Losing Her Dad, Finding a Second Good Gift | Gina Stinson

In this episode:

Gina lost her dad when she was a teenager in college. God has reclaimed and repurposed in her life to bring her to a relationship with a stepdad who she calls a second gift. Our circumstances don't always end up the way we had originally hoped, but God always brings hope in the midst of them.

About Gina Stinson:

Gina Stinson invites you to reclaim every day for God’s glory. She’s a pastor’s wife and mom of two teenagers. Her first book, Reclaimed: The Stories of Rescued Moments and Days, released in November, 2020. She is featured in several anthologies and writes regularly for Lifeway’s Journey Magazine for women. You can find Gina sharing the good news of Jesus, coupled with humor and hope, on social media or her website www.ginastinson.com.

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Quotes to Remember from Gina Stinson

  • When she came out of those hospital doors, she gathered us three kids, and she said, "The joy of the Lord will be our strength."
  • I don't think there's a guide book that tells you how to handle all those firsts after.
  • I think that you don't get a report card on those years.
  • If we don't deal with what the God brings into our lives, the sad, the happy, the good, the bad, if we don't take time to deal with some of that stuff, then is going to affect how we look at every other circumstance in our life.
  • I didn't need God to replace my dad. He had given me a very good gift. And I didn't need him to replace that very good gift. But God can give more than one good gift.
  • God didn't replace my dad with him, he just gave me another good gift.
  • I don't want to re-gift it. I want to keep it.
  • If this is what God's brought into my life, then I want to embrace it and to you know, to enjoy it.
  • God is there for you, and he does not leave us helpless. He provides a Comforter, the Holy Spirit is there to just join you in your suffering.
  • Sometimes it's therapeutic to write a letter to them, and kind of just update them on your life.


Reclaimed: The Stories of Rescued Moments and Days

Gina’s website (see for free resources)

Episode Sponsor 

Savannah Scribbles is a small business that turns your big ideas into reality. Using hand lettering and digital art, Savannah designs positive graphics for both print and digital use. With over 4200 followers on her Instagram account, her artwork is shared around the world. She regularly designs custom work for clients as well as ready to purchase products through her Facebook and Instagram accounts. If you need graphic design, stickers, logos, business cards or other custom work, check out her work on her social media accounts and contact Savannah to get started with your big ideas. You'll find her on Facebook @SavannahScribbles and on Instagram @SavannahScribbles.


Michelle Rayburn 00:04
I don't always do seasonal things on the podcast because I know some of you listeners are listening months or weeks, maybe even years after these are recorded. But I knew that this episode was going to drop right before Father's Day. So I decided I really wanted to talk about Father's Day. And I think it applies whether you're listening to this in June or whether you're listening to it at another time. Today's guest shares her story of losing her dad when she was a teenager in college, and how God has reclaimed and repurposed in her life to bring her to a place with a relationship with a stepdad who she calls a second gift. So as we think about how our circumstances don't always end up the way we had originally hoped, God always brings hope in the midst of them.

Michelle Rayburn 01:05
You're listening to Life Repurposed, where you'll find practical biblical wisdom for everyday living, creative inspiration and helpful resources. Grow your faith, improve your relationships, discover your purpose, and reach your goals with topics to encourage you to find hope amid the trashy stuff of life. Thanks for joining me today. I'm your host Michelle Rayburn. I'd like to introduce you to Gina Stinson. She invites you to reclaim every day for God's glory. Gina is a pastor's wife, a mom of two teenagers, and she's also an author. Her first book is Reclaimed: The Stories of Rescued Moments and Days. She's featured in several anthologies, and she also writes regularly for Lifeway's Journey Magazine for women. You can find Gina sharing the good news of Jesus coupled with humor and hope on social media or her website, Ginastinson.com. Let's jump into our conversation.

Michelle Rayburn 02:09
We have actually rescheduled a couple of different times. And Gina and I are both fans of words that begin with RE, like repurposing and reclaiming, so rescheduling just kind of fit right into that. And it wasn't Gina's fault, her internet went out because of a storm. So I just want to make sure people know that Gina, you're not like a chronic rescheduler.

Gina Stinson 02:30

Michelle Rayburn 02:33
I want to know, since we both share the love for repurposing things, how long ago did that start for you?

Gina Stinson 02:39
Probably the first time I can remember was I was probably eight or nine years old and was playing Barbie dolls. And my mom and dad were not really excited about spending money on Barbie furniture or the Barbie house or anything like that. So I would take my brother's Lincoln Logs and repurpose them to outline the house for the Barbies. And then different little trinket boxes would be furniture or scrap fabric from my mom's sewing would be rugs or clothes or whatever. But I can remember, you know, that was probably one of the first times of making do with what I had and being creative with things that had another purpose.

Michelle Rayburn 03:20
That's so fun because when you share a memory it triggers a memory for me that I didn't even think about how young my love for repurposing started either because my first doll house was a diaper box when my sister was a baby. Diapers were brand new, like disposable diapers, and they came in boxes. And I remember my mom helping me turn that diaper box into a dollhouse and gluing fabric on the surfaces and stuff. So that's so cool. So do you also like to garage sale?

Gina Stinson 03:51
I do. I like to garage sale

Michelle Rayburn 03:52
In Texas do you call them garage sales? Are they yard sales?

Gina Stinson 03:52
Garage sales mostly. Yeah thrifting anything along those lines is right up my alley. Like that.

Michelle Rayburn 03:57
Yeah. I love it too. I actually don't do it as much now because I have— I've been married long enough that after 30 years, I have all the things I really need. So now it's more of like a treasure hunt for just one or two things. But I remember when I was a newlywed, I stocked my whole house from garage sales.

Gina Stinson 04:20
Yeah, I think as we get older and have more stuff, we get a little bit more particular about what we're, you know, bringing home. Right don't have to be quite as desperate for just anything.

Michelle Rayburn 04:30
Yeah, stuff that I have to donate again. I was like, Why did I buy this? I set some rules. Actually, when I was younger, when I was doing a lot more garage saleing I had to come up with at least three ways that I could use an item if I was gonna repurpose it, not you know, like a toaster. But if I was buying something that I was going to repurpose, I had to come up with three ideas because if I didn't have at least a couple, it's just would sit on my shelf and I would not do anything with it. So now I have to follow that too, because there's still some someday things sitting on my shelf. Like, I don't know what I'm going to do with these doorknobs that I collected, but I want to do something with. So Gina and I met—for the listener who's here—Gina and I met because we are fellow writers. And I think it was through a group called WordGirls. I think is that where we first really met through the Facebook group?

Michelle Rayburn 04:40
I think, actually, at the first time I met you was I think when I went up to, was that Iowa? for a Writers Conference.

Michelle Rayburn 05:32
I forgot about that you came along with a mutual friend. And I was there doing all kinds of little odds and ends at that conference. I forgot about so we actually met in person that first time. Oh, that was a long time ago. I think your kids were really little.

Gina Stinson 05:48
I think about 15 years ago. Yeah.

Michelle Rayburn 05:50
So they would have been babies. Wow. Yeah. So we have writing in common. And just over the years, I've learned parts of Gina's story and, and listener, I wanted Gina to come here today to tell some of her story. Because this episode is airing right before Father's Day. And Gina has really a beautiful story of how God has reclaimed something in her life. So Gina, I'd like to go back in time a little bit. And have you tell us a little bit about some memories of your dad.

Gina Stinson 06:22
Oh, I have some great memories of my dad. And I think probably the most impactful, I guess would be the right word, memory that I have of him is that he was present. He was the breadwinner of the family. So he was in sales. And so his schedule would be kind of crazy. Sometimes he would work in the mornings. And then sometimes he would work later into the evenings. But during basketball season, all three of his kids, we all played basketball. And he made it a point to rearrange his schedule so that he could be at our ballgames. But not just to be at the games, but he was a salesman in a electronic department of a store. And he would borrow the big camcorder, you know, that they used to wear on their shoulders, you know, the huge one. And he would show up at our ballgames with all the equipment, and he would video all of the ballgames. And I just remember him just making such an effort, you know, after he had worked all day, or with rearranging his schedule, that he really tried to be available for his kids and to be present. And I just think that that probably has stuck with me the most is that he really he put forth the effort, you know, that's, that's hard to do with with trying to raise a family and provide for a family. So that would be one of my favorite memories. We have another memory, of course, also related to basketball, I hate to say is that he would really challenge us to work hard to be the best that we could be. Now I'm 5' 2", and probably weighed about 110 pounds at the time that I was playing basketball. So I was not destined for a basketball career, but he wanted us to realize that hard work would pay off. And so he would have us at it. And he, we had a basketball goal in our—we lived in a cul de sac and had a basketball goal at the end the cul de sac, and he would tell us, "Why don't you go out there, and I want you to shoot 100 free throws every day." And so he would go out there and he would rebound for us and everything, knowing I was not going to be you know, a basketball star, but just instilling that hard work, you know, will pay off. And of course, it did pay off because I was a little bit better on the court, because I did that now, you know that work ethic that he instilled in me is still with me today.

Michelle Rayburn 08:46
I love that. So it sounds like you had a close relationship?

Gina Stinson 08:50
Yes. Again, I think we were in the seventh grade. My parents took us out of school and homeschooled us. Now, this was back in the day. This was the 80s 1980s era. And it was there was not a huge amount of people doing this at that time. And we lived in kind of an area where there was some crime happening. And it was a little bit scary. And I think that played into part of the reason and then some spiritual reasons that my parents, you know, felt that that was the best choice for us. And so during that time, because of his work schedule again, he was able to dedicate time that, you know, most dads don't have with their kids, I don't think. And that created a strong and close relationship. And so I think that, you know, he made the sacrifice. He didn't he didn't have all the hobbies and things that a lot of dads have. He wasn't playing golf, or things like that. But he really took that time and spent it with us kids.

Michelle Rayburn 09:53
How old were you when your dad passed away?

Gina Stinson 09:57
I was 18 years old. And I was in college, I was away at college in Springfield, Missouri. And he had, he was a perfectly healthy man, he didn't have any health problems. And when the day before he passed away, actually, I had been on the phone with him. And he had sounded perfectly fine. And the next morning, about six o'clock, my mom called, of course, the phone ringing that early, you know, kind of startled me. And I answered, and she said that I needed to get home, that there had been a, an incident with my dad. He had a horrible headache the night before when he went to bed. And she ended up having to call an ambulance and he was taken to the hospital, and he was unconscious by the time he got to the hospital. And so they kept him on life support. He had had a brain aneurysm, and kept on life support until I could get there. And then, as a family, we gathered around his bed and just knew that doctors had said any kind of life that he had would just be a vegetable and, and not that that wouldn't have been okay, but that we knew that for my dad, that's not the kind of life that he would have wanted for us or for himself. And so shortly around midnight, we agreed that we would take the life support off and he passed away pretty quickly after that.

Michelle Rayburn 11:27
What was that like for you as a college student?

Gina Stinson 11:29
Well, it was very, very sad. My mom and I are also very close. And I think I was old enough to kind of see just this devastation, you know, start sinking in with her, I will say that, immediately after he passed away, my brother and sister and I were out in the hallway of the hospital. And when my mom came out, the doctors had told us that there's a tone that they play, when someone passes away, and that we would know when we heard that tone that he had passed away. And so the three of us kids were not actually in the room with him, my mom was, and we knew she would be coming out. And when she came out of those hospital doors, she gathered us three kids, and she said, "The joy of the Lord will be our strength." And, you know, sometimes we have to remind ourselves that we have to rely on what we know, not what we feel. And that was a perfect example of that, where she knew the truth that the joy would return, it would be our strength, that at that moment in time, you know, it didn't feel joyful at all, you know. Anyway, I think that watching her was the hardest part of all of that. I loved him dearly. And my brother and sister loved him dearly. But watching her go through that was very hard at my age, and I wasn't, you know, I was gonna get back to college and have to leave her. I was 700 miles away from home. And so I stayed home for about a week, and then went back to college. And I had a very, very hard time, that next semester, just making kind of sense of, you know, what was asked. Should I even be at college? Should I be back home helping, you know, and not being able to really grieve because of having school, you know, the pressure of school and work and everything? And so, it was very difficult time?

Michelle Rayburn 13:20
Are you the oldest child?

Gina Stinson 13:21
I am. My brother is three years or two years younger than me and my sister five years younger than me. So they were both still at home and, of course, you know, being homeschooled, which really threw a kind of a kink in things, but yeah that they were both still at home and, and I was away at school.

Michelle Rayburn 13:39
So it sounds like you were raised in a family of strong faith. Is that accurate? Absolutely.

Gina Stinson 13:47
My parents both grew up in church. My mom actually wrode the bus to church. The church bus picked her up. She wasn't raised in a Christian home as a child, but that was available to her. So I have a special place in my heart for those people who pick kids up and bring them to church. They both you know, from the time—I think my mom said that about I think I was like four or five days old. I was in church after I was born. So we've been in church all our lives. And not just in church. I remember my dad sitting with us in the mornings before school started and reading the Proverb of the day. You know, that lines up with the date, and I remember going through that year after year being homeschooled. He would tell us, "This is where you get your wisdom from. This is where you..." So it wasn't just at church. It was integrated in every area of our lives. And were they perfect parents? Certainly not. They would both tell you that. But they were a very intentional about our faith. Yes.

Michelle Rayburn 14:49
There's probably someone listening who has lost their dad for you know, maybe they're they have an estranged relationship or their dad passed away? What is it like, in those the Father's Days that come after that? What were the first few like for you?

Gina Stinson 15:09
Very, very difficult. I would say that the first one was— I was home for the first one. And it was just very sad that there was it was heavy, very heavy. And, you know, I'm sure some people might have been able to be like, let's reminisce the good memories and all that, but that was not, that was not what we were doing. We just suffered, had suffered, it was such a loss. And I think, you know, my age also, you know, it was hard for me to look past the loss at that point. And there was, for me, not really anybody guiding me through the grief either. And so I really didn't know how to grieve. And so those first few years of just sadness, and, you know, a lot of people go to church on Father's Day. That was one, one holiday my mom let us skip. She was like, "Everybody's rejoicing and celebrating their dads. And I know, that's hard for you." We went out of town, and one of the first —I can't think it must have been the second Father's Day, but when I was young, and just got away, you know, together as a family. I don't think there's a guide book that tells you how to handle all those first after you know, and so, I think you just do what is good for you, and will take care of your heart. And I think that it would be in our, in our own way, in years later, we have celebrated, you know, but I think that those first few, they're so delicate those first few years and your, your emotions, and it just it was it was difficult. It was just very difficult and sad. And as time passes, I think grief gets different. I don't think it goes away. I think it just gets different. And, you know, you there's still days, even now years and years later that I'll have Father's Day that it's just sad, you know, and and God has brought me so far from that 18 year old girl. But still, I think that something could happen is something happens and it triggers a memory or something like that. And you just have to I think sometimes we want to pass through grief so quickly. And we don't want to park there and allow God to use this, you know, and that's what he wants to do. He says he's the father to the fatherless. And so he wants to take care of those, those pains and that grief that we have so so first couple of years we're not not good. But I think that you don't get a report card on those years. You know, God God, you just you just pass through them you know, so.

Michelle Rayburn 17:57
Savannah Scribbles is a small business that turns your big ideas into reality. Using hand lettering and digital art, Savannah designs positive graphics for both print and digital use. With over 4200 followers on her Instagram account, her artwork is shared around the world. She regularly designs custom work for clients as well as ready to purchase products through her Facebook and Instagram accounts. If you need graphic design, stickers, logos, business cards or other custom work, check out her work on her social media accounts and contact Savannah to get started with your big ideas. You'll find her on Facebook @SavannahScribbles and on Instagram @SavannahScribbles.

Michelle Rayburn 18:58
Your theme in life is reclaiming. So how did you find hope? And where did you find joy in the middle of all of the grief that you have experienced through the years?

Gina Stinson 19:10
Well, I think that as I've grown as a child of God, in my own spiritual walk that he has healed some of those places that that I was sitting in selfishly. Because parts of grief can be selfish and that doesn't necessarily mean that they're wrong. It just means that you just can't park there forever, you know. So as I grew, I think that the Lord through His Word, definitely that's the number one source I would always say to anyone is that is where he has provided the most hope for me. But I also had a college professor that my junior year in college, I was getting ready to student teach and to get ready to graduate basically. She came to me and my grades were just right on the edge. And she said, "Gina, you've got to, you got to deal with what's going on so that you can deal with the rest of your life." And it's really stuck with me that phrase, because if we don't deal with what God brings into our lives, the sad, the happy, the good, the bad—if we don't take time to deal with some of that stuff, then it's going to affect how we look at every other circumstance in our life. And at that moment, and even so, probably now even more, those words just hit me, as, you know, I can. I've had two years, you know, to think about my dad's death and to process it. Whatever people say, and I'm not completely whole. But what can I be doing differently? How can I move forward. And, you know, it was difficult because I was watching my mom navigate waters that she had not navigated. Really, my heart hurt for her and I was engaged to be married. And I think the, one of the hardest things in that process of being engaged was knowing she did not have what I had, anymore. As far as that person in her life, you know, and even for the first few years after I was married, I just felt such sadness for her, knowing that she had had this wonderful marriage with my dad, you know, 22 years they had been married, and that she didn't have that. And so even even parts of the grief that were not necessarily mine, I was carrying. And there's, there's some good and there's some bad to that, you know, I definitely think God calls us to help carry the burdens of others. But there is also a time where you have to remember that he says he will carry our burdens. And we even have to give those burdens to him. And so I think through those first few years of really having to deal with what had happened, and to the the quickness of how everything happened. He had been fine. One day. There was so many things that I had to work through with God, you know. The whys and all those questions that you ask, you know, I did a lot of journaling. I did a lot of reading God's Word, I had the finally, you know, a couple years down the road, I had that wise professor that said those words to me. And then I just kept his memory kind of alive. I didn't ever want to forget about all the good things that had had happened. And God had really given me just this ideal childhood, like, picture perfect, you know. And I didn't want to forget those things that he had brought to the table. We can get wrapped up in our bitterness and forget those things sometimes. And I didn't, I didn't want to forget him. And I didn't want to. I didn't want to forget what God had done. And also didn't want to remember my dad in a negative way. I wanted to remember him and all the good things that had happened in our lives.

Michelle Rayburn 22:58
So I happen to know there's a rest of the story. So I'd love to have you tell our listeners about how your mom found new love. How that affected your life.

Gina Stinson 23:11
Well about I guess, about 13 years ago now, I got a phone call and my mom was on the other end. And she said, I just want you to know that I've joined eHarmony. And I was like, "What?" No offense to anybody who's done eHarmony. You know, my mom was older. And I was just thinking what the world? When she goes, "Yeah, one of my girlfriends suggested it." And she said "I just decided to do it on a whim." And I was like, "Okay."

Michelle Rayburn 23:48
And she had been single how long?

Gina Stinson 23:50
Let's see almost 20 years. And she had— Let me also say she had dated very little. She had raised her kids. The Lord just opened, I will say, part of the reclaiming factor. And all this is she had a high school education. And the Lord just opened up door after door after door for her to have these wonderful employment opportunities in her church and in a hospital and then eventually as a counselor, and in her church, and then on her own. And so God had taken wonderful care of her and all of my worrying about who would take care of her all those years, and how she would get by God. God did his job. He— what he did just was wonderful. That other part of that verse about him taking care of the fatherless, he takes care of the widows too. And so just so appreciate it for that, but there was still a loneliness factor for her because, you know, the kids are grown and she's coming home every night to an empty house. And so, she joined the eHarmony and she had a connection on her account, I guess she could say. And it was, it was Tom is my stepdads name now. But and he lived 20 minutes away from her up the street. And he had been active in his church his entire life. He had, I mean, just an outstanding Christian men. And so they got together for coffee, and ended up spending lots of time together and just getting to know each other. And later on that year, my mom, we were in town for an event. And my mom said, you know, "I want you to meet him. I want to see what you would think." And so we got together. And I mean, from the moment that I met him, I knew this was this was going to work. This was going to be the one, and I'm so I'm want to say this, I'm really happy that God didn't have a parade of men that we had to, like, approve or disapprove, you know. I think God knew that we would just all know, he was the one you know, and for her, and I saw her she was happy and energetic. And I mean, I hate to say more youthful, but she, I mean, just there was a presence of youth about her that just, you know, just a happiness. We went over to his house to have lunch, and to just kind of really get to know him and everything one of the days we were there. And I remember vividly, we had we'd eaten lunch, and he looked at my kids, and he goes, "You want to go out on the four wheeler?" And my kids were just so excited. I mean, they were they were little—seven and four, I think or something like that. And, I mean, they were just ecstatic. And they went out with him. And, and I was thinking at that moment, I didn't realize how much I had missed not having a grandpa for them, you know, with my mom and, and so even, you know, little things like that God was kind of just reclaiming in my life, just those little moments that I didn't even know that I had missed, you know. When I got married, my brother ended up walking me down the aisle. And I knew I had missed that, you know, I knew I had missed not having a dad walking down the aisle. And that was sad. But as you go through life, you sometimes don't think about all the other events, you know, the birth of your kids and, you just little things that they missed that you wish that they were there for. And I guess you get in the business of life. And at that moment, when he asked them to go ride that four wheeler, I was like, "This is the best thing ever." Anyway, so he they dated for a little bit and got married. And it's been it's been wonderful. You know, he has provided a stability in our family that I don't think we knew was missing. He shows up when he's needed. I mean, he's funny, and he's kind, and generous. But, you know, a couple years ago, our family was going through a transitional time and it was very, very difficult. It was a very hard time for everyone in my family. And he and my mom jumped in the car and came out and they were just there they there was nothing for them to do they couldn't fix anything. Well he did fix the exhausting in my bathroom.

Gina Stinson 28:11
There was no there was no healing that he could do. There was no no no making it better. It was what it was, you know, and I remember just him being there was just so comforting. And then again a couple years later we our family was impacted by tropical storm Imelda and we lost our house basically 90% of it. And within 12 hours of the storm, he he and my mom we're at our our back door with a truck full of bleach and toilet paper and all the things that you need when things go wrong. He's just shown up, and I think that you know when you don't have that father figure in your life you get by God. God gets you by. That's not it, but I think when it pops back up I think for me, it's been his presence it important times in my life that I could have navigated alone. I have a husband, and he could have navigated it, and you know, we would have been fine. But what a blessing that it's been a comfort his presence has been in our in our family.

Michelle Rayburn 29:13
One of the things people have a hard time figuring out when you have a step parent as an adult is, what do I call this parent? Yes. So I think you have a special name for Tom right?

Gina Stinson 29:25
We call them Pop. That's what my kids call him, that's what all his his grandkids call him, so we call them Pop or Tom you know, if appropriate, but most the time it's you know, "What's Pop doing?"

Michelle Rayburn 29:38
What is it for you? What does it mean for you as a daughter to have—you know, we don't want to imply in any way that having a stepdad is a replacement. This is a it's like, God gives us fresh relationships that have meaning in different times of our lives. So what does it mean for you to have Tom (Pop) in your life as an adult. I know you've kind of hinted at that, but a little bit from that father-daughter perspective?

Gina Stinson 30:07
Well, I think that I think you're 100%, right, we, I didn't need God to replace my dad, He had given me a very good gift. And I didn't need him to replace that very good gift. But God can give more than one good gift. And that's kind of how I feel about Pop is that he didn't, God didn't replace my dad with him, he just gave me another good gift. And that good gift does not look the same as a childhood father looks like for a daughter. I don't need, you know, Pop to pick up and scrape or heal or put a BandAid on a wound, you know, I don't need him to help me learn to ride my bike or shoot hoops. I'm not shooting hoops anymore. But as an adult, I need somebody to ask questions to you know. He's, he's a very wise man, a godly man. So I need somebody to pray for me. And I need somebody, it's a comfort to me that he takes care of my mom, it occurred to me to know that my mom's not lonely, and that he's not lonely too, you know, on the other side of this is that he's not lonely, also. So it does look different. I don't need what I needed when I was 10. As I'm almost 50 now, and what I need is, is more of a friend and a counselor. And, you know, he is he didn't force himself into a relationship with me, which I really appreciate. He was there, and he opened himself up for us. And I was willing to take that path and to have that. I understand that for everyone, that's not always feasible, you know, for for various reasons. But for me, that was the right thing for me to do. It filled a huge void in my life to have him step up and be present and to be involved. That's another thing is I just didn't realize how much that I miss not having a dad to just be involved with and he he is interested in my wife, he's interested in my family's life. My husband has lost his parents in the last few years. And he has stepped right in and been a friend to my husband, you know. He doesn't need a dad either. But he had that wise man who's walked these years that we're going through already. And has he was a faithful, faithful husband to his first wife and a good father to his children. So why in my mind, I think why would I want to miss that? I would be the loser if I if I miss that. And he has definitely brought a lot of joy. And those times that have been hard on us, he's brought joy. And so I think that for the person that's out there that's lost someone and has the opportunity, like I have had, that it's worth investigating, you know, it's worth trying, I realize everybody's not privileged. I do feel like it's such a privilege and a blessing to have this situation. But I realized that it's not everybody's story. But if it is your story, to walk through those... And it didn't happen overnight, you know, it's—we've had 13 years now. But if you're open to it, it will happen a lot quicker. I will say, you know that I think you know, I just tried to be available. And we've done some intentional things, to try to help the relationship we go on, like trips together, and we I try to talk to him on the phone. When I call to talk to my mom, I have a conversation with him. We exchanged gifts for the holidays, you know, I tried to remember Father's Day for him. So there's things that we've done to kind of help it along. But, you know, God had God brought that gift into my life. And I don't, I don't want to re-gift it. I want to keep it.

Michelle Rayburn 33:54
I love that you describe the relationship as a second gift because that is a perspective that changes that hesitancy of there's somebody coming into our family and you know, playing a role that Mom or Dad used to play. And so I love that.

Gina Stinson 34:12
I was just gonna say that. I was thinking about this the other day that so many times we miss a gift because it's not packaged like we think it should be packaged. And so I don't want to miss the gift. If this is what God's brought into my life, then I want to embrace it and to you know, to enjoy it. And that's what God wants us to do is enjoy these relationships.

Michelle Rayburn 34:32
That's wise words that you have Gina because there have been times I think I have missed out on something, because I'm trying to put it into a box that it doesn't fit into and I've missed relationships I could have had. And you know, it definitely takes laying down some of our desires and some of our pride to make that work. But that's on both. It goes both ways.

Gina Stinson 34:53
Right? Right. I would say you know, even there are things as you know, it's 13 years past things that I like, and I don't like And, you know, just I'm sure he's looking at me going, "She's crazy." You know, I said, in an introduction for him, I said, "He inherited a feisty daughter when he got me." But, you know, he is also full of his own little idiosyncrasies that, you know, you can like or dislike, and things that he did different or the same as my dad, and I can like or dislike, but you know, it's like you said, laying down that pride and, and seeing the bigger picture of what God has provided for me right here.

Michelle Rayburn 35:35
And the picture of unconditional love that Jesus portrays for us in the Bible. So it's like, in our loving heavenly Father, the unconditional love. It really is a picture of even when we don't have perfect relationships here on Earth, we have this perfect example that we can use as a model for how to figure out how to work through the imperfect relationships we have here. Gina, you have a resource, your book. So I want you to tell our listeners about Reclaimed and a little bit of what they'll find if they pick up the book.

Gina Stinson 36:10
Reclaimed is a devotional book, and it is built around the premise of just in our everyday life, there are things that we can reclaim, if you look close enough, God is always trying to reclaim things in your life that the enemy Satan is trying to take away. And, you know, so what I did was I wrote down stories in my life that are, they're central to my life, that I have seen God, take little things and reclaim them. And each story is filled with most—Well, I would say most stories are filled with humor. Because I tend to see life through humor glass, that a lot of humor, a lot of hope. It's filled with Scripture. It's filled with a place where you can journal your own thoughts. And each devotion is just meant to take you about three, four minutes to read each day. They're not they're not super long, but just meant to encourage you to look at your life, just through the lens of hope and through the lens of what is God doing around me. So we are so busy in this world, that there are moments that if we don't carefully examine them, we will miss them. And I think that as in my life, as a young mom— I wrote a lot of this when I was a young mom raising kids and I never, never in my wildest dreams that I would put it into book form. But so there's there's things for you know, kind of all ages and stages of a woman's life. I've struggled with fertility issues, and I've been a pastor's wife for a lot of years. And so there's, you know, church life is mixed into all this. But you know, in every area of my life, I can see God over and over and over, he is reclaiming little moments. A story in there about even just my childhood pet my dog Sunshine, and how that even the story of getting Sunshine was a reclaiming story. And so I think that, you know, in our everyday life, that if you're looking for something to just kind of help ground you a little bit and kind of give you a good start to your day or a good finish to your day. And to, you know, for you to motivate you to kind of think over what God has done in your day. It's a great resource to have on hand.

Gina Stinson 36:14
It's, excellent, listener. I encourage you to pick up Gina's book, because if you're trying to figure out how to get into that mindset of how God can reclaim the difficulties in your life, which is really the theme of the Life Repurposed podcast. It's just this idea that if God can do it in Gina's story, he can do it in yours. And so you can just see evidence of God's hand and what he can do. And I also love Gina that you have the little reflection spot where people can journal because sometimes I read a daily devotional, and then I just set it aside, close my Bible, and I move on with my day. And this gives you that opportunity to stop and think okay, what is God asking me to do now in my life as a result of seeing this same concept that Gina presents there? You also have some other freebies on your website? So tell us a little bit about what they can find when they go to ginastinson.com.

Gina Stinson 39:25
Well, you can find some updated devotions on my blog page. But you can also find some free resources. There's some screen savers for your phone, that you can download. Sorry, I don't know the name of that. There are some cute bookmarks that you can use to keep your place in your books. And there is a page that it has 30 ways that you can start reclaiming every day. And they're just little things that you can do in your life from making your bed to putting on a pair of shoes. I mean, there's some some really simple things to do. Some more thought provoking things, telling your kids a joke, or having your kids tell you a joke, you know different little things that can bring a little joy, a little humor that can help you start kind of just watching to see little things that God is doing in your life. And that's a free resource, a download that you can print out. And then I have also a resource on there that's free, on how to pray for our president, for our country. It does not matter what political stance you view, God has given us the opportunity to be involved through prayer for our leadership. And that's a way that we can reclaim our country. And so if you're interested in that, that's also a free download. And there's other little resources, links to different places where I am online, and just love to have you come along.

Michelle Rayburn 40:43
I will link to that in the show notes. But if you're listening, and you want to just rewind, it's GinaStinson.com. So you can go there and find all the resources that Gina has. As we wrap up today. Gina, what do you want to say directly to our listeners who are listening right before Father's Day or right before a special occasion? Maybe dad's birthday? Or a special event like that? What do you want to say to that listener who's in the shoes you were in 20-some years ago?

Gina Stinson 41:14
Well, first of all, I want to say if you are have just lost someone, that father place in your life, that God is there for you, and He does not leave us helpless. He provides a Comforter, the Holy Spirit is there to to just join you in your suffering. That's one of the things is that we don't sometimes think about is that he joins us in our suffering. And so you're not alone. And so that would be the first thing that would offer you some hope there. I would say that if you have gotten through the initial stages of grief, and you're trying to figure out a way to pass on, what if you had a great relationship with a father, there are things that you can do. A few things that I think about our passing your traditions that you had with your father, incorporating those in your own home, your own family, I think that's fun to do. I also think that no matter what stage of the game you're in, if you've lost a loved one, that sometimes it's therapeutic to write a letter to them, and kind of just update them on your life. Now I know, you know, we can say they see or don't see whatever. But I think that for me, you know, kind of reminiscing my life with my dad through a letter brought some just some comfort, you know, it was like, you know, "I wish you were here to see this," but this is what's going on. And it's good for me to have those moments where I reflect on God's goodness, also. And so I think that that is helpful. I think that talking about your loved one is, is good and letting others know that you can talk about that loved one too. You know, one of the things that I appreciate about my stepdad is that he doesn't, he doesn't have any problem with us kids getting together and reminiscing about our childhood. And that's such a nice gift that he gives us to be able to talk about him and to include him in our memories when we're talking about things that happened. And so I think, you know, if you can talk about your loved one and the the special things that you remember about them and that you did with them, I think that that's good and passing those on to your kids so that they have those memories also think that's really good. But, but the main thing is, is if you've lost someone, we know that that's not something that you get over quickly, and that God has all the time in the world for you to deal with that and to and to take that to him. And also just a plug that, you know, a lot of times we need help getting through difficult times, and that God has blessed many, many, many wise counselors out there, whether it's through your church or whether it's through a counseling center, and that if you need help to reach out for that, that's not weakness. Tthat's courage to step up into take advantage of those resources. So I also want to just put that little plug in that that God has given people those gifts to be able to help us during those times.

Michelle Rayburn 44:01
Thank you so much for giving us a glimpse into how God has been reclaiming your life and for sharing that with my audience.

Gina Stinson 44:07
Thank you. Thank you for having me.

Michelle Rayburn 44:11
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