Bitter to Sweet Memories

BY: Janet Henry



Philippians 1:3:   ”I thank my God every time I remember you. ”

Matthew 18:21: “Peter asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me?  Up to seven times?’  Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy times seven.’”

PERSONAL REFLECTION:  CHRISTMAS!  Christmas is filled with traditions, memories, cookie making, and so much more.  While I was growing up Christmas was a hectic time of year.  My father was the director of music at the church we attended.  People would drive for hours just to be at our Christmas Eve service because of the quality of music. He directed a small orchestra and choir with passion and perfection.  There was always the smell of candles burning in the air, and the two large Christmas trees in the altar seemed to sparkle even more with the lights shining on all the tinsel.  This hectic time for our family, where music was linked to every memory I had as a child, followed me into my adulthood.  My relationship with my father was full of its ups and downs.  He was an overworked man, and had a horrible time expressing his love in words.  Music was his job.  Music was his passion.  Music was his love.  You could see the love he had for it every time he stepped on stage or on a podium to conduct. For many different reasons I allowed anger, bitterness, and unforgivness to well up within me about my father.

Just before he passed away the Lord healed our relationship.  Finally, truly forgiving my father was the most miraculous emotional healing I have ever received. After many years of allowing the enemy to remind me of the negative memories, the Lord began filling my mind with happy ones.

So, here we are.  It’s Christmas, and I have been overwhelmed with happy memories of how beautiful Christmas was with my dad around.  Music that I remember seeing my father direct has found its way into my head.  I can see him in my mind with a smile on his face and his arms gracefully conducting many in perfect harmony, rhythm, and balance.   The Lord has continued to heal the hurt in my heart concerning my father with the memories He has allowed me to see again.

PERSONAL APPLICATION:  Is there someone this Chrismas you need to forgive before it is too late and the Lord takes them home?  Has the enemy reminded you of bad memories that he continues to play over and over again in your mind.  Now is the time to forgive!  Don’t allow unforgivness to steal your joy this Christmas.  Don’t let another day go by without giving the Lord the chance to heal past hurts.  Isaiah 9:6: “…And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”  He is our Wonderful Counselor.

PRAYER:  Father God, I thank you for putting on flesh and coming to dwell among us.  During a time that is filled with so many traditions and memories, let me not remain bitter and rest in unforgiveness towards anyone.  Let me lay aside my hurts so I might have a renewed and right relationship with you.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.


Janet is a wife of 12 years to Justin and mother to Kaitlynn, Nathaniel, and Faith.   Janet loves to scrapbook and cook in her “free” time. Janet and Justin love leading mission teams all over the world.  Life Assembly is their home and they have been attending since 2006.  She serves as the parent liaison for Buddy Break Respite program, works with the Women of Life ministry, and also leads a women’s Bible study on Thursday mornings at the  church. In addition, she loves singing with the worship team on Sunday mornings. Currently, she is with Justin and her children serving in Romania at the Romanian Orphan Ministries.

1 Comment

  1. by Jane Thomas

    On January 2, 2012

    Beautifully written. So glad that the Holy Spirit helped you receive peace in your heart. Love is shown in many ways and you addressed this in your writing. Just because the words “I love you” aren’t always said out loud doesn’t mean a person doesn’t love. Follow your heart with your eyes and see how love is transmitted to others, especially those close to them.

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