No matter what you are feeling …
you are not alone.
written by teenage girls, for teenage girls
This book will help you lean into your emotions and develop an attitude of exploration and adventure when it comes to discovering what Jesus is doing in your life. These devotions and prayers provide a real, accessible, and down-to-earth way of inviting Jesus into whatever emotions you are experiencing. Whether you get one for yourself or for a teenager you love, this resource is an invitation to take a small step toward following Jesus in every emotion.
Inside you’ll find…
Five teenage girls, ages 13 to 19, chose the emotions for this book and then wrote openly and honestly about how they experience these emotions in their everyday lives.
Are you frustrated? Are you tired? Are you lonely, or hopeful, or confident, or carefree? Whatever you are feeling, you are not alone.
A Real Jesus
Time and time again, these young women help you invite Jesus into your experience. This is no quick fix book on how to stop feeling what you feel. This is a sing at the top of your lungs, shout out your prayers, or talk to the ceiling fan if God doesn’t seem to be listening kind of book. Be real. Be you. And you’ll find a real Jesus walking right beside you the whole time.
The teenage authors of this book chose six emotions for each of six key emotional experiences. In the Emotion Wheel above, you can find all 36 of the emotions covered in this devotional book in the second ring of emotions.
Each of the authors brings her unique perspective and her unique experiences to these emotions. Their honest joys and struggles invite other teens to experience themselves and their emotions fully, and to invite Jesus into that experience.
Each devotion includes a helpful description of an emotion, including some of the ways that emotion gets expressed in physical ways. After sharing a carefully-selected Bible verse and their own, personal experience of the emotion, each author also searches Scripture to find a Bible character who might have gone through something similar. That People Like Me section of each devotion helps highlight the fact that, whatever you are feeling, you are not alone.
Each emotion devotion ends with a personal prayer, and the invitation to add your own thoughts and your own personal prayers. Brief faith experiments and reflection questions extend that invitation beyond the devotion and into the rest of your day or week.
“This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply”
Matthew 6:9 (MSG)
“Fear not for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you in my righteous right hand.”
Isaiah 41:10 (ESV)
Praise for the Emotional Devotional
As a Deaconess, Licensed Counselor, accomplished author, and mom, Heidi Goehmann knows a thing or two about teenagers, emotions, and following Jesus. Here’s what Heidi had to say:
The Emotional Devotional offers teens a space to explore the many and complicated emotions that are a beautiful and frustrating part of life here on this earth, within a framework of Creation, Grace, and Redemption in Christ Jesus.
This resource uniquely offers the normalizing impact of one teen talking to another teen, reading and learning together, around who they are in this body and who they are in Christ. Thank you to the teens for being willing to share their voices and their experiences. The reader will benefit from both!
The founder of Next Step Press (and father to 3/5 of the writing team), Justin Rossow had a front row seat to the whole creative process. Here’s Justin’s take on the book:
I’ve never seen a resource quite like this one. These teenage girls saw a need and took the chance to invite other teenagers into the struggle and beauty and adventure of discovering that Jesus actually cares about who you are and what you are going through.
If this were a bunch of how to pray better advice, it wouldn’t be worth the paper the ebook is printed on. Instead, these courageous souls open themselves up and invite you inside their own personal ups and downs. The result is a variety, honesty, and insight that encourages you to explore your own range of emotions with the Jesus who is with you and for you, no matter what.
More from THE EMOTIONAL DEVOTIONAL
A Note to Teenage Girls
By Naomi Rossow
As a teenage girl, you experience a multitude of emotions every day in different combinations and presentations. Emotions are so unpredictable, especially for teenagers. As you grow in your body and mind, you also want to also be able to grow in your faith.
The changes that happen in your life over the course of these years can be scary and confusing, especially if you don’t have someone to walk through it with you. As the oldest child, oldest cousin, in a new school and state, I often felt alone in the changes I was experiencing. A few years later, I now talk to my little sister and get to help her walk through the mood swings and outbursts of being a teenage girl. Sometimes it helps to know you are not alone.
The teenage girls who wrote this devotion book know firsthand what it’s like to wade through the waves of emotion. In fact, we are wading through them right now, too. These devotions are not meant to be therapy or counseling. We haven’t gone through medical school. None of us holds a degree in psychology. The book is not a “fix” for your emotions. We just want to help you invite Jesus into your emotions. We want to share our stories with openness, honesty, and vulnerability, in hopes that we can help you grow in your faith and build a stronger relationship with Jesus.
The list of emotions in this book is far from complete; but it is a start. So, when you are ready, read on and see how we have experienced inviting Jesus into our emotions.
You are not alone in your journey.
Let’s do this!
A Note to Family and Friends
By Justin Rossow
If you are not a teenage girl, this book was not written for you. You can still read it, of course, and you would discover a lot about yourself, about teenage girls, and even about following Jesus in your emotions. But it’s not really for you.
That’s not to say your emotions aren’t important, or teenage girls are somehow more emotional than other people. God created all of us human beings as people with bodies and souls, minds and emotions. All of us can learn more and more to follow Jesus in every emotion.
The teenagers who wrote this book share their experience from their own particular perspective with an honesty that invites especially other teenage girls into the wonderful and confusing process of inviting Jesus into their emotions. They write with authenticity and empathy, as a friend for someone who could really use a friend right now.
This Emotional Devotional isn’t trying to “fix” or “cure” anything about the teenage girl in your life. The one thing this book will do is help her practice bringing her emotions to Jesus and talking to Him about them.
That might sound simple, but growing into a personal and confidential relationship with Jesus is part of what it means to become a person of faith. That dependence on Jesus in the midst of every experience—even those that make faith seem foolish or juvenile—is something we all will continue to grow into, until our faith is made sight. But we don’t have to walk that journey alone.
The list of emotions covered here is not complete. How could it be? But these emotions are diverse and common enough to cultivate the habit of looking for Jesus in every emotion.
I love the girls who wrote this book. They risk sharing their inner thoughts and prayers and struggles and failures so that others might also think and pray and struggle and fail with Jesus instead of on their own.
If you give this book as a gift to the important teenage girl in your life, don’t expect a sudden miracle; but do expect for her—little by little, one step at a time—to begin to feel more confident bringing her experiences to Jesus, even when she doesn’t know what to pray.
And expect Jesus to be there for her, before she prays, while she prays, and when she forgets to pray. That, by far, is miracle enough.
Praying the Emotion Wheel
By Gabriella Wiechman
To give you an idea of how to use the emotion wheel, I am going to walk you through my process.
When I am noticing myself getting overwhelmed with emotions or confused as to what I am feeling, the first thing I always try to do (but sometimes forget) is to sit in God’s presence. For me this looks like turning on worship music with the volume all the way up, putting away my phone and any other devices, and turning off the lights.
Sometimes I just sit or lay down, and other times I’m jumping around worshipping; there is no right or wrong way to sit with Jesus. I like to listen to music because it helps me drown out other distractions and focus on Jesus and what He is telling me.
Once I have soaked in Christ’s presence for a little while, I then try to notice what my body has been doing during the day. Am I relaxed, or have my muscles been tense? Have I been short tempered, or have small things not bothered me? Things like that help me notice which of the broader six emotions I am feeling. Most people already have experience naming these broad emotions, so you might find it easy to pick one, two, or even three you are feeling right now.
From there it becomes a bit more personal and complicated because there are so many emotions we could be feeling, and not just one at a time. So this is the part where it is so important to have Jesus in the conversation (just like every other part), because through Christ I find myself being made more aware of what it is I’m feeling.
For me, I usually hear God’s voice in my mind very clearly, and maybe you do, too! That often is what helps me understand the deeper and more complex emotions I’m feeling, but sometimes God’s voice seems distant and hard to hear, and that’s okay!
When I am having trouble hearing God’s voice in the midst of my emotions, or my mind is so loud I can’t seem to focus, it is helpful to me to just look at an emotion wheel or a list of emotions. I go through the list and read an emotion word and think about what it means and if that sounds like what I’m feeling, just like you might do if you are hungry and want a snack—you might go and look at your options. It’s just the same with emotions. There might not be a list of all the emotions you could ever feel, but that’s what the emotions wheel is for: take a look at your options, and see if any of them seem like what you are feeling.
Then, once I figure out the emotion (or usually, emotions) I am feeling, I take it to God. I ask God to comfort me if I’m afraid, or celebrate with me if I’m excited. No matter what emotion you are feeling, your Heavenly Father will always want to know about it and talk to you about it.
I invite you to take a look at the emotions wheel and become familiar with at least the six general emotions so that the next time you are confused or overwhelmed with your feelings, you are able to use this tool to help you distinguish what you are feeling. Then invite Jesus into the very specific experience of your very specific emotions. He’ll be glad to meet you there!
Illustrated by a Teenage Girl
Not only is this Emotional Devotional written by teenage girls, the illustrator also falls into that demographic. As a friend to all of the authors, and first cousin to three of them, the talented Lucie Orozco was an obvious choice for the artwork these young creatives wanted in their book.
Lucie is a high school junior at Mott Middle College in Flint, Michigan, and takes classes at the Flint Institute of Arts. She plays the electric bass guitar in the worship band at her church and hopes to one day to be a professional illustrator.
Lucie brought a unique contribution to this resource not only with her illustrations for each emotion and for several faith experiments, but with her creative Mood Trackers that help you capture your emotional journey over the course of a month. Lucie’s art and insight really help this resource come alive!