My name is Robert McCallum III, I am blessed to married to a wonderful wife, Amanda McCallum, and we have a vivacious 5 almost 6 year old that keeps on toes everyday!
When I was 4, I accepted Christ as my Savior. Since that time I have been involved in the church on many different levels. Some of these included being a children’s ministries leader, usher, running the soundboard, Sunday School teacher, and Outreach minister. Also completed a Bachelor’s degree in Pastoral Theology.
The last few years I have not been as involved due to working nights and providing for my family. I took that as being my “lot” in life to provide for them. Within the last year the Lord has been working in my heart towards returning to or starting a ministry, but I was very unclear on what that would be.
Then I had a meeting with the pastor of our church Pastor Kurt Skelly, and it came together. You see many years ago I suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury. Though that has been almost 19 years ago, I felt it was time to share my story. The goal being to encourage those who have been affected by TBI; also to bring understanding to an issue that I feel is not stigmatized and not acknowledged in the local church. This is the mission I feel the Lord has led me to begin.
With this in mind Pastor Skelly also recommend a book written by Dr. Robert & Jenny Bakss. Mrs. Bakss was diagnosed as being bipolar, and their book “PolesApart” chronicles their journey. While my brain injury varies from Mrs. Bakss, the book was a tremendous encouragement. Part of the encouragement I felt was that I am not the only one to receive negative responses within the Christian community. One of the responses they received mirrored some of the ones I have received; according to the book…”Many just simply said, “Get over it; snap out of it!” Responses like these were common with my own experience. For these comments to come from church family hurt all the more. Fortunately I had family that educated themselves on the issues I was facing. They never gave up on me; though I am sure the thought crossed their mind. I found encouragement in following Christ since “His own received Him not.”
What stands out the most throughout the book is the realization of hope both through scripture and medical attention. One scripture that is referenced is Romans 15:13 “ Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” They give many practical strategies to help cope with depression. Just an example of this is getting rid of negativity through: “Avoid spending time with negative people”, “Abstain from dwelling on negative thoughts”, and “Actively replace negative thoughts with God’s thoughts”. Throughout the book they go into more detail of how to work on this and other tools. Lastly, I appreciate that they openly recognize the need of medical doctors, and medicine to help with this diagnosis, but not at the expense of their Christian faith and ideals.
Their book is both helpful and uplifting. I would recommend “PolesApart” to anyone suffering from depression, anxiety, or any other mental disorder.
My goal as I start this new project is to be an encouragement and soundboard to those who have suffered similar experiences to the Bakss’ and my own.
My following article will answer the question how did a dump truck change my life!