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Path of faith sometimes rocky

Healing faith: Candice Lambe says it’s important to be honest when you’re hurt (Photograph supplied)

When it comes to religion, Candice Lambe hasn’t always had an easy path.

At 17, her minister parents walked away from their church leaving her to decide whether to stay or go with them.

“They were no longer enforcing the standards of Christianity on me, but said I was free to make my own decision,” she said.

“I chose to continue in my journey of faith but was very guarded and careful not to be used for my gifts, because that’s what I had seen happen to my parents. Funny thing is the very thing I was running from was exactly what I ran into.” Ten years later, Mrs Lambe faced her own challenges due to the church’s “toxic” faith community. The situation left her feeling manipulated, pressured into being like others in the congregation rather than Jesus.

“Because I was younger in my faith, I thought the people there knew more than I did,” she said. “I overrode my instincts and went along with things because I believed I could trust people I was in relationship with to lead me in the right direction.

“I was in that environment for a number of years until finally, I was exhausted. My desire when I was in that situation was to please God and do whatever the Lord’s will was for me.

“I didn’t always feel confident that I knew what that was and some of the advice I was given within the church was more self-serving for them, rather than following the will of God.”

She realised “something wasn’t right”. She became unable to think for herself and felt she couldn’t live authentically as people were watching her every move.

Her road to healing began when she made the decision to get away for a little while.

“It was in that moment I realised I was more connected to God than I originally thought,” she said. “He was actually giving me permission to be free, to believe in myself and He gave me the encouragement I needed to get away.”

Ten years later, she’s still working on healing and forgiving those from her past.

Mrs Lambe participated in a faith-based panel discussion on post-traumatic stress disorder at Evening Light Pentecostal Church this month.

Organised by Sharon Apopa, the goal was to point people towards practical solutions to heal.

“We were talking about recovering from situations that trigger PTSD,” she said. “Often times, we tell people to pray, to forgive and keep pressing on, which are great things to do but there are practical applications like talking to a mental health professional and taking a step back from a relationship to give yourself time to heal.

“That healing looks different for everyone and could mean a clean break or stepping away for a brief period of time.

“The important thing is giving people permission to embrace whatever avenue of healing works for them, rather than expecting for it to look the same as it does for you.”

Now an ordained minister and the host of Life with the Lambes, a show available weekly through the Facebook page Reign Life, Mrs Lambe is committed to creating a healthy environment that facilitates true healing and growth.

It’s important for people going through a rough time to know they don’t have to pretend all is fine; that they don’t have to “put on a show”, she said.

“You can be honest with the fact you are hurt. God wants you to be healed even more than we want to be healed. He is always ready to engage us, receive us, to heal us and be compassionate.

“We have to embrace him for the healing. Sometimes we view God as our last resort — after going to friends, seeing the pastor and spending years in church — but healing has to come through Him.

“He can use others to heal, but ultimately it’s Him. Why not just go straight to the source?”