TUNING INTO GOD: AN INTERVIEW WITH KRISTEN KLUDT (AND A GIVEAWAY!)

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he texts me before her trip to the Santa Cruz Mountains, a grove of beauty and respite where she’ll lead women in hearing the voice of God.

I am going right through your town on Friday! Do you have time for coffee?

I adore her heart, her quiet boldness in leaning with Holy Spirit, the exquisite vulnerability and strength she offers when she paints and teaches and writes.

Yes! Absolutely! I can’t wait!

It is the first time we meet in person, after reading each other’s books and texting and chatting on the phone. And ever since, I’ve wanted you to meet her too.

For our Voices series, where we share our thoughts on worship, imagination, and listening for God, here is my interview with author of A Good Way Through: My Journey with God from Disappointment into Hope, Kristen Kludt.

At the end of the interview, join in the conversation by leaving a blog comment for Kristen, and you’ll be entered to win a copy of her beautiful new book, A Good Way Through.

Here is my interview with Kristen:

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

My favorite thing to do with God daily is to sit on my front porch with a book, my Bible, my journal, some art supplies and a cup of tea. The ritual of drinking tea calms me and grounds me—it gives me something warm to hold in my hands as I center myself. I read a few verses and a page or two from a book. Then, I respond in some way through art. Usually I’ll write out a word or phrase from something I’ve read, then use markers or watercolors to doodle around it as a kind of meditative prayer.

The only way I can fit this into my day is by committing to spend the first 15 minutes of my sons’ afternoon nap/rest time with God. (I am a full-time stay-at-home parent.) While my one year old sleeps and my four year old plays quietly in his room, I do this first—in spite of waiting emails and dirty dishes. Otherwise I miss the chance.

About once a week, I write a letter to one of a couple of friends who live far away. I find that doing so helps me to reflect more deeply on the ways God is moving in my life. It’s become a deeply spiritual practice.

And there are the margins of my day. How can I turn my heart toward God in the in-between moments? I have a few verses that I pray throughout the day at different times. They began as a discipline and have become a habit, especially when I wake in the middle of the night.

  • What obstacles distract you from getting into God’s presence—and what is your favorite way to pull yourself back?

Technology definitely distracts me. It’s easy for me to pull out my phone and scroll through social media posts in the margin moments of my days. I do it without thinking. So, I’ve set some boundaries on my phone. I keep it in the kitchen, not in my pocket. I take one day off of social media and email every week. I put away my phone by 9pm.

  • How would you define God’s “voice”? Do you think it is possible for everyone to hear Him?

I do think it’s possible for everyone to hear God. I suspect that God’s “voice” sounds a little bit different to everyone. God speaks to me most often in the language of metaphor—a perfect language for a poet like me. Sometimes when I pray an image comes to my mind, and oftentimes its meaning will grow and shift over the course of weeks as I meditate on it.

I think God also speaks in convergence. Sometimes I’ll hear a similar message in multiple places: a conversation with a friend, a blog post somewhere, a verse I read, a song I hear. When I notice a repeated theme, I pay attention.

  • 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?

One important piece is to regularly turn down the noise. I hear God best when I regularly take time in silence to tune my ears to the frequency at which God speaks. Interestingly, I don’t always hear God in this time of silence—sometimes it’s later in my day, in the middle of a task or a conversation, but I would have missed it if I hadn’t already turned my attention toward God.

It’s also important to take what you hear and hold it to the truths you know about God. If what you hear is unkind, unloving, or cruel (as my own self-talk too often is), it probably isn’t God talking. If what you hear is kind, loving, and full of grace, and if it aligns with what you know to be true about God from scripture, chances are it’s God’s voice. And perhaps it doesn’t always matter if good, true, loving words are “really from God” as opposed to out of my own mind—telling the voice of the Spirit from the mind of the Spirit-filled Jesus-follower is, perhaps, an unnecessary distinction. God can be subtle and speaks in many ways.

  • 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.

My imagination certainly plays a role in listening. I try to still my heart and mind, and sometimes it’s hard to do so. One of the best ways I’ve found is to imagine myself in a place with God: sitting in a meadow or by a stream. Imagining the details of such a place—the kind of place I naturally feel God’s presence—helps the distracting thoughts fall aside. I think my own imagination and God’s voice begin to intermingle in a lovely sort of communion.

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

Right now The Listening Day by Paul J. Pastor is my front porch companion and Burn This As a Light, an album by Tom Wuest, is my soundtrack—simple melodies and words that riff on a Bible verse or two. Other favorites are The Artist’s Rule by Christine Valters Paintner and Night Visions (an Advent devotional) by Jan Richardson. Poems by Wendell Berry, Mary Oliver, and Rainer Maria Rilke all also shape my own writing and reflection.

Thank you so much, Kristen.

Kristen Leigh Kludt is a contemplative Christian writer and spiritual guide. Her first book, A Good Way Through: My Journey with God from Disappointment into Hope, released in February. Mother to two boys, she lives, works, and plays in San Francisco’s East Bay, where her husband is a pastor. She is growing daily toward a life of integrity and love and invites others to do likewise. Read more or say hello at KristenLeighKludt.com

WIN A COPY OF A GOOD WAY THROUGH!

Enter to win a copy of Kristen’s beautiful book, A Good Way Through. To enter, simply leave a blog comment, sharing one thing Kristen said that resonated with you or influenced how you think about worshipping God. The winner (by random drawing) will be notified on Monday, October 16,

  • Unfortunately, due to shipping cost restrictions, the contest is open to only U.S. residents.

UPDATE: CONGRATULATIONS TO MARIAN HINDALL FOR WINNING THE GIVEAWAY! THANK YOU SO MUCH, EVERYONE, FOR ENTERING!

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Showing 63 comments
  • Laura Sharp
    Reply

    I loved hearing that she prays scripture throughout her day and how they have become a habit for her! What an excellent habit to have! I would love to implement this into my life as well, since I don’t think there is a way to be closer to God and what He says by reading and meditating on His word!

    • Jennifer Camp
      Reply

      Hi Laura! I love how this choice of turning to His word becomes a habit. So encouraging and beautiful.

    • Sandie Heckman
      Reply

      Wow I adore this and your love of God. I love when He sends multiple messages through people, it stops me in my tracks.
      I too spend time on my porch, as a matter of fact I’m here right now. It’s evening and the crickets are amping up their tune to God. I hear Him speak in audible tones. I also notice a multitude of colors that reasonate His love during the day. His love comes through in so many ways, it’s like a potpourri of miracles everyday.
      Thank you for sharing your story of how you meditate in quiet moments – I’m switching from coffee to tea for a bit – I want to slow things down and savor our Lord. Selah

    • Judy Graham
      Reply

      “One important piece is to regularly turn down the noise. I hear God best when I regularly take time in silence to tune my ears to the frequency at which God speaks. ”
      I am learning to do this also. There is so much noise all around. So many voices clambering for my attention. I find rest when I am still and know that he is God.

    • Lisa Younger
      Reply

      Yes what caught my eye was that when you have those moments of silence with God…..that he does not always speak. Usually it comes much later afterwards. That is my experience as well.

    • April Cornett
      Reply

      What I gathered and took away was taking 15 minutes to connect with God. I am a new stay at home mom and have struggled with sadness, loss, anxiety, and my health. I can remember a time in my life when I was seeking God daily I felt strong, happy and content and not lost. Trying to find myself by seeking God is what I plan to do

  • Tammy L Mashburn
    Reply

    “My imagination certainly plays a role in listening. I try to still my heart and mind, and sometimes it’s hard to do so. One of the best ways I’ve found is to imagine myself in a place with God: sitting in a meadow or by a stream. ”
    I would love to win this book!

    • Jennifer Camp
      Reply

      Hi Tammy! I love the role of imagination in being in God’s presence, too. Thank you so much for sharing what you loved here.

  • Tammy Dobson
    Reply

    Kristen’s statement that she does believe everyone hears God’s voice:) and that God also speaks in convergence. Wow! I think sometimes maybe I am making it harder than it is to hear God’s voice, especially when I read Kristen’s statements . I strive daily to Hear God’s Voice. I’m going through a lot of changes at once in life and clinging to God , HIs promises and waiting His guidance.
    Smiles & Prayers!
    Tammy

    • Jennifer Camp
      Reply

      Bless you, Tammy, as you lean in, believing He is speaking to you!

  • Liz
    Reply

    As I struggle daily with beating myself up inside, I reach to God and beg for him to speak into me. I am a people pleaser so I put everyone else ahead of me and in this case God also. I need and want so badly to put God first. To drown out all of the outside interferences and to lean into the one that I know will heal me inside. I want to rest in him, in his loving arms.

    • Jennifer Camp
      Reply

      Liz, this is so good and so important. Healing begins here, in this place of desperation and surrender. Praying now that He helps you stay in this place–looking for and waiting on Him. Make it very practical. Do one thing every day where all else is stripped away so you can spend time with Him, in whatever activity you feel He has made you to enjoy. What do you love to do? How can you look for Hm in that particular situation, in that activity? In the way you are uniquely made is the way you will most easily hear Him speak.

  • Sarah Glass
    Reply

    I love how she talked about not trying to completely make her mind blank when talking with God, but instead using her imagination to create a space to invite God into.

    • Jennifer Camp
      Reply

      Hi Sarah! Yes, using our imaginations! That is so the best!

  • Anjanette Bender
    Reply

    I love this – “One of the best ways I’ve found is to imagine myself in a place with God: sitting in a meadow or by a stream.” I love that her whole post was full of peace.

  • Michelle O
    Reply

    “When I notice a repeated theme, I pay attention” is what spoke to me …. looking daily towards his gates ….

  • Sue Cox
    Reply

    All of the above comments are good and thought provoking. I also like Kristen’s comment that whilst she did have quiet times, God didn’t always speak to her during those times – but also during conversations or whilst she was doing a task. I’m going to see if I can imagine God with me by the sea where we live.

    • Jennifer Camp
      Reply

      Hi Sue, that sounds wonderful and perfect! Bless you as you look for Him. Trust you mind and your heart. How He delights in time with you!

  • Laura
    Reply

    For the longest time, I thought I was supposed to hear an audible voice from God. Then, I began to realize common themes in scriptures or scriptures were backed by readings and blogs or sermons. Once I figured out this is how he speaks to me, I began to pay attention to everything. It can come in the form of lyrics in a song, titles of books, or poetry, God is creative! I get up early and pray, I love watching the sunrise! Makes for a good start to the day! Wishing you all a FANTASTIC week! (There are so many special prayer requests right now, but how about the fireman and rescue workers in CA. They need large rainfall to help put the fires out!). Love you ❤️

    • Jennifer Camp
      Reply

      Hi Laura, Yes, God is creative! I love how you look for Him, expecting Him. That is beautiful. And yes, I am praying with you for rain. Thank you.

  • Cheryl Pierson
    Reply

    What spoke to me is how she imagines herself sitting with God in a meadow or by a stream. I am going to try this to still my heart and mind and be present with God.

    • Jennifer Camp
      Reply

      Cheryl, that is wonderful! I pray the Father blesses you in abundance as you look for Him!

  • Donna Torrado
    Reply

    What resonated with me was when Kristin said “Interestingly, I don’t always hear God in this time of silence—sometimes it’s later in my day, in the middle of a task or a conversation, but I would have missed it if I hadn’t already turned my attention toward God.”. I have found this to be so true in my life. Having been unemployed for 10 months and just being blessed with a job I now need to create a schedule that will still allow me my God time and be ready for work and home. I felt I wasn’t alone in this and am grateful for the reminder.

    • Jennifer Camp
      Reply

      Hi Donna, Yes, I love this reminder too. And I pray for energy and creativity and expectation in you as you discover and choose opportunities to be attentive to Him.

  • Suzanne
    Reply

    Beautiful devotional! Would love to journey through her book. God bless!

    • Jennifer Camp
      Reply

      Hi Suzanne, Yes, I think you would love Kristen’s beautiful and wise and practical book.

  • Sophia DeLonghi
    Reply

    The thing that Kristen said that most resonated with me is how she takes a day off technology! I also love how she sets the time to spend with the Lord and listens with intention, and even if she doesn’t hear anything right then, she is listening throughout the day for the Lord to speak in different ways. A great interview! Thank you for so many insights.

    • Jennifer Camp
      Reply

      Hi Sophia, Yes, I so appreciate Kristen’s wisdom and her intentional pursuit of the God who endlessly loves!

  • Ruth-Anne Hayes
    Reply

    “God speaks in convergence.” This speaking is so strong in my life currently. I call them breadcrumbs and I gather them like manna. God is on the move and this is a powerful communication, keeping me present in the moment.
    I am intrigued by “telling the voice of the Spirit from the mind of the Spirit-filled Jesus-follower is, perhaps, an unnecessary distinction.” I will be mulling this one for quite some time.
    Thank you for the opportunity to enter the book drawing.

    • Jennifer Camp
      Reply

      Hi Ruth-Anne,

      Yes, this is such a good point. The reality of the Holy Spirit living in us gives us seemingly limitless opportunities to engage with God and his love–and pursue His wisdom as we engage with other believers. And, in doing that, we get to practice trusting the Holy Spirit in us, helping us discern what is His truth, and what is not.

  • Jody
    Reply

    Putting away social media!!! I don’t stay on it maybe as much as Some but it is still a draw away. It was encouraging to hear another person say they have to make it a point, make a decision to put it aside for a time. That also spending that time frame witha book, tea, her bible and sketch pad. I always seem to think it has to be one or the other. I need to make more effort at tuning worldly entertainment out and seeking time with my Savior!

    • Jennifer Camp
      Reply

      Hi Jody, He loves to romance us. Bless you as you appreciate and enter in, even more, to His pursuing of you!

  • Flip
    Reply

    Just lovely. I used to feel there was something wrong with me because I couldn’t “hear” the voice of God (when so many could). It took a while but I finally realized that God does indeed speak to me, through convergence, just like Kristen mentioned. I might hear it in a song, see it written down, on TV, a billboard, a meme, through a loved one or even a stranger. I am grateful for His loving kindness and His grace. <3

  • Kim Eberwein
    Reply

    I love that she shared, “We all hear God’s voice, just in different ways”! This is so true! He created us, so He knows exactly how to speak to us. I can’t wait to purchase this book. Thank you for sharing

    • Jennifer Camp
      Reply

      Hi Kim, Bless you as you appreciate your own uniqueness and how God uniquely connects with you!

  • Deitra Shoemaker
    Reply

    I found her suggestion to envision a place where you feel God’s presence as an beginning of listening to God a great new idea for me to try. Loved this interview…great questions with thought provoking answers.

    • Jennifer Camp
      Reply

      Hi Deitra, That is such a beautiful invitation, isn’t it? I loved it too. I love seeing you here! Thank you!

  • Rochelle
    Reply

    “I read a few verses and a page or two from a book. Then, I respond in some way through art. Usually I’ll write out a word or phrase from something I’ve read, then use markers or watercolors to doodle around it as a kind of meditative prayer.”
    I LOVE this, I haven’t done this, but, I think this would be such a great inspiration to look back upon the inspirational verse{s}, for a particular day, to give guidance and reminders through some other more challenging days. And, I love how she mediatates on that verse/the topic which most inspired her.
    Thanks, Kristen & Jennifer for sharing!!
    God Bless you both!

    • Jennifer Camp
      Reply

      Hi Rochelle, Thank you! Bless you as you spend time with Him today!

  • Sherri Neeley
    Reply

    loved the comment about convergence – I too think God so often speaks to us in this manner. As a friend says- it’s a God incidence, not a coincidence. We definitely need to pay attention when it happens, God is reinforcing the message!

  • Carol Horton
    Reply

    I like the fact that, like all of us, technology tries to get in her way and that she has a set place to put it. Not in her pocket, like a lot of us do, but in the kitchen. Also that at 9 PM, she doesn’t use it anymore.

    Also that God’s voice to her is in different things. Something someone says to her, or a song she hears. That’s how I hear God, too.

  • Marsha Guthrie
    Reply

    As a baby Christian, I thought that if I listened hard enough I’d hear God’s voice directly speaking to me. God does indeed speak to different people in different ways but I’ve come to realize that He also speaks to an individual in different ways! The most profound experience I’ve had hearing God speak to me was through plants pushing up out of the ground the spring following my son’s passing. After that I began to hear His whispers via email, a friend, and so many unexpected ways. Regardless of how He speaks, I always feel God filling me with the Holy Spirit.

  • Laura
    Reply

    I often feel that I don’t ‘hear’ God yet I feel Him, especially in nature. So, I loved how Kristen shared imagining yourself sitting and talk with God somewhere outside where you usually experience him. I will picture me with my Lord in a new way now! Thanks for your inspiration.

  • Momo
    Reply

    I loved this interview…I can definitely relate to giving myself boundaries when it comes to my phone. The first fingers go to is my social media apps. So now I’m intentionally fasting from social media here and there just so I don’t get pulled in to the worldly things.

    I love seeking God out to hear His voice. It’s something about offering Him my first breath (His Grace) when I wake up that just helps me understand that He will be with me through out the day no matter what my circumstances.
    I have set a daily prayer time to meet with him at 5:30 am. My body sometimes naturally wakes up a few minutes before the alarm goes off because it knows it’s time for that quality time with my father. It’s in these moments that I surrender to Him and tell Him “Have Your Way Lord.”

    Great interview Jenn. Thank you for sharing. You are both wonderful God fearing women, and may He bless you abundantly.

  • Heather Sibinski
    Reply

    Thank you for touching on imagination!
    I love activating my imagination during my time with God. I feel it’s an important part of our walk with God that we fail to attend to as adults. I think we use our imagination regularly for fear without even realizing it (thinking about what terrible thing might happen, what could happen) but we forget the importance of surrendering our imagination to God. It sounds silly to “day dream” with God, but I think He meets us in our imagination, past words and the tangible—He meets is in places only the heart can recognize when it is tender. Like a child. Full of wonder and imagination.

  • Heather Sibinski
    Reply

    Sorry! I misspelled the link to my blog in the last comment. (So embarrassing.)

  • Priscilla Kramer
    Reply

    When I was a little girl, I had a very vivid and wild imagination. Over the years, I have sadly lost most of it. Lately I have been working on getting it back. I started with praying for God’s help, and then was encouraged by a friend that I needed to stop praying, because God had heard me, and to start declaring things over myself. I have seen Jesus twice now! I know that as I continue to pursue Him, it will come easier. Thank you for your encouragement in this area of my life. I look forward to reading your book. Blessings to you and your family.

  • Lori
    Reply

    I enjoyed this interview so much. I relate in trying to make the time to spend with Him. Between being a Mom, grandmother, wife and Daycare Provider it is almost impossible to get a quiet moment other than when I finally crawl into bed. By then I am so tired I can’t keep my eyes opened. I think for me spending quiet time is going to be getting up earlier, before the day begins and give God the first part of everyday.

  • Peggy
    Reply

    Oh my … all of Kristen’s thoughts resonate with me and yours too in this week’s LOOP email “You stand because I stand” (which is how I came to your blog looking for that here so I could comment on how that was/is the perfect Word for me this week and season of my life!)

    You share this on my 63rd bday and all I can say is I so needed these words as I received to heavy news on thisbday that my SIL (x to my brother but not to me) had a massive heart attack so my niece and nephew will be spreading her ashes this weekend AND a dear online blogging friend who has suffered so long from diabetes, heart stroke and so much more was unresponsive and now brain dead, waiting for her loved ones to let her go or maybe herself to give herself permission to rest in Jesus … so as I read about Kristen’s full book title, I sensed God tell me, perhaps this book will give you hope in what you say you believe and you can rejoice in my Word and truth “to stand” … so heart be still, if this is God’s will – trust Him with the “why this happens” and hear what His Voice is speaking to your heart through these sisters in Christ.

    So bless you both as you continue to minister and touch hearts from God’s heart ❤️ and Word! Love you and thanks for your words helping me through a difficult season and week- look so forward to every breath and Loop❣️

  • Missy Langford
    Reply

    I loved the way she put the concept of convergence into words as well as her daily prying scripture. I’m curious about what scriptures she uses throughout the day and why.

  • Marian Hindall
    Reply

    I agree with Kristen about setting some time aside with God. I read my Bible and devotions, pray and journal when I first wake up in the morning. I find if I don’t, it throws my whole day off.

    God has spoken to me when I’m praying or even in HIS word. When that happens, it’s usually when I’m praying for someone and HE’LL tell me to pray for this instead of what I was praying for.

    I would love to win a copy of Kristen’s book. Being a widow of almost 3 years, I feel I would gain a lot from her book in my walk on this new journey in my life.

    • Jennifer Camp
      Reply

      Marian, you won the giveaway! I will be emailing you for our address! Congratulations! And thank you so very much for sharing your heart here. So grateful. Bless you.

  • Rosena M Newman
    Reply

    “If what you hear is unkind, unloving, or cruel (as my own self-talk too often is), it probably isn’t God talking. If what you hear is kind, loving, and full of grace, and if it aligns with what you know to be true about God from scripture, chances are it’s God’s voice.”

    I 1000000% agree with this and I need to practice this much more in my life. Ever since a person is young their voices come from parents and peers who don’t know what’s Godly all of the time. Our adolescence shapes us more than any other time of life. Not only do we need to learn Gods voice but we need to remember that the devil lies to us. We need to know the difference in order to keep staying on the Lords path. Our kids need to be taught these truths as well so that even though schoolmates are apart of their lives, God the only one who never changes and can always be trusted. His way is the way we should follow. His voice we should follow.

    -Rosena

  • kristina
    Reply

    I had heard so many people say God spoke to me and I would set and wait and wait but I he wouldn’t speak to me or so I thought because I never heard his voice I thought why cant I hear from you Lord then he spoke to my heart and when he did I was so afraid he told me to move to phoenix I’m a small town girl and know no one in phoenix this cant be God so after asking for sign after sign and writing them off as coincidence I said Lord if this is you I need you to let me know for sure without a shadow of a doubt he sent me to Acts 27 and what did I see Phoenix twice Im like ok if its your will make away and he did just that…… “God can be subtle and speaks in many ways.”

  • Vicki
    Reply

    I love how she mentions repetition. I have often said God spraks to me through repetition because He knows He has to – I’ll never get it any other way! 🙂 What I particularly love about this method is that even some coworkers have become accustomed to the way it operates in my life, and will call my attention to any theme they see repeated. It helps me see God in an environment I may otherwise struggle to be aware of Him.

  • Joann Martin
    Reply

    I loved the part about Convergence and I have experienced this. Sometimes I will be studying something in the Bible and then hear a song on the radio that reflects that same thought or my Pastor quoting from the same verse. It’s awesome when this happens!

  • Theresa
    Reply

    I found the ways in which she shared about how she takes time for the Lord, very refreshing and a challenge for me to start doing this in my own life. Right now I am trying to do some christian meditations on line and just be quiet and still before God. I too find that my mind can wander and I can get distracted easily. I think it is so neat how she uses art to express her joy and gratitude to God.

  • Cindy Glynn
    Reply

    Hi! I loved how that Kristen said that she pays attention when there is a repeated and He is speaking in different ways and places saying the same message. He is always talking to me this way and I love how personal it is when He does. He also speaks to me by answering me right back even if I don’t ask Him; if I just think the thought and I open the word or see something right away somewhere else like fb, or a t-shirt, or bumper sticker, that answers my thought. It amazes me! Thanks for letting me share. I would love to win this book. Jennifer, I also love your fb posts on the loop.

  • Carmen
    Reply

    I love how she reads a few verses and then gives herself time to reflect on what the Word says – processing it through art! What a great way to use God-given gifts to strength her knowledge and keep focused.

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