Complications from a concussion would change Tony Martin’s life trajectory, and he shares his story through a new curriculum, “Return to Wholeness.”
Martin suffered a concussion in June 2018. In the aftermath, he experienced severe headaches, sensitivity to light and sound and cognitive issues.
“It’s like my brain was shrouded in fog,” Martin recalled. “Worst of all was the deepest, darkest emotional funk you can imagine. Anxiety, depression and what I characterized as ‘a sense of impending doom’ became realities.”
In a follow-up visit with his specialist in internal medicine, she ordered additional medical tests. The diagnosis was post-concussion syndrome (PCS). The treatment for PCS is time, patience and medication.
His migraine headaches continued 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
‘Taking a toll’
“They were taking a toll on my life,” Martin said. “The neurologist tinkered and experimented with several drugs, and now … it may occur only three times a month. It often hits with a vengeance, not constantly, but it’s more manageable.”
While he was encountering the repercussions from the concussion, he and his wife, Teresa, watched as torrential rains and city drainage issues brought two feet of flood water into their home in Jackson, Mississippi. They were displaced for seven months.
Next, Tony had two surgeries and a cancer diagnosis. Then their elderly Boston terrier died.
Trial upon trial
Like the flooding of their home, trials seemed to flood their daily lives, Martin remembered. It was challenging to have a good attitude and remember, “Count it all joy when you encounter various trials” (James 1:2–3).
But Martin acknowledged their faith in God was taken to new depths as they trusted His purpose.
When asked why he wanted to share his difficult experiences, Martin said, “Simple. My story is your story.”
Martin’s lifelong experiences, professional background and God giving him the idea created “Return to Wholeness,” he said.
“Through my service in Christian ministry for 40-plus years, I’ve seen many believers stall out in their faith — they spend their days frustrated, defeated and even desperate,” Martin writes in the curriculum. “They are broken, in other words. The fulfilling Christian life that others seem to experience eludes them.
“There is a path to feeling better (actually, being better), and it’s a spiritually and scripturally based journey.
“I created ‘Return to Wholeness’ because I am heartbroken at how many Christians … are living defeated lives of quiet desperation,” continued Martin, who also serves as associate editor of the Baptist Record, the online newsjournal of the Mississippi Baptist Convention.
“That scripturally promised abundant life simply isn’t a reality for them.
“And in this fallen and toxic world, so many seem to be abandoning hope. It doesn’t have to be that way. It doesn’t matter who you are, what has happened in your past or the degree of anxiety you have about the future. You can return to the wholeness you once experienced and felt as a new believer.”
Through personal conversations and posts on social media, Martin began to hear and see recurring themes: “I’m struggling; life isn’t turning out as I expected; mentally I’m suffering with all of life’s challenges; this Christian thing isn’t working for me.”
He said it begs the questions, “Why are Christ-followers dealing with these thoughts? Is it a lack of discipleship? Is there not enough teaching about what the Bible says about suffering, faith, God’s purpose and perseverance?”
Everyone is broken, Martin acknowledged. No one has “arrived” in their physical, emotional or spiritual life.
But by God’s grace, believers can move forward to return to the first love of Jesus and a deeper understanding of His redemptive power.
Martin also said the goal of the curriculum is “to help broken Christians feel better, become whole and experience supernatural peace.”
One way is through learning from the broken people of Scripture.
Also woven throughout this “heavy stuff” is an emphasis on keeping it light, Martin said.
As participants walk through the materials, the hope is that they will build fellowship and support and experience incremental breakthroughs.
Martin insisted this is not a “self-help, motivational program,” but the main objective is to encourage people to go to Scripture first. It’s about learning how to apply God’s truth principles to life, he explained.
The following are included in the course:
- 7 steps to wholeness
- 31 days to restoration
- a personal journal
- an assessment instrument
- a directional finder.
There also is a “restoration group,” a private Facebook page Martin said is for mutual encouragement, celebration and grief.
Contact Tony and follow him on Facebook.