Rivers Of Joy, Floods Of Tears

Stacy Mallard

Stacy Mallard

Former staff and long-time member of Clarkston campus
“This mixture of sorrow and joy [in this passage] is a representation of this world. Some are bathing in rivers of joy, while others are drowned in floods of tears.” – Matthew Henry

At the beginning of 2020, my pastor challenged us to ask God to give us a word to carry with us through the year. We prayerfully ask God to impress on us a word that might be a reoccurring theme for our lives in the coming year. In the past, I have heard words like “Hope” or “Joy”. This year, I felt God press on my heart the word “Remember.” I spent time in January journaling about memories of significant family and life events. I’m not naturally very introspective, so it was a good exercise as I was reminded of God’s faithfulness through the joys and sorrows of the past few years.

In early February, we had the joy of traveling to northern Africa to visit my daughter and her family who have lived there for the last 3 years.  She was expecting their third child in June, and the pregnancy, while planned, had been a delightful surprise for us. We felt the baby kick and laughed to know he would also have a cousin, our niece’s baby, due close to the same time.

Then at the end of February, my husbands’ brother called to tell us that our nephew, this same niece’s brother, had collapsed at school. What followed was a few days of terrible updates and unimaginable decisions for their family as he laid in a coma. As I prayed and held my nephew’s hand in the ICU, I remembered joking with him at his sister’s wedding and how he had told me quietly that I was his favorite aunt. A few days later he was taken off life support and died just a week before his 24th birthday.

The very next week, things began to shut down due to the pandemic. We pressed through the next few strange weeks and then months thinking the worst of the year had surely passed. And while our family continued to mourn, our expectation also grew as June approached. Our daughter gave birth to a healthy 9-pound baby boy on June 13 and miraculously their paperwork came through to allow them to travel home and stay for the summer. Exactly a week after he was born, our niece’s son was born, and we celebrated through tears, remembering how much her brother loved babies and would have been thrilled with him.

In the days right after our new grandson’s birth, I felt I should read the Old Testament book about the prophet whose name he shared — Ezra. If you’re like me, I wasn’t exactly familiar with it, but a short overview tells us:

“The book of Ezra provides an account of the Jews’ regathering, of their struggle to survive and to rebuild what had been destroyed. Through his narrative, Ezra declared that they were still God’s people and that God had not forgotten them.” – Chuck Swindoll

What a wonderful reminder for each of us to cling to during this year! We as believers are still God’s people. God has not forgotten us!

In the third chapter, Ezra writes about the rebuilding of the temple that had been destroyed when the people had been taken captive as slaves, finally returning home after 70 years. The foundation laid; they begin to celebrate.

“With praise and thanksgiving, they sang to the Lord: He is good; his love toward Israel endures forever. And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.” – Ezra 3:11

But the next two verses tell a story of the deep longing and pain that led up to that moment:

“But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy. No one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping, because the people made so much noise. And the sound was heard far away. – Ezra 3:12-13
How true that has been for this year! And as I get older, I see how true it is for every year! Joy and sorrow constantly bump up against each other in our lives, and it is holy and right to feel them both. While we weep with longing for the former things, the irretrievable things we have lost, we must also rejoice as we see and experience the wonderful gifts God continues to place in front of us each day. 

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:15 ESV) Weep along with those suffering and hurting around you, acknowledging the pain of loss. But don’t hold back from celebrating joyfully where you see God working as well. I am praying that as this year ends, I remember that above all else that He is good and His love for us endures forever.

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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.

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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.

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Monday, 12.6 Visitation 1 to 8pm
Tuesday, 12.7 Visitation 10-12pm and funeral at Noon

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. 

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.

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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.

Please email marriage@kensingtonchurch.org with any questions.

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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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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!

Please email discipleship@kensingtonchurch.org with any questions.

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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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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.

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We’re grateful to be together again!