Keep. It. Shut. {Asking God to Do the Hard Things in Us}

First off, I need to admit something: I adore Karen Ehman. In fact, I might even be a little awestruck by her. She is energetic, entertaining, and everything she writes makes me feel like she’s been reading my prayer journal. Seriously, this woman seems to know me.

Last summer I got to meet her. {I failed to get my picture made with her because I am, as you all already know, a total dork.} Karen so graciously invited me to share with the advanced speakers at She Speaks. And, in a very Teri Lynne manner, I forgot that she had also instructed me to stop by their first session to introduce myself.  Which meant someone {I’m looking at you, Courtney!} had to come find me and remind me where I was supposed to be.  Clearly, there is a reason I did not get invited to speak again this year.

Keep. It. Shut by Karen Ehman

Anyway … after She Speaks, Karen sent me the sweetest email thanking me for being a part of the conference and asking me if I’d be interested in being an endorser for her next book. Heck yes!!! When the galley copy arrived I pored over the pages, soaking in Karen’s incredible blend of wisdom, humor, and practicality.  I gladly sent my endorsement:

Keep. It. Shut is a powerful challenge for those of us who tend to speak first, think later. Karen has invited us to join her on the quest to use our words wisely (even when that means not using words at all).

And then my “real” copy came. After I finished gawking over the fact I got to endorse the book written by someone I have admired for years, I started reading it again.

Y’all … this book is rocking my world. I’m having to read it slowly because, well, it’s no big secret I like all the words. Currently, I’m on page 158. I may be there for the next three-and-a-half years. Because Karen wrote this:

My daughter simply vocalized a truth she noticed in my life: I tend to lose my cool with my family, but somehow manage to keep calm when I interact with others.

Um, yeah. And also, ouch.

Remember last Tuesday? I wrote these words:

In one of the most glorious displays of grace-based parenting you can find, I said, “You win! I give up.” And then proceeded to explain to this child of mine how we had spent all morning doing nice things for her and giving her gifts and reminding her how precious she was to us … and what I was getting in return was attitude and meanness. And, because I’m never one to stop while I’m ahead, I kept this tirade going right up until the moment she got out of the car. I drove off fuming at how selfish this child of mine is and how much I don’t deserve to be treated this way.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I need someone to get in my business. To speak hard truth into my life. But I prefer if that person is speaking from experience … because then it feels less like judgment and more like encouragement.  Karen gets in my business. I sent her a picture of that page in my copy of the book on January 22 with this note, “All over my toes this morning.” Her gracious reply, “I know. Ouch! Right?”

Do the hard things

It’s now February 24 and I’m still on page 158.  A month later. Because, y’all, I don’t want to be the kind of person who reads truth and even makes a note in the margin but keeps on going without being changed. And so I keep reading this chapter again and again. And I keep digging into the Word because that’s where Karen’s words always point. And I realize this may be one of those things I deal with for the rest of my life but I don’t want to stay where I am. I don’t want to write it off as, “It’s just the way I am.” Because I know God is at work in me and His Word can transform me and His power can change me.  I’m digging in and begging Him to do the hard things in me — because my family is worth it and I want these words to be true of me, in my home and out:

Proverbs 31:26

What hard lesson is God teaching you right now?

You can learn more about Karen’s incredible book Keep. It. Shut: What to Say, How to Say It, and When to Say Nothing at All on her website. I received a copy of this book from Karen but the opinions about its value are all my own. And my opinion is — everyone needs this book!

Read the Psalms this summer with Scripture Dig!


  1. Teri, I can totally relate to so much of what you said. I often describe myself as “a person with lots of words”. Too often I try to use all of them because I think my head might explode if I don’t. I have a great passion for life and living it with an amazing God-friend. Thank you for your honesty, the reminder to “dig in and beg God to do the hard things in us” (my very prayer this morning), and for introducing this book. Sounds like another one for my reading list!

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