On August 8th, 2010, I was sitting on a tree branch in the forest of a Parisian suburb with a noose around my neck. I was about to end my life after sixteen years of alcoholism when a voice like velvet whispered, No, this not the way for you. That voice was God's! What I have been privileged to witness and do in His name since then is why I am here as part of the Uncharted journaling crew.
My name is Malcolm, but everyone calls me Mally. I grew up in rural Ireland in a town that had—and still has—a post office, gas station, and pub all run by the same guy. I played in rock bands, worked for a print company, and drank hard. At age 22, I moved to Australia for a year. I knew after that epic trip Ireland would never be home again. I found myself in London for the next seven years where I ran my own restaurant in Notting Hill. It was during my time there that booze and cocaine really got hold of me. I had the trappings of a great life but inside I was dying. I thought by moving my family to France I'd leave the addictions. It was a case of wherever I go, there I am.
The culture shock, my drinking, a divorce, my daughter being diagnosed with autism... It all led to that fateful day in the woods when God called out and saved me. In the years that followed I became an ultra-runner competing in events from 50 and 100 miles to 12 hrs and 24 hrs non-stop. I have run races in scorching heat and sub-zero temperatures. I love every second on the trails as I ponder the magnificence of life and the Creator that has given me a second shot. These days I serve as an associate pastor at an international church in the heart of Paris. I am married to the wonderful Val and have two crazy kiddos Dylan (12) and Pearl (9).
I met Ben from Uncharted through conferences and working together in London a few years back where I got nuked by the Holy Spirit. Ben and I have been brothers since. When Ben was passing through Paris in February of this year, we went for an early morning run through the streets of Versailles in the howling wind and rain. As we dodged puddles—way too excitedly for that early hour—Ben laid out the vision for the Uncharted Journal. After praying about it and discussing it with my wife, it was a clear and bold Yes! I agreed because I believe that we all need to Go Boldly in our everyday lives. This looks radically different for all of us, but if we are listening to the Holy Spirit, He will get us into all sorts of mischief and drastically alter how we not only perceive our faith but also how we live it out. My hope for this Journal column is to be open and honest about my ups and downs. I am far from having figured it out, but through engagement and mutual encouragement maybe we can figure it out together.