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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Hard and Soft (04/23/09)

TITLE: Karate Chops and Feathers
By Lynda Lee Schab


Not to brag, but my fourteen-year-old daughter, Brianna, has a black belt in karate. Every Saturday, my husband and I take her to a private class where she works with an instructor. I love watching her, especially when she breaks those boards with a Hi-YA! and a one-handed chop.

“Great job today, honey,” I say as we climb into the car. “Wasn’t she awesome?”

My husband, Ben, nods. “I’ll never understand how a girl can chop a board in half with her bare hands.”

“Lots of practice. And determination,” Brianna says.

On the drive home, I think how nice it would be if I could karate chop my husband’s heart.

Twenty-three years. That’s how long I’ve been praying for my husband. Not for healing, not for a new job, or even for him to be a better husband. Ben has a hard heart towards God. And every day I pray for it to soften.

To be fair, my own heart was a karate board for the first ten years of our marriage. But when I found Jesus, everything changed and my heart became a pile of feathers. It was only natural that I’d want Ben to experience the same change I had, right?

When Ben resisted, I decided his heart must be too hard for our Creator to handle. God needed my help.

So I left tracts and Bible verses around the house. I always found them later, crumpled up in the trash. I tried to explain to Ben why he needed Jesus. This resulted in my normally calm husband stomping out of the room in a heat of anger. On Sunday mornings, I pleaded with Ben to come to church with me. He always refused and I’d cry all the way there. Then I would spend the whole service in frustration, barely even hearing the message.

Obviously, my desperate attempts weren’t working.

In fact, it was only four years ago that I gave up. Not gave up on my husband, but gave him up completely to God. I have to say, Ben’s been a lot happier and amazingly, I have been too.

Now, I don’t preach. I don’t beg. I don’t leave tracts on the toilet seat. I do still ask Ben every Sunday morning if he’d like to come to church. And when he says no, I give him a kiss and leave him alone. And then I pray – hard.

The morning after Brianna’s karate class, Ben sits in the recliner, his face hidden behind the Sunday press. I walk over and tap on the paper. He lowers it an inch and I flash him a smile.

“Wanna come to church with us this morning?”

“Nah.” His typical reply.

I bend down and kiss his cheek, wrinkling the newspaper in the process. “Okay. See you in a couple hours.”

Ben nods, shakes the creases out of the paper and goes back to the sports section.

Once at church, Brianna heads off to her youth class and I slide into my usual pew, eight rows from the front. Although I prayed for Ben on the way, for some reason, I feel compelled to spend the few minutes remaining before praise and worship starts to pray some more for my husband. Suddenly, a vision appears in my mind of me in a karate outfit, standing in front of Ben. With a loud Hi-YA! I force my hand into his chest, giving his hardened heart a much needed Karate chop.

I suppress a giggle at the image. Maybe God is telling me that my prayers are those karate chops. And that it is only a matter of time before they break through. After all, what did Brianna say it takes? Practice and determination? I definitely have both of those things.

The praise band takes their places. Everyone stands to their feet and I close my eyes and lift my hands in worship.

Ten seconds later, my eyes pop open as a hand closes around mine.


He looks like he just threw on some clothes he found in the laundry pile and quickly ran a comb through his hair. He is clearly uncomfortable and feels out of place. His eyes are bloodshot and his cheeks, damp. But the most noticeable thing of all is his heart, transforming from a hard ¾” karate board to a pile of feathers before my eyes.

I smile and wipe away a tear of my own. Then I say another prayer.


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This article has been read 1049 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Tallylah Monroe04/30/09
Just wonderful and so creative. This is a winner. I'm sure of it. Great job.
Gregory Kane05/02/09
A good illustration of Peter's advice to wives in first Peter chapter three.
Ditto, I liked the Hi-YA!
Mona Purvis05/04/09
We struggle over some of our dearest loved ones who avoid God. Isn't it wonderful that He can do what we can't? Great entry.
Emily Gibson05/04/09
Praying hard for a hard heart and the softening comes in the Lord's time. Terrific!
Eliza Evans 05/04/09
I just love this to pieces. :)
The little details like "tracts on the toilet seat" are so fun. Not too subtle was she? ;)
Great writing!
Kristen Hester05/04/09
I have chills! There is a wonderful lesson written in this excellent story! Bravo!
Verna Cole Mitchell 05/04/09
HIYA! What a wonderful story! The karate chop analogy is perfect. I loved watching the wife grow into God's peace about her husband's salvation.
Shelley Ledfors 05/04/09
Wonderfully creative take on the topic. And a great message, too. Very well done!
Karlene Jacobsen05/04/09
I like the karate theme in prayer here. Each little bit, weakens the board of resolve.
Connie Dixon05/04/09
Let go and let God... Easy to say and difficult to follow through on. Loved your ending. Great analogy.
Betty Castleberry05/06/09
This is very well-written. I liked the Karate comparisons you used. The ending was a bit predictable, but the last line was GREAT. I loved it.
Chely Roach05/06/09
Don't brag, but this was great! HiYA!
Edmond Ng 05/06/09
A lovely and interesting read. Enjoyed the story and the way you put the message across. We certainly need to work hard at bringing our loved ones to the Lord and maybe give a soft nudge once in a while if the hard approach does not work.
Beckie Stewart05/06/09
Loved this....amazing what God can do in the lives of those we love when we lay them on the altar for the Lord to have. Well done.
Myrna Noyes05/06/09
Very wise and encouraging message in this wonderful story! Great job! :)
Loren T. Lowery05/07/09
This seems to sum it up "“Lots of practice. And determination,” Brianna says.
God blesses the fervent and persistent prayers of the faithful. Great way in presenting this truth and excellent job in communicating it. Congratulations on your EC.
Myrna Noyes05/07/09
Janice Fitzpatrick05/07/09
Oh Lynda, this is soooo well written. I love the voice of the M.C. and I know many of us can relate to this. That's what I love about writing for the kingdom and letting him pen the words. Let go and Let God indeed! Hugs. Congrats honey. Love ya!
Charla Diehl 05/07/09
This one hit home with me--28 years into our marriage, and much praying,finally brought my husband to church with me. It's all in God's timing and we are never to give up on those we love.
Thanks for the encouragment this story will supply to others in the same situation.
Amanda Brogan01/11/10
The very title of this story drew me in because I'm a previous Tae Kwon Do student and I LOVE martial arts! The story is just as engaging as the title and touched my heart from the moment you began talking about praying for your husband's hard heart. The ending makes me want to shout out praises to God! And since it's a true story (right?) then I definitely will!