Women & Work

Carmen Pitts, Aunt and Caretaker

Carmen Pitts

Daughter, Sister, Aunt, Caretaker

Carmen Pitts is a daughter, sister, aunt, and surrogate mom. She lives with her brother, Jonathan Pitts, and his four daughters, Alena, Kaitlyn Camryn, and Olivia in Franklin, TN. Carmen has been leveraging her life for her four nieces since her sister-in-law and founder of For Girls Like You Ministries, Wynter Pitts, went home to be with the Lord.

As the oldest child of Garry and Miriam Pitts, Carmen was taught the importance of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and began loving Him and serving Him as a young girl.

She is a deeply dedicated, steady, and consistent family member and friend who lives to bring the hope that only the Lord can extend to those she meets. Carmen has built the foundation of her life on Romans 5:5, “hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us”. She longs to help women in all walks of life actively live out this hope!

Carmen earned a master’s degree in Christian Counseling from Cairn University in Langhorne, PA. She has over 10 years of experience in working with adults with severe and persistent mental illness with various non-profit agencies.

You were willing to leave your life and move in with your brother and nieces during a very difficult time of grieving and loss for them with the death of their mother. Most of us look at that and are amazed at how sacrificial it was of you and how Christ-like it is. There are many women who day-in and day-out serve the least of these, whether it’s their own children, their grandchildren, or perhaps they work in a daycare setting and serve other people’s children.

What was the main motivation for you to lay down your life and serve these girls and your brother? How do you keep yourself encouraged that the work you’re doing is valuable and worthwhile when the world tempts women to believe otherwise?

It’s clear now what God was doing but at the time, I was really unsettled in life, which was odd because I had just started a new job after a year of not having a job. I was very unsettled at work. I was unsettled at my church. I kept asking God, “I know something’s coming. I don’t know what it is. What is it? What’s going on?”

When I heard about my sister-in-law’s death, it just became super clear. It’s almost as if God said to me, “Your family is your ministry.” And so, when I went to the funeral, I told John, “Listen, if you need me, I’m there”.

At the time there was a family that was living with them but two weeks later, he called me and asked, “Is the offer still on the table?” I put my two weeks notice in, and I was here by September first.

It really was more about the fact that God had shown me that my family was my ministry. And so, this tragedy and call for help actually answered the question of why I had been unsettled. I was not sure what was going on and knew something was changing, I just didn’t know what it was. It just clicked like, “Oh, ok. This is the next move.” And it felt like a pretty easy decision. People in my church community and my family were affirming that it made sense and was the right move to make.

Before you moved in with Jonathan and your nieces, there was a time when you were laid off from work and had a hard time finding a job. Talk to us about that time in your life. How did the Lord strengthen your faith or change the way you thought during that season?

I had moved to LA to help my sister with her younger kids. And when I moved back. I thought, “Oh, it’s going to be a breeze. I’ll be able to find a job. I have a master’s degree. It’s not going to be difficult!” I quickly realized that God’s plan was yet again, unconventional and greater than I could have imagined.

There was a woman from my church who opened up her house to me. It was her and her teenage daughter and she had recently been divorced so she was going through a time of healing. And so, I was able to stay with her for free but it was this exchange of me being able to bless them during this difficult time and them bless me with this provision.

There was a whole process of God helping me to view the situation that way- that although I was not able to pay rent, He was using me to minister to them by building a really close relationship with her daughter. Also, I worked small customer service jobs, but I would literally go to church and the connections person would say, “Oh, somebody left money for you.” And the amount given would be what I needed at the time that I needed it.

This time helped me understand how much value I had placed into income-producing work. God clearly wanted to challenge that and for me to really rely on him. I wasn’t really making money. I wasn’t able to tithe. And so there was ministry that I was doing and God clearly told me that my ministry was my offering to Him.

It was really difficult for me to set my pride aside and say, “I’m going to accept these blessings.” And I think sometimes it can be really hard for us to accept what God is trying to do through other people. I really had to allow people to bless me and it was so difficult. I never would have thought it would be so difficult, but it was God’s provision for me. I could either choose to allow Him to do what He wanted to do through other people, or I could be prideful and block what He was trying to do.

It would be absolutely what I needed, too! People would call me and say, “Hey, listen, I need you. I need someone to run me to the doctor’s office. Would you want to drive me to the doctor’s office?” or, “I need someone to go shopping for me. I’ll pay you.” It just blew me away being able to have that support in my community and my church. At the time I only really had my brother, so I really didn’t have a big family network. My church really was my family at that point.

God had shown me that my family was my ministry.

All of this– the job loss, God’s provision, the moving, all of it has happened as a single woman. What has been your biggest struggle and what good have you seen Him do? Also, is there a particular verse of Scripture or piece of advice that you have received that has helped you and you would like to pass along to other single women?

It’s been a thorn in my side. The one thing that I truly desired that I see happening for everyone else but not for me. However, in the last five years, I’ve been able to really have a settled peace in my heart. I feel like God has helped me see the benefits of my singleness. Not to say that it’s not hard, but it’s the place where I have been able to see that God has ways beyond my way. And I can’t say exactly when that changed because it was a serious struggle for me. I would be bawling because my roommate was dating somebody.

The problem was that when I struggled like that, I wasn’t allowing God to be God in my life. I was insecure about what I was going to do. And it was almost like God was saying “I’ve already taken care of you. Haven’t I up until this point? Haven’t I provided for you at every point?”

So, when I moved to Tennessee, it was kind of like a light bulb clicked. I can’t tell you how many people said to me, “Wow. It’s really amazing that you’re able to do that. I would love to come help but I’m just not free.” And so it was this light bulb moment that my singleness is one of the biggest reasons why I was able to come here. And so for no other reason, my nieces are the reason why I was single. When I realized that. it changed my perspective.

I was no longer a victim of my singleness but I was single for the purpose of ministering to people that I’ve helped. It became a thing of beauty where God was able to use my singleness for a thing of beauty. Not to say that it’s not hard. And that being said, there are times when I’ve thought “Ok, are we done with this now? Is it now time?”

But you know, it really comes down to either: I trust Him or I don’t trust Him. He’s good or He’s not. And I have to believe that He has provided for me at every turn, literally provided for me at times that I had absolutely nothing. And so, I have to trust Him that He knows what He’s doing and He knows my desires. He gave me the desire to be married, and so when He’s ready to fulfill that, He will. But until that time, I’m trusting Him with everything that I have because He’s too good. He’s been too good. He has provided everything that I needed when I needed it.

I was no longer a victim of my singleness, but I was single for the purpose of ministering to people that I've helped.

Lastly, tell us about Wynter. What was she like? Fill us in on For Girls Like You. How can we partner with you, Jonathan, and the girls to honor Wynter’s life and legacy?

Wynter was as authentic as they came. What you saw was what she was, who she was. She was just a very authentic person and was one of my biggest defenders. Being a part of a big family, people can kind of talk over you. And so one of the things that I always appreciated about Wynter was she made sure I was heard and seen. Even the week before her death, she was doing that and it was huge for me and something I really appreciated and something that I will always remember about her.

For Girls Like You was founded by Wynter and began with a desire for resources for her four daughters. In just a few short years, Wynter created a national magazine, devotionals, books and many other tools for girls and their parents. Our family is devoted to carrying on Wynter’s legacy and her vision for this ministry.

People continuing to partner with the organization and reach out has been something that’s been tremendous because it continues to keep her legacy alive. They recently just came out with a planner, which was something that Wynter wanted before she passed away. So it’s been cool to see things Wynter had a vision for come to fruition even after she died.

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