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About Jennifer Camp

Jennifer Camp, co-founder of  Gather Ministries, and author of  Loop, grew up in the middle of an almond orchard in Northern California and now lives in the busy Bay Area with her husband and three kids. A former high school English teacher, she loves to write, but she especially loves to encourage people to seek and live out the truth of their story, their identity in Christ. You can find her writing at her blog, Jennifer J. Camp .You can connect with Jennifer on both  Facebook  and  Twitter. She would love to have you join her there.

Jennifer Camp

Jennifer Camp
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Jennifer Camp, co-founder of  Gather Ministries, and author of  Loop, grew up in the middle of an almond orchard in Northern California and now lives in the busy Bay Area with her husband and three kids. A former high school English teacher, she loves to write, but she especially loves to encourage people to seek and live out the truth of their story, their identity in Christ. You can find her writing at her blog, Jennifer J. Camp .You can connect with Jennifer on both  Facebook  and  Twitter. She would love to have you join her there.

YOUR ONE PRACTICAL STEP TOWARD JESUS THIS ADVENT (+ FREE GIFT FOR YOU)

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I tell them I’ve been running. Running and running and asking God to keep up. And it is tiring, depleting.

Of course.

Especially during this Advent season.

Jesus, help us prepare You room.

First, I confess it with friends as we pray–joining with community as I consecrate my heart. Then we seek wisdom. We ask God if we are more inclined to trust his plans for us or the plans we set for ourselves.

Yeah, we know the right answer– the answer we’re supposed to give. Trust God’s plans. Surrender our own. But we need to ask our Papa his take on our hearts. God’s wisdom brings clarity and depth we can never reach on our own.

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And that’s when I see the picture of me running.

He shows me myself–the pace I set, the drive to go and go, the lie of productivity that tells me moreaccomplished is better than less.

My pace. My terms. My race.

Especially, ironically, this time of year.

Where are you, Papa?

Daughter, I am right here.

And I see him. He is close. But . . . he is on the side of me, then behind me. As I run and run and don’t look back.

Leading my own way. Running and just hoping God is with me.  But I am not checking to see whether or not he is.

Oh,  Jesus, forgive me. I make so little room for you.

I have so much more for you, my daughter. More, in abundance. More and more– the depth of which you can’t even imagine.

Christmas tree

For I’ve been setting the plans. And my plans, compared to God’s, are so small, so limited.My capacity–with this pace, this mindset–is more limited still.

I  need to hear it again:

I have so much more for you, my daughter. More, in abundance. More and more– the depth of which you can’t even imagine.

Advent invites opportunity for space, for pausing, for asking God what, for us, he has. But I struggle.  Yes, because of pride, surrendering our own agendas can be so hard.

So I make it practical. I tell my friends that at 9 pm each night, I will shut the computer, turn off the phone, put away work, and rest and turn to my God. That was two days ago. And sisters this has not been easy. And I have not been perfect. But it is so good. So nourishing. So vital and life-giving for my heart.

What does turning toward God, making room for Jesus, look like for you, in a practical way, this Advent?

How are you invited to worship him? What will you do to help yourself pause, and turn?

The temptation for busyness, so contrary to the invitation of preparing room in our hearts for our Savior, feels amplified tenfold during this season of Advent. Jesus invites us to not only slow, but make him room.  And we can choose convenience and comfort–the pace of running. Or we can choose waiting, surrendering, trusting.

Jesus, help us turn toward you.

I love his reminders of goodness, freedom, and hope:

Daughter, I don’t despise your running. But in your efforts to achieve your own plans, you are running your own race, you are missing Me. You are not running with Me.

Deck the Halls

Our busyness during this Advent and Christmas season can build in increments so it is difficult to recognize. Until we feel lonely. Lost. Hollow. Depleted. Afraid. Eventually, busyness becomes the routine.

Our consumption of his Word, and his voice in our heart, becomes squeezed. Short moments here and there. We forget what it feels like to settle into our Papa’s arms, remembering what Advent is. And I don’t want to miss it.

In Loop Advent, I ask God what He thinks of Advent. And this is what I hear him say:

Advent is the time of waiting for what is already here, who has already come. It is a time of turning–turning inward to study your heart. Turning inward to listen for my voice. Turning inward to heed what is true. Advent is for emptying oneself to receive joy in abundance. (from Loop Advent)

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Turning. Emptying. Receiving. Yes, our Father continues to gives us good gifts to our hearts. Will you join me this Advent, turning toward the love of our Father? Asking him to empty us and fill us again, and again, with his more?

What does that look like for you, practically, this Advent season?

And as we turn toward Jesus this season, I wanted to be let you know about the special offer of Loop Advent being offered, for free, on Amazon, until December 10. And the audio version of Loop Advent, for free, right here.

 GET LOOP ADVENT

I can’t wait to hear from you, sisters.

Tell me your movement toward Jesus, and we can join together, praying for one another this season.

This post appeared originally at jenniferjcamp.com


KNOWING GOD INTIMATELY: AN INTERVIEW WITH KRIS CAMEALY (AND A GIVEAWAY!)

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She doesn’t mess around, in the best way. As a sequin-wearing, homeschooling mother of four–a woman who adores Jesus, people, and words–Kris Camealy loves to go deep. In relationships. In the pursuit of Christ. In leading women to be raw and vulnerable and open to God changing their hearts. She’s beautiful in her authenticity, her willingness to surrender and trust God in making us brand new.

I have known Kris for years through our writing circles, admiring her gifts of communicationhospitality, and community building in the pursuit of deeper relationship with Christ. I was delighted when Kris was willing to join us here for our Voices series, where we talk about worship, imagination, and listening for God.

After the interview, just in time for Advent, join in the conversation with Kris to win a copy of Come, Lord Jesus: The Weight of Waiting, Kris’s beautiful Advent devotional.

Kris Camealy

Here is my interview with Kris:

  • Kris, what are some of your very favorite things to do with God? How do you fit these things into your week, your day?

I love to spend time with God. By this I mean, simply sitting in His presence during prayer, reading His Word, and practicing being fully present—which is rarely an easy thing. Time with God is critical for me. I make time for this usually early in the morning, or sometimes in the afternoons, depending on my schedule. More than anything, I try to simply be conscious of God’s presence in my whole day.

  • What personal cherished experience—or story you know—reminds you of God’s ability to surprise us, uniquely, with his love? Or, what personal experience helps you remember the truth of who God is?

God has generously surprised me numerous times so far in my life. One time that comes to mind is when I hosted the first Refine retreat. The whole idea sprung out of a conversation I was having with God, and though I had never done anything like that before, God generously and graciously met me in every detail of planning and executing the event. As every detail came together in a series of small miracles, I felt God’s overwhelming love for me. Every prayer He answered felt like an “I love you” from Him. Walking through that with God reminded me of who He is. It seemed as if God took every opportunity to demonstrate for me, His faithfulness, His generosity, His mercy and patience, His grace and kindness—in a season of stepping out in what felt like wild obedience, God held me steady. He is my rock.

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industrial metal wall with plant

  • What is a specific obstacle that often distracts you from getting into—or staying in—God’s presence? And what is your favorite way to pull yourself back?

The biggest obstacles that distract me from remaining in God’s presence are social media and an ever-creeping feeling of overwhelm. Nothing sideswipes me like these two things. I have to constantly on guard. Fasting is my favorite way to refocus my heart. I have been deeply impacted numerous times by fasting and focused prayer, and this always brings me back to a place of longing for more of God and less of everything else.

  • How would you define God’s “voice”? How do you most readily experience his communicating to you?

The best way I can describe what hearing God’s voice looks like for me is that I get a feeling in my spirit. It’s like an invisible nudge towards or away from something. Reading the Bible is key to hearing God’s voice. When I read His Word, and pray, I “hear” His whispers in my heart. It’s not an easy thing to articulate, but through His Word and through the confirming words of others, God speaks to me.

  • How do you discern God’s voice over all the other noise in your life? What are some practical ways to figure out if it is His voice you are hearing—or something else?

I think I am continually learning to discern God’s voice. Some seasons, it is easier than others. One of the most typical ways I discern is through confirmation. If I am praying about something, and I think I hear God speak on it, often times He seems to confirm His words to me through the voice of a trusted friend. They might speak directly to my situation, or share a relevant scripture that points me right back to what I “heard” God saying. I believe that discernment comes through prayer, and through spending enough time with God that you know Him intimately. This is a continual place of learning and growth for me.

Mason jar glasses

  • What role does imagination play—if any—in having a conversation with God? Describe your state of mind—or your heart—when listening for God’s voice.

I think imagination is a wonderful asset to prayer. When I pray, I often get visual images in my mind. I’m a dreamer, and so prayer for me so often involves visual metaphors. When I pray, and when I listen, I pay attention to what images come to mind, and pray about them as they do. I ask God to help me understand. Using my imagination in prayer helps me to feel connected to God who sometimes feels too abstract to grasp. If I imagine myself closer, in His physical presence, sometimes, it helps.

Lindsey Letter blue swiss cross art

  • What are words or images that most resonate with you and represent for you life or hope or joy?

I like hard words. I tend to gravitate towards biblical language like sacrifice, surrender, refine, altar, obedience, submission, mercy or ebeneezer. These words don’t resonate much in our current culture, and for some, they may not seem very hopeful or joyful, but I love them because they are where hope and joy begins. Life comes through surrender, sacrifice and obedience. When I place things on altars, or erect an ebeneezer of remembrance, I find joy and hope in the refining process of God’s love. Of course, with these words, specific corresponding images come to mind as well—a metalsmith refining silver, a table for an offering, I see bowed heads and bent knees, hands raised and palms open. These are hopeful images for me, signs of glory unfolding through the work of discipleship.

Kris Camealy quote

  • What are some favorite resources—music, books, media—that you treasure and can’t help recommending to friends?

Oh man. I love to listen to podcasts—Mike Cosper’s Cultivated
Podcast, Emily Freeman’s Next Right Thing Podcast, The Rabbit Room Podcast, Ann Kroeker’s Writing Coach Podcast…Right now, I’m also listening to a lot of Audrey Assad, Josh Garrels, Lauren Daigle, and Death Cab For Cutie.

As far as books go, I love pretty much everything Eugene Peterson has written. And anything by Brennan Manning and Bonhoeffer’s Cost Of Discipleship are worthwhile reads. I love Mary Oliver’s poetry, Wendell Berry’s Jayber Crow, as well as The Spirit of Food, edited by Leslie Leyland Fields. And my brand new favorite book is Every Moment Holy, by Doug McKelvey. It’s a book of liturgies for everyday and it is deeply beautiful. Every home should have a copy of this book on the kitchen table where you can read it daily.

Thank you so much, Kris!

Friends, be sure to follow Kris on her blog or on Instagram. And check out how to  WIN her gorgeous book for Advent, Come, Lord Jesus. (See below!)

Win A Copy Of Come, Lord Jesus

Win a copy of Come, Lord Jesus, and Advent devotional by Kris Camealy

Want to win a free copy of Kris’s beautiful book for Advent: Come, Lord Jesus? Leave a comment below, sharing what encouraged you most about Kris’s words today. Your comment will enter you in a random drawing for this book. I will email the winner–and announce the winner here, on this post–on Monday, Dec. 4.

So, tell us . . . what inspired you, what made you think, what did you appreciate about Kris’s interview? Or, what was one of your favorite things that she said?

And if you share this post with a friend, on social media, let me know! It will give you an extra entry in the giveaway!

  • Read other Voices interviews here.

UPDATE: Congratulations to Eva-Marie! You won the Giveaway! I know you are going to love Kris’s book. Thank you to everyone for entering! 

This post appeared originally at jenniferjcamp.com

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RESCUE FROM SELF-CONTEMPT

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Her eyes are big, gentle and kind. Then she plays. Her fingers upon keys, her body dancing, her voice singing out. In her words, her glory–I glimpse the more that is here. But later she tells me she doesn’t see it. Her beauty. Her value.

She feels displaced, separate from the exquisiteness of her own soul. Even while she creates beauty, and is loved, so loved, here.

Our hearts can struggle to claim glory we can’t see.  Who we are–what we create, how we love–feels separate from the representation of ourselves most familiar: failure, weakness, isolation, lack of hope.

God, why do we feel displaced from our own selves, our own lives?

She asks me questions, and I listen and do my best to respond. About community. About connection. About offering one’s heart to trusting people. About how to be comfortable searching for our own self. And oh, how this can be so difficult to do.

Oh, girl, I know.

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When we have contempt for ourselves, we lose the self we may have fought, for so many years, to reclaim. Even after victory through surrender, freedom through fire, life through death. For self-contempt makes us not recognize our true selves. We don’t connect with the glory in the daughter God sees.

We seek God’s voice, but we feel detached from His words. We listen for Him, and we disbelieve what He says.

Self-contempt is a battle some of us fight daily. The beauty God sees in us we reject. This daughter God loves then feels like a vision. A specter of imagination. A dream. We don’t know her. We don’t trust her. And so we struggle to accept God’s love for her too.

Life? Freedom? Joy?

Come on soul, rise up. Rise up. You are forgetting who you are.

Sisters, let’s not stay here.

Come on soul, rise up. Remember who you are.

So, in the dark, we ask God to strip layers of doubt, of pain, of fear. In our loneliness, we ask God to show us His face. In His face, we find the daughter God loves. But how we do trust her? How do we love her? God, how do we end this feeling of displacement from our hearts? How do we live content, joy-filled, free?

I come to the weary places. I come to the desolate places. I bring light in darkness, song in silence, warmth in cold. How do you believe that I am good? How do you believe that I am here? How do you believe that I have more for you? How do you let me connect what is displaced, worn out, rejected, isolated, sad?

It is so simple, my dear one. Come to Me. It is not complicated, my shining one. Come close, I am right here. Time with Me cleanses you of sorrow. Time with Me heals your doubting, timid heart.

You are more than okay. I will teach you how to believe in what I see. I will teach you how to trust what I see, what I say, more than what you see and what you hear, on your own. Stay close to Me now. Chase me down. Let Me catch you. I want to catch you. So let yourself fall first. I’m right here. It won’t hurt, in my arms, when you fall.

Father, come. Your girl needs rescuing again.

Sister, how is your heart? Do you believe your Father adores you? Do you trust His character? Do you know the version of you that He knows? Is that someone you’d like to come to know more?

This post appeared originally at jenniferjcamp.com

 

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