SOS Kelly Adkins

Kelly Adkins and her husband Mike planted Grace Orlando with a handful of people in 2003.


“I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 3:10-11”

A few years into church planting, I thought I knew what that verse meant. I felt I had shared in his sufferings. I felt I had tasted enough death.

I walked with Him in the desert as Satan told us lies about our calling. He tried to starve our souls and offer us what could not sustain in return. He whispered that I should throw myself down, that the world would be better off without my life.

I sat with the rich young rulers, the Nicodemus hearts, watching people hoard money and time and philosophies they weren’t willing to lose.

I sailed with Him to the other side of the sea, teaching hard words of life and having many turn their faces away. I learned to press in hard to the community who followed instead of the crowds who did not.

I prayed with Him in the garden, alone while close friends lay sleeping or abandoned us altogether. They promised they’d stay — they’d watch — they wouldn’t deny. Many walked away without a word.

I stood silent while people spoke lies about my heart and my motives.

I walked a Golgotha road of hardship and pain, carrying the cross of thousands of long hours and sleepless nights on my back, thorns of little time and money and peace in my brow. I struggled and fell under the lashes of my own demons.

I became acquainted with sorrow, losing my brother and my father to cancer within two years. I saw the face of my mother as she lost her son.

My cries of grief sometimes pierced the night, as I gave way to the fear that Father God had abandoned me.

All these things are a kind of Jesus-suffering, a kind so terrible I could often not bear its weight. But I now know these are only the path to the cross, not the center of it.  They are not how I become like Him in His death.

Christ, in the last moments of His own suffering, showed me the way. As he hung there, spilling out love and peace on the world that killed Him, He stretched out one glorious hand to a thief who would hear and believe. And the other hand He reached to one who would not.

The true suffering of Christ is the story of rejection. Not of me, as I so often write it, but of my Savior.

It is love, not loss, behind this kind of anguish. It is a great ache, baptized in grace and sacrifice. The true fellowship of His suffering is carrying a heart of grief for those who would rather starve than taste and see that He is good.

But it is in this grief that the great power of the resurrection from the dead is revealed — the power that can turn the hardest wayward heart of a thief toward Him. Even mine.

For me, that is the sifting. It is continually turning from a suffering that is about me to one that is about Christ. It is pouring out all I have, holding out a hand for those He will save, and breaking my heart for those who turn away.

It is cultivating the gratitude that sees my own rescue and resurrection from the dead as the miraculous, ridiculous grace that it is.

Kelly shares her thoughts at and tweets at @kellyadkins.

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