A New Year’s devotional for the grieving heart

Since losing our son in 2018, New Year’s is always a sad time for me. It’s sad because I remember in those deep heavy first few months of grief, it felt like I was getting further and further away from him. Like time was moving on and I was willing it to stop and take me back to a moment when he was alive. For the past few years I have journaled either right before the New Year or a few days after the New Year just to chronicle how I’m feeling. For nostalgia, I looked back on my journal entry from 2019 going into 2020.

I wanted to share a little from that entry:

I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”

Ezekiel 37:3

A powerful verse for me in 2019. Lord, you alone know my suffering. You alone know the depth of my pain. You alone have collected my tears. You know God, you can see it. You see what 2020 holds. I don’t want to go into another year without Levi, I don’t want to. Can I stay here? Can I wait it out for him to come? Will you wait with me?

December 31, 2019

That verse in Ezekiel 37 has held me up several times during my grief journey. The passage is taken from “The Valley of the Dry Bones”. It’s a vision that the prophet Ezekiel had about the nation of Israel. At the point in time when Ezekiel had this vision, Israel had been defeated and held in captivity by the Babylonians. The valley of the dry bones represents the nation of Israel and God bringing His nation “back to life” from a hopeless situation.

I’m not here to talk about the historical context of this scripture. I’m here to talk about how this scripture spoke to me and helps to give me hope when my grief is too heavy for me to carry on my own.

In my heaviest moments of grief, I envisioned myself as the valley of the dry bones. At my lowest, I felt helpless. I felt unreachable by God. I felt like there was no way that I would be able to survive a lifetime without my son. That pain just felt unbearable to me. It would often times suffocate me to points where I could not catch my breath.

But reading this passage in Ezekiel gave me hope. It gave me hope that even when it felt that no one else could see my pain, God could see it.

“You alone know, Lord. You alone know. You alone know. You alone know.”

This is something I would chant to myself through my tears.

“You alone know. You alone know.”

When I felt that people were judging me and thinking that I needed to be “over it” already,

“You alone know, Lord. You alone know.”

They can’t understand it but,

“You alone know, Lord. You alone know.”

When I felt that no one could relate to the depth of my pain,

“You alone know, Lord. You alone know.”

When I would have flashbacks of holding my son and the regret I would feel for not holding him just a little bit longer,

“You alone know Lord, You alone know.”

And just in the same way that Ezekiel saw that valley of the dry bones. I was that valley of the dry bones. Ezekiel looked at those dry bones and surely thought there was no way those things were coming back to life. But he trusted that God knew what he was doing, he knew the only way they were going to come back to life was through His power. And they did.

God breathed life back into me in the same way he breathed life back into those hopeless dry bones. God can breathe life back into you this new year too.

I know 2020 has been hard. I know that so many people have lost loved ones. I know many of my friends and family are grieving. I want to give you hope that in a hopeless situation, God can still work.

“I will put my spirit in you and you will live…”
Ezekiel 37:14

I know how hard it is to be grieving during the holidays. You have endured your first Thanksgiving, Christmas, and now your first New Year without your loved one. I’m here to tell you that you are not alone in your pain.

I encourage you to read all of Ezekiel 37 and meditate on how God can bring you out of what may feel like a hopeless situation in your grief.

You alone know, Lord. You alone know.

2 thoughts on “A New Year’s devotional for the grieving heart

  1. What a great devotional. This is vulnerable and life giving. I could feel your words. Thank you for this scripture and for speaking truth. I love your journal entry. You are a faithful, trusting, spiritual woman. Thank you for sharing this and allowing us to learn from your pain. I will be meditating on this passage this week.

    1. Thank you Leanna. I know that you are grieving this year too, I’m glad that it could be useful for you this New Year 💛

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