Christie Lamb shares her journey back to God and his family.
On May 2, 2010, in a joyful and tearful reunion, Christie read the following letter of repentance and restoration to the Central Ministry Center of the Chicago Church of Christ. Several others came to rejoice in the occasion including her brother, Mike Lamb, youth and family minister in Boston. Her mother and father also shared giving her a ring and a celebration welcoming her back to her spiritual home.
I am so thankful to be welcomed back to the family of God.
Without the unconditional love of my family, friends and especially God, I would not be recommitting my life to him and to the church.
Matthew 11: 28 – 30 reminds me of my journey
“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.”
Growing up in the church I heard this scripture over and over but today it has a much more powerful meaning.
I was yoked with Christ in baptism on September 3, 1987 in the Chicago Church of Christ and was part of one of the first teen ministries in the discipling churches at that time. From there we moved to Boston and I became a part of the Boston Campus ministry and then moved to Springfield, Massachusetts where I was a ministry intern for almost 4 years.
Unfortunately, my last year in Springfield was a very difficult one. It was filled with much heartache in my personal life and in my relationships within the church. I started to let the worries of this life take over and I started to believe Jesus’ yoke was becoming burdensome.
The truth was I started to loose sight of the big picture and began not trusting God’s plan for my life. I was trying to steer the yoke and foolishly thought I could do better if I left God and took control… BUT BOY WAS I WRONG!
Basically I had lost my first love of God and also let the distractions within the church hurt my faith and I turned away from God, questioning his motives and his reasons for why things happen. Only a short time after I moved to Los Angeles, I left God, left the church and began a very bad spiral for the next 12 years.
I tried to create my own happiness by going after shallow things, but in reality I became bitter, angry, faithless, sad, without hope and miserable. Yet I continued to try so hard to make my life work on my own strength.
But most of all during that time I did not forgive; I had forgotten the grace that was bestowed upon me and so I began attacking and blaming others for my misery instead of taking personal responsibility for my own actions.
Matthew 6: 14 – 15
“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you.But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
Once I began to see what misery I was in because the lack of forgiveness was costing me myself and my relationships, I began to first reconcile with my family and then with those whom I felt hurt me or were unrighteous towards me while I was in the church. But something was still missing.
It wasn’t until I moved back to Chicago a few years ago when I realized I needed to forgive myself. I had beaten myself up enough for all the things I had done while away from God and it was time for me to take myself off the cross, humble myself and lay at his feet crying out to him and ask him to forgive me.
Once I believed God had forgiven me, I needed to accept the forgiveness he had bestowed upon me and start putting it into practice. It is one thing for me to say that I am resolved and right with God but it is another to change my lifestyle and truly live for him.
So today I am here to come before God and the Church, repentant of my sins, asking for forgiveness and truly embracing the grace that has been given to me. I am filled with joy to recommit my life to God and to his church and to put back on the yoke of Jesus.
It has been a weary and burdensome 12 years but I am so grateful for what it has taught me and all the lessons I have learned.
Most of all what I’d like to share with you today is how important unconditional love is.
The love of my family and true friends cannot be measured. I know I have put them through great heartache but they never gave up on me and they have been with me through the best of times to the worst of times and now to the best of times again.
Grandma, Grandpa, Mom, Dad, Michael, Kristen and David – I want to thank you for your foundation of faith and for never giving up on me. For loving me when I was unlovable and for always being a constant source of joy in my life.
Kaili, Drew and Kalea (my nieces and nephew) – I thank God for you and promise to be a good example for you of a faithful, godly woman.
Kathy Eastman – Thank you for loving me and for helping me heal.
Not to mention so many more families like the Bairds, McDaniels, Mannels, Purdues, Kingans, Loweys, Mitchells, Shaws, Clawsons and dear friends Kim & Tim Adams, Mayumi, Peg, Lea and so many more.
I can only hope that my story will increase your faith, inspire you to call, email or text an old friend who may have walked away from God and bring them back into your life. It doesn’t happen overnight and all they need is for you to love them for who they are right now. But have faith that one day they too can reconcile to God and his church.
Remember, God is larger than we are. Trust and know the spirit will move through people’s hearts just as he moved my mine.
If someone is on your heart, I truly believe it is the Spirit of God speaking to you letting you know they need your friendship and encouragement. It’s by your love and friendship that will bring them back to Jesus. Then when the time comes and they are ready, they will know who their true friends are and will know it is safe to ask for help.
Thank you for loving me and accepting me back into the family of God.
May 2, 2010
Marcia and i are so in awe of God for bringing Christie back to Him, his church and to us. We are so proud of Christie for continuing to fight the spiritual war and for surrendering to Jesus. God taught us many lessons of reliance and humility. Personally I ran to the limit of my love and had to run to God, search the Scriptures and seek advice for how to love unconditionally.
My search led me to realize that God has loved his billions of children for thousands of years in spite of the fact that they all hurt him — except one. His unconditional love can teach me to love. Thanks to his grace, I have learned lessons here I would probably not have learned any other way. And thanks to my wonderful wife who modeled patient persistence. Thanks to all the wonderful friends who gave counsel, guidance and comfort through these years.
Before Christie was restored to fellowship, she began sharing her faith, reaching out to new friends and to old friends who had left the Lord. We cannot start over and write a new beginning. But by the grace and truth of God, we can start now and He will help us write a new ending.
Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. Luke 15:3-7