This is Jen from Grace for Single Parents where your parenting and God’s grace collide. Okay. Today on the show, I have Pastor Pitts on the show with me today. I’m so excited to have you on to talk to us about forgiveness.
Pastor Pitts (00:22):
Would you take a minute to tell us a little bit about who you are?
Pastor Pitts (00:26):
Well, I’ll start off by saying I am a woman of many hats. I work for social services. I am a police chaplain for the Melville police department. I am a lead chaplain for the Memorial high school and most recently staff chaplain or New Jersey department of corrections.
Many things. Yes. Okay. And so you also have you wrote a book, is that right about forgiveness?
Pastor Pitts (00:53):
That is correct. The book is entitled “Let it go for your sake, forgive.”
And I thought that that would just be a perfect thing to have you on today. To talk a little bit about, does it Chronicle your story?
Pastor Pitts (01:05):
Well, there’s many stories that are within the book, but the book, it’s not that I preach, get over it, but it’s to help you to process what forgiveness is. And what it is not. It is a workbook. So there are critical thinking exercises in it. There are self reflection exercises in it as well.
I think you say that your story or what happened is you were rejected so often and you felt like you never fit in and so that helped you turn to God during that time. How was that process that I’m not fitting in? And then how did, was it that you turned to God? I mean, where did you find God during that time? Because I think that, you know, so many of us feel that we don’t fit in
Pastor Pitts (01:51):
Well as a child I always was like this unique child. So I never kind of like fit in per se. And it wasn’t that I was some ecentric child or anything. I just believed that God set me apart at a young age. I’m a fourth generation preacher. So what I always tell people, I was basically practically near born at the altar. So when you know, going to school, they were calling me church girl and actually they were calling me Pastor Pitts back then, even in grade school. So it’s ironic how things become full circle that what they were teasing me about that that’s what I eventually became a lot of it between even the times of being, you know, picked on being ostracized in school, I was molested at the ages of seven 11 and 14. And so with all of that going on in my life as a child, I also dealt with suicidal ideation as well.
Pastor Pitts (02:56):
And so what ends happening, I was supposed to go to counseling, which I did go to counseling, but the counselor never really addressed the root of the problem in regards to my suicide, suicidal ideation. And so that’s where I really began to turn to God because it’s like, okay, if this counselor is not helping me, God, you’re going to have to help me through this process. And through that process I ended up really exercise and self-acceptance, really accepting Alicia for who she, for who she is, and really liking me for who I am. And that’s what helped me to move forward in that process.
So along the way, did you have like spiritual mentors or mothers that you turn to that helped you turn to God? And I mean, how did you make that leap that you knew that, okay, I’m not finding what I need through counseling and that, you know, my, my identity really isn’t found here and that I need to find my identity through God.
Pastor Pitts (04:05):
In the beginning I can honestly say I didn’t have anyone to help me. It was kind of like I was hashing out my own demons with God and then eventually I began to run into like spiritual mothers, mentors people that I, I admired that helped me along with that process, you know, encouraging me, letting me know, you know, you’re a beautiful person, you know, because when we’re dealing with self-acceptance or not only talking about mental, emotional and social, but we’re also talking about physical acceptance as well.
So I like one of the things that you said is you felt like the Lord spoke to you and said it is not meant for people to understand, that I understand and have chosen you.
Pastor Pitts (04:53):
Yes, a lot of times we will try to look for other people to validate us. But if you never find that validation, what are you going to do? So, so then it has to again go back to really accepting yourself. Always give two different types of definitions. And here are the two definitions. One is character, one is reputation. Character is who you are. Reputation is what people say or think about you and everything people say and think about you. It’s not necessarily the truth. That is their opinion. Their opinion does not mark as true, but your character, that’s who you genuinely are. And so when you really know who you are, and the truth of the matter is only you really know who you are and dependent upon how you’ve been carrying your life out, then you don’t have to worry about your reputation for say about what people say or think about you. But the most important thing is really being that citizen in the world that could bring something to the table to make the world a better place. And that’s the more important thing. They kinda tell you like, you know, like dealing with integrity. Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is looking whether someone is looking or, or not, you continue to do the right thing because you can’t go wrong doing the right.
What do you do? Like it can be a constant battle, right? I mean, often when we’re going along well for quite a while and then we have to continue to remind ourselves of that and remind ourselves where our identity is, where it comes from and yes, how do you stay grounded in that? I mean, it’s not like we’ve, we’ve figure out that, okay, my, we were comfortable where our identity is and then we’re forever good with that. Right? It’s like a constant coming back to it.
Pastor Pitts (06:48):
Absolutely. And, and the truth of the matter is we should be always evolving. We should always be working on ourselves to, to better ourselves. And so how I stay grounded in that me being a Christian is through the Bible, through God’s word. I say who God says I am. You know, there’s a scripture that says we are more than conquerors. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. So these are scriptures that when if I ever get into that place where it feels like, you know, I have low self esteem, then I begin to basically decree and declare what God’s word says, who I am and by me decreeing and declaring it out loud, I would say anything that you decree and declare out loud, if you say it out loud alone enough, you’ll begin to believe what you hear your mouth say.
I think that that so many women deal with, you know, where our identity is and that’s just such a big one.
Speaker 2 (07:49):
How did you go about the process of forgiveness? Because you had some, a lot of forgiveness to deal with. So especially when you didn’t, we’re able to, it sounds like deal with that through counseling, which I think a lot of us, whatever forgiveness we do have to deal with, we are, we depend on our counselor to help us through that. So how are you able to get where you are now?
Pastor Pitts (08:21):
Oh God. Because in myself, I wouldn’t be able to do it. And what I realize some, especially in, I have to come from the perspective of me being being a Christian, but people can only take you but so far because guess what? We’re human beings. Every one person doesn’t have all the answers. And so I just feel as though with this particular counsel, guidance counselor, maybe they didn’t have the answers. Maybe they really didn’t know how to help me. And so them helping me was, okay, let’s talk about school, let’s talk about how you feeling today. But never really addressing those issues. And so with that being said, as you stated, I’ve had so many things happened to me. So it’s kinda like God said, okay, who better to talk about forgiveness that someone who has already been been through that process. And the truth of the matter is, is what I tell people is that there are some people, their makeup, they can easily forgive.
Pastor Pitts (09:23):
Whereas other people’s makeup, they may not be able to easily forgive. And the prime example always use is if someone, if they wear their emotions on their sleeves, if they are easily angered, they are the ones, a lot of times they have a hard time letting it go. You have a hard time letting it go. And I think for me, my makeup is that I can easily forgive. It’s something that God has put into me that I’m able to easily do it. Now what I will tell people is forgiveness is a process and it is hard, but it is possible.
But forgiveness is also, I assume it’s more for us than for the other person, right?
Pastor Pitts (10:11):
Absolutely. Absolutely. There’s, there’s a saying that says when you are not willing to forgive, it’s like drinking deadly poison expecting someone else to die.
And so what, what do you see that happens or, or maybe I don’t know how long you went without being able to forgive. What do you see that happens to those who, who carry that for so long and aren’t able to forgive or perhaps think that that they’re doing, you know, they’re, they’re punishing the other person by not forgiving.
Pastor Pitts (10:44):
Well, here’s two things I tell people the other person ain’t, and I have to say it this way, for people to get it. The other person ain’t thinking about you. They ain’t studying you. They sleeping at night and you ever been, you could be somewhere and you see that the offender and all of a sudden you know you get begin to be to get emotionally discombobulated because Oh, this person who offended you was in the room and now it’s almost kind of as if because of their presence, they’ve knocked you off your square, but that person ain’t thinking about you. They’re sleeping at night. And so that’s why it is for your sake that you let it go because the other person, it’s not thinking about you when sometimes we don’t.
Some people don’t even know that they have offended us. And then the other thing is is a lot of times the reason why people can’t let it go is because we are stuck with the way we feel. And so that’s why forgiveness has to be a choice. It can’t be based on feelings because that’s the case. We will never forgive because we are stuck with the way we feel.
Is there anything else you wanted to say to an audience of single moms?
Pastor Pitts (11:56):
Yes. and even we’re still on the topic of forgiveness. I am a parent of one. I have a daughter, she is currently 27 years old and there was a situation that arise within our relationship that I had to exercise forgiveness as well as her exercise forgiveness and what I realize is especially when you are dealing with children sometimes especially depending on what age they are, children are not able to really grasp certain things they made they, they may have an idea like different the things that happened to me like when I was molested at seven 11 and 14 it didn’t really grasp in my mind what really actually happened to me.
Pastor Pitts (12:47):
Yes, I knew what happened to me was wrong, but the magnitude of what had happened to me did not be, was not revealed until I became of age to really know what really happened to me. And so as being a single mother, even now with an adult child, one thing is for certain, you never stopped being a parent. I don’t care how old your child is, you will never stop being a parent. And so it is our job as parents to raise our children the best way we know how to, with the ability that we have. And then trusting the fact that whatever we’ve instilled in them, even if they stray away from it, that they will eventually come back to it. And we have to look at our own selves. You know, we were children once and I think sometimes we forget what it was like to be a child.
Pastor Pitts (13:46):
And especially in this day and time what we went through as a child. Our children have so much more to go through in this day and age. I mean different vices and stuff that they have to go through now. So it’s really important. I will say as a single parent, especially when you have young children, you have children that are in school is really exercise, listening to understand, listening to understand that way your children, they will be more prompt to come and talk to you. But if they feel as though they’re coming to talk to you and you’re not listening to them, guess what? They’re going to go somewhere else. They’re going to get advice somewhere else. So that would be the thing that I would, I would definitely leave with single mothers is really listening, listening to understand. And what I mean by that is a lot of times we listen to respond.
Pastor Pitts (14:43):
Now if I’m talking to you and you already have, you are already conjuring up in your mind what you’re going to say next, then you’re not listening. When you really listen to understand, then you’re able to give the proper response. You ever talked to someone and then they cut you off and you’ll be like, wait a minute, that’s not what I’m saying. Listen to what I’m saying. Right? So it’s that same premise that you really want to listen to understand so that you’re able to give your child the proper response that you’re able to give them the proper response. So that’s one of the things that I would definitely say it and share with your children, your experiences now that you have to go into so much intricate detail, but your children need to know that you are, you are able to basically empathize with them, see where they are coming from.
Pastor Pitts (15:41):
And again, that will help you when your children go through different things. They may face certain decisions, they will be more prompt to come speak to you then speaking to their friends or to a complete stranger because they feel as though, okay mom, I believe mom or dad can relate to me. So that’s what I would say in regards to the single mothers. Really make yourself available to really listen to understand the things that your children are trying to convey to you.
Great. Thank you. And where can listeners find you?
Pastor Pitts (16:15):
I am all over social media. But I will send you to my website, https://www.aleecheapitts.com/. There is a free ebook that you can get from my website and it’s dealing with learning how to apologize so you can grab that right from the website. You can grab my book also from the website:”Let it go for your sake”.
Again, thank you so much for your time.