I’d like to tell you a story.
About voices. Trees. Memories. Future Hope. Promise.
If there is a God that is present, He is present now.
I sat in the coffee shop on Memorial Day, watching the come and go of coffee drinkers, the wane and wax, ebb and flow of faces and their life-stories.
And I looked down and wrote, and asked God to speak to me something, anything.
Sometimes God’s voice is one that stirs in my stomach, or one that seeps into my head slowly as gears turn. This time it was a pounding in my chest, stamping words “Mulberry Lane” into my heart.
I spent the afternoon trying to decipher this code, like I was holding a top-secret file that needed the utmost care to unlock and unravel its secured contents.
And Travis took the boys to the park that morning and smelled the scent of Mulberry, a scent that brushed his mind back to childhood days.
I told Trav that I didn’t understand, and he pointed out that God doesn’t just confuse for confusion sake.
“No, no,” I said. “I just want to understand Him.”
I pondered whether I should call a realtor in Georgia about a house on Mulberry Lane. Was this it?
And I tried to gauge myself emotionally, asking if that prick of feeling was my heart or His, my stubbornness or His leading.
That evening we walked Lake Fayetteville’s paved trail, and I tried to relieve the ache in my brain, like an animal spinning its wheel all day who needs a break.
We began the walk back to the car, and I looked up at a tree nearby– mulberries.
A reminder of His presence.
And though I still didn’t understand, I knew that His voice was confident, His voice was sure, and His smile over me true.
We showed up at community group the next night to say good-bye to some friends who were moving away.
We gathered- the 3 girls- on the sofa and chair in the tiny living room, and the guys fit tightly around the dining room table.
I told them the Mulberry Mystery, that I was confused and that my head hurt from being banged against the proverbial wall of God’s will.
And one of the girls began to speak, and time stood silent and still around us, a bubble blown up in the room to protect us from the noise of outside.
She described the fruitfulness of the Mulberry, the way it drops its fruit all at once onto the green earth for animals to eat its rotten goodness.
Full fruit that feeds many.
And we drove home, the hands of my heart, if my heart had hands, lifted in praise.
Mulberries. May we be fruitful.
Lane: a narrow way or passage.
We devoured this promise, marking it on our hearts. Mystery solved, word understood, voice heard and promise received.
And we remembered the words of a friend at church the Sunday before:
“Ya’ll will do ministry wherever you are.”
May it be so.
May we be like the Mulberry, bearing bursts of fruit that pour life into those around us.
May we walk the narrow path,
“for the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those that find it are few” (Matthew 7).
May we be one of the few.
May it be marked across the tops of our doorposts.
May our life bring life, and may we know the difference between distant caring and intimate, communal caring.
And may our future Atlanta home house a Mulberry tree in its backyard,
a reminder of the promises,
mystery turned to sweet reality right before our eyes.