It is a new year. You might be saying – oh, good, a new year. Do you hear the difference between that and Oh, Good! A New Year! There is a “yippee” after this second quote but not after the first. The first is said with a flat tone of voice. As a grieving parent, you might be speaking like the first quote. It is a new year. For many, there is pain just turning over the calendar to a new number for the year. It means this is a year in which your child has not lived. I’m sorry for that extra dose of pain for you. You have probably heard it said that you have to seek and establish a “new normal” for your life now that he or she has died.

I want to share a couple verses from Ezekiel about newness that I have been pondering: I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God. (Ezekiel 36:24-28)

Our God wants to bless you and me with a new heart! He wants to cleanse us. Since none of us is perfect yet, I am not shy about saying you, and I for sure, need to be cleansed from all our sin and idols. I/we need a softer heart, not a stony one.

Now, I want to be clear about this: I DO NOT believe that your stony heart is what motivated God to take your child! NO. But since we’re not perfect yet, there is bound to be some hardness of heart that needs to be softened and can be softened here in the grief that you’re experiencing. It’s not BECAUSE of hardness of heart that you’re here, but SINCE you’re here, God has intentions to cleanse and give you a new heart.

God’s work in your life is much bigger than the calendar. He wants to transform you into someone who is more and more like Jesus. The reason for His work in your life is for His reputation.

It is not for your sake, people of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of my holy name. (Ezekiel 36:22 partial)

I know, it’s not about us. It’s about Him. But I take that to be a greater guarantee that this thing He has planned will, in fact, be done. Since it’s about Him and He will do it.

So, my greeting to you at the beginning of a new year is: Happy New Heart in the new year. Blessings to you, in His grace.