Purpose From My Pain

Linda Leinius

Linda Leinius

School Partners Director | School Partners District Director | Global Partners

I am the oldest of two daughters born to deaf parents in a small Wisconsin farm town. As soon as I could talk, I was serving as my parents’ interpreter through sign language – connecting them with the hearing world. Life from an early age was filled with adult responsibilities, worries, and decisions. Instead of the childhood I craved, mine was filled with heaviness and loss.

I feared the dad who everybody loved, but whose anger behind closed doors would escalate into yelling, physical intimidation, and abuse for my mom. Under the kitchen table is where my mom, sister, and I would hide, hoping we would be invisible and therefore safe. My parents divorced when I was 6, and I was caught in the middle of their hurt and anger.

At the start of my 4th-grade year, we were dropped off at a local motel – my mom, sister and me with a U-Haul containing everything we owned. No car, no job, no home, and very little money. This kind of poverty meant asking strangers for money, stealing quarters out of the community washing machine for groceries, asking friends for rides, food stamps and free lunch, handling late bills and bounced checks, and going without meals and holidays. We were lonely and scared kids. We worried about our mom who faced bouts of depression and retreated to her bed for days with suicide threats, and ultimately spent time away from us in the psychiatric ward – as I celebrated my 12th birthday. Our mom did her best to provide for us by taking a job on the night shift, but that meant leaving us alone to care for ourselves. I felt isolated and responsible for my sister and me. My life seemed so different than the other kids I knew – I felt like an outsider.

Although life was very difficult, I loved my parents. As an adult, I can see that their treatment of us was due to their own broken childhoods, but at that time, it all resulted in feelings of shame, which I carried around like a heavy weight. I felt helpless and alone…I just wasn’t good enough. And the messages my sister and I received were very clear: don’t burden others with your problems, don’t ask for help, don’t let people know how bad it really is. You are supposed to keep it all hidden…all of it…because what would people think if they knew?

Fortunately for me, there was school: the place I felt most happy, safe, and valued. It all started with my third-grade teacher, Mrs. Shumate, who told me I was special and made me feel cared for and seen; I no longer needed to be invisible. It was my teachers who noticed my love of math, set aside library books just for me, explained what to do the first time I got my period, hugged me, encouraged me, and believed in me. They saw me as more than a student – they said I was kind, generous, smart, hard-working, and a good friend. When I ask the hard question, “Where was Jesus during my childhood?” I now picture a loving, heavenly father handing me – his precious daughter – into the hands of my teachers. “I’m giving Linda to you. Please show her how much I love her…how I’ve given her unique gifts…how she’s created in my image…speak life into her.” From teacher to teacher, he placed me into caring hands each year. It was through those teachers that God began to call me out from “under that kitchen table” where I hid in my fear, shame and loneliness, and instead gave me an invitation to come to His table where I would find true peace, grace, and love.

Life after college looked “normal” – family, home, church, work, kids’ events, vacations…everything I wanted growing up. But God had other plans for me, and nudged me to attend an informational meeting about School Partners at Kensington. Soon, I found myself on the way to Ms. Martin’s classroom, praying all the way and wondering what I had to offer. I walked into her classroom and saw a sea of 44 children. Over the next year and a half, I would see myself in those students with their broken homes, hurts and fears, and be reminded of the blessings I received in the classroom as a child. After a retreat in 2015, God invited me on a life-changing journey: allow your mess to become your message.

Then came the invitation to join the School Partners staff. I believe that God had been preparing me for this change to bring me back to the place I loved as a child. It would mean giving up my job of 27 years with all its security, benefits, and income. It would mean trusting that God could really use me, that he was truly calling me to follow Him into these under-resourced schools. I did it! And, now I get to share the love of Jesus in our partner schools every day – just like my teachers did for me. This is my purpose – born out of my pain.

Want to find out more about School Partners, and making a difference in the lives of local students? Go to kensingtonchurch.org/school-partners or email Linda at [email protected] about volunteer opportunities.

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Financial Peace University (FPU)

Financial Peace University (FPU) is a catalyst to help people live in financial freedom and enable them to have a posture of openhandedness. We have witnessed numerous Kensington families experience life change as a result of applying Biblical truths to their personal finances. The real blessing is seeing people create lives of margin that allow them to hear and respond to the Lord’s calling on their lives.

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What is my purpose? What value does the Bible have in my life? How do I pray? How can I grow in confidence to share my faith? These are the big questions that are at the heart of what it means to have a relationship with God. Alpha is a space to explore life’s big questions, to say what you think and to hear other people’s points of view. Over ten-weeks you will explore and discover while listening to weekly topics, participating in table discussion, and developing community. Alpha courses meeting in-person gather around a meal.

You don’t have to come for the whole series—just check it out for the first session and see what you think. No pressure.

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Whether you are brand new to the Bible or have been reading it for decades, Bible Basics is a course that will help you understand the overall flow of the Bible. Over the course of several weeks, learn how the Bible came from the original writers to the English versions we have today. We’ll look at the big-picture story of the Bible and how all the individual books add to the whole. We’ll even learn a little about the history of the Jewish nation. But most of all, we’ll grow in our awe of the amazing author of this amazing book!

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Marriage Classes

What grows marriages? Focusing on the two of you and being in community!
The Marriage Course includes seven sessions, designed to help couples invest in their relationship and build a strong marriage. Some couples do the course to intentionally invest in their relationship, others are looking to address more specific challenges. Either way, the course offers essential tools and practical ideas to help you build a relationship that lasts a lifetime. The Marriage Course is based on Christian principles but designed for all couples with or without a church background.

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Marriage and Blended Family

The Marriage Course offers essential tools and practical ideas to help couples invest in their relationship and build a strong marriage. Strengthen your communication and gain a deeper understanding of your partner. The Marriage Course is based on Christian principles but designed for all couples with or without a church background.

The Blended Family Workshop addresses the confusing roles and boundaries involved in blending families and identifies why parents so often struggle in blending their efforts. Find a community of people who are contemplating blending a family or are “in the trenches” building and growing their blended family!

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Troy Campus

Join us Sunday night, December 5th for a Community Prayer Vigil at Kensington Church at 6:00 pm. Invite friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers to come together for a time of hope and prayer. 

Following the Vigil, at 7:00 pm, there will be breakouts for students and for parents to process and be equipped in caring for themselves and those around in times of tragedy.

Clinton Township Campus

We will be offering a time for our congregation to gather after each service for a time of corporate prayer in the Greatroom. Prayer will be offered at 10:15 am and 12:15 pm. (25000 Hall Rd, Charter Twp of Clinton, MI 48036)

This Sunday at 3:30 pm as a community we want to gather, pray and mourn together. We are all looking for answers and wondering why tragedy happens but we can find hope and peace in Jesus. 

Orion Campus

We believe that unity at this time is more important than ever. Several churches in the area are partnering together to offer space for students to begin the process of healing.

We will have several grief and trauma specialists on site this Sunday evening at our Orion Campus (4640 S Lapeer Rd Lake Orion, MI 48359) from 5-6:30pm and will have a night of prayer, worship and an opportunity for students to process with each other.

Tate Myre Funeral:
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Tuesday, 12.7 Visitation 10-12pm and funeral at Noon

Parents & Student Resources

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Birmingham Campus

We are offering a time for our congregation to gather after the 10am service for prayer in the Groves Auditorium, 20500 W 13 Mile Rd, Beverly Hills, MI 48025.

On Sunday evening, Dec 5, parents of high school and middle school students are invited to the second half of our Edge gathering at Genesis Church, 309 N Main St, Royal Oak, MI 48067, at 6:15pm. We will have a breakout to equip parents in caring for themselves and processing pain with their children in times of tragedy.

Learning Labs

Pathways is a series of open conversations exploring practices and rhythms for spiritual transformation and discipleship. We will unpack different ways to pray, read scripture, live in community, and encounter God by opening the floor to talk about our own lived experiences, perspectives, and insights on what it means to grow closer to God. Meets on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of the month at Troy Campus, beginning September 21st. Contact [email protected] 
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Together Again

updated June 23, 2021

It’s been life-giving to be in-person for our weekend services since last July when we reopened. If you haven’t yet, we invite you to join us in person sometime soon.

Reservations and ticketing have been discontinued at all our campuses.

Masks are optional at all services, events, and ministry gatherings for kids, students, and adults. We know that everyone needs to make the right health decisions for themselves and their family, so if you feel comfortable removing your mask, you may. And if you’d like to continue wearing a mask or face covering, you may do that as well. This is a personal choice that only you can decide what is best for yourself when attending in person at Kensington.

If you are sick, are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, or have possibly been exposed to COVID-19, please plan to stay home and participate in our services via our many online streaming options.

At the start of the pandemic, Kensington’s Executive Team commissioned a group of staff members as a COVID Task Force to establish protocols and procedures for the safety of our church community. Thanks for sticking with us throughout all the changes and adjustments over the past 15 months.

We’re grateful to be together again!