So I have a daughter, OH BOY DO I HAVE A DAUGHTER!
So let me introduce to Mallory Isabelle Emanuel, aka Mallie. We sometimes wonder if she is two different little girls trapped inside one 8 year old body. Mallie is kind, caring, sweet, giving, pleasant......oh yea......devious, cunning, calculating, and yes squirrely. Please let me explain.
As my family made our jaunt from Alabama to Eugene, we were able to see many of the amazing sites and places across our great country. We made memories that will last forever, but the place that has stuck with Mallie the most would be........Las Vegas. Yes, I am Baptist but give me a break it was on the way......trust me! While at the time Mir and I noticed the glitter in her eye, the overreaching and exuberant questions about gambling, and the fascination with the neon and fountains timed to music, we let it pass as a young girl’s curiosity. We would however; find out it went a little deeper.
This would not come to light until a few weeks latter when we hung out with our fellow elders
at our NEW church plant in Eugene, The Beautiful Mess. As I cooked hot dogs in the park and played football with our team members I smiled as Mallie played bocce ball with Ethan, one of our Elders, and several other people. I could not help but notice Ethan laughing as he interacted with Mallie, no doubt he was getting to know the sweet, kind, and funny little girl I loved so much. As the night and fun came to an end I asked Ethan if he had fun with Mallie, he smiled and then it came. "Well, it was interesting!?" Ethan then began to tell me how the game of bocce ball consisted of Mallie try to hit him in the, eh......stomach with the bocce balls. Thats not all, when not trying to inflect pain upon him she was telling him her life's goal.......which to my surprise consisted of playing videos games and gambling 7 days a week! Yes, my daughter the church planter's daughter had a life goal of playing video games and gambling....7 DAYS A WEEK! After the obligatory nervous laughter and 15 minutes of explaining what she really meant I was not only dumbfounded but exhausted. Mallie pulled back the curtain and burnt right through the grace period with a guy sold in to helping us plant a church in Eugene. The cat was out of the bag; let me introduce to you The Emanuel's! Living on grace, laughing out loud and questioning our sanity
This was Mallie, well one part of Mallie. Let me introduce you to the other part. Less than a year into our plant we teamed up with a radical dude, Aaron Box who was a local pastor, and a non-profit Generosity Feeds, our goal was to provide 10,000 meals to local school children who were going hungry outside of school. 10,000 meals $1 each, $10,000 dollars to try and feed the hungry, it was a beautiful idea dreamed up by a great dude. As we neared the deadline we were about $1,500 short of our goal. So, during church I announced how close we were to our goal in hopes it would generate a little dinero to push us the rest of the way. Now our plant consist of a few families, a lot of college kids and quite a few homeless people living at The Mission, so I was not overly optimistic. Then after the service I was reintroduced to the other Mallie.
Once we got home she asked me if it would be ok for her to give her money she had saved, with a smile on my face I said yes! She then told me she had counted her money and she had saved $150 and she would like to give it ALL. Let me break that down a little, $150, which was saved in quarters, dimes and one dollar bills, is enough in an eight year old mind to almost buy Disneyland! In fact I am pretty sure her goal was to get to $200 and then try a hostile takeover against Mickey with Donald on her side. As tears began to form in my eyes, with a voice that was cracking I said, "absolutely dear." So, the next Sunday she brought in a bag full of change and dollars bill equaling a little over $150, with a smile on her face she gave her life savings over to help hungry children. I was happy, proud, excited, and convicted......all by Mallie.
She taught me a few things that day. We are all two people. There is that dude inside me that is bent and broken, twisted toward my dark thoughts. That dude that scares me, and I fight like crazy to not let anybody know about, that dude I try my best to suppress. That dude that fights and rails against the light Christ gave me. Then there is the other dude who has been adopted by Christ, whose life has been justified by God becoming man, by perfection crucified and raised. That dude that through the process of sanctification battles the other dude, sustains body blows but looks to his Savoir and then fights back!While as followers of Christ we are justified, sanctification is a process, a painful process. Mallie taught me we are not bound by our bentness; we are freed by our adoption. And while we might at times succumb to that dude we don't like to talk about, Christ is pulling for the other dude and He affords us grace that allows that dude to do great things through Him!
So, oh boy do I have a daughter and thank God she is Mallie!
BTW, big props to Aaron Box, Generosity Feeds, and all the other pastors and people that helped to feed the hungry. We ended up with a little over $11,000 dollars! That is 11,000 meals to the children of Eugene.