One of the reasons I love social media is the opportunity to connect with writer friends like Chris Maxwell, whose writing and personal story have greatly encouraged and blessed me. I came to know him first as an author and survivor of a devastating health crisis, but his main vocation is Director of Spiritual Life and Campus Pastor at Emmanuel College.
When Herald Press invited him to endorse Four Gifts, Chris gave them more than they were able to include in the book, so I’m sharing it here today as Four Gifts officially launches into the world tomorrow. Thank you, Chris, for your friendship and generous words.
April Yamasaki is one of the writer friends I first met through social media. Our similar themes of interest — choosing to pause, embracing the moments, reflecting on grace — provided a spiritual connection.
As I’ve read her writing, I’ve been honoured to know April. Her honesty and guidance have helped me also know Jesus better, to know myself better, and to gain a greater grasp of Christ’s love for me.
Four Gifts: Seeking Self-Care for Heart, Soul, Mind, and Strength came to me at an interesting time. I had just finished a trip to speak at a disability conference three time zones away in the Unites States. I was working on finishing my next book, helping someone else on their book project, and accomplishing duties for my main vocation. I was also preparing for a trip to Africa. I needed to get work done — tasks, assignments, responsibilities. Time was moving at its normal pace. Tomorrows arrived in a hurry. Open slots all seemed closed.
But then I read April’s words. I stopped and processed her gentle, biblical, practical instructions for me. Her information was just what I needed just when I needed it. Her rhythm of conversational writing pushed aside everything else I had planned to do. Her honest confessions felt like they were coming from a close friend who was teaching me how to rest in this hurried world, to find peace in the now, to embrace God in each moment.
She was writing about what I often call “holy selfishness.” But I frequently speak and write about it more than I apply it. April’s focus on the four key areas of heart, soul, mind, and strength allowed me to understand and, hopefully, apply her wisdom.
I want to. I need to. And, my guess is, most of us want and need self-care in these four portions of ourselves. Step aside. Open the pages. In your hurry, seek self-care, and let the four gifts become your friends.
– Chris Maxwell, Author, Pastor, Survivor
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