About the Author

Karina Allen is devoted to helping women live out their unique calling and building authentic community through the practical application of Scripture in an approachable, winsome manner.

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  1. Great reminder that we were created for community — in the image of a relational God. But I especially appreciate your leading by example in showing us that there are seasons of friendship, and that we can survive the hard times by acting in grace seasoned by wisdom.

  2. Karina,
    What an accurate summation of all the ups and downs of friendship. The one thing I’ve really learned is that friendship takes work on my part and that some point, my friends will let met down. Just like I am human….they are human and we do human selfish things that in turn hurt our friendships. I’ve been on the receiving end and I’m sure I’ve been on the giving end. I’ve also tried to really shift my attitude from assuming incorrectly…Example: If I haven’t heard from a friend for a while, I start to think, “Oh she’s too busy for me…having fun with other friends….I don’t matter….blah,blah,blah.” When in reality she may be going through a hard time herself and need a friendly shoulder to cry or lean on. I have also had to end a toxic friendship. This was hard and I prayed a long time about it. But, God does not put us in friendships to be taken advantage of, manipulated, and bullied. If that is the case, after much prayer, I learned that it is okay to distance one’s self for our own mental preservation or at the very least set firm boundaries. I could use prayers just that I would be a friend who assumes the best about my friends. Thanks Karina….good stuff…and of course I love when you start with y’all 🙂
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    • Beautifully written! I would love for you to pray for me to find a Christian friend as honest and loving as you. Thanks you

      • Celia,
        Lifting you up in prayer right now for the desires of your heart to have a good friend…..continue to be Christ to others and I know He will honor the desires of your heart and put someone worthy in your path.
        Love and prayers,
        Bev xx

      • Celia,

        Praying for God to bring you a great Christian friend. May He put you in the path of the the right person. He will honor the desires of your heart we were made for community.

        (((((Hugs)))))

    • Bev, “y’all” is real word! Ha! Thank you SO much for all of your insight. SO true!!!

      Father, continue to mold Bev’s heart to make it more like Yours. You are kind and gracious and forgiving. You believe the best in us and for us. Give her eyes to see others the way you see us. You are faithful! We trust You to surround us with life giving friendships that honor You and encourage us. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

    • Hello Bev,

      I had an experience really similar to yours, in which I had to end a toxic friendship. A lot this woman’s behaviors echoed what you had to endure, and I agree with you that for our own peace we have to put rivers and canyons between us and those who take us for granted. I do pray for this woman, because she needs prayer. The events which led up to ending our friendship opened my eyes to how I don’t want to be treated, or to treat others in return( as you mentioned, setting boundaries) but it also made me realize, sadly, that this woman was never really my friend. Thank you for sharing your experiences and insights.

      • Dee,
        I share your pain…it’s sad when supposed “friend”ships come to this, but like you said…were they truly a friend to begin with?? It’s a shame this thing has to happen and it was so hard for me, but like you, I still pray for her, but at a distance. God has given me a peace so I feel like it was the right and good thing to do. You can only sacrifice yourself so long….
        Blessings and have a good weekend,
        Bev 🙂

      • Dee,

        God will honor you for praying for your friend. It is disgraceful that this happens to Christians & even in the church. Praying for you sweet sister!! May God delight in you & give you the desires of your heart!

        (((((Hugs)))))

  3. Dear Karina,
    Boy, did I need to hear this message this morning! I do need prayer, Lord knows… I have a friend, as a matter of fact we are so close we are sister in laws, but she in introduced me to my now deceased husband 27 years ago. We have always been close, through the thick and thin of of it all but she’s a very jealous and selfish woman..
    I’ve always remained close to the family in light of my husbands passing, and the family has accepted me as their daughter. My friend thinks I am “taking” her mother from her..Always jealous jealous of the our relationship. I have helped her in times of need, given her money whenever she asked, paid her bills, left relationships for her to help her and yet she doesn’t have the time to pick up the phone and call or send a text. It doesn’t end there. She lives in the same house with my her mother and bed ridden father. When my mother in law needed knee replacement surgery, they called me to come to help with dad because she “works ” full time. Without hesitation I dropped everything and went down and was there for almost 2 months.
    Mind you, in that time I barely saw my ” friend” as she sat in her room when she was done from work, while I took care of dad, the cooking, the cleaning, the day to day visitation with mom and then caregiving of two bedridden parents once she came home. Long story long… I have decided to end a 33 year friendship because of selfishness, greed, in compassionate behavior and general self loathing. How can someone that came from such a fine Christian, loving family be so cold hearted and hateful? Please I need your prayers and so does she. Thank you for listening…

    • Maggie, that’s hard and exhausting! It’s a hard lesson to learn that we can’t control anyone’s behavior. All we can do is make sure that our heart and motives are right.

      Jesus, be near Maggie in this difficult season. Continue to heal and comfort her as she may be still grieving. Be her joy and strength. Protect her heart and mind from any scheme of the enemy. Give her discernment about if and when a relationship is toxic and needs to end. Guide her motives and speech. Let every word be from You. May she lay everything at Your feet and trust You with the outcome. Be her peace and strong tower. You never fail.
      In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

      • Dearest Karina,
        Thank you so much for your prayer on this heavy heart. It was much needed. I grieve heavily for the loss of a spouse and now a dear friend. I pray that God will open her eyes as well as her heart, before it’s too late. Blessings to all sisters in Christ!

    • Maggie,

      That is probably the hardest thing to do is care for someone & not be given a thank you from the family. Jealousy is the evil green monster from the evil one. He doesn’t want friendships to last. Praying for you sweet sister.

      Jesus, be near Maggie & comfort her. Bring a peace to her weary heart & soul. Giver her discernment about the schemes of the enemy. I pray she can trust you fully & allow you to do a work in her and her friend. May the words of her mouth & the meditations of her heart be acceptable to you. Guide her steps and words. Bless her for helping her in-laws.

      (((((Hugs)))))

      • Dearest Sister Beth,
        Thank you so much for keeping me in prayer. This has broken my heart in so many ways. I am so thankful for the outpouring of support and kindness at this time. I know deep down inside what needs to be done. The sad thing is I bought her the book Never Unfriended by Lisa Jo Baker, and I don’t believe she ever took the time to even read it. I guess even that subtle hint wasn’t enough.
        Well, I pray the Lord will give me the strength, courage and correct words to say so that the Evil one doesn’t take over my mouth!
        Thank you again blessed sister for your prayer. May his Peace be upon you today and everyday!

  4. How did you know my story??! I had to take a step back from a dear friendship awhile back, too. It was costing me dearly in a season where I was hurting from my own grief (and needed healing before I could be the sister to her I needed to be). As hard as that decision was, we’re closer now than we were then! But I questioned myself just yesterday and asked to talk to her today to apologize. I’m feeling sick to my stomach wishing I’d left things alone instead of acting impulsively on emotion. Will you please pray God fixes things??? SO appreciate any prayer you can spare. Karina, I so needed your post today. I’d never heard of others taking a break in a friendship and God knew I needed to hear your story today. Big blessings to you, sister!!!

    • Pearl! I LOVE it when the Holy Spirit does that! He is so faithful to speak a Rhema word to us in His perfect timing!!!

      Father, You are good and faithful! We trust You with all things. You know the times and seasons. You know what is for our good and Your glory. I thank You for creating in Pearl a heart for reconciliation and restoration. It is Your heart. Jesus, make a way where there is no way. Make crooked paths straight. Go before her and soften her friend’s heart. I speak peace to their conversation. Overwhelm them both with healing and love. There is no shame and condemnation in You, only grace. You work all things together for our good. May Pearl trust You to move and work as only You can do. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

      • Oh Karina! God worked it out! The conversation wasn’t bad at all — in fact, I guess I’d already apologized for what I felt bad about and didn’t remember! Lol Our friendship is still strong. SO thankful for you, Karina, your prayers, your encouragement and for God’s timing and amazing grace!!!

  5. Hi Karina
    this was really honest and helpful – thanks!
    I love how you allow yourself space to be who God created you to be, and not bear burdens
    unnecessarily when Jesus is our main burden bearer. Thanks for this reminder. I would love you to
    pray for me to be the burden bearer when he asks me to for friends, and to put it down when He asks
    me to. And for grace to be a good friend.

    • Yes Sharon! So good! Thank you for sharing!

      Father, You walk so intimately with us. Sharon desires to be in step with Your Spirit. Honor her desire. Speak truths to her heart and life to her soul. May she hear Your still small voice above every other voice and even her emotions. There is no guilt in You. May she only be led by Your Spirit and compassion. Give her discernment to know when to shoulder others’ burdens and when to let You shoulder them. May she trust You with her friends’ lives and futures. You love them greatly!

  6. Friendships are fragile and well worth careful care and attention. There is no predicting which ones will last and which ones are truly seasonal or exist for limited reasons. I am blessed with a variety of people I call friends and praise Him for the those who choose to walk alongside me in this journey. Lifelong friends and new acquaintances are both valuable teachers as we travel the paths God has designed for each of us. Each true friend is a flower in the gorgeous bouquet of life.

  7. Thank you for a wonderful timely message. I have a male friend who at one time was more than a friend. Without going into details we made an agreement to always be friends because we were friends long before becoming serious and he didn’t want to lose my friendship. At times it has been very difficult to remain friends, not because of anything becoming romantic again but because of his own problems, depression being only one of them. I have to step aside and distance myself from time to time because his problems bring me down. I try to encourage and pray for him but my distance is perceived as abandonment. It’s very helpful to read your message that sometimes distance is the answer in order to keep my own sanity. Thank you

    • Judy, that sounds so hard. Thank you for sharing! I am a big believer in knowing when a situation is over my head, when I don’t have the skill set to handle something. I am all about connecting hurting people to people who can help. That may be something to figure out with your friend.

      Jesus, You are our source and healing. You are our comforter in times of need. You see Judy’s desire to help and you see her friend’s great need. You long to bring restoration. Holy Spirit, do what only You can. Save and deliver. Rescue and redeem. Guide Judy in how she cares for her friend. May she be led by Your Spirit and in Your power. In Jesus’ Name.

  8. Karina,
    There is a lot of wisdom in your words……thank-you for them.
    My son asked me the other day,”Where’s all your friends?” Good question I thought, and tried to explain why I have so few. One recently ended on Mother’s Day in the middle of a store where she felt was the perfect time. But I feel blessed to have the few true friends I have left.They mean more to me than having a multitude.

    Have a blessed day all,

    Penny

    • Karina,
      I would really appreciate it if you could please pray for the well being of the friend I had mentioned.
      Thank-you so much….
      Blessings,

      Penny

    • Amen Penny! Thank you for sharing!

      Jesus, the end a friendship is a loss that requires grieving. May you lead Penny as she grieves. Be her hope and comfort. Be near to her and her friend. You see every hurt and need there. Bring wisdom and healing and direction. You are good and faithful. May she trust You to work everything out for her good and your glory. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

  9. Quite a few of us needed to read this today apparently !! Thank you for the honesty and transparency in your post, and for being brave and sharing your heart.
    If you can pray for me too, friends have moved away this past while, and I would like a close friend with whom
    I can share this journey, because it’s really difficult to do on one’s own. ……and I too tend ” to go into complete introvert mode ” which only makes me feel more worthless and undeserving of a true friend……

    • Lulu, thank you for being brave and sharing!

      Sweet Jesus, You have a beautiful community awaiting for Lulu. She just hasn’t discovered it yet. Would you lead her by Your Spirit on this bit of an adventure to find her people? I pray her heart is open and willing and joyful. You will not disappoint. We trust You to provide Your best. you are an exceedingly abundant God. Bless her with better than she can imagine. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

      • Lulu,
        I would also like to offer my prayers that a dear friend will be there for you.
        Have a blessed day,

        Penny

  10. Thank you for sharing this. I have never heard someone talk about taking a break from a friend; I appreciate hearing about it. I’m wondering, how did that pan out? How did your friend take that? I have a few friendships that I am constantly pursuing and pursuing and I’m in a season right now where the lack of reciprocity is hurtful. I would love prayer for that! Thank you again for sharing truth about friendships.

    • Hey Mindy! Thanks for sharing!

      She took it okay. There’s not really a lot that others can say or do if we say we have heard from God and have to set boundaries in place for our well being. If they don’t handle it well, it’s something they need to deal with. Always approach these situation with prayer and grace and the Lord will handle the rest.

      Jesus, our ultimate friend, You see the hurt and loneliness in Mindy’s life. You long to be her source of hope, love and welcome. But, You do have community for her. May her spirit be open and willing and joyful to follow You. Holy Spirit, lead her into authentic spaces with authentic people. May they surround her with prayer and encouragement. Be the lifter of her head and source of her strength. She is not alone. You are with her. Grant her discernment as to what relationships to invest in and which ones to let go of. May she trust You to work all things out for her good and Your glory.
      In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

  11. Sometimes I am that friend…and when someone takes a break, it’s hard. But when we reconnect and I hear, “you’re back; the Debbie I love,” it is a sweet balm.

  12. What do you do when you find you have no friends? That people you know, you always reach out to but noone ever reciprocates? Is there something wrong with me or is it really “the Seattle Freeze” as they call it? Happens in churches too. Most of the time I do life alone because noone ever wants to hang out with me. I have one friend who invites me to hang out with her and she’s married and has teenage kids…so I’m thankful for that but yeah…other times this life feels isolating… Been pondering the idea of moving to a potentially friendlier state: Texas maybe? Would like to hear other people’s input..

    • Jessica, that is SO hard! We can’t make people commit or want to be in relationship with us. Out of my many friends, there are seasons where I spend time with a few more than others and then that changes in the next season. It’s a crazy thing to navigate. Keep me updated!

      Jesus, Be the best friend Jessica has. You are faithful and kind and loving. Guide her to the community that will walk out Your tangible love in her life. If you calling her to a new place, Lord give her ears to hear that call clearly. Be her strength and joy during this season. Be close to her heart. She belongs to You. She is Your beloved daughter. May You be her source for all things, in all ways. We trust what You’re doing. We thank you. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

  13. I am praying and asking God for godly friendship in my life. Also that i will be that godly friend that God wants me to be.
    Its been a season where i had to say no to many friendships too as God was doing a work in me.
    Please do pray for me.
    Thank you.
    Sheena

    • Sheena, thank you for sharing!

      Father, thank You for Sheena and her heart to follow the Spirit’s leading. Would you bless her obedience to get alone with you and let You do a work in her? There is sweet community awaiting her. May she have eyes to see and ears to hear where they are. In the meantime, continue to cultivate a heart like Jesus, where she desires to lay down her life for others to live a lavish lifestyle of generosity and encouragement. You are faithful. We trust You and trust the work of Your hands. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

  14. Carrying other people’s problems is something we are to do to an extent. Taking them on is heavy duty intercession and exhausting. I had a about three people I prayed for last month facing life and death cancer operations. They are all here and cancer free to my knowledge, it was a praise report alright but I endured days of prayer and “being there” for them. The Lord needs more pray warriors, there is such a demand for intercessory prayer.

    • Rebecca,

      I whole heartily agree. This country is going far away from Christian roots. The movie “War Room” states it perfectly “God give us more prayer warriors”. We desperately need people to stand in the gap for each other. It is hard work, but it can also be rewarding when you see the results. Thank you for praying for your friends. I know they felt the love & compassion you had for them.

      Blessings 🙂

  15. Karina,

    Hebrews 10:25 states: Do not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. I totally agree with these: God designed us for friendship. Lone ranger Christianity is not a thing. There is an ebb and flow to friendships. I have had some friendships for a while then moved away and lost contact. Now God has given me many more good friends. I am blessed to know such good Christian people. I pray everyone here finds such good friends to do life with.

    Blessings 🙂

  16. Dear Miss Karina (and the rest of the lovely (in)courage community),

    Thank you so much for this timely encouragement… I have a few friendships, one in particular, that I truly do know in my heart they love me and have the best intentions and God’s Word behind their actions but sometimes I feel as those everything I say or do is “wrong” and that all of my faults/mistakes are pointed out more often than not. I usually chalk this up to me being too sensitive and knowing that God is using this season in my life to strengthen me… still, I would like to ask, if you happen to have room in your prayers, to pray that I may become better at navigating these friendships and friendships in general. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my comment, I pray you have a blessed day.

    This side of Heaven,
    Summer Rae

    • Sweet girl, thank you for reaching out!

      Part of community is to challenge us to grow to become more like Christ, to point out our blind spots. But part of community is to exhort and encourage. If this friendship only points out your flaws, ask Jesus if this season of friendship with this person is over or not.

      Father, thank you for Summer Rae and her heart to be in community. Open her eyes to see in the Spirit the genuine community You desire for her. The community that awaits will encourage her, pray for her, strengthen her, love her and lavish bless her. It is a sweet community. Lead her in truth and grace. Give her strength and courage to endure this season. May You be near to her. Be her source of hope and joy. You are good. You are kind and loving. Summer Rae is Your beloved. She is chosen and holy. You will never fail her. You will never disappoint. We trust You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

      • Thank you! After my comment, but before I noticed your response I went to my friend and sought resolution. This ended up being a long conversation where my burdens were lifted and my soul refreshed. She pointed me to the Lord and His word and pointed out that I am still immature when it comes to relationships and that I need to give myself grace; I know I can be selfish… She continues to help me grow and refine me and I know in my heart this relationship is meant to last a lifetime. Thank you for your encouragment and thank God for the strength to confront problems when they arise. He is so good and so patient.

        • That is awesome Summer! God is SO faithful!!! We are all in process. Have a crazy amount of grace for yourself sweet girl! I’m glad that there was restoration.

  17. Yes I’ve had a friend since the 4th grade. I’m 48. Apparently to those looking in,it’s always been more one-sided. My friend and her family (5 of the 8) needed a place to live for 5 1/2 weeks. They lived with us. It was hard, I was surprised by the lack of respect when sharing our home. The real kicker is they moved out, sent a thank you text and silence for the next 3 months. I am very very hurt.

  18. I’m just now reading this post. I just came across this website a few days ago. I am currently in a season of tough navigation of a friendship. I don’t really want to go into all the details right now on here. I recently (as in a few weeks ago…possibly about the time this post was written), where I discovered (the hard way) that a friend had severed some ties with me…mostly through social media. The last few months leading up to this point had been pretty rocky. She’s recently gotten engaged (I’m still single). As I’ve been looking at all the pieces, I see many places where I know I have not treated her fairly or in a very friendly manner. There’s a lot of unanswered questions. Some other friends think I’m dwelling on this (which, honestly, maybe I am). However, literally EVERY place I look, I am seeing messages of forgiving those that have hurt us, and offering them grace and mercy, and praying for them.

    My prayer is that if this is something from God (which I have my doubts about), that He provides me with peace and rest. But, if this is something sinful, I pray that God would take care of it. But, I’ve been praying for her. I haven’t stopped praying for her. I hope that God will restore our friendship and give me another chance to treat her the way she should be treated. However, I know that will only happen in His time.

    I did resonate with the comment made in this post about how sometimes friendships just need a season of distance. Maybe that’s just what needed to happen. Maybe we just needed to have some distance. But I can still love her from a distance. And I still do.

    Obviously there’s way more to it than what I can post in this one comment (we became friends almost exactly 2 years ago). But, if anyone is still reading the comments to this post, please pray for me. My friend’s name is Claire, by the way.

    • Thank you Bethany for sharing!

      Friendships are hard, but such a beautiful thing when they are healthy.

      Jesus, you are the author and sustainer of all things. It is and always has been your heart for your children to dwell and thrive in community. It is Your heart that none of us are alone or lonely. we know that some of our greatest joys and greatest heartaches can come from those who are closest to us. I commit Bethany and Claire’s friendship to You. Only you know their hearts and motivations. Would you sift through them? Would You pull out every root of pain and hurt and offense? Prune them in the deepest parts of their souls until there is only You and Your desires left. Give them eyes to see this situation clearly. Give them Your wisdom and direction on how to move forward in way that honors You. Soften their hearts. Allow them to see each other through eyes of grace and humility. You are beyond faithful to do a good work. May they trust Your will and Your ways. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.