My name is Evette. I am a minister, a mother, a wife, a professional, an entrepreneur, a board member, and a blogger. I am exhausted just thinking about all the things I have going on in my life—all of which are opportunities opened by God’s grace, opportunities I have leveraged to minister to those in need. Parenting two little girls, Evie and Ezra keeps me busy enough. And, in the midst of a busy life I too often forget that ministry starts right within the four walls of our home.

Please understand that I’m not suggesting that ministering to the lost in our community, visiting the sick and the shut-ins, saying a prayer with a colleague at work, or tending to the needs of the church aren’t important.  These things and other ways we re-present Jesus Christ are vital to the work of God in the chaotic, desensitized world in which we live in today. What I am saying is that all too often the needs of our family get overlooked for the needs of what we have defined as “ministry.”

Call me crazy, but I am confident that this isn’t what God wants. (Okay, please don’t call me crazy). Proverbs 22:6 tells us to train up a child in the way that she should go and when she gets old she will not depart from it. How can we teach our children the way of the Lord if we aren’t spending time with them during critical moments of their childhood? Is it God’s desire for us to neglect the very children God has called us to mother? Isn’t depositing God’s word and the characteristics of Jesus Christ into our children also ministry?

I recently had this ah-ha moment. Let me explain how God opened my eyes.

EzraEvieOne Sunday morning during Sunday School, the lesson writer included these profound and simple words: Ministry STARTS at home. I was absolutely, positively convicted. I reflected on the list of all the things that I am involved and realized that I hadn’t made the spiritual needs of my family a priority. I’d taken them for granted and unintentionally pushed them aside. Hindsight, always 20/20, allowed me to see that the subtle requests for attention from my then toddler was God’s way of showing me that I wasn’t giving her enough of my time. This eye-opening prick to my heart from God’s word has resulted in changed behavior on my part.

How can we reach the lost in the world if our children are lost in our homes? How can we teach young couples how God moves in marriage if we never spend time falling in love over and over again with our spouse? How can we intercede for God’s children in prayer if we don’t join hands with our family and pray together at home?

Understanding how God moves within our homes equips us to be used to mend broken ones. It also positions us to testify on the glory of God to those who need to know God’s fullness.

I wish I could tell you that this is a one and done thing . . . that ministering at home is something that you can do once, address all the spiritual needs of your family members, and then walk away. But sorry, I can’t. What I can tell you is that just as in our journey with Christ, ministering at home is a journey, with growing pains and transformations. And likewise, we have to let God use us at home every day as we do with our daily walk with Christ. Shouldn’t we meet God where God is at work? And isn’t God at work in our home, too?

Evette Creighton blogs at The Real Moms of Eastern Iowa. She and her husband, Martez, have two daughters, Evie and Ezra.