. Thanks so much for your comments! Yes, prayer is very powerful, and the reason that I, too, am still here. There’s so much more from my childhood, so many situations God stood right by me every step of the way. Glad you liked the photo too, dear!!

      Like

  8. “Perhaps my hardened heart wasn’t allowing me to see how much unforgiveness I held onto from my past. Though my husband had been wrong in how he behaved, I realized the only person I could truly change was myself.”

    Yes! This! Through love, compassion and forgiveness, we can conquer anything. And as we heal and change our own hearts, everything around us changes to reflect the change back to us. Thank you for so very eloquently sharing such a deeply personal story. Beautiful. Just beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And thank you for the kind comments. That sort of love, forgiveness and compassion are not an easy road. It has taken me through quite a journey. May we all continue to walk that path to changed hearts and lives. Thank you again, dear.

      Liked by 1 person

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