I’ve always felt like the start of a new year is exciting and hopeful! Maybe this year I’ll read more books, take more time off, get back into shape, start my own business, etc. I love to plan and dream because it seems like almost anything can happen!
But this year feels different. In the last two years, we’ve said brokenhearted goodbyes to my Dad, my grandmother, and my father-in-law. And for the first time, moving into a new year feels harder.
In some ways, it feels like stepping into a new year is leaving them behind. In 2021 my Dad was still here. It’s a year that holds memories of spontaneous lunch dates and great conversations with him. But 2023 is just beginning and I already know he won’t be here for it. It feels like I’m moving farther and farther away from him.
I want to be hopeful as we head into this new year but, if I’m honest, my heart is still hurting.
I recently heard author and speaker, Levi Lusko speaks about the grief of losing his own young daughter a few years ago. He talked about how hurting with hope still hurts.
I used to think that hope and hurt couldn’t co-exist. Because if I really had hope, I wouldn’t be hurting, right?
But that’s just not true. God created us with complexity that allows us to hold and feel things that conflict. He doesn’t expect us to turn our feelings on and off with some kind of switch. Instead, he invites us to bring all of the hurt and the hope, the grief and the joy, the doubt, and the anger and the sadness… to him.
Matthew, who was a close friend and follower of Jesus, heard him say these words and wrote them down for us.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are
those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” MATTHEW 5:3-4
And also “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” MATTHEW 11:28-30
Even on the hardest days, I can have hope because I am not alone. And you’re not alone, either.
So as we start this new year, we don’t have to pretend we’re not hurting. We can bring our tears and pain to the God who created us and experience the comfort He has promised.
MEET ERIN MASHAW:
Erin writes with openness, vulnerability, and a passion to help people know that they really can trust God no matter what.
While she doesn’t really like pets and hates almost all sports, she loves Jesus, her husband, and their four kids.
She tolerates the family dog, Albie.