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Our Dream House

In this excerpt from Dreams of Angels, a woman’s hope for a new home seems out of reach until a heavenly message reassures her it is meant to be.

An artist's rendering of Susan's dream

One by one I wrote out the checks for the monthly bills and stacked the stamped envelopes neatly on the kitchen table. I checked and rechecked the balance in my bank account.

My years as a single mother before getting remarried had really taught me how to make every dollar count. God had never failed to provide for my family, but that was no excuse for not sticking to a budget. I wasn’t one to dream about things we couldn’t afford. Well, except the night before.

What a crazy dream I’d had! I told my daughter, Shelly, about it when she came to breakfast. “In my dream last night I had tea with Queen Elizabeth at her castle,” I said.

Shelly’s eyebrows shot up. “Queen Elizabeth of England?” she asked.

I nodded. “We were in a real English garden with mums and roses, and a trellis with a lovely clematis vine. There was a fishpond full of golden koi.”

Relating my dream to Shelly, I could almost feel the sun on my face as I looked out at the fishpond, with the tall castle walls rising up high behind me, so different from the rather cramped house my husband, Mark, and I shared with our four children.

“The koi started jumping up and flipping around in the pond. And then a mermaid leapt out of the water!”

“A mermaid?” said Shelly. “Mom, that was some dream!”

It certainly was. The dream stayed with me over the next few days. Images from it would pop into my mind at the strangest moments.

Like on the following Sunday. One second I was clipping coupons and the next I was imagining that mermaid sweeping her arms out toward the castle as if to say, “This can all be yours!” Well, I thought as I filed the coupons away. Back to the real world.

“Want to go for a walk?” Mark asked. “It’s a beautiful day.”

The sun made dappled patterns on the sidewalk. “I’ve never been down this street,” I said, as Mark led me around a corner.

“There’s something here I want to show you,” he said. He pointed toward a two-story house. A “For Sale” sign was out front. “I saw it in the real-estate ads yesterday,” Mark explained, handing me a flyer with details about price. “Something told me we should come see it.”

I could tell from the sidewalk it would be perfect for our family. Big yard, lots of space, two stories….Hold on, what am I thinking? “Mark, we can’t afford a bigger house,” I said. “The payments are double what ours are now.”

Mark peered over the fence into the backyard. “Let’s ask for a tour,” he said.

I shook my head and turned my back on the house. “I refuse to start dreaming about the impossible,” I said.

Over my loud protests, Mark called the agency and arranged to look at the house that same afternoon. Just as I feared, I loved it: four bedrooms, two and a half baths. There was even a fenced-in backyard for our cocker spaniel. “I might as well dream about living in a castle,” I sighed as I climbed into bed that night.

“You did dream about living in a castle,” Mark reminded me.

That was different. God spoke to Joseph and King Nebuchadnezzar through dreams in the Bible, but not to moms in Missouri! I thought I’d laid the matter to rest until two days later. We got a call from the agency. The Jennings, who owned the house, were in a hurry to move. They’d dropped the price.

“It’s as if the house is meant to be ours,” Mark reasoned. Could he be right? God, I know we can make do in the house we have, but….I stopped short of asking him for more. Please help me be happy with what I have.

The kids wanted to see the house, so we all walked over together. They immediately began choosing bedrooms. “We’re here just for the fun of it,” I warned. “We are not moving.” Mark and I wandered into the backyard. I’d never seen so many flowers: red and peach roses, and purple mums.

And what was that climbing up the trellis? “Mark!” I said, tugging on his elbow. “It’s a clematis vine just like in my dream!”

“No dream, miss. This is a proper English garden,” a clipped British voice said behind me. I spun around. Your Majesty? No, it wasn’t Queen Elizabeth. But the older British lady wasn’t far off in my American eyes.

“I’m Mrs. Jennings,” she said. “I do hope you take the house.” Mrs. Jennings explained how she met her husband when he was in the Air Force and stationed in England.

“Hey, Susan,” Mark called from over by the fence. “The neighbors have a fishpond. You’ve got to see it!”

“Oh, you should see it,” Mrs. Jennings said. “A lovely pond, filled with koi.”

An English lady, a flower garden, and a fishpond full of koi. My dream was coming true before my eyes. This can all be yours, the mermaid had seemed to say, but I hadn’t believed her. How many gifts had God tried to give me only to have me refuse them because they seemed out of reach?

I’d thought I was making his job easier by not asking for much. Maybe I’d just been afraid he’d say no if I did ask.

I crossed the lawn to where Mark stood. “Let’s take the house,” I whispered. “I believe it’s meant for us.”

Mark slipped an arm around my waist. There was no sign of my mermaid among the golden koi, but something told me she wasn’t far away, probably rejoicing at the message she’d finally been able to deliver.

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