Jan 16, 2012

SHINE Spotlight...

The SHINE girl I chose to spotlight this week is Erin Spinks. She will choose the next SHINE girl to spotlight...and we will share her story next week.

The purpose of this is to encourage each other and lift each other up, just as God's word tells us to do.

Erin has been a huge part of my growth and walk with the Lord. When we moved to our current location, I prayed fervently for the Lord to introduce me to some friends that would be good for me, and that would hold me accountable in my walk with God.
I met Erin when my friend, Kristi, invited me to run with some other mommas in the morning after carpool.
From that day forward, I knew God had answered my prayers.
Erin is a cheerleader at heart and always encourages others to do their best.
Not sure about you, but I need a cheerleader in my life! :)
Read her story, and be blessed.

Chuck and Erin <3

erin and her 4 special loves

When Jill asked me to share my testimony, I became sick to my stomach! Not because I didn’t want to share, but because I wondered what in the world I would share! If you know me, not much is a mystery about my life. I wear my heart on my sleeve and I usually never meet a stranger. However, praying about what I should share and preparing to share my heart scared me. We all have stories. We all have purpose. I think that most of the fears come from my passion of wanting to make a difference. I want to be the best me so that others(mostly my 4 little children) will strive to be the best themselves. I have always been a cheerleader at heart! I love to cheer others along the way in life. However, there are times when cheerleaders have to also look at themselves and cheer themselves to be betterJ “Sometimes the hardest person to lead is yourself.”

This is who I am, this is me: Erin Spinks. I am a wife to a wonderful man who puts God first every single day. I pray for him daily and I strive to love him like God loves him. I choose him first in every part of my life. But, I am NOT a perfect wife. I am a mother of 4 precious children. I love to be surrounded my them. My perfect days are when we are all together all day long. But, I am NOT always patient and gentle with them. I am a faithful friend and I love to celebrate the lives of others. But, I have let people down. I am a child that was abandoned by my father early in my life, this is why I do not want to miss a moment with my children. I want to be in every part of their lives. I am a sinner but God has new mercies for me each and every day. I am an encourager to others and yet there are days when I feel lonely. I am a runner but I have never ran a marathon. This is who God created me to be and the awesome thing about it all is that He is not done. I am still growing, still healing, still mentoring, still loving, still providing, still running, still longing, still praying, still hopeful for mended relationships.
“In this life you will have troubles! But, know I have overcome the world” John 16:33--This life is hard. But, I choose to find the beauty in it all. Beauty in the life, in the love, in the hurt, in the sorrow, in the unknown. I have joy! Jesus does not expect us to live perfect lives, praise God! He is the only one that can be perfect. He wants us to take the obstacles of life and turn them into opportunities. TODAY-as I was preparing to write about my testimony(I love that about our GOD), our pastor asks us to write down 5 tough times in our lives and share our story with someone!
So, tonight I did that: my list, my story. How I handle tough times defines me as a person--molds my character. “Tough times do not last, but tough people do!”

1. Childhood without a father
2. Miscarriage with our #2 pregnancy
3. Going 3 months without paycheck when we had 2 little ones early in our marriage
4. Mae’s adoption/ foster process
5. Lump taken out for testing
6.(overachieverJ )- selling our home this summer to downsize
These things in my list are troubles I have faced. Troubles I have overcome. Troubles I have left at the foot of Jesus. I have learned that stepping out in faith and going through troubles is what this life is about. I am not done. I will face more through out my life. I am prepared for that. I know that in James Ch.1, we are reminded to have joy in the troubles. This is given to us to make us stronger. God wants us to look to Him for wisdom and peace. When we lay it down, He comes. His mighty winds, holy spirit can freely feel our lives and make us whole again. Years ago a friend asked me about my faith through the hard time of going without a paycheck for the 3 months. I remember telling her that I gave to the Lord and really didn’t even think about it. That conversation messed with me though and I questioned my true faith. Was I like that because I really had faith in God that much or was it because Chuck is our provided and he was the true one making the payments?? Since that day, I asked God to use me. Let me have a story to share. Where can I have faith like that in something that REALLY is all me trusting, leaning, and praying for wisdom?

He answered loudly, God wants us to be used. For Him to have all the glory. We always knew we would adopt. It was 3 years ago now, but we ended up fostering our little girl. I can remember praying and truly seeking God’s will and wanting Him to write in the sky the answer to our plea about THIS BABY. God choose me and my faith was shaken to no end. There was never an easy moment. My trust as completely in Him. I learned that without Him, I am not me. I can not make decisions. I cannot find beauty without seeking His face first. I cannot love without first knowing how He loves us. I cannot forgive, heal, grow without faith in Him.

God desires our hearts. He longs to feel our sorrows. He awaits for our cry out in need. We will all have troubles, but we can turn them all into great JOY knowing that this is HIS plan to make us stronger. So…. “even when the rains fall, even when the floods start rising, even when the storm comes--we are washed in the water!” Let your faith arise! Whoever you are, no matter what you have been through or believe in, you can touch someone! Tell your story, lay your troubles down, ask for God’s wisdom. Do not hold on to your story/life---SHINE and let the whole world see!!! Celebrate the good of others! Love out loud! When we get to see Jesus face to face, He is going to shout out the good that we have done and He will celebrate us BIG TIME! Do that with others in your life. Each day I announce the good that each of my children did that day, I try to tell others tooJ Life is not about what we didn’t get done, or didn’t do right it is about what we DID DO!! Live life running after God’s wisdom. Lay those troubles down and grow!! I am cheering for you!!!
Blessings to you all!
Love always,
Erin Spinks <3
Erin asked me to include this video...please watch. :)



  1. Erin, I love your story! I love you! I have only known you as the one pulling together the Women of Faith group...and now, as cheerleader of Jill and so many...including me! I'm glad you are in my life! You are one of the younger women that the LORD is having we older women hand the baton! You, Jill, Mary and Beka, Lisa, and so many others are making us proud! Glad to have you in the battle! You are a joy to know! I am such a lover of children...mine ...and alll the others...reason I taught I'm sure...and why I've stood for the unborn sooo long...I, like you, miscarried a baby...my 3rd son...traumatic...but he's with Jesus...and I've been a loud voice for the unborn citizens ever since. God is good all the time! Thanks for expressing with such umph and simplicity the Way!!! I love you much, girl!! <3

  2. Precious, Erin! Thank you for being such an amazing Lighthouse and for cheering me along in my marriage. You are a beacon for Christ and I've literally loved you since our first meeting at the 5k finish. Running my first race and completely not prepared/conditioned - you and Jill cheered, linked with my arms, pulled me along and through that last leg. I've truly have never been more blessed in all of my life.
    Love you so much, thanks for sharing your heart~!

    1. And that's such a metaphor of this life and the race that we're running each day. Thanking God for all of my beacons. :)

  3. Jennifer Breedlove1/17/2012

    Wow, Erin!! Great job!! You are such an inspiration!! <3

  4. Beautiful, Erin. You're a cheerleader on God's team. Thank you for sharing your faith and life with us.

  5. Your story touched my heart, and opened my heart even more to God. Thank you Erin, and God bless!



  6. Anonymous1/17/2012

    oh, yal are so sweet! thanks for the words of each of you! i truly pray that your lives will be full of joy and that in every trouble you will lay in at the foot of Jesus. you will have troubles, pain, heartache but we can grow in the obstacles of life and turn them into opportunities to be used to glorify His name! keep shining! erin <3

    1. Erin, these words mean so much to me, I love your post and your realness!! MMMmmmmmmmm! I think God uses honesty and vulnerability in incredible ways. We are all flawed, I know. But, sometimes, I feel the most flawed. (Seriously!) I think my flaws and fears are diminished by just admitting they are there and God can use them to reach others. Thank you for being such a tool to reflect the love of Christ. Thank you for being open and loving to me, even when you didn't know me. I love to watch you love Jesus, Chuck and your children. Even though none of those things are always easy or perfect for you, they are all an inspiration for me to do better in my own life, each day.

      Loving you, sweet lady!

  7. Erin, I will be forever greatful for meeting my first friend in Madison. I feel like I have known you my whole life! You are always so encouraging when I need it most. I love our kids growing up together and being such good friends. One of the times I looked up to you the most is when you were going through the adoption process. Never had I seen someone give it ALL to God and trust Him so much. I still feel that I keep a wall up hoping nothing " bad" happen to my life. I still need to work on this, but you showed me through Mae to let it all go to God. Thanks for being such an inspiration and always being a great friend!!
    Love, Ashley

  8. in my life i have always wanted to be surrounded by friends that "needed me"...for advice, pep talks, encouragement or whatever it was.

    it made me feel like a had a purpose and that i was of good use.(stupid, i know.) :)

    when God put Erin into my life, i remember thinking..."but, she doesn't need me, Lord. what good am i to her??"

    "No, but YOU need her." He said.

    He was right.

    She has shown me and taught me so much and made me so much stronger!

    If there is one thing I could say about her, it is that she makes me STRONG! when i feel like giving up, i think of her.

    i am so thankful for her friendship...a special gift from the Lord. she is shiny from the inside out.


  9. Anonymous1/17/2012

    i love that other song, but i was thinking of this one after our service at church sunday! perfect reminder how to praise with our hearts. waiting here for YOU with our hands lifted high in praise--leaving it all at the cross and singing Alli-luia...listen and lay it down:) love~erin

  10. Anonymous1/17/2012

    ok, really ashley and jill~~i'm crying! how sweet of both of you! little do you know, but before we moved here, i rode around this town and prayed for you. i knew that moving to a small town would not be easy and i needed God to surround me. i left an amazing group of friends and mommy-support in snellville--i STILL have those friends(of course!), but I knew I needed that in my every day!! THANKFUL for HIS gracious spirit leading to all my friends, but esp. those of you that I am with daily for support, love, guidance, encouragement, and faithfully God sent. YOU MAKE ME STRONG!!!! i love every single one of my friends and those of you friends i haven't met yet! we are joined, so I already call you my friend <3 love,erin:)

  11. Thanks for being so real! I loved the video. Sent it to a friend who may need it.

  12. Angela Miller1/18/2012

    Oh my goodness. This morning I woke up so eager to read the daily word so I could share my thoughts about the chapter and then I come to this wonderful blog and see the sweet message from Erin about her story/life. I know it takes so much to share the path you have taken to get where you are today but I am so very thankful for you doing so. Thank you! Thank you!

    I want to be your friend too. I could use a cheerleader in my life.

    Verse 9 "so he demanded, "Bring me the burnt offering and the peace offering"

    This is a tough one for me. Very tough – you see I have a child (age 24) who does not love the lord or even attend church. She allows her son to attend church - in fact; she even brings him to the front door of the church but refuses to attend. I have been in prayer for a few years now that God would change her heart.

    Recently my grandson and I were doing his nighttime prayers and we prayed a special prayer for his mommy to start going to church. Next time he prayed with his mommy, he said that special prayer and she said “Buddy you don’t have to pray that prayer”…. His response:”Yes I do Nana said” out of the mouth of babes.

    When our children our young we take them to church, as they grow older we pray for them to be in church.

    I believe god is truly using this to test my obedience and patience. I will continue to pray and I truly believe in my heart my Lord will prevail and win her over. I believe in heart, when this day does come, she will have a love story to share.

    Ladies please keep loving those babies and being a shining light for Jesus.

    You are all such a blessing.

  13. Anonymous1/18/2012

    oh, and what a story she will have!! maybe it will be her son that leads her to Christ?? lay it down. worship in the waiting and know that God is on it! he hears your cry, but ask us to trust and praise in the wait. I cannot wait to hear her story one day!! praying and believing for you and your family!! keep strong <3
    love always,

  14. Anonymous1/18/2012

    ps~ the word i had to rewrite to post this to you was HEAL---how awesome is that??? erin!!! praising for your your daughter with my hands lifted high!!!

  15. Angela Miller1/18/2012

    Thanks Erin - no coincidence that is god speaking. Praise god!!!

  16. Anonymous1/18/2012

    Erin, you are simply amazing! I loved what you shared. Your story and your encouragement is inspiring. Jill is right...you are one shiny chic!! I am thankful for your friendship to my sister and that through that friendship I have the priviledge of calling you my friend! Keep on shining and witnessing ALL that HE has done for you...you are inspiring us all!

    Much Love, Angela Crowe~


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