Originally published Tuesday, 05 December 2017.

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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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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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! 

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