Keep It Shut

Funny how, as I sat down to write this book review a quote by Maya Angelou popped into my head, “Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them in deeper meaning.”

“How then,” I thought, “can I possibly get the essence of Ms. Ehman’s book down in words, in this case, on a screen that illustrates her deeper meaning?”

With each turn of the page and with each word read, her messages, sometimes blunt, sometimes witty – but always with truth and wisdom, I journeyed with her through her own stories and the words that guided her message coming from the greatest book ever written, The Holy Bible.

Finished, I closed the cover of her book, feeling as if something was left unread, I went back to all of the sections I had underlined in her book, and there are many. This time instead of just rereading her stories, I relived my own and In the doing, I experienced moments of truth, of times I am ashamed of and of times that I was able to see how God used me to help someone else. Both realizations were humbling.

      The times I was disrespectful to my parents with my words or tone; I wish I could tell them I’m sorry, but they are no longer here.

     The times I rolled my eyes, impatient with seemingly healthy people, who chose to live on the streets instead of supporting themselves and being productive citizens. “Why?” I wondered, until…realizing that the deeper meaning is on the inside and it does not require judgment.

     The times, far too many of them, when I longed to take back words or tone when I realized I had actually spoken those words right out loud.

There were also triggers of memories of God’s grace as He used me to help someone else. I didn’t realize that I was being used or that I was being helpful because my help was in the form of the words I uttered as well as how I uttered them:

       “My daughter is only twelve years old, she’s been raped and she is pregnant,” one of the employees told me. “She’s severely mentally handicapped and the doctors say she needs an abortion but the insurance won’t pay for it,” and with those words, she fainted in my office. It was 1979, young in my HR (personnel) career, but not in my faith, I made the call to the insurance company, praying for God’s guidance the entire time.

       “Thank you Ms. Linda,” as the young single mother of three cried, our tears mingling, as we hugged each other with fierce thanksgiving that she did not take her life on that day she said to me, “I can’t go on.”

      “We hoped there wouldn’t be a lay-off, but we thank you for the way you’ve treated us and helped us during this bad time,” said the thirty-year employee as he accepted his separation package.

Words of grace received and shared is the deeper message of this delightful, heartfelt book.  It personally helped me look within myself of what was, and to be aware of what will be. Thank you, Ms. Ehman for a book I will long treasure. Your words made a difference.

Her book may be found at:

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“Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Colossians 4:5-6