Christian Women With Depression

Support group for women dealing with depression, fear and anxiety

Announcement: Video Welcome from Penny Haynes

Written By: Penny Haynes - Mar• 04•12

UPDATE 3/4/2012:

Here’s just a quick video welcome from me, Penny Haynes, just so you can get a better feel for who you are walking with along this journey.  I think it is helpful to really get to connect with other women, and sometimes video is the next best thing than being there.

I want to also invite you to our private Facebook Group, Christian Women With Depression, where we can share and talk about what is going on with us.  You can go to and ask to join.  You can also friend me personally at

You can also sign up to receive my latest posts via email.  There is a signup box on the right side of this web site.

I look forward to getting to know you better as we travel together through our struggles and share our victories.

Penny Haynes

Peace, Peace, Wonderful (Elusive) Peace

Written By: Penny Haynes - Jan• 08•15
When all is said and done, what we want is peace. No more struggle, no more striving, no more feeling broken, no more hurting, no more doubting, no more anything – we have everything we need and can finally rest.  We want to relax and let go and not worry or fear. Peace is everything.
Luckily for Christians, Jesus can actually give us peace that is not dependent upon circumstances or our current status. He doesn’t give as the world does, which is transitory peace. He gives lasting peace in the midst of troubles and despite fear.
John 14:27
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
Jesus knew that in this world there will always be trouble, disturbances of the peace, unfulfilled longings and desires, and sometimes unmet needs. But He put His Spirit in Christians, and peace is a fruit of the Spirit. It is always available for us to tap into, as long as we are abiding in the vine and connected to His life. So why don’t we access and live in this peace?
John 16:33
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
1 John 5:4
for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.
Jesus’s peace can be accessed only by faith.  Our simple faith that God is still in control, that God is good, and that His will still will be done in our lives gives us access into that peace.  It isn’t an intelligence or a mind thing, like you talk yourself down out of panic mode. No, faith gives us access to ALL the fruit of the Spirit, including peace.
Luke 7:50
Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
Luke 8:48
Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”
When we are robbed of our peace, and we seem lost in the world and cannot find our way, when the future seems dark and scary, and we are grasping all around to find something to hold on to that will anchor us, or at least make us feel less afraid for a while, all it takes to break that moment is one true, small statement of faith.
“You are good, God.”
“I believe in You, God.”
“I trust You, God.”
“I know You love me, God.”
It is not magic, and it is not mind control.  It is the supernatural effect of faith on a war-torn, embattled soul.  When we wander away in doubt, or simply forget to trust in Him, we cut ourselves off from the life-giving flow of God’s Spirit that enables the fruit of the Spirit to blossom in our life.
You don’t have to have all the answers, or find all the solutions to the endless array of problems in your life. You simply need to meet each episode with a small statement of faith, and CLING to it with all your might. Say it over and over again, until you believe it, and use the sword of God’s Word as an offensive as well as a defensive weapon against the enemy’s attack on your faith.
Peace can be had, but it cannot be stored – like manna, that went bad if you didn’t eat it that day (or on the Sabbath).  You only get peace in the present, not enough for the future. But His peace is enough for the moment to carry you through.

Strong Only When I Am Weak

Written By: Penny Haynes - Jan• 05•15
2 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
It seems so contrary to common sense, so opposite in every way, and yet that is how the Kingdom of God is.  The last shall be first, he who serves will lead, and we are strong only when we are bereft of all of our power.  The last thing we ever want to appear is weak, and yet, that is the only way in which God can actually endue us with His power.
If we are full from eating a big meal, we have no room to fit in any more food.  If our closet is stuffed with clothing, we have no place to add any garments.  If we are living off of our own puny strength, there is no room for God’s supernatural strength to work in our life.
We are afraid of failure, and yet it is failure that makes us call out to Him.  We become paralyzed with guilt and remorse after we sin, and yet our sorrow is meant to lead us to repentance.  God knows we are not sinless, but He calls us to be perfect – to accomplish that for which He has created each of us, but only through HIS power (not our own). In God’s world, failure due to living by our own abilities, intelligence, emotions and reason is just a stepping stone for Him to prove to us how real, powerful and loving He is, and to build up our faith in His abilities and trustworthiness.
We can boast in how wretchedly weak we are when left to our own devices ONLY if we can simultaneously boast about how powerful God’s strength has proven to be in us.  Being a failure or weak without calling out to God to pour His power into us is just insanity.  We fail because we don’t have the power NOT to fail. We will fail every time doing things in our own strength.
However, we must use our failures as pivots to turn us back to God, crying out for Him to pour His Spirit to overflow in our empty vessels.  Acknowledge your weaknesses and failures, but don’t accept them as your destiny.  His grace is your destiny, and it is more than sufficient to get you through each and every situation and lead you to victory.


Written By: Penny Haynes - Jan• 04•15

Hopelessness simply comes from a lack of faith. I know that people will want to fight me on this, but I am speaking scripturally. Faith is the substance of (the floor upon which stands) things hoped for. If you don’t believe that God exists and that He is a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him, you will give up hope.

You see, if you HAVE faith, it means that you believe that ANYTHING can happen at ANY time to change your situation. God only needs to breathe on it to change everything. So then you have to deal with the question: Why won’t He breathe on it and change the situation?  This is when Satan makes you question whether or not God is even good at all.

Look at Genesis 37 and 39 to take a look at Joseph’s journey from dreamer and beloved son to hated brother, slave, prisoner and then Ruler of Egypt.  His story is a perfect example of how God will bring to pass what He has spoken, but RARELY in the manner in which we expected. The question is, HOW DO WE ACT when things don’t go as we expected, desired or demanded?  We act one of two ways – 1) Like we believe that God is still in control, despite what we see with our eyes and how long it takes, or 2) Like we believe God has abandoned us (either out of inability to do anything or dislike toward us) and it is up to us to fix this situation (or lay down and die).

If we choose door number 1, we relinquish our timetable and our expectations, and trust that this period of quiet, or unrest, or testing of our faith is a pre-requisite for us arriving at our intended destination prepared to receive what God has promised. Moses spent 40 years in Egypt under Pharoah, 40 years in the desert doing basically nothing for God, and then was called, against His will, to go back into Egypt to lead the Israelites, only to spend another 40 years wandering in the desert, this time with several million complaining and whining people who didn’t trust God.  The first 80 years were preparation for the last 40 years.  God is not in a rush – He simply does things in His time to accomplish His purposes.

When David was anointed King, you would think He would march into the palace and take over. But no, he went back to the sheep, then spent 16 years hiding in caves from Saul, before He became King. That was definitely not the journey he expected to take to have his destiny manifested.

My husband and I unfortunately chose door number 2, and consequently spent 8 years in misery because we didn’t trust or obey God when we left our home church. Hurt, pride, indignation, depression and anger all had their part in the mix of emotions that separated us from our calling – so I can’t blame God for our desert wandering. But I DO know that God knew ahead of time how He could use our season of self-imposed exile for His glory and our good later in our lives.  It didn’t shake Him or His plan.  If only we realized it at that time, we could have saved ourselves years of misery.

Take every thought captive – is it infusing you with faith or doubt in God? You MUST feed your faith if you are to survive and regain your hope.  Speak the truth of the Word to yourself until you can trust God despite what you see with your eyes (especially if you see nothing).  If you want to get rid of hopelessness, you must rebuild your faith in God’s omnipotence and His goodness.

We are our own worst enemy

Written By: Penny Haynes - Jan• 03•15

I watched a video of a dog that was chewing on a bone, and who got viciously angry when he saw something out of the corner of his eye encroaching on this one thing that was making him happy.  He growled at it, bare his teeth, even tried to bite it.  There was one problem. The encroaching object WAS HIS OWN FOOT.

I think that, often, we are our own worst enemies, and we are the disturbers of our own peace. We believe that there is only one thing that will make us happy, and we tell God that we won’t be happy until we get it.  We get angry at those who appear to be getting between us and our “happy thing” (even angry at ourselves because we made choices that messed everything up).  However, it is often our own demand that God bring us our happiness in a certain way that blocks us from ever becoming happy, or content, or joyful.

Or, even worse and more prevalent is our mental focus on whatever is getting in our way, and everything we DON’T have. Whatever joy we may have been headed for gets cut off at the pass the moment we gripe and complain about what’s wrong and what we don’t have.  Gratitude is the most powerful human weapon we can wield to break off emotional and mental strongholds.  Focusing on what is RIGHT, no matter how small, breaks the debilitating chain of negative thoughts that rob us of contentment and joy and peace.

God has the supernatural ability to give us joy and contentment REGARDLESS of our situation, if we will only let Him.  He can supernaturally INFUSE us with joy and contentment without the obtaining of any outside item.  In His presence there is fullness of joy.

Have you ever been worshiping with a large group of people, and be wrapped up in the moment, focused on God, pouring your heart out to Him, sensing His presence, and feeling completely at peace?  Your external circumstances and situations didn’t change – God just supernaturally met your emotional and mental needs at that moment without moving a single playing piece on the chess board of your life.

And He can do that for you today, as well.  Stop blocking yourself from peace and joy, satisfaction in the midst of your troubles, by saying that it must come in a certain form.  All good things come directly from God, and for most of us, even if we don’t have everything we want, we can say “the boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places”.  Allow yourself to learn how to be content in any situation, whether you have much or little, by going directly to God and thanking Him for anything you DO have.

Psalm 16:

I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
    apart from you I have no good thing.”

Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
    you make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
    surely I have a delightful inheritance.
I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
    even at night my heart instructs me.
I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
    With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
    my body also will rest secure,
10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
    nor will you let your faithful[b] one see decay.
11 You make known to me the path of life;
    you will fill me with joy in your presence,
    with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Deep Snow And Deep Faith

Written By: Penny Haynes - Jan• 02•15

Ephesians 3:14-19

14 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,[a]15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

In the introduction to what has become a favorite devotional book (Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young), she talks about walking around outside, where the sunlight was hot enough to sunbathe, but the snow was so deep that the sun couldn’t melt it.  It immediately made me think about our faith, and when it is deep enough, the heat of the battle cannot dissolve that faith.  A thin layer of faith can be disturbed, but not a deep faith.

We need continually abiding faith so Christ’s Spirit can truly dwell (remain) in our hearts (the seat of our thoughts, will and emotions). We need to be “rooted and grounded” in His love, not only in the intelligent understanding of what God’s love for us and in us is, but in the experience of His love flowing through us toward others.  So many people think that God loves us just so we will feel loved, but we are missing the point that God loves everyone, and when He pours His love into us, it is not meant to be hoarded or welled up, but poured out lavishly on others. That’s hard for us when all we really are considered about 99% of the time is getting what we want.

I pray that you truly will experience how all encompassing God’s love can be if you let Him love you instead of pushing Him away in your hopelessness or despair.  I pray that you will experience His glory-filled strength which is perfected in us when we acknowledge that we are weak and we need Him to do all the things we cannot do for ourselves.  I pray that you will truly be filled with God’s Holy Spirit, in every nook and cranny, and that you will willingly submit to what the Spirit speaks to you and wants for your life, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

HOLD ON! Help is on the way!

Written By: Penny Haynes - Jan• 01•15

There are no hopeless situations; there are only people who have grown hopeless about them. Clare Boothe Luce

Matt 19:26 “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

A number of years ago researchers performed an experiment to see the effect hope has on those undergoing hardship. Two sets of laboratory rats were placed in separate tubs of water. The researchers left one set in the water and found that within an hour they had all drowned. The other rats were periodically lifted out of the water and then returned. When that happened, the second set of rats swam for over 24 hours. Why? Not because they were given a rest, but because they suddenly had hope!

Those animals somehow hoped that if they could stay afloat just a little longer, someone would reach down and rescue them. If hope holds such power for unthinking rodents, how much greater should is effect be on our lives. Today in the Word, May, 1990, p. 34.

SO HOLD ON! His right hand can reach down into ANY situation and give you reprieve, for a season or forever.

Psalm 44:3
It was not by their sword that they won the land, nor did their arm bring them victory; it was your right hand, your arm, and the light of your face, for you loved them.

Isaiah 50:2
Was my arm too short to deliver you? Do I lack the strength to rescue you? By a mere rebuke I dry up the sea, I turn rivers into a desert; their fish rot for lack of water and die of thirst.

HOLD ON! Have faith in God’s ability to change ANY situation by his own supernatural power (His grace), and to provide what you REALLY need and want in His own time and season. REFUSE TO DEMAND HOW GOD NEEDS TO FIX THE SITUATION! Give Him free reign to do above and beyond all that we think or imagine with our puny minds and limited experience.

Psalm 33:
18 But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him,
on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,
19 to deliver them from death
and keep them alive in famine.
20 We wait in hope for the Lord;
he is our help and our shield.
21 In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.
22 May your unfailing love be with us, Lord,
even as we put our hope in you.

Jesus Came So We Could Live Through Him

Written By: Penny Haynes - Sep• 18•12

1Jo 4:9
9 God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent His One and Only Son into the world so that we might live through Him.

So often we think about living our life FOR God, but that is not what God wants for us. He wants us to live THROUGH Him. There is a big difference.

When we live for God, we do our own thing, make our own decisions, use our own strength, and then dedicate what we have done for God’s service and glory. However, when we live THROUGH Him, we relinquish our own desires, drives and determinations and do nothing without His power and direction. We don’t ask God to bless our decisions after we do what we please; we ask God’s direction and then do what pleases Him.

Living through Him also requires that we acknowledge that we need Him and cannot do it on our own and still be in the center of His will. We must admit our inability to always do what is right, and our bent to do what is selfish and self-serving. We must not lay down our will, but wilfully choose to seek His plans for us and pursue those plans with all of our heart.

So I encourage you to think about whether or not God is your co-pilot or your Pilot, because He shouldn’t be along for the ride. He needs to be driving. We need to seek Him so we can find Him, and then simply listen and obey. If we don’t hear anything from Him, then we keep doing the last thing He told us to do. Whatever we do, it needs to be in His will, in His strength, through His power.

Penny Haynes

Getting Vs Giving

Written By: Penny Haynes - Aug• 18•12

Gal 5:19-26
19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, 21 envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar. I tell you about these things in advance — as I told you before — that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, 23 gentleness, self- control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, we must also follow the Spirit. 26 We must not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

Man, what a list! I may not practice sorcery, drunkenness or carousing, but selfish ambitions, envy, outbursts of anger, hatreds, strife and jealousy? He’s got me there!

I used to look at this list and cringe, wondering how in the world I could stop myself from feeling and thinking and acting on these things. However, at a Bible study on love last week, we were asked how love and envy were connected.

1Co 13:4-7
4 Love is patient, love is kind.
Love does not envy,
is not boastful, is not conceited,
5 does not act improperly,
is not selfish, is not provoked,
and does not keep a record of wrongs.
6 Love finds no joy in unrighteousness
but rejoices in the truth.
7 It bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.

My husband and I talked about it that weekend and it came down to this bottom line fact: love is about giving while envy (and all of the listed sins) are about getting. Think about that and review the list. Promiscuity is getting for ourself sexual pleasure. Dissensions and factions are about getting our own way. Jealousy is all about getting what someone else has.

Then it made me think of James:
James 4:1-3
1 What is the source of wars and fights among you? Don’t they come from the cravings that are at war within you? 2 You desire and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. You do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and don’t receive because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your evil desires.

Could it be that simple? Could it be that every desire of ours to “get” something for ourselves is what leads us to “act out” those sins? I think our expectations about getting treated “the way we deserve” falls into this category, too, because then we get REALLY hateful and think it is justified. We get frustrated and angry and envious because we don’t have what we want, so we become focused on “getting” instead of giving (better known as “loving”).

So basically, the only way for us to stay out of sin is to love God and love others all the time. We need to live to love, regardless of what we do or don’t have, regardless of how others treat us. Of course, we don’t inherently have that capability to agape (sacrificially give of ourselves for the benefit of others) love. The ONLY way to love is to be abiding in the vine, connected by our spirit to His Spirit, allowing Him to literally love through us.

But I also believe that, as long as we believe someone else is blocking us from what we believe should be ours, be it money, material, love, acceptance, or nice treatment, we will be so filled with envy and selfish desires that we won’t have room for love inside of us. So which comes first, the chicken or the egg, the refusal to focus on what we don’t have, or the focus on Jesus? I guess it is both simultaneously, the constant battle to love instead of live selfishly.

So my goal is to stay reminded of His will and attitudes by reading the Word, and listening to and obeying His still small voice alerting me that I am veering off course. I must rely completely on Him to guide me and fill me with His love, because I cannot manufacture either one. I want to be a giver and not a getter.

Penny Haynes

Where Does Peace Come From?

Written By: Penny Haynes - Aug• 12•12

Jn 14:27
27 “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful.

We may each think we want or need something different – more money, better job, friends, better health, better marriage, but I suggest we all really want the same thing – to be at peace. I believe that we all think that once we attain or obtain what we think is missing in our lives, we will finally be at peace, and happy. Why?

Because then we won’t be struggling and always wanting something we don’t have. We will not entertain thoughts that are divided – split between our yearning for God and waiting upon His will and our yearning to obtain for ourselves what we don’t have. Our lives will not be the slave of our fears and troubles, because we will trust God to handle what is out of our control. The peace that Jesus gives is rest, absence of struggling, and being set at one again – no divided mind wanting what it doesn’t have.

So how does the Bible say we get peace? Let’s look at different scriptures and see what we can learn by combining the truth from all of them, because the truth never contradicts itself.

Rom 8:6
6 For the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace.

Rom 15:13
13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Isa 26:3
3 You will keep the mind that is dependent on You in perfect peace, for it is trusting in You.

To be spiritually-minded means to have thoughts and purposes that are related to what the Spirit wants. To be carnally-minded means to have thoughts and purposes focused on what the flesh wants. So when we are focused on earthly things that we don’t have but want, it divides our attention from God, and we become double-minded.

It leads us to always be struggling and striving in our own power to obtain what we perceive to be missing from our life, instead of just trusting God for everything. We are neither at rest nor at one with ourselves – we are torn. When we focus on what the spirit wants, we single-mindedly strive to hear and obey God, and the result is peace.

Peace comes from believing in and relying on God, and results in hope in God for the future. As long as we are relying on ourselves to “get” for ourselves, instead of trusting and receiving from God, we will not experience peace. This can only be done by relying daily on God’s empowering grace in our lives.

Penny Haynes

Compassionate, Gracious and Slow To Anger

Written By: Penny Haynes - Aug• 03•12

Exo 34:6-7
6 Then the Lord passed in front of him and proclaimed:
Yahweh — Yahweh is a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in faithful love and truth, 7 maintaining faithful love to a thousand generations, forgiving wrongdoing, rebellion, and sin. But He will not leave the guilty unpunished, bringing the consequences of the fathers’ wrongdoing on the children and grandchildren to the third and fourth generation.

Isn’t it wonderful that our God is slow to anger, faithful to keep His promises, forgiving of our wrongdoing, rebellion and sin? He has compassion on us, even when we mess up. He is gracious, providing us with undeserved favor and empowerment. This is the message He speaks to the redeemed, those who have acknowledged their sin and have asked for forgiveness.

However, often we think of God’s attitude toward us as being harsh and punishing, remembering our sin to several generations, but that is not accurate. That is what Satan would like you to believe, but it is not true in our case. God forgives as soon as we ask, and chooses not to remember our sins anymore. He separates our sin from us as far as the east is from the west, because we are covered in the atoning shed blood of Jesus. The harshness is reserved for the unrepented sin of non-believers.

So when you feel condemnation, or think that God doesn’t like you, remember that it is a trick and a lie from Satan. Contrary to popular belief, we are NOT all children of God, and we are not all treated the same. You have to be born again through faith to be a child of God; everyone else is God’s CREATION, not His child.

As His child, He treats you with compassion and graciousness, loving-kindness and long-suffering. No matter how far you feel you have wandered away from God, He is ALWAYS close enough to hear you ask for forgiveness and receive you with open arms, just as the father of the Prodigal son did. He is always on your side, and always rooting for you to grow and mature in your walk with Him.

Plainly put, He loves you and wants to be close to you at all times. Don’t let Satan ever make you think otherwise.

Penny Haynes