While there is an invitation to begin again at any time, the start of a new year can be a unique opportunity to strive towards something new or set a new goal for ourselves. During a season of intense grief and pain, however, this concept can seem impossible.
It truly is a gift to be able to begin again. Praise God that our lives do not exist as a never ending loop. Rather, one day ends and another begins, bringing with it a chance to start fresh with renewed strength and hope. The reality of a new day, a new week, or a new year is something we can trust and rely on, even in the midst of distress, heartache, and pain.
The book of Lamentations reminds us of this truth in the following verse, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; They are new every morning; great is His faithfulness.”
While there is an invitation to begin again at any time, the start of a new year can be a unique opportunity to strive towards something new or set a new goal for ourselves. During a season of intense grief and pain, however, this concept can seem impossible. How do we look towards a new year with hope when the previous one held so much pain and suffering? Honestly, it’s not something we can do on our own. We need the strength of our Lord to continue on the journey. His mercy, His love, and His presence can be renewed in us as we continue processing our grief in the new year.
Perhaps, as we “begin again” in 2023, we can look for ways that the Lord is inviting us to notice His presence or to look for signs of hope we might not have noticed before. Below is a list of action items that might serve as a resolution of sorts to begin again in our grief journey or look for new ways to find hope in the struggle.
- Give Yourself Grace
Take some time for reflection and ask if you have been allowing yourself grace to grieve the way you need to. There are no “shoulds” or timelines here. Putting an expectation on your grief and how you “ought” to feel often does more harm than good. Accept where you are and bring that to the Lord.
- Honor Your Loved One
Identify a new way that you would like to honor your loved one’s life. Maybe you can donate to a meaningful cause in their honor or practice another act of kindness in their memory. It might bring some peace or even joy to your soul to give in this way.
- Open Up
Perhaps your grief is something that you have kept hidden or close to your heart and you have struggled to openly share those feelings with others. There can be great healing when we invite others into the reality of our grief and ask for their support in carrying the weight.
- Return to Prayer
Maybe in the midst of our pain we have felt abandoned by the Lord or we distanced ourselves from prayer or any sort of religious practice. The new year might be an opportunity to start a conversation with the Lord about your struggle or resolve to return to the practices of your religion — even just one small step at a time.
My hope is that an item from this list or an idea of your own might prompt you to renew your trust in our Lord who desires your wholeness. May 2023 bring you a renewed sense of hope and trust in the One who makes all things new.
Rachel is a Bereavement Clinician at Cornerstone of Hope Cleveland.