I Cried on New Year’s Eve: Grieving with Hope in 2020

I cried on new year's eve

I cried on New Year’s Eve. 

We spent time with friends, blew noisemakers, and yelled “Happy New Year!” at 8 PM (because we knew there was no way we’d actually last until midnight). We laughed, talked about goals for the new year, and shared stories from 2019. 

But earlier that day, when I was alone, I cried. 

Someone asked me recently what my favorite memory of 2019 was. I didn’t think the question would trip me up as much as it did. I fumbled for words, grasping at something, anything. I knew the year had held many joys and victories. I knew it. 

But in that moment, nothing else existed in 2019 apart from the three children I lost. I couldn’t – and some moments, still can’t – see past the thick fog of grief. 

I cried on New Year’s Eve because of the sadness our family walked through. But I also cried because of a harsh reality that hit me: 2019 was ending, but my grief was not. 

I wish grief had a specific start and end date. I wish I could package it up, write “2019” in big, bold numbers, and then leave it there where it can’t sink its unrelenting talons into my heart anymore. 

Maybe you’re in a similar place. 

Maybe 2019 carried great sorrow for you. Maybe there was a miscarriage, infertility, a cancer diagnosis, death of a parent or grandparent, estranged family members, or any number of things that bring sorrow. 

Maybe 2020 isn’t so much a beacon of hope as it is a reminder that your grief is still there. And it still hurts.

I won’t pretend to have some sort of magic formula that makes all the heartache go away. But in the last year, I’ve experienced what it means to grieve deeply, but not “as others do who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13).

Instead, scriptures that I’ve read my whole life have spoken to my heart in ways I just didn’t understand before. And I’m learning to cling to the truth that, while our pain and suffering here on this earth is real, it’s not worth comparing with what waits for those of us who know Jesus Christ (Romans 8:18).

So if you’ve entered 2020 with a heavy heart, here are a few scriptures that have been carrying me through. I hope you’ll take a few moments to look them up and read them. The word of God is “living and active” (Hebrews 4:12), and I’m confident that if you read these with an open heart, God will use them to foster healing.

Job 1:21
Psalm 94:17-19
Psalm 62:5-8
Psalm 56:8-11
John 16:33
Romans 8:18-39
2 Corinthians 1:3-10
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Revelation 21:1-7

Even if your 2019 was perfect, the reality is that one day in the future – maybe this year, or the next – you will experience sorrow. And if we had no hope beyond ourselves, then that truth might very well cripple us with fear. 

But listen to the thrill of hope ringing through these words:

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

Trouble and hurt and heartache and pain are promised. But so is the truth that Christ is greater. He is our hope. And because of him, one day there will be no more “mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore.”

And Jesus himself said, “these words are trustworthy and true” (Rev. 21:5).

I pray that 2020 is a year for you filled with growth, faith, and hope. 

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