I've always been a dreamer.
Meaning, I'd dream things, and they would actually come to pass - or they'd foreshadow something - or they'd reveal feelings buried deep within my spirit. Even as an itty bitty little girl. Kinda crazy, but true.
But every time I'd dream of being HOME - whether the context of that dream was set as a little girl, or as a teenager, or as an adult - I'd always dream of being home in the "San Benito house." Even if I no longer lived there anymore, I still dreamed I did.
It was the home we lived in the longest, my siblings and I. It was an oasis my parents built from the ground up. To this day, I bet I could walk around that house with my eyes closed and not run into a single thing. It was a place filled with laughter, filled with beauty, filled with memories, filled with Jesus.
But when I was in 8th grade, we moved. My parents built a house in Harlingen so we could go to high school in that district. And though the new home was beautiful - there was never, EVER going to be another home that felt like our "San Benito house." Never.
Blaine and I have now been married for 4 and a half years, and we have been renting this whole time. Before kids, we lived in a tiny one bedroom apartment. When we got pregnant with Lace, we moved into a quaint, two bedroom duplex. But when Lace was a year and a half old, we found the most special place of all - the "Winnie house."
It was everything I ever wanted in a home. Painted white brick, mint green trim, black shutters. Dark wood floors, all-white kitchen, big picture windows. Three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a separate den area. Screened in porch, spacious back yard, all located in a safe and quiet neighborhood in the heart of town.
When we toured it, we knew there was something special about this house. Something that we couldn't put our finger on - but it was just...different. Anointed, even.
And it was for rent - and in our price range.
We immediately put in our application within hours of touring it. However, we got a call saying there was another application in front of ours - a family who was moving to the area from Chicago.
My heart sunk. Why did I feel this way about that house if it wasn't supposed to be ours to rent? Why did I feel so safe within those walls if we weren't supposed to live there?
We started praying. Praying for the desire of our hearts - praying that the Lord would somehow, someway, let us live in the "Winnie house" - praying that for whatever reason, God would draw the landlord's heart towards our application instead.
About a week later, we got another phone call.
The landlord told our realtor that since the Chicago family didn't have jobs in town yet, he denied their application, and accepted ours. And if we wanted to move in, we could do so ASAP.
The desire of our hearts.
Year 1 in the "Winnie house" was just as we had expected - special. So special. We got close with the neighbors, had family and friends over all the time, and most special of all - got pregnant with Hugh.
Two years earlier we gave birth to Lace at a birth center, because we thought it'd freak our duplex neighbors out if they heard my exorcist-like labor screams through our conjoining paper-thin walls. Now that I was pregnant with Hugh, I knew that being in the "Winnie house," I could groan and wail and battle cry through the entire labor and delivery process, and no one would hear a peep next door.
We were already so connected to this place - that Blaine would ask our landlord every couple of months if he would agree to sell the "Winnie house" to us.
And every time, the landlord said no.
Year 2 came as quickly as the first - and it was even more special. God started moving mountains in Blaine's real estate career, my lifelong passion of writing/video/creating came to pass with Healthier Hannah, Lace started flourishing in her larger-than-life personality, and we gave birth to our sweet, sweet Hugh - all within the walls of the "Winnie house."
Relentlessly though, every couple of months, Blaine would still ask our landlord if he would agree to sell the "Winnie house" to us.
And every time, the landlord would - still - say no.
As we were approaching year 3, Blaine sat me down and said that we were going to have to make a decision.
It was time for us to buy - to start building equity in a home rather than renting one.
So, we either needed to let the landlord know that we would only rent the "Winnie house" for one more year, or buy a different house before year 3 started.
That same sinking feeling came over me. It felt like the "Winnie house" was trying to slip through our fingers, yet again. The home that was everything we ever wanted, the home we were raising our family in, the home that literally witnessed the birth of our only son - wasn't going to be a part of our lives anymore.
We told the landlord our dilemma, and that we would have to make a decision soon. We started touring homes to buy, both in town and out of town. But every house we saw - I would compare it to the "Winnie house." And it just - simply - never measured up.
We finally found a house that was somewhat comparable, one that we considered putting an offer on.
But it was so bittersweet - well, actually, it felt more bitter than sweet. We were going to have to move, again, (and let's be real, moving sucks). And we were being forced to submit to the fact that while the "Winnie house" was so good to us, it was apparently not God's will for us.
But just as we were about to put in an offer on this new house - we got an email.
It was our landlord.
"After further consideration, we have decided to grant your request to purchase the property ("the Winnie house"). However, understand that we do not normally do this with our properties, as we have many homes in the area we rent out. But we have agreed that we will do this for your family only. If you would like to draw up a contract, let us know, and we will begin the process."
The desire of our hearts. Oh, He is such a good, good Father.
And as of September 27th, 2017, the "Winnie house" officially became ours. The home of the Crews family. Forever. (at least I pray so)
I tucked the kids into bed that night, prayed over them, took a shower, and laid down in my own bed.
And as I drifted off to sleep, I had yet another dream.
I was home again - and, as usual, it was in my childhood "San Benito house." I was sitting in the living room watching TV, when I heard my kids giggling at each other in the kitchen.
But as I got up and walked into the kitchen, that 1995 "San Benito kitchen" morphed into the 2017 "Winnie kitchen." The Berkey water filter appeared on the counter, black and white MacKenzie Child's decor was being sprinkled throughout, a rainbow of at least 100 essential oils colorfully faded into the picture.
I looked around and realized what was going on. My picture of home was subconsciously changing, in the most beautiful way. I stood there, back against the refrigerator, and cried - right there in the middle of my dream. Because I knew - now that I was dreaming of our "Winnie house," this was exactly where God wanted us to be.
We look forward to raising our babies here. We look forward to creating a thousand more special memories here. And I pray this is the home our kids dream about their entire lives.
We are home now. And Lord, we delight in YOU for it.
"Delight yourselves also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart." -Psalm 37:4