knowing God intimately: an interview with Kris Camealy

[vc_row column_padding=”3″][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_custom_heading text=”KNOWING GOD INTIMATELY: AN INTERVIEW WITH KRIS CAMEALY (AND A GIVEAWAY!)” font_container=”tag:h1|font_size:40|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][mk_dropcaps style=”fancy-style” size=”70″ background_color=”#ffffff” text_color=”#002360″]S[/mk_dropcaps][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1512082667485{margin-bottom: 0px !important;}”]he 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 communication, hospitality, 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.

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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!)[/vc_column_text][vc_row_inner css=”.vc_custom_1512071604272{background-color: #f9f9f9 !important;}”][vc_column_inner][vc_custom_heading text=”Win A copy of Come, Lord Jesus” font_container=”tag:h1|font_size:30|text_align:center|color:%23ffffff” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1512452818455{margin-bottom: 0px !important;}”]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! [/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_single_image image=”5628″ img_size=”500 x 700″ alignment=”center” css=”.vc_custom_1512069713777{padding-left: 85px !important;}”][vc_single_image image=”5625″ img_size=”450 x 450″ alignment=”center” css=”.vc_custom_1512069877155{margin-top: -400px !important;margin-left: -200px !important;padding-left: 60px !important;}”][vc_single_image image=”5590″ img_size=”600 x 900″ alignment=”center”][vc_single_image image=”5627″ img_size=”600 x 900″ alignment=”center”][vc_single_image image=”5637″ img_size=”600 x 900″ alignment=”center”][vc_single_image image=”5644″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_single_image image=”5641″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_single_image image=”5648″ img_size=”600 x 900″ alignment=”center” onclick=”custom_link” img_link_target=”_blank” link=””][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1485823148009{margin-right: 50px !important;margin-left: 50px !important;}”][vc_column][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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  • I feel like I have been waiting a long time. It is hard to not get discouraged when there is little or dare I say no communication from God. I would love to learn more how to connect with God as I miss Him. It was encouraging to know that we must seek different avenues to connect with God, and that some seasons will be harder to have this connection than other seasons. It gives me hope. 🙂

    • Hi Aaronne, Yes, these seasons where we feel far away from God–that He is not speaking–are difficult. It it beautiful, though, when we *realize* the silence, when we identify our yearning as our longing for connection with God. That is a beautiful start, as we can then seek Him and not try to fill that space in our heart with other things that will not satisfy. Listening to Him by reading scripture, trusting that Holy Spirit will speak through his living Word, draws us closer. And then we can keep waiting, expecting that He, is his love for us, will reveal Himself and help us to recognize Him in more places that He is. He is so close. Bless you as you wait on Him. I am grateful for you being here.

  • I enjoyed her complete interview, however, a part that stuck out to me was when she mentioned using words and imagery. Hard words. Words that aren’t in our everyday vocabulary. Words like sacrifice, surrender, submission and obedience. These are all words that are mentioned in scripture and so badly needed to be adhered to in today’s world.

    • Lesli, this is so good. And I so agree! I love how Kris here encourages us to claim the beauty in the hard, as God restores all, and brings light to any darkness. How He sees is so different than how we see. Thank you so much, Lesli!

  • I really liked the honesty/transparency about the things that can distract and how to get God back in focus – thru fasting, scheduling time and confirmations are so good for us!

  • I was so glad to hear that Kris doesn’t have a set time to pray / get in the Word. Every one I talk to say morning is best but my morning starts at 1am. So late afternoon or right before bed is best for me. I hear all the time about how I am going to have a bad day if it doesn’t start in the word!

    • Hi Stephanie, I love how you brought this up! Yes! Let’s not put boxes around when we pray to our Father. Let’s pursue Him and be creative with the opportunities He gives us, all the time, to spend time with Him. Thank you!

  • I enjoyed this interview very much. I sometimes find myself discouraged when I can’t find time first thing in the morning for my quiet time. So, hearing someone say it’s okay to do it at a different part of the day brings me peace.

  • I like what are said about during her imagination and images. These things really help me in my prayer time also. I also like that she talked about working everyday to grow and learn. It sounds like it’s not always easy for her which I can also relate to.

  • I too liked what was said about imagination in prayer. I hadn’t really thought too deeply about it, but I am a pretty visual person and think in pictures. It feels like a new tool in prayer – to pray also about the images that come to mind.

  • I have been going through a bit of a dry season, and so hearing Kris talk about intimacy with our Lord today, reminded me of lots of ways He has spoken to me in the past. So for me, her words are like a gentle breeze in my sails, blowing me closer to His heart. Thank you xx

  • Hello Jennifer – I love the simplicity with which you both speak. I use my art journal which I make up from pinterest images (feel free to have a look at my “Art Journaling” board. I then tune in while writing, dreaming and decorating it (or making for others with a prophetic stance to hear what Father has in mind for them). I mostly imagine myself sitting on Father’s lap, snuggling and twirling the long, curly white hair I find in His neck. I often see images in my mind, get inspirational nudges like the time I was inspired to buy a Feather Pin to put on my shirts (Father always nudges me about His nearness by dropping feathers in my path) and then He suggested I tap the pin to remind myself that He is present and always thinking good thoughts of me and those I bring to Him in prayer. Or I pay attention to when I am watching TV or my surroundings for images that He draws my attention to – then I sit quietly and wait for the interpretation to come to my Spirit (something like the prophetic voice I hear inside me). Many times I just sit quietly – no music and wait in peace – I imagine myself in a big conch shell that amplifies His voice that is open one side to heaven – a little like tuning in. Other times I hear His voice – He loves to ask me questions – recently He said this: “have you ever considered that your mom is not all-knowing”. this blew my mind as I did not realize that I was believing this lie. So many times the Holy Spirit just infuses me with joy and my spirit soars with worship and I dance with Jesus. Praying in tongues is an absolute treasure to find rest. Most often Scripture becomes my prayer and undergirding – these are Words I write down on flash-cards, my journal and on my office wall from Pinterest Pins I print. I love the way God is full of surprises and creativity. It is totally delightful to walk with God these ways. Love to you all! Lizann

  • Her words about prayer and spirit. I too am trying to hear Father . I believe if I continue to read and re-read I will learn more and will stay in a better place to be able to listen better— away from the “social” media pulls and the like. Certainly the images she speaks of are helpful too. Love my mornings with quiet -Bible in hand- a comfy blanket- and 2 pups happily atop. Thank- you!

  • I enjoyed Kris’s description of discernment. It is difficult to know what is God’s will versus what I think is the right direction or what others might think. I long to clearly hear God’s voice and follow. I loved how Kris said that others sometimes confirm the whispers in her heart. I will try to pay closer attention.

  • I loved what Kris shared about “hard” words bringing joy + hope. I too fund that my most intimate connection with God (hence, all my joy + hope) comes through things like surrender, sacrifice + refining. For years, I avoided those words + the state of being that they refer to, thinking that they meant pain + suffering. I have since learned that, though there is usually discomfort in walking the edge of my flesh/soul + spirit, this is where miracles live for me. It is in the “less of me, more of you, God” that I find the woman He created me to be, and in that find all the joy I could ever ask for.

  • There are so many ways in which this interview spoke to me. Ironically, but not really, i had just had a conversation with my girls at the dinner table about how i question if God is really speaking to me sometimes, so I pray and ask for other affirmations. Which He always sends in repetitive scriptures or devotional or even within interviews such as this. :)! Another clear way He provides , I was scanning the web for about 2 weeks to find a book to purchase for a church I’m helping launch for Advent!!!!! I need it by Sunday and BAM, here it is! Thank you! I already purchased the kindle version to see if it would be a good fit for what i need and it will! So the problem is I need it by Sunday and Amazon’s fastest is Monday. I need 50-60 copies. Is Amazon only way to order or would any local stores have it? I’m in Baton Rouge, LA. So, as you can see God answers, I just have to be quiet and aware enough to hear and see. I can’t ask and not be willing or prepared for the response. Thank you for both for all you do and pouring your your wisdom into us! ❤️

  • I like Kris’ hard words. I want to surrender daily so that I can find His joy and the hope that He brings. I must sacrifice my wants daily so that He can supply my needs.

  • I too resonate with the images.
    I often see images in nature that I don’t understand or know why.
    I will be more concious to pray about these.
    Also to be more aware of confirmation of God’s voice.

  • Navigating thru a minor but tedious and long medical issue, and reflecting on how God was blessing me in astounding ways the weeks that led up to this season. So much so, it actually frightened me. FASTING will now be a more regular part of my love relationship (discipline ❤) ….. DON’T WE LOVE H I M ❤

    Thank you, Jennifer, ❤U so ….. and Thank you, Kristen ….. !

  • I love what she has to say here about hearing God’s voice, it is truly something I struggle with so much. I know that He doesn’t often speak to people audibly, so I don’t expect that, but I love what Kris shared about images and picturing yourself in God’s presence!

  • “I believe that discernment comes through prayer, and through spending enough time with God that you know Him intimately.”

    I love this. What a good reminder! It’s too easy to go through mydays and say my usual prayers, but it’s about more than that. Knowing God intimately is something my heart desires, but something I need to constantly work on in this busy life!

  • I truly enjoyed the entire interview and can relate in many ways. I especially like her imagination as she prays about her dreams as I To am a dreamer and have had visions. I have also started writing mine down as soon as I wake up so I can remember every detail while it’s fresh on my mind. So this will help me as I go back back and talk to The Lord about these to use my imagination also. Thanks Kris for for your interview, so much information in here will be helpful to SOO many. God Bless you and your family as you continue following The Lord.

  • I love how Kris uses imagery with words. I need to apply this when I am sitting alone in prayer and waiting for God’s voice. I love spending quite times with our Lord. My passion is to pray for others. When I do God gives me a scripture verse or tells me as I’m praying that I should also pray for something else in a person I’m praying for.

  • I really loved the part about the imagery of prayer! The absolute GREATEST times Ive had in the Lords presence are the times where Im praying and a metaphor just pops into my head of what Im praying about…it makes it all sooo much more real!

  • Love and appreciate both of you, Kris and Jennifer. Thanks for reminders about fasting and imagination. As I read this interview, the whisper I heard in my spirit was, “come away to a deserted place”. Watching and waiting for confirmation. Jennifer, I would love to hear (read) this interview with yourself. 🙂

  • It’s refreshing and encouraging to see a sister who loves the Lord! It’s encouraging to see a light shining bright in this dark world. Prayer & fasting, amen! There are no shortcuts in growth and development. Praise God He is always at work.

    • Yes, I so agree! And Eva-Marie, I am delighted to tell you that you won the giveaway! (Random, pick-name-out-of-a-hat and trust God situation!) Yay! I will be emailing you, asking for your mailing address! Thank you so much for entering the giveaway!

  • Hearing the voice of God …through His Word and the confirming words of people in my life….this rings true to me and also in the stillness and quiet.

  • I love it when you say to use your imagination, I would love to be in the presence of Jesus and know He is there, and use my imagination than.
    I find it hard, but thank you for your sharing. I will do my utmost to find Him there and I can use my imagination to see only Him.
    Love your ministry. Jannie Ensing

  • I really appreciated what Was said about gravitating towards hard words, so counter cultural but so true. Thanks,

  • I have felt so lost and distant from God for several years now and can’t seem to find my way back to Him. These words were an encouragement to me to press in and push forward in new and different ways . Blessings to all during this most Holy of seasons!

  • I was most encouraged by the fact that she acknowledged the feeling of overwhelm being an obstacle to intimacy with God. I have struggled with this and anxiety for a while and it has really made it hard to connect with God at times.

  • Learning to discern God’s voice, to hear His gentle nudging to guide and direct our steps, is what caught my attention. There are so many things that try and hinder me, as I strive for a closer walk with the Lord. Thank you for sharing these insights.