When I slow down and consider all of the people I've met since we began this ministry/company, there are a few special people whose voices ring with genuine wisdom and the incomparable truth found in God's Word. They are the voices that I was looking for as a mama. Above the roar of culture, they are the voices our girls need to hear. They are powerful weapons in the fight for our girls. My dear friend Wynter Pitts had a voice like that, and she used it to empower parents to lead their daughters to Christ and encourage girls to live with the gospel at the center of everything.
When she suddenly passed away less than two weeks ago, the girl ministry community, as well as my own home and family, were rocked. But what began in sadness and confusion ended with incredible peace and a rallying by the body of Christ unlike any that I have ever seen.
On behalf of the team at Bible Belles, it is my honor to re-release the interview I did with Wynter a few months ago. It's title, "She Is Yours," carries with it special meaning for me today, as I think about every girl who was and will be affected by Wynter's words and life, and as I think about my sweet friend who is now safe in the arms of Jesus, the One to whom she belongs. Lord, she is Yours. We celebrate her today, and we carry her legacy into tomorrow.
[Background music starts]
My name is Erin Weidemann and you are listening to Heroes For Her. This series features
candid conversations with real women who strive to balance their professional acumen with their
personal values. Join me as I interview positive female role models, who are working hard,
loving others and inspiring the next generation of girls to serve their unique purpose.
So, before we get to today's episode with Wynter Pitts who is just amazing, I have a quick update on the Bible Belles front everybody. So today in the mail we got the cover for our new book Deborah: The Belle of Leadership. I am holding it in my hands right now and I wish this was a video because I just want to show it to you. It is stunningly beautiful in every way. I cannot wait to get these books into the hands of girls all over the place and for girls to experience the story of Deborah. She is awesome.
So, the other announcement that I wanted you to be aware of is that we also just finished the book trailer that gives you all the details about our partnership that's coming up with World Vision around this book release.
So, to watch the book trailer, you can do that at biblebelles.com/deborah and it gives you all the details about the 'buy one give one', where the books are going to be donated, so we would love you to watch that video again, biblebelles.com/deborah and then email us, reach out and let us know what you think. You can do that at firstname.lastname@example.org or find us on Instagram or Facebook or wherever, that is where we hang out mostly.
Anyway guys, I'm so excited over the next couple of weeks to be able to share these updates on Deborah and World Vision and everything we have going on, but now please enjoy our newest podcast episode with the amazing Wynter Pitts.
Hi everybody and welcome to today's episode of Heroes for Her. My guest today is Wynter Pitts. Wynter is the founder of For Girls Like You magazine and the author of several amazing resources that are very popular in the Weidemann household; For Girls Like You, You're God's Girl devotionals for tweens and her most recent book She Is Yours: Trusting God As You Raise the Girl He Gave You.
She is the proud wife of Jonathan and mom to four little girls and her mission is to empower and equip girls to walk boldly into becoming who God has created them to be and to provide parents with the resources and support they need to raise strong Christ followers.
Erin: Wynter, welcome to Heroes for Her.
Wynter: Thank you. So glad to be here.
Erin: So Wynter, just to get us started, will you give us just a little bit of insight into your childhood; mom, dad, family? What was life growing up? What was life like for you guys growing up?
Wynter: That's so funny because that part, to say like a little intro, it's kind of a heavy intro. So, I grew up in the inner city in Baltimore, Maryland. My mom raised my brother and I along with my grandmother and lots of support from our family, but there was no father in the picture.
My dad was addicted to drugs and was outside of our home ever since I was one year old. So, just kind of typical urban inner-city childhood of lots of poverty and crime and drugs, kind of all around us, but my mom was a believer and so our home was always faith filled and hopeful because of our relationship with Christ.
Erin: What did you notice specifically about the way your mom lived her life that you feel like really impacted your own experience with God and the faith that you now have?
Wynter: She, my mom, just given the circumstances, she had lots and lots and lots of reasons to just really act in different ways. I mean she could have reacted and you know just rebelled against God. She could have done lots, gone in lots of different directions.
However, she was consistent in her faith. It just drove everything that she did, her relationship with Christ, just her personal relationship drove everything she did and so even though she could have been hopeless she never seemed that way.
I mean we had a very full childhood and just, you know, fun home. She was totally selfless so I remember her not having lots of things but still always being willing to give like anything to anybody.
And as an eight-year-old, a nine-year-old, ten -year-old I grew so confused. I was like, “Why is she so kind?" like things did not, you know, didn't seem like they should be great but she always just was willing to just be selfless in her actions so.
Erin: What are, so you know, growing up in that environment, how did you make your way up and out of that situation and where did you see God moving in your early adulthood?
Wynter: It's just my mom's faith that actually speaks a lot to this because we didn't have any money. I was always kind of known as the smart one in school and just in the family like they always just used to tease me because I was, you know, I was really into reading and was just kind of a bookworm I guess.
So my elementary fifth grade teacher, I took some standardized tests and my teacher just said like "Hey you know I think Wynter should get tested for one of these elite or private schools." And my mother like, just was like "Okay", knowing we couldn't afford it.
We didn't have a car to get me there but she took me to get testing at this school and it just ended up just completely changing the trajectory of my life with just my standards and expectations on what I could accomplish or what life could look like outside of our inner city.
So, my mom just took me for that, I got into the school with a scholarship through and yeah. So that was kind of what changed things and how God opened doors in that direction. Now, it wasn't until now that I can look back and say like "Wow God, like you really created that path all along the way!"
At the time, it just, I lived kind of two different lives even in my Christian life, my home was like a Christian-like faith-walk but then I would go to school and took a bus two hours away and I kind of put all things faith on the back burner.
And so it wasn't until I got to college, probably actually even a little bit after college and really just Jonathan and I we got married, that serious personal relationship with Christ and growth started to take place in my own heart and life as I begin to, you know, raise a family and have kids and in life and I remembered all the things about my childhood and God was just faithful to guide me back to Him into a personal relationship.
Erin: I totally hear so much of my own journey in what you just said because, I mean, like having walked away from my faith but having those pillars to hold on to from childhood, like things like going to church and just hymns and different things you would talk about when you were younger, like I completely walked away from and then made my way back in my early twenties. Then Brent entered the picture so I sort of like, here's some parallels there [Crosstalk07:00]
Erin: What was your relationship with Jonathan like in that early season? Were you both believers? Was it an immediate connection that you two had?
Wynter: Yeah, it's funny because I wouldn't even, saying it now, like at the time I wouldn't even say that I walked away. I still, you know went out , I found a church on campus so I was kind of going but I wasn't living like, you know, like a believer or really trying to seek growth or anything.
So it was funny when Jonathan and I met, we actually met at a party and both of us we didn't know at the time but now we're like both of us knew better. He grew up in a Christian home and not because it was a party but just the lifestyle that we were living.
But we, you know, he grew up in a Christian home, faith filled and got to college and kind of did the same thing and just, you know, wasn't growing and just kind of walked away and doing his own thing.
And so when we both met it was an instant connection because he would say things about his family or his home or a church or whatever and I would be like "Oh my gosh, that sounds just like my life, that sounds just like my life or my mom.” Or, “My mom used to say that Bible verse.” Or, you know, “My mother never let me do that either.”
So it was just all these common factors that we had that even though, you know, we found each other in different and very distant relationship from Christ, those foundational things were still there and it actually just brought us together because it was like "Wait. This is actually what I was supposed to be looking for." So [laughs]
Erin: I love how God brings those people to you at exactly the right time too.
Wynter: Yeah. [laughs]
Erin: So good. How long after you guys got together, you know, you've been married and you're working on your relationship, did the kids come?
Wynter: Oh, that's so funny. We got together, so we were dating for eight months and then we got engaged and then we were engaged for our entire senior year of college and then two weeks after graduation we got married.
About eight weeks after our honeymoon I was pregnant and so we started having kids right away and then that kind of, I was pregnant and then within like five years we had all four girls.
So, things just moved really, really quick which our plan was to wait five years to even start having children but we, like, waited, you know. I don't know, three weeks maybe [laughs crosstalk]
Erin: Five seconds, yeah [laughts]. I love how God does that. I mean, and obviously you've got four girls. What do your days look like in a house and I'm wondering too from Jonathan's perspective, like being in a house with all these girls all the time, how does that look?
Wynter: [Laughs] Just close your eyes and times yours, like times three time three or four actually, because we've twins in there so it's just, it is great in a lot of ways. I mean girls are just precious and they're fun and just different. I've enjoyed all the seasons, like my oldest is thirteen now, so they are thirteen, eleven and then our twins are eight.
And so each like stage and season, there are things that I just love about just their, the purity in them and their desire to just kind of seek and learn and have fun with whatever, but at the same time that level of fun is just the most chaotic and emotionally tense times like ever.
So, this week John and I always laugh because we're like the same level of, like, that they like, have fun with, they fight with, so it's just intense moments all the time.
And then it's just funny for me because I am naturally kind of an introvert and I love my quiet time and I love just kind of my space and just moments to just sit and drink coffee and stare at nothing and none of my girls are like that.
And so, they are always on. I mean they wake up just like ready to tackle life, like the day and I'm just like, "Where's my quiet time?"[laughter] I can hardly ever get that. Now it's getting a little easier because they're older, but when they were younger it was just non-stop action, laughter and tears like on both ends so.
I don't know, Jonathan, he probably, he just spends his days just kind of seeing what, where everybody else lands emotionally [laughter] and filtering his comments through that.[ laughter]
Erin: So, like all that energy and the laughter and the fighting and every, like the whirlwind of parenting four girls inside one home, you know; different ages, lots of different things going on, you got the element of twins, like, when did you feel inspired to found a magazine? Was that writing and that…I mean you talk about quiet time and just, you know, kind of separating yourself from all of that and having quiet moments to talk with the Lord and hear from Him. Was the magazine and the start of it super intentional or did it just kind of happen?
Wynter: No. There was absolutely no intention with that, it was just…I have always loved to write and just given my background and how like I felt like God sent me to this certain school to get this great education and, you know, because I thought that He was going to do something, I thought I was gonna have some big career or do something really great and I can go into my my great was defined completely different at the time.
And so when God told me to come home, Alena was about six years, no, she was about four years old when I came home. I just had our second daughter. And I feel like God was telling me to quit my job and to come home full-time and that made no sense to me because I was like “Well, when am I gonna do my great thing, Lord? “ How am I going to do that, like home, you know, raising kids and so.
But I was obedient and I came home and I was pretty, you know, just going through the day, going through the motions of being a stay-at-home mom but constantly on the side just trying to rush through that season to get to whatever the great thing is that God was going to do in my life. And kind of hit a wall and just was like, okay, like nothing outside of raising my kids was happening, like no business that I tried to start was going great, nothing, you know, there was nothing else happening, but I felt like I was supposed to be home.
And so it's just like a moment of surrender I was like, “Okay, Lord, if this is where you have me then I guess this is it. I'll just be a mom, that's just what I'll do."
And I say that now, at the time I was not…it was like, really, I felt like I'll just be a mom, like, “Great, thank you Lord.” You know, like there was no "I'm gonna be a mom and raise these girls." But it's funny because as I was doing that, when I really just surrendered my heart to like "okay these are my girls and I'm just gonna go in and start, you know, doing that." I was involved in all these mommy things and just anytime I couldn't find what I was looking for I would just research more and do more.
And so the magazine came because I was looking for a resource for Alina was about six and she just was super intelligent and could read like the Bible. But you know fun resources like that, at that reading level are not always appropriate for six or seven year olds.
And so I just thought like okay, I had all these mommy friends because I was in mommy world and so I was like I'm just gonna create something a little resource for her and some of her friends and we'll do like a little book club with it.
And slowly like God just started moving my heart and Jonathan's heart to say like as I was doing that it was like "Oh wait, this is turning to be something different and something else.” And he literally just took it.
Now I didn't know what I was doing, I've never done, you know, magazine work or graphic design work or any of that and so God just kind of took my little "I'm gonna do this little book club" and has grown it into like a resource ministry. It’s wild.
Erin: So cool. I wonder what some of the main challenges you faced were. So you have this idea, you're going to create this for your daughter and it's going to… like in your head I totally am with you because even when I started Bible Belles it was like "Oh this will just be like a fun little side project I'll work on" and you know kind of in my free time.
And when you actually decided okay you're going to create this thing and you made the first one and you're formatting it and you're putting it together, like what were some of the challenges you faced?
Wynter: One of the very practical challenges was we had no money and so even the design software, I had to keep downloading a trial version on different computers. So like I remember Jonathan's sister was in town because I had used my computer and reached the trial end or whatever. And I had used Jonathan's computer and reached the trial end and his sister was in town for like two weeks.
And so, I remember just like "Can I use your computer like down to finish up this thing I'm working on?" And so that was just a funny like, we didn't even have, didn't even own the software to be able to do the first one. And so then the next you know just trying to figure out like okay how are we going to print it? You know, what are we going to do there?
And Kickstarter campaigns was like brand new when I was starting this and Jonathan for his job had done some research on it for a project he was going to work on and he didn't end up using it.
And so he was like "Well we can't afford to print it but maybe we could do like a Kickstarter campaign." So, like we did that and so as we even moved into that it just felt like okay God's doing something like so I was expecting it to just be big; like He's opening all these doors, He’s got us to where we can print now, like the design is done, like God's going to do something big.
And it just was a very small, slow growth process and so that's been, that was like the biggest just challenge and just feeling defeat like, "Okay, Lord I thought you wanted to do this." But somehow it still was just, even though it was bigger than me and just my four girls, it wasn't in my mind like big and I wanted it to be big and I wanted it to be big quick.
And so just learning to trust God and His timing through the process of all that which is still continuing, you never actually outgrow that. I don't think so.
Erin: Totally. So after that first Kickstarter campaign, you know, you make the first one, it doesn't go exactly how you hoped but you press on and you keep going. Like how have you watched, I mean over the last several years, the magazine grow and change and expand into you know what it started as to what it's now?
Wynter: Oh my gosh, I mean it's just been, it's one of those, you always know it's a God's story when you're kind of like "Well then, that happened and then I don't remember because something else happened." Like God just literally just has opened door after door from the people that we interview you know just, it's just been social media.
I'll just in a tweet and just say like "Hey, this is so random you don't know me and you have like a million followers. Would you mind letting me interview you for this magazine I'm doing?”
Wynter: And they reply and say "Yes." And I'm like, "Seriously? You will?"
So just continue to do like even just those things and then just from doing the magazine and the consistency and the work with that like the relationships that God has opened up through that and then just you know that led into publishing world with the devotionals and the books.
But it was because of just this small thing that I didn't see as being like that God was really gonna use that opening the relationship doors and conversations from just other things that He had claimed and just one thing after the other. It's literally been sitting at a table when somebody says something. I'm like "Oh I can" you know, and that turns into the next thing. So it's just been awesome and just watch…it literally has been unplanned on my part but completely purposeful on what God has wanted to do, so.
Erin: That's so cool because it was born out of something that you needed as a mom. You're going okay "I see this need. I feel like I can create something that's gonna provide value to my girls." And then so the magazine comes and the devotionals come and some of the books come and resources come after that and then this most recent book I really want to talk about because literally it sits on my nightstand and I refer to it so often.
Brent has already read it twice and I think we love it so much. And guys, for the book, if you're not familiar with this new title, it's called She Is Yours: Trusting God As You Raise the Girl He Gave You. I think what we love so much about this book, a lot of different things, but the offering and the perspective from both you as the wife and mom and Jonathan as the husband and father, like it's really helpful to hear just your dual hearts, your opinions, your thoughts about how to approach parenting and not just parenting in general but specifically parenting girls, you know, toward understanding who they are in Christ, what a relationship with Jesus even looks like.
I think there's so much value in this book so I wanted to ask you like you know when the girls were born did you right away say, "Okay our focus for these girls and their lives is going to be finding God's dreams and purposes for them"? Or did you, like did you have to kind of talk yourself out of your own dreams for them? Was that sort of truth, you know, guiding them toward God's dreams for their lives, was that a truth for you guys from the beginning or did you learn it sort of along the way as you parented?
Wynter: I think it's a little of both because I'll say that our hearts from the beginning, I mean, I remember being pregnant with Alena and that was my prayer; like “Lord let her have a heart for you.” Like, you know, “whatever you, have your will in her life.” Like all these things that you say and then I really wanted and believed.
But then as they got older and I had to watch that happen, and sometimes in the smallest ways, because if we're raising Christ's focus girls and that sometimes means that they aren't the most popular little girl or they aren’t, you know, other kids aren't kind.
So even just watching that really happen that's when it really became like, okay I can't just say these words but I have to literally like pray for God to help me surrender so that his, so that those words can actually become true in my heart and in their lives. So, I think it's a little just of both, kind of in my heart it was always a prayer but with our actions it's been an ongoing learning process.
Erin: It's so cool. I think and what's awesome about that is you guys have so many stories to share like obviously every little girl is different and her experiences and what she's going to go through and her personality and her attitudes and her approaches to life, they're all unique and so interesting and so different here you've got…
Wynter: I think we've got one of each in our house, so [laughter]
Erin: No, totally, right. No, it's like there's obviously not one formula. That's why I like this book so much because you've got so many different experiences to share as they relate to girls with different personalities and attitudes.
So are there, as far as like, you know, your approach to parenting obviously doesn't look the same for each of your girls but how do you, knowing their personalities and attitudes and the unique people God's created them to be, like how do you approach parenting with regard to having these four totally different people in your house?
Wynter: It's funny because I think it's, you know, this is not like the old wise parenting like this is the what you do, because for us it really has been trial and error and a lot of apology. We, it just is, and a lot of surrendering to Go. So it's just kind of trial and error and “I'm so sorry that I did not do that.” Like, “I didn't do that. Mommy didn't handle that right and daddy didn't handle that right.”
And so we, that's kind of just been our motto, is we're doing the best we can and we're praying, we're asking God to guide us and to lead us and sometimes we hit the mark and it's like "Yes, God, I heard you there! I really did that the right way."
And then other times I try to do it and our response and I'm like “She didn't… that wasn't exactly how I should've handled that with her.” And I'm like, "Lord, you forgive me? Give me new direction give me new guidance.” And you know, “Katie I'm sorry. Can you forgive me? Help me, like you know this is actually what we need to be doing."
So, just being very humble in our approach and just knowing that we're all on this journey, our kids are on this journey growing in Christ and as parents like I'm on this journey growing in Christ too and so the same grace that Christ offers me like in my parenting, I offer, we just try to offer that to the girls and we try to teach them to offer that back to us.
Erin: So good. I know you have a lot going on. Moving into 2018 what are you most excited about doing this year? Is it speaking? Is it, are you working on some new resources? What does the next year look like for you?
Wynter: It's funny. We've had a really busy couple of years. I mean it's, I can say this because I know that it's only been God like within, last year I released four books. And over the last two years I think we've like it's a total of like nine books or something crazy in like a two and a half year period.
So honestly, this year I'm looking forward to some speaking engagements, I'm looking forward to I have had a couple of smaller like just For Girls Like You like a planner that I'm working on and then just some fun resources but mostly I'm excited to kind of just return to my motherhood to motherhood.
Like I've got one daughter that I have brought home and I'm homeschooling her now and I'm excited to not have a lot of deadlines or things and to just kind of go back. Like I felt like God did that season and it's been great and I know He's still doing things in that and I'm looking forward to doing some traveling and all that kind of stuff.
But really, I'm like, "Okay, Lord, I want to bake cookies with my girls." I'm looking forward to doing that and kind of, it's been a while since I've just been able to completely focus on that.
Erin: So awesome. I just love giving you a chance to share your heart and letting people know more about you and that's the whole point of this podcast, right, it's just to shine a spotlight on people who are out there serving the Lord. We don't have it all figured out, you know, we're very humble in our approach and I just, I love getting to highlight you and giving people a little insight into who you are and you know the work that you're doing not only to just create things and put them out into the world but just, you know, being at home, being with your kids and pouring into the lives of our girls in such a positive way, so thank you for being here.
Wynter: Well thank you and I appreciate you and all the work that you're doing as well, so I'm just grateful for a chance to be able to connect.
Erin: Thanks, so much Wynter. So, at the end of each episode we do something called “The scoop”. It is three rapid-fire questions. Are you ready?
Wynter: Oh no. [Laughs]
Erin: I know. The cap is on, lady. Alright first question; obviously this podcast is called Heroes for Her, we love heroes. When you were a little girl who was your hero?
Wynter: My, well, when I was a little girl; sorry, okay, because I was going to say my mom but at the time she was not. It was probably my, oh this is hard. Probably I had an aunt that I loved that was kind of, she was a teenager when I was born so she was kind of like a sister but I just watched her. She was kind of the first, just…she has three girls and I watched her just do her thing. She was a cosmetologist and she had her own, you know, hair studio and all this and she was cute and had fun hair, you know, so as a little girl I just remember like she was kind of my, I like looked up to her completely and I still love her to death so that was probably who I loved.
Erin: My next question, what is a piece of advice you've received that has impacted your life in a powerful way?
Wynter: Ah…these are hard, Erin! Okay. I have like three. I'll choose the one that we, that I tried to live by. When my twins were born somebody said to me like, “You're gonna have to let go of the perfect in order to enjoy the reality.” And I feel like that has just driven me [distortion in audio 25:29] like what I wanted to be. Not that I'm not gonna still try to make things happen, do whatever, but kind of letting go of the completely, like striving for this perfect little world in my imagination, imaginary world, in order to be able to enjoy the actual, the reality that's right in front of me.
Erin: Last question, if you could have a secret superpower what would it be?
Wynter: [Laughs] It’s going to sound terrible and I don't mean it really but I kind of do; to be invisible! [Laughs]
Erin: Just to sneak around?
Wynter: No, so that I could, so that I could actually be alone. [Laughs]
Erin: I was gonna say so when you have four girls going "Mom", "Mom", "Mom", "Mom" [laughter] you could just like, you know, be unseen for a second.
Wynter: Yeah. I could just push a button and just disappear for a minute. Sometimes it only takes a minute of being away to be able to come back and be like "Okay".
Erin: You don’t have to find the bathroom; you could just hide where you are. [laughter]
Wynter, where is the best place for people to connect with you online, find out more about For Girls Like You and everything you have going on?
Wynter: Everything social media handle and website is forgirlslikeyou.com.
Erin: Awesome. Thanks, Wynter.
Wynter: Alright. Thank you.
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