Global Lit

Breathing Room by Leeana Tankersley

“I‘m going to tell you how hard it is to feel like you’re suffocating when your life is so gorgeous, and how badly I turned on myself in the midst of the Hard because I couldn’t do better and be more. I punished myself for being human, for struggling, which is heartbreaking because it prolonged and intensified the struggle even more.”   Breathing Room by Leeana Tankersly

My professor, Em Griffin started each class by reading us a chapter of  Anne Lamott’s Traveling Mercies.  The man who’d written the book on communication theory captured my heart  with the simple story of a woman who reached the end of herself, her addictions, her version of humanism and found hope in a little African-American church.

Anne’s gritty, tender, unflinching story became my banner as I watched my own world sink and began tearing down years of bad theology and misplaced platitudes.  The power of her naked, glorious story gave me the courage to write my own.

Recently, Leeana and I were invited to write for NIV: Fresh Insight’s for Thriving in Today’s World.  It was Leeana’s honest an gracious voice that captured my attention the same way Anne’s did year’s ago.  Leeana gives us all hope that the neurotic part of our souls can bring dignity and hope for others if we simple pull back the veil and let ourselves be known.   Obviously, I’ve dragged this book everywhere, coffee shops, retreats, swim practice, it’s dogeared and underlined. It’s the type of book you read a chapter at a time in order to embrace your chaos with a a little more compassion.

“I will disapoint people and I will inspire people. So will you. We don’t have to run from our magic and our mundaness.. We turn toward it all, the beautiful mess, and we say. “Yes, I am all of that” and “I see you. I hear you. I love you.” This is one of life’s greatest reliefs.”  Breathing Room by Leeana Tankersly

Leeana and I cut our writing teeth in the same way at the same time from heartache, desperate  to know a God who could heal our deep, unexpected, wounds when she wroteFound Art.  It’s an honor to shine a light on Leeana’s latest work Breathing Room since I feel like we’re long lost writing sisters.

Breathing Room is for travelers struggling with what Leeana calls the Hard and the Come Apart times whether it’s in a far away land or suburban sprawl. Leeana is a fellow wanderer who discovered loss and joy when her family moved to Bahrain with three young children.  I love her perspective that trauma is personal and it doesn’t need to be hard by anyone else’s definition.  Rest is a sacred word to Leeana and I’m so grateful for the guts she has to share her darkest most inspiring moments with the world.

“Scripture says. ‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.’ If we allow ourselves the time and space to mourn, we will be comforted. On the other hand, if we believe we must suck it up and cope and steel ourselves against the loss, the comfort will be much harder to come by.”  Breathing Room by Leeana Tankersly

For updates on Leeana’s next work Brazen: The Courage to Find the You That’s been Hiding. Check out her blog for updates and encouragement.

#neverstopreading

Share this Story
  • Exotic Flavors

    Plum & Cider Preserves

    Robert Farrar Campon, Episcopal priest, host, writer and food theologian, believed hospitality began with thoughtful, generosity. “If you can possibly do ...
  • Exotic Flavors

    Chadian Spinach & Peanut Stew

    It was such a gift to learn how to make this spinach & peanut stew years ago when I first married ...
Load More Related Articles
  • Exotic Flavors

    Plum & Cider Preserves

    Robert Farrar Campon, Episcopal priest, host, writer and food theologian, believed hospitality began with thoughtful, generosity. “If you can possibly do ...
  • Exotic Flavors

    Chadian Spinach & Peanut Stew

    It was such a gift to learn how to make this spinach & peanut stew years ago when I first married ...
Load More By Sarah Kay
Load More In Global Lit

Facebook Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Check Also

God’s Very Good Idea by Trillia Newbell

“God’s idea was to make PEOPLE. . . ...

Have we met?


The child of missionary parents, writing became a natural was to process my adventures across the world.

Ndjerareou means 'he who builds the road in Ngambai, Nate's tribal language spoken in Chad, Africa.

Get on the VIP list!

Follow Me @

Did You Pin It?

My Insta-happenings

  • Happy Birthday Isaac! Thank you to everyone who helped us celebrate our boy! Nerf obstacle training course & operation piñata rescue! It’s a joy to see them all enjoy each other. Sophia nailed the cake and was a fantastic Nerf Drill Sergeant! (Nice to know they remember all the effort your pour into home made birthdays and return the love—her enthusiasm is best gift she could give her brother—he wears sister out playing but I’m so addicted to their laughter! My heart is full!) #happybirthdayisaac #nerfparty #homemadefun #marchbirthdaymadness #marchbabies #nerfornothing #gratefulforcousins #gratefulforfriends
  • “A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.” -Coco Chanel
Thank you Auntie Kirsten for helping me teach “How to be fabulous lessons” to Sophia for her birthday. We invested in self-care and the gift of friendship. It was precious time of laughter & luxuriating!  #howtobefabulous #brunch #spaday #shopping #macaroons #fortworth #girlsday #giggles #smartgirlspracticeselfcare #stickwithmesweets #grateful
  • Spring Break 2019 in the books! Thank you Arlington for a restful staycation. @freeplayarcade @urbanalchemybar @babeschickendinner @utarlington We explored our local UTA planetarium, the new Central library, perfected our pinball game at Free Play and loved spending family time at our favorite local food spots. Now back to real life! #groan #ndjerareoujourney #springbreak2019 #arlingtontx #staycation #texas #familiesthatplaytogetherstaytogether #notallwhowanderarelost #gettinglostinourowncity #gettinglostinourbackyard #readwithme
  • Happy Birthday Sophia! Joy in its purest essence is watching your child take flight and grow in the Lord. Very thankful for the lovely, feisty, tender, persistent person you’re becoming. Fly baby, fly! #ndjerareoujourney
  • Kindergarten Shenanigans! Happy heart day from our family to yours! Now to burn off all that sugar!!
  • We have a basketball player! They’re so little. Cutest game I’ve ever seen! He has fantastic coaches! (I thought the game was over after the 2nd quarter!)
  • “Praised be my Lord, for our sister water.”- St. Francis of Assisi,
Canticle of the Sun.  #itssocold #sunshineandgiggles #toesinthewater #decemberinTexas #joy #bliss #laughter #water #play
  • All he wants for Christmas is a new tooth! (Don’t believe it!!) Merry Christmas with smiles and love! #toothfairy&santainoneday!