Sat. May 15th, 2021

By Gregg Stone

Anxiety and worry doesn’t have an age limit, in fact most anxiety disorders develop during childhood and young adulthood. Having worked through difficult feelings of anxiety and worry through her childhood, and overcoming those challenges herself, Kelsea Jones, a leader of the Children’s Ministry at The Pentecostals in Kentwood, Michigan, has developed a resource that would help children in the age range that she ministers to regularly. “I’ve always found a place of empathy for others who’ve struggled with these issues”, said Kelsea. “So, drawing from my personal experiences, training, and ministry I developed an illustrated ‘field guide’ for kids and parents to navigate these difficult feelings.”

“A Journey Through Understanding Your Feelings” is a helpful resource for Christian families in navigating feelings of worry and anxiety with children. “The main character, Froggy, takes them on a journey through their mind to understand their feelings a bit better,” explains Kelsea. “As the children accompany Froggy through Heart’s Glade, they’ll gain understanding about their own feelings and discover helpful habits to overcome them. Parents will appreciate the gentle and Bible-based guidance, and kids will love the beautifully illustrated examples that will stick with them through their own journey. The book guides them through the answers of five important questions: 1) What am I feeling right now? 2) How can I make my mind feel better? 3) Can I talk to God? 4) What are God’s Promises, and 5) How can I pray?”

After seeing the need and finding a lack of resources on this subject, Kelsea decided was time to do something about it. “Two months into the recent pandemic, a young mother in our church approached me to talk with her little girl who was showing signs of anxiety,” said Kelsea. “As one of her children’s ministers, her mother thought I may be able to help her unravel her feelings and find some relief. After researching and finding a lack of emotional wellness books specifically designed for children, I was convinced it was a gap that needed to be filled. And with my own history, I realized that God had uniquely prepared me for this purpose; to help children early in their journey and prevent greater emotional issues later. If they can, “help their mind feel better” when they’re young, they will carry it with them into their adult lives. As I say in the book, “We are all travelers and we are each taking our own journey like this one.” While it targets children ages 5-11, I truly believe that anyone of any age could gain something valuable out of the book.”

With the massive rise in depression and anxiety in adults and children through this pandemic season, the time couldn’t be better to equip them with tools to help navigate their feelings. “Covid has turned everyone’s lives upside down and we’re all trying to learn this “new normal”, said Kelsea. “Children thrive when there is consistency, but with everything in their lives so upended it can create strong feelings of worry, anxiety and uncertainty. They desire to play with their friends, go to school like normal, and have the comfort of normalcy and they don’t fully understand our current societal struggles. Even more concerning to them, they don’t fully understand their own feelings. Now more than ever, we need to teach our children about the one thing that will never change… God will not leave them alone, and He will never stop loving them. God was with me through the process of seeing this become a reality (I like to say that we wrote it together), and my strongest desire is that He will use it to help children understand the big feelings of life, and meet them with confidence that God can provide.”