Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Lovely Dwelling Place

Today is the second anniversary of Samuel's homegoing to Heaven.  When I was nursing Anna this morning, I turned to read Psalm 84 because verses 5-7 have been among the most hopeful and encouraging Scripture through my grief.  I couldn't remember what the rest of the Psalm said, and I stopped when I got to the end of verse 2.  How appropriate the verses felt for this day.

"How lovely is your dwelling place,
O Lord Almighty!
My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and flesh cry out
for the living God."

I couldn't help but think of Samuel.  He is in the dwelling place of the Lord Almighty -- how lovely that is!  And on this day in particular, on August 31st, my souls yearns, even faints, for the courts of Lord as I long to be with my sweet son in the very presence of my good God.  But it was the last two lines that got to me especially this morning.  When Samuel was dying, his heart and flesh were crying out for the living God -- in a far more literal way that I can probably even understand.  Samuel's heart was failing, and as the month of August progressed, his other organs began to fail as well.  His heart and flesh were crying out for rescue from his trials and pain and suffering.  And on the 31st of August, my living God answered those cries and brought Samuel into His very presence: whole, redeemed, new, and perfect.  He brought Samuel into his courts, into His lovely dwelling place.

And just a few verses later are the words I clung to in my new grief and throughout our struggle to conceive another child: "Happy are those who are strong in the Lord...When they walk through the Valley of Weeping it will become of place of refreshing springs, where pools of blessing collect after the rain."  Two years after Samuel's homegoing, I can clearly see those refreshing springs and pools of blessing.  I can see how God has been present, faithful, kind, true, and our Healer.  I can see what a sanctifying, refining road our grief has been and continues to be.  I can see good that has come from our loss and the chances to love and serve others that have sprung from the tears we've shed.  I can see how Samuel's life has impacted others for Christ.  I have tiny glimpses of some of God's purposes, and I can rejoice in those. 

This day is far gentler because of those refreshing springs and pools of blessing.  I can honestly say I am grateful for our grief.  I feel like grief has been a beautiful refining journey -- that's still continuing -- and I hold it as a treasure in my heart.   I am deeply thankful for what God has done in us because of Samuel and our sorrow.   It reminds me of one of my favorite Cry, the Beloved Country quotes: "My friend, your anxiety turned to fear, and your fear turned to sorrow. But sorrow is better than fear. For fear impoverishes always, while sorrow may enrich."   Our sorrow has been incomparably enriching.

So on this second anniversary of the worst day of my life but the best day of Samuel's, I have a deep peace in my soul.  There is certainly sorrow and longing and tears and heartache, but underneath it all is the deep assurance of my good God and His work of redemption in this life and the promise of ultimate redemption in the next life, where I will be with my dear, beloved Samuel in God's lovely dwelling place.


  1. SOOOOO beautiful, Kathryn. I was reading your blog when my 5 yr old came over to me. He saw the picture of Samuel holding onto your finger. He started to ask me questions and I was able to share with him a simple version of your journey....and how Samuel is in the lovely dwelling place of God. He was so touched, as we all are in the beautiful way you have allowed us to share in your very difficult walk.

    I'm glad that you are finding some relief. I still praise God for Anna!

  2. It is so beautiful to see the work God has done in your heart. I pray that peace continues to grow. Much love to you Kathryn.