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Raising Daughters in God's Wisdom

Air Date 10/08/2018

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Jonathan and Wynter Pitts describe how parents can strengthen their relationship with their daughters – as well as their daughters' faith – in a discussion based on the Pitts' book She is Yours: Trusting God as You Raise the Girl He Gave You.

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Episode Transcript

Opening:

Excerpt:

Wynter Pitts: She still just came in my room because she just wanted to be with me. And it just reminded me that that’s what our kids need. They don’t always need our performance or our perfection or for us, um, to be teaching them or showing them something. They just like being with us.

End of Excerpt

John Fuller: That’s the late Wynter Pitts. And you’ll hear more from her and her husband, Jonathan, today on Focus on the Family. Your host is Focus president and author Jim Daly, and I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: About two and a half months ago, Wynter Pitts went home to be with the Lord. Her passing rocked the Christian community as she was the niece of Dr. Tony Evans. She was a young, vibrant woman who spoke life and truth into little girls’ hearts and had a passion for leading them into a relationship with the Lord. With four girls of her own, it was easy to see where her heart was. When we spoke with Wynter and her husband, Jonathan - who is now on staff at a church in Nashville - they offered great insight on raising girls and passing a solid faith on to them. And as you’re gonna hear, they were very honest with us. Sometimes parenting is messy, but when it all wraps up, what matters the most, is your legacy - your children. And for Wynter, passing that torch came far sooner than anyone expected. And her legacy is carried through her four girls now: Alena, Kaitlyn, Cameron, and Olivia. And it’s in her honor that we air this program today.

John: And we’re gonna pick up the conversation, which was rather lively, as Jim, you were asking Jonathan and Wynter about their girls.

Body:

Jim: All right, so describe your four girls. How old are they?

Jonathan Pitts: Alena is 14 years old, so we have our first teen. Uh, Kaitlyn is 11. And then we have twin 9-year-olds. Um, so...

Jim: Oh, my...

Jonathan: Yeah...

Jim: ...All girls.

Jonathan: ...They’re packed in pretty tight. All girls, yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: You have...

Wynter: Well, we have a Yorkie-Poo, and he’s a boy, so...

Jim: I was gonna say usually - but it’s a girl dog or a girl cat. I mean, it’s funny. But you went with - you needed some companionship, right?

Jonathan: That’s right.

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: When you first found out you were going to have a baby, you called Jonathan, Wynter to tell him. What was he doing at the time? This is gonna out you right away.

John: Yeah.

Jim: But all guys are gonna love this. What was he doing?

Wynter: He was - he was golfing.

Jim: Okay.

Wynter: He was on the golf course. And I called him. And, you know, we weren’t planning to get pregnant. And we were really just married - just a couple of months. And so I called him kind of in shock. And - and I just told him. And he’s like, “Wow,” like, “Okay, I’ll see you when I finish this round.”

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: Okay, I’m sorry...

John: No rushing home for that.

Jim: ...But really?

Jonathan: That’s still my answer.

Jim: Really? Wow. You must love golf.

Jonathan: That’s me.

Jim: So how did that make you feel?

(LAUGHTER)

Wynter: You know, um...

Jonathan: Well, I left the golf course early so that probably...

Jim: After how many holes?

Wynter: I think he ended up playing the hat - the - what is it? Nine holes?

Jonathan: I finished at the 18.

(LAUGHTER)

Wynter: But, you know, really, I remember sitting there on the couch and just thinking, like, “We are so not ready for this.”

Jim: Oh, yeah.

Wynter: I mean, we are...

Jim: I mean, that was evidence of it, right?

Wynter: Or at least one of us is not ready for this.

Jim: That’s amazing. So paint us that picture of the household with girls. I mean, I’ve got two boys. So John, you’ve got to jump in here.

John: No, I’m going to listen to the experts.

Jim: Your three girls...

John: They have four.

Jim: But what is that like having four girls running around? Probably the bathroom fight is a big one?

Jonathan: Yeah, bathroom, clothes, um, really anything you can think of that they either share or - yeah, anything they share.

Wynter: Anything you can think of - so air.

Jonathan: What if they don’t - they don’t like to share?

Wynter: Somebody may be breathing harder than the other one wants them to. And that...

(LAUGHTER)

Wynter: ...That leads to some emotion and tears. And...

Jonathan: It’s a - it’s a volatile atmosphere. It’s a good - I mean, just like - just like...

Jim: Okay, wait a minute. I love girls, so I want - I’m - where is that positive aspect?

Jonathan: Oh, it’s beautiful. It...

Jim: Okay.

Jonathan: ...Really is beautiful. I love it. I love every day of it. I’ve loved every day that I’ve parented my girls. But it is - it’s like living in chaos with four of them, I think, specifically. So you know, there’s a lot of fun. So you can go from tears to laughter in a matter of seconds...

Jim: And back to tears.

Jonathan: ...And back to tears. Yeah, it’s incredible.

Wynter: Everything’s just kind of an extreme high. So the extreme joy, extreme passion, extreme giggles, like, extreme love. Like, they - you know, just, “Daddy!” Like, chanting. They never really chant for me, but - and then they - and then it just goes extreme emotional, like...

Jonathan: Lows.

Wynter: ...Chaos and lows. It’s just extreme...

Jonathan: “Daddy!”

Wynter: ...Right?

Jim: “Why did you do that? How could you do that to me?” Talk about God and um, His relationship with you and how that plays out in your parenting of the daughters.

Jonathan: You know, I would say, you know, having my daughters has been, I think, the most vivid and eye opening experience in really understanding the heart of God because I’ve had to learn what it looks like to love and what it looks like to be patient and what it looks like to be kind at a time where I’ve not wanted to be patient or kind or loving. And so it’s just the reality of, like, what generosity and what graciousness looks like and what God’s done for me - I can easily see it with my girls. And the fact of the matter is, you know, we’ve been made to do it. So it’s been a learning experience. And like, “Oh, wow, that’s what you were doing with me, God, all along.” And now I get to do with my girls. So it’s been a lot of fun just to see that and just really see God’s heart through my own life and...

Jim: Do you hesitate - as a father do you, you know, you think of taking your son out for the big adventure, whatever it might be - hunting, fishing, mountain biking, whatever - have you been able to do that with your girls? I mean, do you pull back because you don’t want to do certain things with them because they’re not boys?

Jonathan: Yeah, absolutely not. You know, people always ask me - they say, you know, “Do you want a son?” or “When are you going to try for a son?” And I always say, “I feel like God’s made me for girls.” And really, I mean, anything I would do - I mean, now the things I’ve tried to do with my girls that they just don’t graft to - so for example golf, being one of those - I’ve always just hoped that one of my girls would latch on, and none of them have. And...

(LAUGHTER)

John: Yet.

Jonathan: I...

John: Yet is the word.

Jonathan: Yet, yeah. I have them on the driving range.

John: There’s hope.

Jonathan: They’re running around in circles and just playing. So - but, no, anything I would do if I had a son, I would do with my girls. So we came to Colorado for vacation just recently. And, you know, our girls love the outdoors.

Jim: Well, that’s good. I think that’s the right way to go.

Jonathan: They were afraid of the bears. We didn’t see one single bear.

Jim: Yeah, that’s - yeah.

Jonathan: But they were just, the whole time, “Daddy, I don’t wanna upset the bears!”

Jim: Now, you didn’t use that - that line when you were dating Wynter - “God made me for girls.” You didn’t say...

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

Wynter: It had a different meaning then.

Jim: Yeah, exactly. Did he pull that on you? No, that’s fun. Now, you have a story, Wynter, about your daughter, Kaitlyn. Um, you kind of set the standard for your relationship or her relationship with the Lord. It - something had to do with a puzzle.

Wynter: Yes.

Jim: What happened?

Wynter: Katie’s our middle girl. And she’s normally the one that just kind of brings everybody back, just the life of the party, always joyful, just very happy. And um, and she’s in the middle, so it’s just great to have her kind of balancing everybody out. But when she was just a little thing, she was putting together a puzzle. And I remember I was, like, doing laundry or just getting the house stuff together. And she called me and was like, “Mommy, you know, look. I can put this puzzle together really fast.”

(LAUGHTER)

Wynter: And so I’m like, “Okay, like, give me a second.” And so I go over, and I watch her. And she just, like, flips it over without taking any of the pieces apart.

Jim: Okay, so she’s pretty smart.

Wynter: So she just...

(LAUGHTER)

...She just flips it over.

Jim: One of those wood puzzles...

Wynter: Yeah.

Jim: ...Right? Yeah.

Wynter: And just flipped it over and then, you know, flipped it - all the pieces were right there together. So she did do it super-fast.

Jim: Yeah.

Wynter: And, um, I remember having an internal debate with myself because I’m like, “Do I just cheer her on right now and just move on and finish doing all the list of things that I have to do, or do I really, like, want to take this moment and make it a teachable moment and teach her, like, that’s not actually - like, you can say you did that, but that’s not actually the standard...”

Jim: Huh.

Wynter: “...On how fast you put a puzzle together? You have to, like, take the pieces apart and” - and I took the - it was a harder choice. Um, it took more time. And it...

Jim: Right.

Wynter: ...Caused her to be a little upset because she thought she’d done something great. And I had to say, like, “You know, you did do it, but that’s really not the standard.” And it really was just in that moment God really taught me, like, this is gonna be the case - we’re always gonna have to teach them to raise the standard, like, no shortcuts and no, like, just because I got it done. But did you do it the right way? Did you do it the way...?

Jim: Yeah, think of that in terms of the culture today...

Wynter: Yeah.

Jim: ...And how kids grow up flipping the puzzle over.

Wynter: Yeah.

Jim: I mean, that’s the metaphor for life, right?

Wynter: Yeah.

Jim: Parents that make it easy or too easy...

Wynter: Yeah.

Jim: ...For their kids, they don’t challenge their kids to think differently or to do the tough stuff. So that was a lesson. And she remembers that?

Wynter: She remembers that, yup, and so do I, because I was like, “Man, this was supposed to be a quick look.”

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: Yeah, right, and instead it was a half hour. But Jonathan, you uh, you saw your daughter - maybe a different daughter, I’m not sure. But uh, in the book you mentioned how you could see her moving from knowledge of God to a relationship with God.

Jonathan: Yeah.

Jim: Every parent raising a boy or a girl, uh, we’re interested in that. What was that experience? And how did you see that in your daughter?

Jonathan: Yeah, it’s actually my oldest girl, who’s now 14. And, uh, it was a neat experience because I’ve prayed for, you know, all of my life, and then even as we got married, before we were pregnant, I prayed for my children and just prayed that God would just do in them what He did in me. And, um, it was neat to watch my daughter - she had actually just come back from camp and just shared with us that she had given her life to Christ at camp.

Jim: How old was she then?

Jonathan: She was probably 8, I’m guessing? And, uh, so we were actually at a church service. And, uh, they did an altar call. And she’d already told us she’d given her life to Christ. And, you know, if you grow up in a Christian home, and you really - like, for me, my testimony is I don’t remember ever a day not knowing the Lord. Like, I - I gave my life to Christ on several occasions at several different church services and all that.

Jim: Right.

Jonathan: But, like, there was this clear, um, I think, brokenness, I think, in her, where she was realizing what God has actually done for her. Like, she knew it, knowledge-wise. But there was a clear brokenness she had on this Sunday in service, just as we worshipped.

Jim: That’s amazing.

Jonathan: Yeah. And I was just shocked at, um, just the vulnerability that she had in that moment and, uh, just...

Jim: She was in tears.

Jonathan: She’s in tears. She’s crying.

Jim: So it was a real heart exchange, not just a knowledge exchange?

Jonathan: Yeah. And I asked her - I said, “Is everything okay?” And she said, “Yeah.” And I said, “So are your tears happy tears or sad tears?” And she said, “Happy tears.” And, I mean, it’s been, really, since that day - she was baptized shortly after that. But it was really since that day that we’ve - I mean, she’s not a perfect girl by any stretch, but the reality is I’ve watched her have a heart for the Lord...

Jim: Yeah.

Jonathan: ...Uh, that’s caused her, um, just to seek Him in repentance, to seek Him in relationship, to seek Him with all of her.

Jim: Well, and that’s what’s so critical. And I think, as a parent, that’s what we want to see in our children - is how are they responding to the Gospel? We take them to church. Now, if you had boys, you’d quickly learn that, “Church is boring, Dad. I mean, really, we got to go to church again?” So that’s usually the...

John: Not enough...

Wynter: I think we...

John: ...Action going on.

Jim: Yeah, not enough action figures, you know.

Wynter: We have a version of that from the girls sometimes.

Jim: Yeah, okay. But it - kind of these principles that I really appreciated in your book, She Is Yours - um, what are some practical ways to bring God’s word to the heart of your family?

Jonathan: Yeah. Well, I would say, first, it’s just getting them into God’s presence. So for us, oftentimes as a family, one of the things we’ve really tried to do - and, um, I mean, I learned this as a kid myself listening to Focus on the Family - but just the reality of just spending time in God’s word together as a family. So whether it be the dinner table or before bed or in the mornings - I mean, we start our days everyday with prayer. And we’re always intentionally trying to get our girls into proximity. We can’t really get them in the relationship with God, but we can get them in the proximity. Then it’s their choice to choose the relationship. But, um, just spending as much time as we can intentionally bringing them into the proximity of God.

Jim: Let me ask you this question - because, again - and, John, jump in here with three girls of your own. Uh, for me, Jean and I will often have this discussion about raising boys. And, you know, instilling in them a spiritual lesson in a moment usually means you’re actively doing something with them - you’re on a hike, you’re driving somewhere, and you just start talking about a spiritual application. It’s rare, I think, being a father of boys, to actually be able to sit down after dinner and say, “Okay, we’re gonna have a 30-minute study, and don’t fidget.” And, you know, boys just - they have a lot of energy physically. And they’ve got to be moving usually in order to hang with you. Have you found that different raising girls? Do they sit for you? Do they - are they a little less fidgety?

Wynter: Not at all.

(LAUGHTER)

Wynter: You know, we say that...

Jim: Good, we’re all in the same boat.

Wynter: We’re all in the same boat. And we say it all - you know, we’re like, you know, family devotions. And I always have to clarify, like, it’s not like this pretty, sit-down church service, you know, where Jonathan and I have prepared just a little message, and we’ve got a scripture written up on a board for them. It’s not that at all. I mean, it is chaos. And it’s dinner. So it’s the end of the day. They’ve had - used - you know, had to sit still most of the day. So...

Jim: Right, for school.

Wynter: ...At the end of dinner, they are wired. Um, and so it’s not pretty. And it - and it’s not fun. And sometimes it causes us to - you know, we’re reading a scripture, and we’re like, “Oh, wait, God, You’re talking - You’re actually trying to teach us something right now.” But it’s just something that we still feel that - um, the importance of doing it. And our prayer is just that our girls will see the priority that it is for our family...

Jim: Yeah.

Wynter: ...And that that becomes a priority for them regardless of the work that’s required, um, in doing it.

Jim: Okay.

Jonathan: And I would also add, like - I mean, I love what you just said about, like, just getting more out in, you know, experience and not just - the bottom line is you have to have a foundation and knowledge of God’s word. Because when you get into an experience-based deal, and you’re talking with your child, or you’re moving with them, or you’re fishing with them, or whatever you’re doing, they can go back to what the truth actually is. So I think the knowledge piece - and, I mean, you have to sit down, and you have to just instill God’s word in them. But some of my most favorite moments with my girls in teaching them about the Lord or just giving them experience and just conversation is going to Home Depot, just riding to Home Depot with my girl, walking around or showing her a tool or just doing something where, you know, it’s not just sitting at a table doing devotions or something like that.

Jim: Right.

Jonathan: So...

John: Yeah, I appreciate that. We, uh - we did something and the girls glommed onto it - they grabbed onto it more than the boys. Uh, I called it bagel and Bible, where I would take them out for a bagel when they were about 10. Every week, I’d take them out for a bagel.

Jim: Oh, that’s interesting. So the girls really enjoyed that...?

John: Well...

Jim: ...But the boys...?

John: ...That’s because it’s relational, right? For the boys, it was totally about the food. For the girls...

(LAUGHTER)

...It’s about the time with Daddy.

Jim: Yup.

John: And so I think there is that difference. You’re hearing some great insights from Jonathan and Wynter Pitts. And, uh, they’ve written this book - She Is Yours: Trusting God as You Raise the Girl He Gave You. And we’ll encourage you to get a CD or a download of this conversation and a copy of that book, of course, at our website focusonthefamily.com/broadcast, or call 800-232-6459.

Jim: Jonathan, being a father of four girls, um, how do you express a heavenly father’s love to them to help them identify with their life in Christ? So often we hear about absent fathers, uh, no fathers at all and the detrimental impact that has on girls particularly - I think both boys and girls, obviously - but girls seem to struggle with a healthy identity then. And we so often hear when they grow up to be teens, they will look for love in all the wrong places - looking for that father affection. Describe how a dad can really communicate a heavenly father’s image to his girls?

Jonathan: Yeah, well, first, I would say - and this is really what I try to practice - is just presence. I think presence is more important than anything else. Literally being there, being there in the moments when they’re happy, being there in the moments when they’re sad, being there just - as many moments as you can be there, you be there. And when I say be there, it’s not just be there like you’re in the room, but it’s intentionally letting them know that you hear them, that you see them, that you value them. And it’s - that’s difficult for all of us. You know, I talk about, I think, in the book a little bit. This reality - like, for me, I love listening to radio - talk radio, conservative talk radio, liberal talk - I just love listening and just hearing people’s perspectives. So it’s easy for me to put my earbuds in as I’m cleaning the house or I’m moving around and just literally to ignore everything that’s going on around me. And I had to make an intentional, uh, effort to take the earbuds out and just be there in my home, you know, when I’m doing dishes or when I’m sweeping the floor or just - yeah, just being around so I can hear what’s going on their lives. And aside from presence and just being intentional, I think it’s tailor-made depending on - because all of our girls are different. Having four daughters, I know that every girl is different because my four are absolutely different from each other - every one of them - and they all receive love different ways. So just being aware enough about what sparks them, uh, what makes them tick. Um, you know, for my oldest daughter, she really doesn’t need a lot of conversation. She likes to be in the room. She likes to sit in my lap. She likes to - you know, it’s really just being there. But for my second daughter, it’s a lot of interaction. She’s very talkative. She wants to tell me about her next gymnastics move and then show me the gymnastics move and then have me help her on that next gymnastics move. So there’s just this reality that they’re different. So like, if you have more than one daughter, it’s really, you know, tailor-making what you’re doing with each of them based on their personalities and based on what you learn because you are there, and you are aware of what’s going on.

Jim: Well, and, again, the point being that critical love connection, so they see a father’s love, and they can understand it. And, uh, we hear so many of the negative stories where it didn’t happen, and it causes a young girl to go off the rails.

Jonathan: Yeah.

Jim: And that’s a good thing for dads to be responsible for.

Jonathan: Yeah, and I...

Jim: And they own it.

Jonathan: And I’ve not done it perfect by any stretch. And one of the things I really love is having not been a perfect dad for 14 years, uh, just recently, just this week, I was looking at, um, an article that somebody did on my twins at their school. And they said, “Who’s your hero?” And they said, “My Dad.” So I’m like, “All right, I’m not doing it perfectly, but I’m still their hero, so that’s a good thing.”

(LAUGHTER)

Jonathan: So...

Jim: That is good. Now, Wynter, on the mom’s side, you were a little girl.

Wynter: Yeah.

Jim: And so you can share the struggles with them. How do you approach inculcating kind of a spiritual attitude with your daughters as the mom?

Wynter: You know, it’s interesting because even just going back a little bit to what, uh, Jonathan was just saying about growing up as a little girl without a dad - that was my story. I grew up as a little girl without a dad in the home. And so even as I’m mothering my girls, I’m seeing God through childlike eyes...

Jim: Oh, wow.

Wynter: ...All over again. And so that has been, um, a neat experience. And so what it causes me - it’s just - it’s the same thing - just being present. I’m a little more understanding with the emotions and some of just the things because I remember being 14, I remember just, you know, being 10 and 11 and all those things. Um, but really, being present, listening to them, knowing that they’re - like, letting them know that they’re heard, but then also just, even in the emotion, bringing them back to truth. So letting them know that their feelings, their emotions, whatever is going on, like, we can be there, and I can understand, but let’s go back to what God has to say about what we’re dealing with and what we’re doing. And so just my presence in being there and pointing back to who Christ is.

Jim: Which is so good - spending time with your kids.

John: Yeah.

Let me move to the idea of obedience. Um, I think, you know, again, being a parent of boys, this can be an area that’s tough. You know, “This is what we said to do. You didn’t do it, etc.” How - how is that obedience with girls sometimes challenged? What does that look like trying to get girls in line? Because my impression, again, is that it’s much easier because girls listen far better.

Jonathan: Oh, sure.

Jim: But, uh...

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: ...Educate me oh, wise ones, parents of girls. Tell me how, uh, I’m wrong or I’m right.

Jonathan: Yeah, I wouldn’t say it’s easier at all.

Wynter: No.

Jonathan: I - you know, I think about children and their wills. And, like, some of our daughters have stronger wills than others. So I think there’s a couple things that we need to think about when we think about obedience. And the first is - and Wynter always says this - like, choose your battles wisely. Like, there are - with girls especially, there are some things that can just be an emotional - it can just go down and down and down. And we’re battling. We find out we’re battling over something that’s really not even - it’s not a biblical issue. It’s not even really a household standard issue. It’s just something we have in our head that we want. So I just tend to think that we choose our battles wisely, but then also that we - when we see them doing things that would please the heart of God, that we tell them that and we...

Jim: Make sure you affirm it.

Jonathan: ...Reinforce that.

Jim: Yeah.

Jonathan: So yeah, affirmation is...

Jim: So one of the stories in the book dealt with, I think, getting the girls to bed - that they were struggling with that. So I was just really relieved to hear that. But go ahead.

(LAUGHTER)

What was - what was the struggle like?

Jonathan: When you’re thinking about obedience, there’s actually a story that I just remember very vividly about, you know, our girls were just struggling to get to bed every night. We’re yelling. We’re trying all these different methods. And Wynter heard a method from a friend of hers. I can’t quite remember the method. Why don’t you share that real quick?

Wynter: I don’t really remember it either. I just remember a friend of mine that read this book, and she said it really worked, where when the kids won’t go to bed, what you say to them is, “Mommy and Daddy stay - when we stay up, it’s to get work done. So if you’re not going to bed, you need to stay up and work.” So we thought, like, “Let’s try that. Like, let’s tell them.” And so you know, they wouldn’t go to bed. And I said - you know, we used to say, “We don’t want to see you. We don’t want to hear you. It’s bedtime.” We said our prayers, all that, and put them in bed. Well, of course, we started hearing people, and we started seeing them. So Jonathan and I decided, like, “Okay, we’re gonna try this.” We hadn’t read the book. I don’t even remember what the book was.

Jim: Right.

Wynter: I just know that my friend...

Jim: I like it.

Wynter: ...My friend said it worked on her kids. And so we thought, like, “Okay, let’s get up, put them to work.” So we said, “Okay, whoever’s not going to bed, like, you need to get up. Let’s get to work.” Well, that already - we should have - we heard some giggling and something. So we should have known right then, like, “Let’s just stop this, this isn’t gonna work.” But we didn’t. You know, we thought, like, “Let’s try it.” So we started having them, you know, fold laundry. Somebody had to clean up their bathroom and some different things. And they were just enjoying it. They were having the time of their lives.

Jim: So this is, like 10 o’clock?

John: It’s like a game now, yeah.

Wynter: This is, like, 10 o’clock at night. And, you know, we’re gonna stick it out because friend of mine said that this worked. And so we, you know...

Jonathan: Surely it’s just a matter of time.

Wynter: Right. So they are just having a great time. And I think - so, you know, one of them eventually was like, “All right, I’m gonna go lay down, like, I’m done.” And then another one was kind of like, “Okay” - like, after the bathroom, you know...

Jim: Yeah.

Wynter: ...She’s like, “I’m going to bed.” Well, there’s - we were down to, like, one left. And I remember which one it was, but she just wouldn’t. And so we lived - um, we used to have a house that, uh, just the back windows were just open and there was, like, a forest. It wasn’t a forest. It was, like, a main road right on the other side. But it looked like a forest, like kind of right behind that house. And so we were out and things. We’re like, “What can we have her do?” They already cleaned up all the shoes and the laundry...

(LAUGHTER)

...All this stuff. And so Jonathan decides, “I’m gonna put her out back and tell her to sweep off, like, the back porch,” and like - and she was...

Jim: This is now, like midnight.

Wynter: Right, so it’s, like, dark and - and so she looked outside, and she - you know, she thought about it for a minute, and then she decided, like, she was gonna go ahead and do that. She was not breaking ground. She’s like, “I’m - I’m gonna do it.” So she stepped outside.

Jonathan: It was Cameron, our strongest girl, I remember.

Wynter: Yeah. So she stepped outside. And I don’t know what happened - if she heard a raccoon or heard something - but she came flying back in the house and went up to...

Jim: And it was done.

Wynter: (Unintelligible).

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: That’s great.

Jonathan: It finally worked. It wasn’t very efficient, but it finally worked.

Jim: But it shows you...

Wynter: We left that method alone. We - like, next time...

Jim: Yeah, that was the only time.

John: Something easier next time.

Wynter: (Unintelligible).

Jim: But, man, just think how clean the house was.

(LAUGHTER)

I might try that. Uh, Wynter, you mentioned this a while ago, but this idea of presence, how did you learn that your daughters enjoyed your presence?

Wynter: Yeah. There’s a story I’ll never forget that we were at dinner and um, I’m home full-time with the girls. And so there’re times when, you know, at dinner time, I just about - honestly speaking, it’s - I’ve had enough. Like, I’m just not in a good place. I’m tired. I like being quiet. I - you know, ready to rest. And I was just having one of those moods. And I don’t - you know, just details of the day had gotten to me, and I was all in my head. And the house - even Jonathan and the girls, they were just excited at dinner. It was a good dinner. They were happy. And I just thought, “You know what? I’m just gonna remove myself from this situation because they’re happy, I’m not. I don’t want to interfere with what - you know, the joy that they’ve got going on.” So I just got up and stepped and went to the bedroom. And I was just in my room. And I heard one of the girls coming down the hall. And I braced myself and thought, like, “Okay, she’s gonna need something. There’s some project that needs to be done or something that I didn’t get laundry cleaned or whatever.” And I heard her. She knocked on the door. And I said, “Come on in.” You know, and I was just like, “What do you need?”

Jim: Yeah.

Wynter: And she just kind of stood there and was doing her little - little girl thing that they do, just kind of bouncing and twirling. And I just looked at her again, and I said, “Yes?” And she said, “I just wanted to be with you.” And I thought, like, “That’s it? You didn’t want anything else?” I was at my worst. Like, I just...

Jim: Yeah.

Wynter: ...Was not in a good mood. I wasn’t providing or performing or doing anything for her. And she still just came in my room because she just wanted to be with me. And it just reminded me that that’s what our kids need. They don’t always need our performance or our perfection or for us, um, to be teaching them or showing them something. They just like being with us.

Jim: Yeah.

Wynter: So sometimes if we let down that guard and just be with them...

Jim: No, it’s a beautiful story and I think a reminder. How many moms would love that exchange - that they’re not there for something but just for them?

Wynter: Yeah.

Jim: I know a mother’s heart. That just must have melted your heart. So okay, this is good.

Wynter: And a sigh of relief because I didn’t forget, like, a project or, you know, something else.

Jim: Right.

(LAUGHTER)

Wynter: Like, “Oh.” Like, “Okay.”

Jim: You know, it’s so amazing. I think, uh, moms have this incredible capacity to look inward first. Unlike so many of us men, you know, they do look inside and say, “Okay, where have I caused this problem or fallen short?” It’s just the beautiful aspect of motherhood. What a wonderful conversation. Uh, Wynter and Jonathan, thank you for giving us the inside look of raising girls. And you guys, you’re still in it.

Jonathan: We’re still in it.

Closing:

Jim: Your hands are full - the four girls at home, the twins. And, uh, you have done a fabulous job, uh, talking about this in your book She Is Yours: Trusting God as You Raise the Girl He Gave You. And I’ve got one more question for you. I’ll ask you right after John, uh, gives some of the details. But, you know, here at Focus, we want to help you be the best parent you can be, to have the best marriage you can in Christ, not for the sake of just being happy but to be, uh, fulfilled in what God has called you to as a couple. And we’re all hitting that in different ways and struggling at times and achieving it at times. And, uh, that is our goal here - to equip you. We have counselors to help you. We have tools and resources and so many things. Don’t be embarrassed. If you’re struggling, call us. That’s why we’re here.

And, uh, if you can give a gift to Focus to help us do this, literally to help hundreds of thousands of people this year, uh, we would love you to be on the partnership team. And if you can do that, uh, I would like to say thank you by sending a copy of Jonathan and Wynter’s book to you - She Is Yours - as our way of saying thank you for a gift of any amount. If you can’t afford it, and you need to be that better parent, let us know. Others, I’m sure, will help cover the expense. So the point is equip yourself, do a good job and let us help you.

John: Yeah, if we can be of any service, or if you’d like to join the support team, give us a call. Our number is 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. And online, you can find the book and other resources at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. By the way, I would mention, if you’ve got a teenage daughter, make sure you sign up for Brio magazine. That brings a biblical perspective to all the issues that your girls are facing, and it is a terrific, um, tool for every parent to see your daughter reading that kind of a faith-affirming, value-reinforcing magazine on a regular basis.

Jim: But in a fun way. Hey, before I say goodbye, here’s the question - parenting is just as much about our relationship with Christ as it is about training our children for that future. Why is that critical to us?

Jonathan: Yeah, I would say to the degree that we actually are experiencing Christ in our life will be to the degree that we can actually know that our children are seeing Christ. My prayer is that they see Christ in other people in other ways. But I can be that to them and know for sure that they see Christ in me. So it’s motivation for me to grow. And the hope and the prayer is that as they see me growing in Christ, they see Christ modeled in my life.

Jim: So you can only give what you possess?

Jonathan: You can only give what you possess.

Jim: Yeah, I like that. Thanks so much for being with us.

Wynter: Thank you.

Jonathan: Thank you for having us. 

John: I do hope you’ll join us tomorrow on this broadcast. We’ll have Bill and Pam Farrel here discussing how to weather midlife transitions in your marriage.

Teaser:

Pam Farrel: It’s a little like that movie, Twister, you know, it’s like a storm hits your life - a tornado hits your life, no matter what the transition is. So if you run into shelter and you tie yourself with your spouse to God and hang on, you’ll make it through and you’ll go for the ride of your life.

End of Teaser

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More Episode Resources

Guest

Jonathan and Wynter Pitts

View Bio
Jonathan Pitts is an author, a public speaker, and the executive pastor at Church of the City in Franklin, Tenn. Jonathan's wife, Wynter (deceased), was an author and the founder of For Girls Like You, a ministry to girls (ages 6-11) and their parents that includes a quarterly magazine and other resources. She was also Dr. Tony Evans’ niece. Sadly, Wynter passed away since the recording of our broadcast with the couple. Jonathan is raising their four daughters.