{Podcast S2 E7} BPG: Godly Friendships with Johnna Nichelle & Tsciena Town

Welcome back to the Bonnet Prayer Gang!

We are back with Shekinah, Johnna Nichelle, and Tsciena Town as they talk about godly friendships, discerning when friendships are coming to an end, and the blessing of having friends who hold you to godly accountability.

Get ready to be inspired and challenged to take inventory of your friendships.

Visit our Podcast page to listen online, Google Podcast Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, or Spotify.

Show Notes:

Get To Know Our Guests:

Johnna Nichelle: Instagram & Website

Tsciena Town: Instagram & Website

Proverbs 17:17: "A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity."

Get Caught Up with Season 2 Episode 6: Hearing God's Voice: A Journey Story w/ Ramel Moore

BPG: Godly Friendships with JohnnaNichelle & TscienaT - Transcription


Shekinah: Hey everyone and welcome to this week's episode of the Truths and Promises podcast. I am super excited, as usual, but today, extra excited because I have the Bonnet Prayer Gang here with me. You all have met them in season one, it's Tsciena and Johnna and I'm going to let them sort of re-introduce themselves, but if you really want to hear the detailed version, of course, go back and listen to our first Bonnet Prayer Gang conversation from season one. So, Johnna, do you want to kick us off and let the people know who you are?

Johnna: Sure. Well, first off, thank you for having us back on. It's always fun to get, to have these conversations together and share some of what we're sharing behind the scenes with the world.

But for those of y'all who don't know, my name is Johnna. I am a digital creator and business owner, based out of Dallas, Texas. I live here with my husband, our dog, and now our little baby boy who is on the way

Shekinah: So excited for that! Tsciena, go ahead.

Tsciena: Okay, well, hi everyone. Hopefully you listened last time, but I'm Tsciena. I'm based in Charlotte, North Carolina. I'm happy to be on the podcast again and talking with my girls. I guess during the day I'm a product marketer. Now I recently started a new job and super grateful for it. And in my free time, I'm just exploring creatively. We'll see what that'll look like, but I'm happy to be here today.

Shekinah: I love that. It's the year of flow and exploration and take it easy. I mean, for some of us, it's the year of applying pressure. It all works together. I love it. For those of you who might be listening for the first time, I'm Shekinah, I'm the host of this 1140 Glory podcast, called the Truths and Promises podcast.

I am based in Minneapolis and I work as an Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota. And I do 1140, I won't even say on the side, but it is really a passion project that I've had for many, many years, and so it's lovely to see it come to life in this form, the second season of the Truths and Promises podcast.

So, the Bonnet Prayer Gang conversations, are conversations that we have and it used to be every Monday, then it became every Wednesday, and it just sort of shifts with time. But these are conversations that we have in the midst of our prayer time together. So we started praying back in May of 2020. So happy friendiversary prayerversary, Bonnet-Prayer-Gang-aversary to us. And so now we are here, two years strong, still together, still praying and still having these sort of random conversations in the middle of our prayer time. And of course, as Johnna said, we like to bring these conversations to the open to you all as well. So I sort of wanted to start this episode out by really honoring my friends and where we've been in this journey of friendship and in this journey of prayer together. If you didn't catch it in the first episode we are known, well, I don't know, I, I don't know that we're known as the Bonnet Prayer Gang but I one day named our group chat, the Bonnet Prayer Gang, because we would wake up early in the morning with our bonnets on and FaceTime and pray. So that's where the name of Bonnet Prayer Gang came from. And like I said, that started back in May of 2020, but I originally met, Tsciena, is like one of my eldest friends. I won't age us, but we met back in college and in our freshman year. So we've been together a nice bit of time now, but I will say that I feel like our friendship has really taken an evolutionary experience and really has grown over the years from just being, you know, my SBPAC partner, like someone I hung out with an SGA to being a real prayer sister and just someone that's been by my side the past few years in and through everything. So that's kind of where we started. And then Johnna and I met through another friend of mine and started kind of building out 1140, as she was building, what was it, The Hidden Promise back then?

Johnna: Oh my gosh.

Shekinah: So yeah. And you know, Johnna had a lot of expertise back then, even in like the branding marketing and she could see the 1140 vision and was maybe the first person to hear me ever say the words, 1140 Glory. If I'm not mistaken, like woke up from a dream and was like, this is what I want to call it. So we've been in this thing for a long time as well. And when it was time for me to just, I don't know what I was going through, but there was something that God had just placed on my heart to start praying with women more and connecting consistently. And to be real, I think I just needed the accountability. And so Johnna was there for that. And the next thing I know, Tsciena was down and hence was Born the bonnet Prayer Gang, and we started praying together.

So. Yeah. That's sort of my recount, and my recollection, of how this friendship has come together. And I don't know if there's anything y'all want to add from sort of your perspective.

Tsciena: I mean, I'll say Shekinah, you just sent me a picture recently with what was it? Like some black X's on our hands or like that they put on the clubs and like, Johnna, we'll have to show you the picture. We're like holding them up. And she's like...

Shekinah: It was my 21st birthday.

Tsciena: And yeah, it's been a minute. We met in 2011. And I think, well, I was just thinking on this topic of friendship, I'm just in awe of how intentional God has been about people who I cross paths with and how those relationships have grown and what they look like today because, He's really moved ,and I wasn't saved back then.

So it's just really interesting who would have known that we would be walking with God and with each other now. So.

Johnna: Oh, man. That's so crazy because you know, I didn't know y'all when I was a heathen back in my days.

Shekinah: I saw you one time when you were still a heathen.

Johnna: Oh yeah, you did. You did. Okay. So we, we had some passing connections, but you know, when I think about it for me, when I think about the three of us, everything goes back to 1140. Like I always think of 1140. From planning the conference, you know, being on the Power Team together to that, then turning into a prayer call, that prayer call, turning into the conversations before and after, and just kind of blossoming into that friendship. So I think every time I think of like the BPG I just go straight back to 1140, which I think is so cool because all of us grew so much through that experience.

Shekinah: Yeah, that's for sure. That was definitely a part of the journey. And I couldn't be happier that God brought us together the way that he did. And if I'm not mistaken, most of our time outside of the 1140 conference and my wedding last May, everything has been virtual. I think we've always talked about like, oh, we should do like a little retreat, a little women's get away. And yeah, we failed at that, but...

Tsciena: I still want to, it will happen.

Shekinah: It's going to happen. It's going to be great. It's going to be great.

All right. So the topic of today is what do godly friendships look like? And so I want to hear from y'all on what does godly community, what do godly friendships look like? What do you value in those friendships and that community? What are you looking for? What do you think others should look for in godly friends and community?

I don't know who wants to start this one?

Johnna: I can start us out. So, I mean, gosh, I feel like this could go on for so long. There are just so many traits of godly friendship and so many things to look for in godly community. When I think about friendship specifically, I think first and foremost, a godly friend is someone you can be yourself with. If you don't feel like you can authentically be yourself with the person than it's not to say, maybe they're just nothing to you, but maybe that person isn't a friend, maybe that's more of an acquaintance, or just the connection you have. But when I think about what a true friend is, it's someone I can be myself with because at the end of the day, especially in godly friendships, those are going to be the people who walk with you through some really tough seasons, vulnerable seasons in your life. Those are gonna be the people that you trust to speak life into you, to pray over you, to speak truth into you, even when the truth might not be what we want to hear. I think that's definitely a separating factor of a godly friend is someone who is speaking the truth and not just their truth, but the truth of God into your life.

It just makes such a huge difference. So I think just, yeah, that being authentic with the person you're in the relationship with. And also someone who brings out the best in you. I think, you know, we can all probably attest to times where we've been around people and we reflect, and we're like, I don't really like who I am or how I am around that person.

I think it's really good to reflect when you're around people to say, what are these people bringing out in me? Are they bringing out the best or, you know, is every time I get around them, all we do is gossip and talk about what other people are doing. You know, you really have to look at those things and ask yourself, is this someone who is a godly friend?

So those are just a couple things that I look for.

Tsciena: Yeah. I love that you mentioned, I hear you saying, like, what are the fruits of that relationship? What are the activities we're doing and who do I become and what activities am I mirroring, you know? Cause if you get together, gossip, drink together, you know, it's like, you know, you're all going to do similar things.

So, I did think of fruits of the spirit when I saw this question, I think I experienced periods, I'm kind of in a period now where I am reassessing some of my relationships and I think we're all have, like, we have likable personalities, right? Like we can connect with a lot of people. And in my experience has been kind of hard to differentiate, like who is someone that I walk closely with?

Like, who are those, those true friends that I can, you know, just. Through life and every season. And I think godly friendship, it can stand all seasons of life. I think that's kind of what I come to. Like when I think about our conversations I feel emotionally, spiritually, psychologically safe to talk about anything, you know, but I also think that's because of where you are. You both are spiritually. And your walk with God like that spiritual maturity. So I think there has to be some alignment, there, spiritually, and then also a level of intimacy. And I don't think that comes easily, you know, I think that comes with time and I think you know, we were talking about how we kind of cross paths and how I met you. Shekinah and you Johnna, like I think God was planting seeds like those few years back so that we could develop relationships and develop intimacy over time. And It's like, it seems like a small thing, but committing to hop on those calls, that shows like devotion and commitment. And I think that fosters intimacy as well. So I think spiritual alignment, intimacy, and like just looking at the fruit.

Shekinah: Those are all so good. I know when you talk about spiritual and alignment. One of the things that I think about is like, you can't yoke an ox to a donkey, right? Like there has to be some alignment. Spiritually, I think also mentally, emotionally, there has to be a level of alignment between you and your community, you and your friends, so that when you all are all plowing, you all are all plowing.

There's not one that's being drug. You know, like the Bible also talks about how iron sharpens iron, right? Like if you consider yourself iron, you need to find some other iron pieces to be around, to grow sharper. And I think in those moments where, and I think we all had this experience at different moments where it's like, I don't feel like reading my Bible right now, or I don't feel like praying right now.

Or like I knew there was a time where I was like, I just can't pray y'all. And the two of you set on that phone and prayed until I felt comfortable enough to be like, okay, I can at least say, thank you Jesus, in this moment. You know? And, and that is just so important that when you start to feel dull or you start to feel like a donkey, but you have people around you, a community around you that can really shift and change and pull out of you the fruits of the spirit. Pull out of you, who God has really called you and created you to be. And I think also about how you say, you know, it's about, both of you are mentioning how it's about what you all do when you're together. I know their relationships I've cut off because of gossip. You know, I told my friend then like gossip is a sin and I'm not going to sit here and keep gossiping with you. And she continued to gossip and I slowly just had to move away from that relationship because it was not healthy for me at that time. But, you know, as Tsciena mentioned at the very beginning, there's a picture I just sent her a couple of weeks ago where we were celebrating my 21st birthday in college, and the background was dark. So like that gives you enough of an image of where we were and what we were up to that night. But like this isn't someone that I cut off and she didn't cut me off because at that time we were doing this thing, so it's like, God can still create and bring good fruits out of things that at one period or point in time might've been spoiled. Does that make sense? Is that thought coming across? I don't know.

Johnna: Okay. No, that totally makes sense. And I love that you talk about the scripture about being equally yoked, because I think, you know, that's a common scripture, a lot of us know it, but a lot of times we're not thinking about friendships when we think about things like that. We're thinking about relationships, maybe, you know, being equally yoked maybe with your boyfriend or your girlfriend or whoever, but those same principles apply to friendships. So yeah, I mean, it definitely makes sense. There are seasons where it's like, y'all are both walking, and Lord knows what kind of mess, but you're, you're technically equally yoked.

I mean, you're in the same sort of season, but I am thankful that God can plant those seeds and you guys can evolve through that to get to a place where being equally yoked is actually a good thing.

Shekinah: Yeah.

Tsciena: Yeah. I liked that. You mentioned the comparison between like, or maybe like the separation between friendships and like romantic relationships, because I think, I don't know if it's in the broader community or in the church community. There's kind of a hyper-focus on marriage and dating and as it should be, that's one of the most important relationships, but friendship also holds some weight too. I think, I don't know. I'm curious, like maybe what are your thoughts on your marital relationship and your friendships and like, what are some of the, I don't know the differences or what are some things you appreciate out of your friendships?

Shekinah: That's a real good and also tough question. Man, because I definitely see like my marriage, my marital relationship, very similar to my friendships, but I don't know. They're also just differences in what I think men understand versus what my girlfriends are going to understand. And when I get on in the morning to pray and say, y'all pray for me and Justin and lift us up, I felt like there isn't much, I have to say, but if I were to be like, we need prayer, he would probably be like, why, what is wrong? Well, what is going on? You know, like I feel like there's just an unspoken level of intimacy between us as women. That it's just not the same in marriage. And obviously marriage has a whole nother level of intimacy. That's not the same as friendship, but I dunno, I would say there's an openness and a vulnerability that is shared between both of those types of relationships.

And also, also like a reverence, and a reminder of who God is, you know, I oftentimes say like, yeah, I think marriage is there so that your husband, your wife, is a reflection of how God loves you. Right. It should be unconditional, but there's also just a reminder of God, even in my godly friendships, you know, like praying with y'all having our prayer journals, seeing these prayers come to life. Seeing you live out all the dreams that God has placed on the inside of your heart.

It's just a reminder of, He is real. He is present. He is here. He is moving. He cares about every single detail of our lives. And so, I guess it's hard for me to find differences between marriage and friendship. Johnna, I'd be interested in hearing what, what you think the differences might be. I just think there's like a gender difference that I can pinpoint right now.

Johnna: I mean, a thousand percent there's gender difference. Sometimes guys just don't get it like girls. It just, it is what it is. But I mean, honestly, when I think about like friendships versus relationships, in the marital sense. I feel like my friendships strengthen my marriage so much. I think if I, when I'm just looking in the eyes of marriage, I can be really self focused because it is just me and the other person. And it can be really easy to fall into kind of selfishness and only seeing things from my point of view. Whereas in friendships, especially where you have more than one friend, like we have a circle of us. You get to hear different perspectives and see things outside of yourself. That actually strengthened your marriage.

So like, I know there's so many times where I've come to you all, same thing, right? We need prayer. I don't know what's going on, but you know, you don't even have to go into all of the details of, you know, the intimate parts of your marriage, but just bringing those things to your friends and giving them an idea of what's going on.

A lot of times y'all will help me see, like, okay, maybe I need to sit with this a little more. Maybe I need to come to God with this instead of just pointing the finger at my husband. So I definitely feel like there's a connection in that way, but at the same time, I can come to you all and ask for that advice and hear from you objectively in a way where if those conversations are just happening between my husband and I. We're both really looking from the lens of self rather than seeing the bigger picture, you know?

Tsciena: Yeah.

Shekinah: Yeah.

Tsciena: I think that's really interesting as you were both speaking, it kind of reminded me how, like God is referred to as a father in the Bible sometimes, as a husband, as a friend, and it's like, it's kind of like y'all are pointing out some of those different traits or like benefits, honestly, that you can pull from different aspects of God. So that's cool.

Shekinah: Yeah. I love that. Yeah. And I, I really, I definitely identify with what you said, Johnna, about friendships, strengthening marriage. You know, I think about, I remember the time I forget what was going on with Dmitri, but then you told me, you were like, yeah, I just told him, you just prayed for him like never before. And I remember just like, God placing him on my heart really heavy. And it, you know, a lot of that is, and I've heard the moments that y'all have prayed for Justin. Like that was your best friend, your brother, like you known him your entire life. And you know, I just, I know that that's because when God has brought you together with someone is one that, that friendship, that bond, that love that we have one for one another blends into the love that we then have for one another's marriages and that relationship. And it really is a strengthening, you know, it's not, my mom will always text from time to time she'll text and she'll say, all right, don't y'all go gossiping about your husbands and complaining. Y'all just need to pray about it. And it's always a friendly reminder that I'm not about to just hop on this prayer line and be like, okay, this is what happened this week. Am I crazy? Or is he crazy? But no, it's like, all right y'all we really need to pray because there is something happening here that is beyond flesh and blood, right?

Like we know that this is spiritual. And so it's not just me praying for my marriage. It's not just my pastors or my parents praying for my marriage, but I have friends that legit go in for my marriage once a week, I know, right there by my side. And that in itself is like, nope, we're not going to give up. We're not going to give in, like, I've got warriors praying for this. Right. We've got accountability in this. So I really do identify with that. Friendships building the marriage.

Johnna: That's so good. And that's that too, that's such a huge differentiator in a godly friendship. You're not just bringing your problems just to vent and then just dump on your friend and leave. Like when we're bringing things to each other that we're struggling with or just seasons that we're going through that are tough. It's because we know someone's going to war for us. Someone's going to bring that before God, not just when we're together on the call, but all throughout the week, we know like, okay, I have warriors and I'm not tackling this thing alone. And I think that's just, that's like a key component of a godly friendship. Like, can this person go to war for me in this spirit?

Tsciena: Yeah.

Shekinah: That's good. Yeah. And I, you know, I've also heard of the opposite, where friendships get in the way of marriage. So I hope that this rings loud with our listeners, that if your friendship is not strengthening or supporting your marriage or the type of relationships that you are pursuing, if you are pursuing celibate, godly relationships, and courting and your friendships, aren't supporting that.

There needs to be a readjustment in the types of things maybe you talk about or what your friendship is based on, you know? I think friendships all developed from different spaces and have different seasons. You know, I have my friends that I pray with. I have my friends that I write with and I co-work with, as it relates to academia and perhaps we don't pray together, but they are that support system in that way. So I think it's really important to know those boundaries and what you can share. I don't think everyone's a friend for every season or for every part of your life. Right? I think at one point when we started out together, like, yeah, we had that 1140 roots. So we always had like that godly center, but there were also calls that we had that were legit about business and productivity.

Right. And that was like the season we were in the moment and the time that we were in. And then of course we supplemented that with prayer, but, you know, I think, I think every friendship has its place, its season, it's purpose, and we have to try not to, I think, expand a friendship beyond the boundaries that God might be setting for that friendship.

Johnna: That's real, honestly, that's something that personally for me I have struggled with is, you know, kind of letting things go past maybe where God has tried to already put an end to it. And, you know, there's, there's quite a few friends that I've had for a really long time in my life. And some of those have kind of dissipated over time just to our lives being so completely different or our core values growing so differently as we've grown into adults. But it's, it's hard to let go sometimes. I just, I just want to keep everybody so close and just be best friends with everyone forever. But the reality is that's not always God's intention. And so I kind of wrestle with that, honestly.

Tsciena: Yeah. I feel like there's several things I want to say on this topic, but I think so the first thought was that, is like, we really have to ask God for discernment in our relationships because I don't think every relationship is a friendship. You know, I do believe sometimes we're called to people and this is something I think the Holy Spirit has been teaching me about.

Cause sometimes like you love a person and you just love, you know, you just love who they are and you have, you know, you connect on a certain level, but it's like when it comes to looking at the fruit of that relationship, it's like, this might be someone I'm called to encourage, you know, this might be someone I'm called to lead to Christ.

You know, like I'm kind of, I've been reassessing some relationships. I'm like, God think I crossed paths with this person for a reason, but I'm not sure that there's someone I, I can refer to as like a close friend. And then Johnna, what you were saying about, you know, I guess a relationship kind of overextending its deadline or its cut off.

That's been really interesting. I've kind of struggled in the same area because I do hold on really tight or at least in the past I have. But I am learning that God will kind of give you peace to kind of ebb and flow in those relationships. But, and I've seen this in my relationship with Shekinah. God also can kind of like separate two people and also allow us to cross paths again. I've seen that in actually three of my closest friendships now, where there were seasons where we were just kind of separated doing our own thing. God was still working with us and we were able to cross paths again, and they literally some of my closest friends.

So I feel like it's kind of sad when friendships end, but there's also kind of a hopeful piece that, you know, we'll bring friends back together too.

Shekinah: Yeah. I love that. And that is so real. I feel like. We've been friends since 2011, but there was definitely a time maybe when I was in North Carolina for a couple of years that yeah, that like, yeah, from like graduation till North Carolina. And then it was about that time when I started 1140, that I've reached back out while I was still in Providence. We were like, yeah, girl, I'll come down to Del Rey. Right. And then he like stayed at my grandparents' house. And that was just like, where things started to just sort of be re-cultivated. I mean, you all know my really close friend, Brittany. She and I have been friends since 6th grade, And that definitely ebbed and flowed. Like in high school we were sort of friends, but like didn't really have classes together anymore. So it was like, we're here, but we're not really here and not the closest anymore. And then of course, we went off to college and prospective grad schools, and now we talk almost every day again. It wasn't as if we had split and stopped being friends, it was just the seasons we were in, we only saw each other on holidays when we were both home and in town. Right. And then we would chat, like things never ended. And then once we both found Christ, then our relationship grew deeper in a different way.

So I love that there are definitely different seasons in which friends that you may have had a very long time leave for a while. Come back. And you know, I have a new friend, that's an old friend who told me, you know, I just don't think that I knew how to steward our friendship back in college, but now I think God has divinely connected us again, because we both need each other in this time. So, and I think that's a big part, like how we steward our friendships, how we steward our community, how we steward our relationships, intimate or otherwise, changes with art, spiritual and mental growth.

Johnna: Yeah. I think really digging into how we steward our friendships makes a huge difference too. I actually, I had a friend telling me that recently she was talking to God and she was like, God, I just, I really want like more community, you know, more close friends. And what she ended up doing was kind of taking inventory and I'm trying to remember, she categorized her relationships into, you know, close relationships, people who I'm pursuing relationship with right now, people who are pursuing relationship with me right now. And she said that by the time she got to the end of her list and got done taking inventory, she realized she was like, oh no, like I don't need more. What? I don't need more right now. I just need to steward what God has already put before me. And I think sometimes we do get caught up in where we're like, well, I just need more community. Like maybe I need more friends. But when we actually look at the relationships we have, it's like, maybe we don't need more and maybe we just need to steward better what God has already given us.

Tsciena: Listen, so, so true. Cause I was just thinking like of just the depth of relationships. And I think I learn from you guys, and learn from my other friends and of course from God, just how to be a friend. And you know, if there was like a number, I think I'm at my cap because when it comes to praying and you know intercessing for your friends that you love, like that weighs heavy, you know, and I think y'all know I'm a feeler and a crier so that, you know, that that friendship it's, it does come with a cost. And, you know, I think to walk with people and to really kind of get down in the trenches sometimes, not all the time, because this is not trauma bonding, but to like stand and build each other up. And we do that together, you know. That weighs heavy and it takes time and emotional bandwidth. And it also pushes you closer to Christ because how can you really be there and pray for each other, you know, if you're not being filled, you know, so.

Johnna: That's real. Friendships are an investment. Like they truly are there and an energy investment, a time investment, you know, I'm thinking just earlier. I think it was last week. I had a friend text in a group and was like, hey, are you guys available in like 30 minutes? I really need prayer over this event that I'm putting on. And if I had 10, 15 friends like that, I wouldn't have the emotional bandwidth to actually say, you know what? Yeah. Let's make time for that. Let's get on the phone. Let's pray. But because I'm trying to be more intentional about those friendships. I can actually make space for those things, but it really is an investment.

Shekinah: Mmhmm. Yeah. And that makes me think ,about when we talk about stewarding and the time investment and the weight that some friendships could be, takes me back to what Tsciena was just saying about, are these friends, really friends. And, you know, I don't know if this is like the nicest way to put this, but it's almost like, is this a friend or is this an assignment?

Like, have you assign me to this person for some reason, other than to just be a kee-kee partner on the phone and listen to all the issues, you know, there are some relationships that I've had that, you know, as a friend, they would dump all of this stuff on me and we would just go are some, girl that sucks, I'm sad you're going through that. And then we would go our separate ways, but like that was still weighing on me. Versus, as someone that is assigned to a person, and it's almost like God gives you the grace and prepares you to hear what they have, what they're saying, pray for them, help direct them, and that sort of thing.

I think I see that more as like a pastoral or like evangelists anointing and even in intimate relationships, I learned this lesson of like, this guy was not one that I was sending for you to date. This guy was one that I was sending so that you can introduce him to me. And I learned that a very, I would say tough way, one of my relationships was that way, but after it was over and I was all heartbroken because I thought this was supposed to be my husband. What I realized was, you know, he texted me afterwards and his, like months down the line and his response to me was, you know, thank you so much for introducing me to Jesus.

Like my life has been completely changed and his life was completely changed. It is completely changed from when I knew him, but trying to date him and say like, you should learn about Jesus was a very conflicting experience. And so in that moment, I did have to learn like, this isn't my boyfriend. This really isn't even my friend. This is someone I'm introducing to Christ and that's where it needs to start and end, you know. And so being really careful about stewardship in that way, I think is also key to being who God has called you to be, as both a friend and a vessel that he can use.

Tsciena: And it kind of is a way to guard your heart and emotions too. And with that, because you mentioned like you've had people who just like dump emotionally on you. Like you are like a garbage can. I've been in positions like that too. And I've had to learn how to give it to God, but it's like, some people are not in a place where they know what to do with that, you know, and they kind of go around and find someone who's encouraging. You know, let you have it. And I think if you think that person is a friend or you see them as a friend, that can be very hurtful. But if, you know, God gives you insight, you're able to understand like, okay, this is a person who is in need of encouragement. I may be assigned to serve them in some way for a period of time.

Like, it's it kind of guards your heart. So you're not like, heartbroken. Yeah, like you thought this was a friend. Yeah.

Johnna: Yeah. It is so important to guard our hearts. And I think I just sense that there's going to be people listening to this right now who are thinking, oh my gosh, like, am I the person being dumped on by somebody else?

Or am I the person dumping onto somebody else? And I would say just like we talked about. Taking inventory of our friendships. Maybe take some time to actually sit down. And if you're really battling with this and wondering like, is this a true friendship, sit and get out a piece of paper, your journal, whatever, and take some time to write down. Okay. How is this person pouring into me? How am I pouring into this person? And if you start to see that one side of your list is getting really, really long and the other side of your list is either non-existent or really, really short, then I think it's good to reevaluate, you know, what kind of relationship is this really? And have I been taking advantage of a relationship or have I been taken advantage of, and then you can kind of set those boundaries accordingly.

Shekinah: Yeah, that's good. That's really good. Yeah. I feel like, of course, as always, we could keep talking and talking about this and I don't know how to wrap this up for the podcast, to be honest, usually when we wrap up our conversations is because somebody needs to get to work for us.

But I will say the truth and promise that I kind of see that this particular episode in his Proverbs 17:17, "A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for a time of adversity." And, you know think I just wanted to take this time to honor you both is just really close friends and prayer sisters and say, thank you.

Thank you for being there for me in times that I wouldn't even know that I needed you. You know, I think God brought us together in a moment where I just thought I needed some accountability and prayer, but has kept us together from every season in life that has been like a major shift and change in my life.

You all have been there to pray me through every single thing, the good, the bad, the ugly, the perfect, the hideous, just every moment. And I really do. You know, think that friendships have different levels. And I think the scripture even tells us that, you know, a friend loves at all the time. We all have friends that will continue to love us, but they're our brothers and sisters that are born for the moments that you are going to face.

Something that you wouldn't even know that you needed a prayer partner for. And I think we all throughout the past two years have had those experiences where it's like, oh, wow. I didn't know I would need y'all but thank God he brought us together the way that He did, and we're committed to waking up and doing this together once a week.

And so I just want to say that I honor both of you and just really thank you for letting me be a part of your lives. Letting me pray for you. I think it's such an honor and a privilege to be able to pray prayers over you and for you and concerning your family and friends. And just those things that are so near and dear to your heart, because then to see them come to pass. It's like, God, you used me as a vessel to see a change in someone's life. That means so much to me. And so, like I said, I really don't know how to end this episode, but I am just so grateful for you both and grateful for this conversation. And I really pray that, you know, folks have taken something away from this.

BPG is the place where I can let every messy part of my life show. And it's a blessing to do so because these are the people that are going to pray me out of that mess. Reason me out of that mess. Talk me out of it off of a ledge and quitting my dissertation, giving up on everything. Slamming doors on my husband in the middle of moving.

These are the people that are going to, you know, pray me through those things. And so, you know, I pray for our listeners. If you don't have that place where you can be very messy and vulnerable, that you can get messy and vulnerable with God and just be vulnerable before Him and that He will give you that community and those friendships that you need to sort of help cultivate your growth moving forward.

But I think that's the last thing I want to say. What about y'all?

Tsciena: I feel like you wrap that up so well. So eloquently.

But I just want to return the love and seeing that I'm grateful for you as well and Johnna. I think you both know, like, I guess in our conversations, in our prayers that I needed, I needed friends and I needed prayer and I needed sisters to walk with me in the last, what is this last couple of years? I think it's so beautiful how God has like met different needs relationally for all of us through this connection and through this, through our prayer calls and it has been like such a joy just to see God move on your behalf's. Like Johnna you're about to have a baby boy and like Shekinah, you're about some of your home and you're a professor like God is so faithful and this world is whack, it's crazy, and you

know, I be, you know, I'd be having my little depressive moments. I've I can say I've seen the goodness of God and I know that his goodness runs after us. So I'm very grateful. So, I'm going to stop before I cry.

Shekinah: Why are you like this?

Tsciena: I, listen, we talking about the goodness of God, I'm gunna cry every time.

Shekinah: So faithful. So faithful.

Johnna: It's starting to rub off on me and I think it's partially the pregnancy hormones. They just be coming out of nowhere sometimes I'm like, okay, keep it together. Keep it together. But no, I am, I'm so thankful for the both of you. Tsciena, like you said, there's been so many different seasons that we have walked through together and are still walking through together. And I think just to see the steadfast love of God through this friendship, it really is just such a blessing, you know. Shekinah, you talk about having those people to pray over you. Y'all. If you ever have the privilege to have Shekinah pray over you, it is a blessing. It will change your lives. But I really am just so thankful for you both. I think, you know, there is a lot of adversity, especially in the world that we face now and, you know, canceling and cutting off people for the littlest of things. And so to have something that is steady, I do not take that for granted. It's just my prayer, that every person who is listening to this, that you find community like that. That you make it a point to seek out those friends that do stick closer than a brother. That do love at all times because it really will change your entire life.

Shekinah: Well, yeah, I think with that, it's probably a wrap for tonight. This is been so good. Just so it's always really good to talk with y'all and for our listeners as always, I'm so happy that y'all could take a listen to the Truths and Promises podcast today. If you want to connect with me or 1140 Glory, then go on over to eleven40glory.com. There you can find the show notes under our blog, sign up for our Thank God It's Monday emails and join our online community.

If there are topics that you want to hear covered here on the Truths and Promises podcast, connect with us and let us know. And lastly, if this Bonnet Prayer Gang conversation has blessed you in any way, of course we want to hear about it in the comments of our show notes. And also you could go ahead and hit some of us up on social media. I'll be sure to tag our handles down below in the show notes and also right here on the podcast. And of course, don't forget to share this episode with one of your friends and one of your family members so that it can bless them too.

All right. Be blessed y'all. Until next time.

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