Change the Atmosphere of Child Chaos

[Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Dana Hemminger. It’s for all those frazzled moms out there!]

Changing the Atmosphere

While busily loading my two youngest children into the van one morning, my three-year-old daughter began the all-too-familiar power play.

“Joelle, please get in your car seat,” I repeated multiple times.

Meanwhile, she was successfully distracting herself with every little thing she could find, ignoring my request as I buckled her little brother into his seat. I moved to her side of the van, repeating my request.

“Joelle, Mommy asked you to get into your car seat. You need to obey.” At this point, she resorted to plain old defiance.

Scowling at me, she planted herself in front of her car seat and refused to move.

Here we go again!  The next few minutes that followed included a warning, a spanking, cries of protest, and finally a frazzled mommy physically placing my strong-willed child in her seat and strapping her in.  We were already running a few minutes late, and my nerves were completely raw.

As we pulled out of the driveway and headed down the road, her screaming continued as my frustration was steadily rising.

“Joelle, that’s enough!” I blurted out as her cries only escalated.

The tension in the van upset my one-year-old, and soon his cries filled the air as well, causing my daughter to holler at him to stop.  I raised my voice once again but quickly realized that I was only adding fuel to the fire by allowing my emotions to control my response instead of the Holy Spirit within me.  At this point I felt Him gently prompting me to pray aloud for my daughter.  At first she angrily protested,

“No, Mommy! Don’t pray!”  Knowing full well that our battle is not against flesh and blood, I persisted.

“Jesus, I thank You that You love Joelle so much.  She is so special to You.  I thank You, Holy Spirit that You work in her heart.  Please help her to obey Mommy and Daddy; it makes You so happy when she obeys.  Please make Yourself real to her.  Thank you for my beautiful little girl.  She is such a gift to Daddy and me, and we love her so much.  Thank you that You have such good plans for her.”

Within a few moments the atmosphere in our van had completely changed.  I was calm, and so were my children.  With a quiver in her voice Joelle then asked to pray, and I knew the Holy Spirit was moving in her little heart.  I led her in prayer to ask Jesus to forgive her for not obeying, asking Him to help her, and thanking Him for His love.  Soon Joelle’s normally cheerful demeanor returned, and we continued happily on our way.

My heart overflowed with gratitude as I was reminded of the simple power of prayer and the promise of Jesus,

“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these,” (Matthew 19:14, NIV).  Once more my faith was bolstered knowing that I can trust the Great Shepherd to draw the hearts of my little lambs to Himself. Once more I was reminded that I do not have to mother my children in my own strength for His Word promises me, “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young,” (Isaiah 40:11, NIV).

His Presence changes the atmosphere every time!

dana hemmingerDana Hemminger lives in Northeast Oklahoma with her husband Shawn and their three little treasures, Benjamin, Joelle, and Josiah.  They serve on the leadership team for The International House of Prayer-Bartlesville, a ministry they helped to plant.  Dana has authored two books, Reflections from Holland: A New Mother’s Journey with Down Syndrome, and A Covenant Kiss, both available on Amazon. She blogs at


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