Off & Running
a Blog of Life on the Run


From Homeless to Sanctuary

My Journey of Waiting

While driving through the cornfields of Iowa on my way home from Colorado, I heard God's voice for the first time in my life. The radio was off. I wasn't chatting with friends on the phone. I know I didn't think these words. There was no influence. I was in the car with two sleeping dogs. 

"Melanie, you should move into your office."
Excuse me, what!?

I called my Auntie.
Me: "Where the heck did that come from?"
Her: "Well, you've never thought it before, no one has ever mentioned it, and you don't even know if it could work. That's God, Melanie."

I had been in the worst of all roommate situations at the time and knew I needed to find my sanity again, but couldn't figure out a solution that I could afford. So, I went back to the office, measured the 120sf room we never used and it would fit my bed and a closet perfectly. Guess it was His voice after all.

Most of my life went into a storage unit, the rest was sold or given away.

For 15 months, I was homeless. Not homeless like the man begging for change on the corner. Homeless in the sense that I have learned to live without the comforts of a regular dwelling fit. 

"Homelessness is the condition of people without a regular dwellingThis include persons who sleep in a public or private place not designed for use as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings." Wikipedia

Over the time in my office, I created new habits like packing clothes for the next day each night and sleeping in my gym clothes. Walking to the gym for a shower and getting to know the routines of the ladies there became a daily ritual. Eating out became the norm (thankfully I worked out a lot more than usual) because my kitchen consisted of a tiny refrigerator, an 11" skillet, a microwave, and a toaster oven. Looking back, I doubt I ate enough.

Living without the comforts of home taught me a lot about my own resiliency. It showed me that I could do anything I put my mind to. I told myself I would do it for a year, or listen to hear what God had planned next.

And I spent the 15 months traveling. California, Colorado, Missouri, Michigan, Indiana - Italy, Mexico - everywhere. I saw family. I saw old friends and made new ones. Without having to maintain a home, I had freedom. 

Then I went to Africa. Everything changed. (I'll tell you about that sometime.)

As soon as I got back, I knew it was time to make a move. Our 5 year office lease was ending, our team was changing, Bethesda was not feeling like home anymore, and we could all feel it was time to do something different.

I was told to make a list of everything I wanted in a new office and a new home. I didn't have enough faith to think we could afford all of the things I wanted so I kept the list short:

1. Lots of light. I didn't want to live in a basement or work in a huge windowless building)
2. In Eastern Market. I wanted to be in the city and close to my church.

Exhaustively searching and checking out places in the neighborhood I wanted to be, I got frustrated. Everything was so expensive and so tiny. I kept praying, looking, asking God to show up. 

On a Saturday at church, I prayed hard about my business and my personal life - letting God know He had to take care of it. That I was placing it all in His hands. One of the prayer team prayed over me. (Read about what happened here.) The following Thursday, through a series of miracles and completely unexplained situations, I walked into an old row house that looks like a castle and found it. A space for my office and a space for my home for the same price as my office in Bethesda.

Did I mention that the office has lots of light and my home is a top floor looking at the Capitol Building with tons of windows and outdoor space? Literally around the corner from Eastern Market. 

Friends ask "how is this even possible?" My answer: Only God.

God showed up. My aunt says it's because I "defiantly waited until it was right." I was waiting for Him to show up and make it known that it was time.

I never felt like I needed a home - but I did need a sanctuary.

And it's perfect timing. He always has perfect timing.

Subscribe to Blog via Email
The Loss of My First Love
December 21, 2015
December 2004.  Sacramento, California. Freshly divorced. Adoption day.   Your foster mom brought you over. We watched you intently. You took in
The Secrets of Letting Go
August 26, 2015
It was Valentine’s Day.  A secret day.  Today, she would marry him. At 23, she knows what she
No More Should-ing On Myself
July 7, 2015
  “If God gives such attention to the wildflowers - most of which are never even
Struggling With Purpose
June 13, 2015
The breeze blows through big open windows rustling the white drapes. The oppressive heat hasn’t fully arrived yet
As You Are. Not As You Should Be.
April 21, 2015
  Hi. My name is Melanie and I feel like a failure on a daily basis.