Teaching Girls to Honor God
by Jonathan Pitts
“Picture where you are going. Your eternity—and live every day forming habits and actions that drive you towards your purpose.” – Wynter Pitts
These words were spoken by my wife, Wynter, to a group of girls at an event this past May, just two months before she would suddenly pass away at the age of 38. Her passing has left my four daughters (age 14, 11 and twin 9-year-olds) and me with a broken heart, but not without hope. Since the day she died, each of us have been confident that she did just what she was preaching above. She was a woman who lived on purpose. With eternity in mind, as the apostle Paul said, she disciplined her body as she ran her race.
“But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” 1 Corinthians 9:27
Wynter was speaking to a group of girls that were just like her. Most of them were from inner-city broken homes, and most of them had no father actively present in their lives. They were girls being raised by their moms, grandmothers, aunts, and hopefully uncles, that could easily become statistics. She was confident speaking to these girls about purpose, because she knew her own story and she knew the God who wrote it.
Despite her difficult circumstances growing up, there was one reality that was a game changer in Wynter’s life. She had a mother and a grandmother who made the decision, right around the time of her birth, to follow Jesus Christ and honor Him above all else. They taught her to do the same.
They didn’t teach it with their words, although they did use words. They taught her by example through their lives. Each time her mother pulled over on the side of a Baltimore city street to help a single mom with a ride, Wynter learned to honor God. Every time her grandmother made enough food to feed neighborhood kids who had to go without a meal, Wynter learned to honor God, despite their own poverty and lack.
Wynter’s mother’s and grandmother’s decision to honor God in their own lives led Wynter to make the same choice.
The old saying, “You teach what you know, but you reproduce who you are” may not be scriptural but it’s true nonetheless. The authentic nature of her mother’s and grandmother’s faith ignited a passion in Wynter for God that would work itself out as she accepted Jesus Christ at the tender age of five. She would work out her own salvation for the years that followed as God proved Himself big and worthy of her honor.
I wasn’t present that day in May when she spoke with those young girls. After she passed away, I found her notes, and as I read them, I could hear the passion in her raspy voice as she likely conveyed those words. I know it because she would use those same phrases, words and ideas in our own home daily. Even more, she would live out the truth of those words in front of our girls.
You see, Wynter was a Yes Girl. She liked to say that when God was asking, she would respond with a yes, albeit imperfectly.
Her yeses started when she gave her heart to Jesus. And they continued every day, one habit and one action at a time. She said yes to God when He asked her to stay home to mother our girls, despite the financial repercussions. We would lose half of our income, but God would provide and maximize her short time here on this earth with our girls. She said yes when God asked her to start For Girls Like You magazine, staying up until three in the morning some nights to finish an issue that now blesses thousands of girls across the country and around the world.
Big and small decisions alike, her obedience drove her to her purpose.
But even more, her obedience now stands as a memorial and shining light. Wynter led by example in what saying yes to God looks like. And Wynter’s daily decisions to honor God have been the greatest fuel for our girls to do the same. As each of our girls have submitted their lives to the Lord, I remember this verse.
“Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.” Hebrews 13:17
When I see my girls honor God through apologizing to each other after an offense, I see them imitating their mother’s faith.
When I see them give up their seat for a friend or offer the last brownie, I see them imitating their mother’s faith.
I am confident that they will be imitating their mother’s faith for years to come and will teach their children to do the same.
What about you? Teaching is more than telling. Teaching is modeling. Are you living in such a way that your girls see your faith and become inspired? Are you living in such a way that your girls will consider the outcome of your faith and want to be imitators?
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